By October, we knew that a move to Stockholm was a real possibility — Martin had a firm job offer, we’d all been at least a couple of times as tourists and there were many positives to going. But there was no point in imposing a move on the whole family. We needed to make it real, and to ensure the move was with everyone’s consent.
How very Swedish.
So we spent a week — half term week in Scotland — in Stockholm, being more like normal locals, rather than just tourists.
We rented a house, rather than staying in a hotel. We rode the Tunnelbana rather than driving. The kids were in school (well, for one day). Martin went to see his future employers to work out final contract details. And we tried to organise viewing houses, which proved to be a little more challenging than we expected. But we got to see one house, and it proved to be pretty much exactly what we wanted. So that’s where we’ll be living.
Of course, we did touristy things too. We walked around Gamla Stan, saw the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace, visited the foodie heaven that is Östermalm’s Saluhall and enjoyed the autumn foliage. One day, Martin and Tertia went into town and visited the Vasa Museum on Djurgården.
Also important was understanding that we wouldn’t be moving to a city where we know nobody. Martin already has a good few friends with young children via work networks and Twitter. We visited one friend who has a daughter the same age as Primus at the Engelska Skola a few miles away from our future house, and held a little house party for other friends. We won’t lack for a ready-made starter community when we move.
Finally, to overcome the worry about getting all the paperwork right, we met up with a relocation agency who normally work with big companies when their people are sent overseas, so are very used to settling people into Sweden. They will ensure we get our Tax IDs (which are needed for everything &endash; even mobile phone contracts), get bank accounts set up, introduce us to health services, and register us for Swedish Lessons.