Here we are! The first of many posts that will follow me on the journey that is taking me from the Pacific ocean, half way around the world to a small, cold country with a foreign tongue.
The story begins 14 months ago when I left the cold winter snow of Vermont to follow the sunshine. The plan was to live and work in Hawaii for 12 months before traveling to Australia and New Zealand, and follow the summer up through Asia, Africa and then Europe for two years. Plans began to change after I met and fell in love with a wonderful Swedish man in my first weeks here.
After he left, Jens and I would Skype almost every day, along with sending lengthy emails. He came to visit me for two weeks several months after our initial meeting. It went well, and we were smitten with each other. During his trip here, we experienced the scary and traumatic (for me anyways) evacuation due to the threat of a potential tsunami generated from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I was so shaken up he asked me if I wanted to go home to Sweden with him. I declined, not yet feeling finished with my time in Hawaii, and unsure as to what I wanted to do next.
Several weeks later I felt myself being pulled in the direction of Sweden. I missed Jens, and felt the need to go. The thought of travel and visiting another country excited me, and I had an opportunity to spend “real” time with Jens. We called it our “trial run”, to see how we would live together. We decided we would put a date on it, give it a try, and decide where to go from there.
The two months went by fast, and we settled in very nice. I loved his home in the woods. It took me a while to adjust, but as soon as I did I was so comfortable, and felt at home. It was difficult to leave when the day finally arrived. We had decided not to talk about the future of our relationship until that day, just to keep the pressure off so we could actually feel at ease. Finally, on the last night, Jens asked me to move in with him, and I accepted.
I moved back to Vermont for several months, worked at a grocery store, and made art. I was later able to sell my paintings to make money for my visa application, as well as my move back to Hawaii for the winter. I am glad I have been here all winter- I think it has made the time go by faster!
The next step was the visa application. Now, here is the part you have to understand about me- I have been struggling for years with an undiagnosed attention and anxiety disorder. This keeps me from accomplishing tasks that would otherwise be quite easy for most. What takes someone 2 weeks to put together and send out, takes me 7 months. And it did.
Poor Jens was so patient with me. The Personbevis, a Swedish tax paper they required I submit from Jens, couldn’t be more than 30 days old, and had to be special ordered from the Swedish tax bureau. I would have him order it, he would send it, I would get ready to send the visa application packet in just days before the personbevis expired- and then I would realize I forgot something. This went on for a full 7 months. I am sure you could imagine the annoyance of my dear darling. I felt terrible. Embarrassed, frustrated, annoyed with myself, and felt like I was letting him down. It was a really tough 7 months for me, but I was finally able to send it in the end of January.
Waiting is the hardest part. The only way to know your application was even received is to track the package. I watched it every step of the way. I checked it every hour, as if expecting to receive a phone call the moment the package was signed for, offering me my visa. My phone did not ring on the day the Embassy received my visa application, but it did the following day- while I was working. No voicemail.
I somehow convinced myself they were denying it on the spot. The personbevis was actually one day older than a month on the day I sent it. I couldn’t wait any longer. It had to be done then. I just crossed my fingers. But that phone call threw me for a loop. I called the Embassy weeks later.
As it turns out, they accepted my visa application as is, and didn’t require any updated information. According to the Swedish Embassy in Washington, the only thing I could do now was wait. Wait for the visa to process. Wait to find out if I would in fact be moving to Sweden. Wait to see if my relationship would have to end because of some minor technicality and stupid paper work.
What else can I do? No amount of calling or pestering the Swedish Embassy or consulates would speed up the process. All I can do now is wait. This makes July seem years away. I guess I have to sit tight. Wish me luck.