Tisha Cox column byline photograph - Norrland Newbie
Tisha Cox column byline photograph - Norrland Newbie

Norrland Newbie – “Joy and Sadness”

Our newbie, Tisha Cox, had a joyful first Christmas, but also suffered the loss of a loved one back in her old home country, the United States.

Norrland Newbie
Photograph by Laurent Perren/Unsplash

As I write this, snow has been falling hard outside my window for the last four days! It looks absolutely beautiful. We’ve already had more snow in these few days than we would have had all winter at our midwestern home in the US! I’ve spent several hours this week, shoveling our long driveway. The first day was fun. The second day, a bit more work. Today, I’m wondering if I’ll actually be able to keep it up for the entire winter! I’m just glad the temperatures aren’t too cold. Thankfully, we were able to get our roof ready before the snow descended. We have a little more work to do, but it’s at a stable place for now.

With that work out of the way for a while, I’m starting to look forward to winter walks and maybe trying to ice skate at some point. That’s something I haven’t gotten to do since I was a little girl! The most pressing snow-related issue for our family, though, is finding a good sledding hill! This is a must on our boys’ winter list.

Thinking of the new year ahead causes me to reflect on our journey here so far and to think of the hopes I have for our family in the coming year. We’ve been here over 6 months now! (My husband, a little longer than the rest of us.) We’ve settled into a new routine and learned to navigate the basics in our new environment. Our Swedish is improving – and I have high hopes that by this time next year we will be far more capable. Our house feels a little more like home, and I aim to put more of our own touches on it as the year progresses. We’re more familiar with our village and the surrounding area now, and hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to explore more of Europe at some point. But mostly, I just want our family to continue to adjust well and settle in. The future feels a little more uncertain to me in our current situation than I’m used to. Mostly because I wonder, will this be where we live forever? And I just don’t know the answer to that question.

We’ve very recently experienced one of the things we most dreaded when we made the decision to move overseas. A loved one, very dear to us, passed away. And so, our first Christmas here was mingled with sadness. Just before the holiday, my husband traveled back to the US for the funeral. It would have been ideal for all of us to go, but it wasn’t possible. So, I stayed here with our boys, and tried to show my love and support from afar, while I prepared things for Christmas. During the week of my husband’s absence, our children got to experience a Julbord at school. They both seemed to enjoy it! I managed to chip the ice away from my car’s tires each day, so I could get around. And, we finally got a Christmas tree and decorated the house fully. My husband got home just in time for Christmas Eve and we decided to celebrate the Swedish way and open presents on the 24th! Our boys were really happy to get their gifts a day earlier than usual. We even watched Kalle Anka. It was all a bit of a whirlwind.

Presently, I have more snow to shovel. I must clear a spot for our dog. She has been a good sport, even though at times she is nearly buried in the snow when she steps outside. Also, I’m constructing a snow cave for my kids. It’s definitely for my kids, of course, and not at all for me, a fully grown woman.

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