The good news is that Andreas got his job!! I’m awfully proud of him, and so happy. Not just because him having a job and a source of income is a relief to us, but because he was really excited after the interview, and eager to work there. I know he must be nervous, but he doesn’t that *that* nervous, so I’m not worried about him. I’m just proud my husband is employable! To most people who have been employable and employed for long periods of time, this might not seem remarkable, but I feel so very, very unemployable here, that it seems like a miracle!
We’ve been keeping somewhat busy over the last few weeks, sometimes watching our nephew, doing errands and errands and errands. Andreas’s job is across the Øresund in Copenhagen, which means he faces an hour and a half of commute each way while we are staying here in Malmø. He’s okay with that, but to me, it means spending 12 hours a day, Andreas-less (and anyone-else-less, as I’ve yet to meet anyone here in Malmø). It also means that we have some leftover errands that I have to do on my own (handing in my permit application, doing things like going to the bank, going grocery shopping, picking up packages, and even apartment shopping). This would normally make me nervous, even in the states. I call myself a gutless anxiety-ball, Andreas calls me a “gentle soul.” He’s pretty nice.
Anyway, I’ve always gotten nervous before I leave the house, even in elementary, middle, high school, and college I got this nervous bellyache every morning as I put on my jacket and shoes to catch the bus. Even after college, the only thing that got me out the door on Saturday mornings for errands was the fact that it was the only time of the week I wasn’t working during bank hours, and I was nearly out of cheese. A girl can’t live without cheese.
Usually after I get out, I generally enjoy myself. Even being out doing errands, I’d usually see a cute baby or two who would boost my spirits, and I’d come back feeling much better than I did before I left.
But here, in Sweden, it’s a whole different story. Some moments in the day I feel SO BRAVE. I feel like I can go out there, pick up my packages, go to the library, and walk down the Swedish street, courageous and impervious to anxiety. Most other moments I feel like I’ll never be able to. Like I’ll never push myself out this door without Andreas to hide behind. But there are some things that I HAVE to do, like my permit application.
I know that doing businessy things in a strange country is an intimidating thing to begin with. I’m sure that other people have struggled with the exact same thing. But I feel like…they MUST be braver than me. I feel like everyone is braver than me. Maybe they are. I’m going to try really hard to face my fears and be okay out there alone in Sweden.
I’m also going to join the American Women’s Club in Malmø and try to meet some people. But to be honest, being not alone in a foreign country is perhaps more frightening than being alone in a foreign country. I’m not just terrified of going out in public. Social situations are even worse. But I’m going to try!
But I’m trying to think of how brave Andreas is for starting a new job and traveling back and forth between Denmark and Sweden every day, and I feel like I have to be able to do this. There’s a blog I read by another Midwestern transplant in Sweden (you can find it here). In one of her posts about learning language, she talks about being brave, and how one thing she does, when she’s not feeling particularly brave, is to pretend she’s doing it for one of her little sisters. This really struck a chord with me, because the only time I’ve ever interacted alone with a Dane in Denmark who wasn’t my family, was this one time when I was at Ikea with a friend who was from Hawai’i there for the wedding. We wanted cinnamon rolls, and although she picked up “ja” pretty quickly, she probably couldn’t order a cinnamon roll, so I did. I had to. How else was I going to get her a cinnamon roll? (They ended up being out of cinnamon rolls, but that’s beside the point.)
If all else fails, I’ll just hum “be brave…and then be strong” from Mr. Rogers under my breath any time I leave the house. Maybe that’ll work.