Sarah – Moving abroad as a couple. What are the challenges and how to overcome them.

Episode Description

Emigrating with someone exposes you to various circumstances that will test your relationship’s foundation. It’s tough yet exciting to imagine a new chapter of your life with someone you love.

In this episode, our guest Sarah moved to Sweden with his boyfriend to support his career advancement. When Sarah’s boyfriend got offered a promotion abroad, she realized her craving for a new adventure in life. Working for the Hilton headquarters seemed like a routine for Sarah; therefore, throughout the pandemic, she built a brand of her own, You Love And You Learn, where she coaches individuals on building and managing their relationships.

Sarah had a lot to share about moving abroad with her partner. With Sarah’s personal experience of moving abroad with her boyfriend, she has a lot to impart to those couples who emigrate together.
Sarah shared how she, also, was not exempt from the hurdles of being an emigrant.

They had the usual relationship difficulties of going through a challenging situation, but how they managed to stay together amid the unknown is something that we could all learn from Sarah’s wisdom. The journey is uncertain, but as Sarah said, you can’t always look at what could go wrong; you also have to look at what could go right.

About Sarah

Sarah Yudkin is a Relationship Anxiety Coach who’s mission is to help women feel more confident in their relationships and normalize the ‘not so glamorous’ parts of relationships that often lead to anxiety. She is from Fairfax, Virginia and currently lives in Malmö, Sweden with her partner.
They moved overseas for his job, and she was eager to join to explore other parts of the world and get out of her comfort zone.

Get in touch with Sarah

Episode's Insights

The term trailing spouse is used to describe a person who follows his or her life partner to another city because of a work assignment. The term is often associated with people involved in an expatriate assignment.

Source: Wikipedia

Following your significant other to another city or country may excite you, or it may stress you out, depending on where you’re going and where you’re traveling from. A common term when looking up information about trailing spouses is “Trailing Spouse Syndrome”, that describes a partner experiencing stress about the move and possibly becoming depressed due to feeling unfulfilled. Many of the common challenges of being a trailing spouse come down to feeling a lack of direction, which can lead to depression. Being aware of these challenges before the big move is key to your transition. Let’s go through some of the most common challenges first, and then tackle what you’ll need to do to prepare.
    • Culture shock – This may or may not be a concern for you, depending on how far the move is. If you’re relocating to a new country, it’s important to do your homework and try to familiarize yourself with the customs and the language of the area, if applicable. A best case scenario would be for your working partner to be able to take some time off upon arrival to give the two of you time to acclimate together.
    • Career withdrawal – It isn’t uncommon for a trailing spouse to have to give up their job in order to relocate and support their partner’s career. How you or your partner handles this will depend on where you’re at in your lives. For example, if you were already considering staying home with the kids full time, this might be a non-issue. If you’re a very driven and ambitious person, this might be a harder pill to swallow.
    • Loneliness – How much time do you spend with your spouse in a normal work week? Will this change after the relocation? If your visa requires you to become a dependent and no longer work, you might find yourself with a lot more free time than you’re used to. Consider how this might affect you to make sure you’re prepared for the adjustment.
    • Children – For the families that have children, there will be a few additional things to consider before the move. If your children are younger, they might not fully comprehend why they need to move. It might be difficult for them to leave their friends and the environment they have been used to. Involve the kids in the process of researching their new home town to help get them excited about what’s to come.

Links

Human Entrance

Human Entrance, part of the Movenet Group, is an experienced provider of international relocation and global mobility services. In more than 120 destinations, we assist companies who relocate employees for work assignments.
Visit Website

Bumble BFF

Whether you’re new to a city or looking to expand your social circle, Bumble BFF is a simplified way to create meaningful friendships.
As our lives evolve, so does our need for authentic friendships. Bumble BFF makes it easy to build a supportive community around you — no matter where or who you are.
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THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY by Ryan Holiday

We are stuck, stymied, frustrated. But it needn’t be this way. There is a formula for success that’s been followed by the icons of history—from John D. Rockefeller to Amelia Earhart to Ulysses S. Grant to Steve Jobs—a formula that let them turn obstacles into opportunities. Faced with impossible situations, they found the astounding triumphs we all seek.

