Norrland Newbie - 'We can do anything!'
Norrland Newbie - 'We can do anything!'

Norrland Newbie – ‘We can do anything!’

Tisha Cox, who recently moved with her family from the United States to Skellefteå, wants to be prepared for winter, even if that means fixing her own roof! 

Summer’s end has come, and with it lots of to-dos for our family of newbies. These last few weeks have been spent negotiating a car purchase, meeting some of our residence requirements, preparing our children for the new school year, and working out how to repair our roof. It took a little time, but I felt lucky when we found a car in our price range that was also an automatic! (I still need to learn to drive a manual.) The idea of trying to drive here made me somewhat nervous – mostly because the two-lane roundabouts looked intimidating. Our little city in the US, had only a few roundabouts and they were on side streets with little traffic. Thankfully though, once I plunged in, driving was pretty straightforward. Although, I am still mystified at the lack of stop signs. My sons and I have taken steps to catch up with my husband on our immigration paperwork. 

Shawn and the boys enjoying the last days of summer.

Not pleasant in US

We made our appointments with Migrationsverket, obtained our residence cards, and visited Skatteverket to start the process of getting our personnummers. I was happy to discover that the staff at both offices were so pleasant. When we adopted our son, we had dealings with similar offices in the US and let’s just say, “pleasant,” isn’t a word I would have used to describe anyone there. Our recent days have been filled with preparations for the new school year. Getting our kids into school has probably been our biggest difficulty since arriving. We applied back in May and were told we’d hear something by August 19. I was hoping we’d be informed well before then, as that only left two days before school would begin. So, when I still hadn’t heard anything at the beginning of August, I became worried and contacted the school near us. I’m not sure if we had been lost in the shuffle, but thankfully at that point we got answers about what to expect for our sons. The teachers at the school were very helpful! We still have some kinks to work out, it’s been stressful, but we’re almost there. Personally, I wish we’d had a little more guidance on this process. When I applied, I felt the website for finding/choosing schools was not very user-friendly. And it seems the form I filled out, submitted, and received feedback on, may not have been the correct form to actually get my kids into the system. I’m sure it may not have helped that we arrived right before summer break. Once we have all the last details of the start-of-school taken care of, it’s onto the roof! Literally. My husband and I will be up there doing the work ourselves. It’s daunting, but the work needs done, and we were unable to find a roofer. We’ve done home repairs before. We’ll do what we must do. Our fixer-upper needs our help and the roof is where we need to start!

We’re fixing our roof!

We’ve made use of some tutorials, beginning the interior work while we’ve been on the hunt for roofing supplies. It’s funny how weird it is to shop in a new place. Things are organized differently. We’re used to these big (awful, but convenient) stores that have everything in them. Here, there are smaller stores that are more specialized, and we’re still learning where to shop. Thankfully we’ve discovered a few DIY stores, so we’re working to check off our list of supplies and get the work done before winter’s hits. If we can move to a foreign country and fix our own roof, is there anything we can’t do? (Do I hear the Swedish winter laughing at me in the distance?)


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