Frank and his Swedish adventure part one: moving to Sweden
Consultant anaesthetist and sustainability champion Frank Swinton is taking a sabbatical from Airedale to study for a Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability, in Sweden. Frank will share his experiences via this blog over the coming months…enjoy!
It’s now two and a half weeks since we moved to Karlskrona in South Eastern Sweden for me to study for a Masters in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability www.msls.se.
Moving country is hard.
Moving country is really exciting.
Both of these emotions were amplified for me this time because we have moved as a family with kids.
There were many months of preparation and who knows how many emails were sent and decisions were made in that time. Somehow it seemed that there were still a million things to do and sort out in the last few days but we had a lot of help from our friends in Yorkshire (you know who you are) and we finally made it onto the ferry in Hull.
The house we have been lucky enough to rent is furnished so we had previously decided that it would be simplest if we didn’t ship stuff. This meant we had to fit all four of us and all our stuff into one car load (with roof box). If it didn’t fit in, it didn’t come with us. Yes there’s stuff in the house and yes we’ve raided a charity shop or two but really, it’s amazing how much stuff you don’t need.
This area of Sweden is stunningly beautiful. The city is on an archipelago so you never have to look far to see bridges, beaches, ferries, coastline and lots and lots of water. It’s very different from landlocked Skipton.
The kids started school last week which was really humbling for us as parents to watch. It was incredibly brave of them to go into school on the first day when they didn’t know a soul and spoke none of the language and didn’t know where anything was or what any of the rules or procedures were. They went off happily enough though and although there have been a few wobbles, they’ve made some friends, figured out how most of it works and learned a lot of language already.
Alex, my wife, has been her usual legendary self, keeping us on an even keel and being great company. She is still looking for a job and that’s been slow going so far and I think that now the kids are pretty settled at school, she’ll be focusing on the job hunt in the next week or two.
We’ve also managed to explore a bit of the local area and have found some amazing, deserted swimming spots with views over the islands. We all have bikes now, acquired by hook and by crook so the kids are riding to school and we can get into the centre of the city in about 15 minutes. The UK has a lot to learn about cycling. Here there are dedicated cycle lanes, between the pavement and the road. They go everywhere and cycles have priority over cars so it’s an absolute dream to head into town on the bike. The poor old Toyota is going to have a good rest this year I hope.
We live a mere 5 minutes walk from the university so my commute is even more civilised than the one in Yorkshire. Last week was an introductory week so we’ve spent a lot of time getting to know one another and sorting out library cards and finding the canteen etc. etc.
It’s a really inspiring group. There are 45 of us (there might be more to come) but so far we have people from: Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Greece, Canada, USA, Costa Rica, Colombia, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, South Africa, Tanzania, China, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Bangladesh and they all have great stories and very different outlooks so there’s always something good to talk about and already the shared meals are nothing short of spectacular!
I’ll pen another missive in a few weeks when I’ve really got to grips with the course so I can talk about what I’m learning.