Just in case you missed reading my earlier Phoren trips you can read them here :)
After our honeymoon in Mauritius, my expected trip was to Stockholm. Ritchie worked there and so clearly I would join him. The efforts for securing my visa had started months earlier so that we both could travel there together after marriage. But sadly it was not to happen that way. The visa process got delayed and I could join him only after 2 months. The waiting period was really getting to my nerves, especially when I realized that the whole thing got delayed because the travel desk of his company forgot to send one of the papers to the immigration. So by the time I got back my passport I was not sure whether I was thrilled to see Ritchie or to see snow for the first time . I remember the day I got my visa stamped, how happy I was and was fluttering like a butterfly all around the house. When MIL returned from office that evening she hugged me and said she was happy to see me happy, and then a small conversation with her during dinner got me confused, whether I should be happy or sad.
She kept looking at me and smiling while having dinner. Then took a sip of water, as though to clear the lump in her throat before saying something. I looked at her and asked if she was ok. She said, 'I feel very low about myself today'. I was surprised, 'why something happened in office?'. She said, 'No. When you called me in office and said your passport was stamped, I should have been happy, but I felt sad'. There was a lump in my throat now. It was only about 2 months I had been living with her and she was my mother-in-law, she was not supposed to miss me no? I hugged her and did not know what to say. She then said, 'but now seeing you so happy I am really very happy for you two. Always be together'. And that moment I wanted someone to kill me, because without realizing that she would be alone after I leave, I was jumping around her when my visa was done. This added to the instances in my life where I really did not know now whether to rejoice or just feel sad!!
I had traveled to Dubai by myself but then it was just about 3.5 hrs flight and without any transit. Stockholm I was travelling by Turkish and had a transit passage at Istanbul. I had never done that and even though I had complete directions on how and where to go, I looked like one lost puppy at Istanbul airport. The entire travel to Stockholm was about 17 hrs. By the time I came out of the airport 'I was tired like a horse' is an understatement. And then I saw Ritchie waiting for me with a bouquet of flowers, the most beautiful roses I had ever seen seeing him there all the fatigue just vanished . After the pleasantries I immediately said, 'Come now let's see snow' On the roads I was trying so hard to have a look but sadly it was very dark and couldn't really enjoy the sight.
|Home in Stockholm :)|
Reached home, first time saw door codes at the entrance of an apartment. As I entered the house I was soooo overwhelmed with the decorations inside to welcome me. I wouldn't say my husband is not romantic but yes when it comes to expressing his feelings he needs all the possible dictionaries in the world. It was just 2 months of our marriage and since I did not see much of him during our dating period, this surely came as a surprise. He had made a wonderful dinner, this was also the first time I was experiencing his culinary skills, and I must say I was very very impressed. Told him how I felt and also that I was surprised by this gesture and he replied, 'just the begining hun...there is a lot more to come. True to his words my life with him in Stockholm holds a lot of 'firsts'
|The Welcome :) :)|
Next morning I did enjoy the snow and OMG! what a sight it was. It was beautiful, lovely and wonderful. The first place I visited while in Stockholm was Drottningatan, where we shopped for some winter wear for me. Wearing layers of clothes was so new to me. It was really irritating. Oh ya and then the early darkness as early as 2pm! Daylight only for about 4-6 hrs, all this was so amazing. In the beginning it was all very nice but then it started getting depressive. I used to find it very funny when I saw people at restaurants having dinner at 5 & 6 in the evening as compared to my Indian timings of post 8! But it was just a matter of days that the blue was beaten..started getting accustomed to the surroundings, weather and the winters. Summers were equally wonderful. Seeing bright sunlight even at past midnight and some days even past 2 in the night was an experience in itself. Sometimes I wanted to wear shades and sleep because of the sunlight during 'night' times. Best was the midsummer when you actually do not have a night at all and this year it was special as we spent our midsummer right in the middle of the Baltic Sea. We have clicked the most amazing pictures of the sea & the sky on that day.
|Enjoying the Snow together :)|
The best thing about Sweden is the way it treats its immigrants. I totally loved the language schools there. Swedish language is taught free of cost there. Learning Swedish is very important when you are in Sweden, not because they don't know English. Infact the Swedes are very friendly and speak very good English. But since there is a very immigration friendly policy for people from certain non-English countries, and these immigrants take up various jobs in Sweden, the first language they learn is Swedish. English is only a second language, even when it comes to corporate world. Hence interaction is easy and friendly if you know the language and I must say the government provides everything possible for its new comers to feel comfortable with the language. Because of such one class I met a lovely friend Terry & my Swedish teacher Viveca who is an inspiration on how I want to be post 65 :) While talking about friends, I cannot miss Jeanette & Bjorn who made us feel that we had a family in Sweden :)
Like I said Stockholm was a place for lot of my firsts :)... I baked my first cake there for Ritchie's birthday...hosted friends for lunches & dinners as a wife...my writing work saw another level....got my first payment for writing when I was there... cut my hair to the shortest length I ever had...my first balloon ride..not to forget my iphone...a lot more small but important things about being married...etc., etc., Lived there for more than a year and then decided to move on. Ritchie moved to another company with a new role and responsibility. Till the time everything was finalised I had a terrible pain in my stomach holding it as a secret. And then finally told the family about the good news. Everyone was happy for us except my sister, who immediately retorted on phone, OMG!! what ya, what will I tell my friends now??. Yes that is when I realized my super sister was using my foreign stay as a show off thing! When we packed our bags for good I was all teary eyed, though returning home was what I always wanted. We had practically set up a home there and leaving that place was like walking out of your home. Ritchie was exceptionally quiet the day we left. MIL called a couple of times knowing fully well that maybe we were upset. Again the same point where I did not know whether I should have been happy or sad :?.. but yes something tells me that our Stockholm trip does not end here :) :)