To our intense relief, the flat we'd not even seen pictures of (and which is rented to us by the university) is pretty nice. Outdated and in need of a good scrub and a big stack of crochet blankets, but I think it'll work well for us.
Even though it's the same size as the flat we had in Milan (60m2), the layout is better and so it feels bigger. We've even managed to fashion a bedroom for the Bean in a corner of the L-shaped living room. This is a first for him (and us!) so it's very exciting! It's had to be quite makeshift and make-do, but I'll post up some photos when it's all done.
My favourite bit of the flat is the dining area, as it's so wonderfully light. Especially on a sunny summer's morning when the toddler wants to paint at 7AM!
Mr P&P was supposed to start work yesterday, but the first day was taken up with admin and the second with battling man-flu! First impressions of the new office are good though, and the nice thing is that he's only a 15-minute walk away from home. No long commutes, thankfully.
For me, it's all change. We don't yet have a nursery for the Bean, so I guess that officially makes me a Stay-at-Home-Mum for a while! As with everything else in parenting, this is both hard and exhilarating: he makes me laugh and I love going on our daily ad-ven-cha with him, but I do worry about the financial implications of taking so much time off. And, of course, I'm not getting much time to work on all the new patterns that are swirling around in my head!
Oh, this is a biggie. This is so very, very different to what it was in Milan. Our flat looks out onto nothing but green and just a short walk away there's a small forest. There is a playground every 100 metres. We can walk everywhere, on foot/cycle paths that are often completely separate from the road. The air is clean and smells of the sea.
I know it's early days, the early days of the shiny new honeymoon period. Before long we will find out what bothers us, what we just can't agree with, and what a Swedish winter is really like. But given that the lack of green and the ever-present smog contributed significantly to our desire to leave Milan, we are just a little in love with our new lifestyle and all its the pretty colours right now.
Not surprisingly, it's non-existent. As I said, we're in our own little bubble. Which is kind of okay - every day so far has been taken up with admin and unpacking and shopping and walking and discovering. At the same time, however, it is strange not to be able to share it with anyone. We miss our friends, we want to Skype with family as often as possible to fill them in on all the new, all the excitement. And then there's the Bean - he's mostly only had adults to play with for three weeks. Every time he mentions his best pals in Milan, my heart breaks a little. I think that will become our most pressing challenges soon: we need to put ourselves out there.
Gi-bloody-normous, but we're still at the stage where we can laugh about it. There is sugar in unexpected places (how can smoked fish be sweet?!), everything smells of Christmas spices although it's August. I've got no idea what goes on behind those composed and silent faces. It's bizarre but wonderful to see so many dads on paternity leave, and women wielding gigantic hedge trimmers. I'm desperate for some decent mozzarella, though I am rather pleased with the delicious cakes and smoothies available in the cafes. I'm thrilled with the cutesy houses, though unsure about the obsession with tumble dryers (as I said, I have yet to encounter a Swedish winter).
Ah, my little boy. In the past two months he's had to watch us box up his toys, then said goodbye to everyone and everything that was familiar to him, and now after two blissful weeks with his beloved Grandma and Grandma we've plonked him in this perpetually windy country. Unsurprisingly, his behaviour has been erratic and at times downright insufferable.
But I am still so very proud of him. After only a week here he is already beginning to calm down and take everything in his stride. He talks all day long about the things he sees, loves the playgrounds, and is pleased as punch with his new room. That, in particular, is amazing to me. He has shared a room and often a bed with us since he was born, and yet he is so ready, much more so than I realized, to stand on his own two feet. I have no doubt that before long he will have more friends and speak better Swedish than we do, worldly little man that he his.