These men and women were not exceptionally brilliant, lucky, or gifted. Their success came from timeless philosophical principles laid down by a Roman emperor who struggled to articulate a method for excellence in any and all situations.

This book reveals that formula for the first time—and shows us how we can turn our own adversity into advantage.

Find out more about the book and the author

Moving to Sweden?

The information below have been provided by Sarah. This is what she used when moved to Sweden. If you find it useful, make sure to send her a quick thank you through her Instagram!

CIVIL REGISTRATION at Skatteverket (Tax Office)

• “Skatt” means tax in Swedish. This is the local tax authority. When you move to Sweden you will need to register here upon your first week of arrival.

• Bring necessary documents: passports, family documents if applicable, work contract , UT card (for NON-EU members), “Move to Sweden” form.

• Ask for the first page of your application as a receipt of registration. You may need this for your customs declaration of your furniture or if you need to use the health care system. 

• Send a copy of this first page of your application to your move counselor. 

• In 2-12 weeks, you will receive your Swedish personal number in the mail to the address you used. Contact your move counselor to then set up an ID card appointment, if not already done.

• Other important activities done at Skatteverket: change of address, yearly income taxes, etc.

You can read more about them at their website.

OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT

• In Sweden, the banks require a Swedish ID card to open a fully accessible bank account with all features.

• Depending on your location, you may be able to open a limited bank account upon arrival using your job contract while you wait for your Swedish ID card.

SWEDISH HEALTH CARE

• You are entitled to Swedish health care from the day you register at Skatteverket that you have moved to Sweden (therefore it is important to get the receipt of registration).

• Once you have been registered in Sweden, you should receive a letter from Vårdcentralen (local health care center) to let you know about the Swedish health care system. This letter* will be in Swedish, but you can find more information about the Swedish health care system here.

*Don’t panic if you do not get this letter, you will still be registered. Sometimes they get lost in the mail, especially if you are staying at a temporary accommodation.

SOCIAL INSURANCE APPLICATION at Försäkringskassan

• “Försäkring” means insurance in Swedish. This is the Swedish Social Insurance agency.

• This agency will provide all your social benefits in Sweden such as: sick leave, maternity leave, child tax benefit, European health care card.

• After you have received your personal number, you will need to send in via mail this application. The address is listed on the top of the application. (You will not receive a separate number such as ‘social security number’ from this application).

• You will need to attach your work permit (for EU members) or the first page of your decision letter from Migrationsverket (for NON-EU members).

• Send (e-mail) a copy of this application to your move counselor.

• You will not receive a confirmation that they have received your application and the processing time is up to 6 months.

• Read more about them on their website

ID CARD at Skatteverket

• After you have received your personal number, you can apply for the Swedish ID card 

• A timeslot will be booked for you and you will receive the information to pay the 400 SEK fee (at least 2 days in advance) and your booking code through Outlook Calendar.

• You will need to bring your printed proof of payment, passport, and UT card for NON-EU members.

Do not be late or you risk losing your appointment.

• It takes 2 weeks to receive the ID card.

Timeline

2:06 – Winter experience in Sweden

3:14 – Leaving the US to move to Sweden

4:14 – Excitement to move abroad

5:04 – Processing their visa for Sweden

5:42 – Wanting to get out of her comfort zone

6:37 – Leaving her full-time job for her blog

9:28 – Relationship advice for aspiring emigrants

11:00 – Evolve and change

12:18 – having doubts in your relationship?

14:28 – Hoe emigrating together affects a relationship

19:08 – Challenges on moving to Sweden

20:53 – Human Entrance

22:11 – Joining Facebook expat groups

23:02 – Building a social in a new country amidst COVID

25:48 – Recommending Sweden to aspiring emigrants

27:43 – Living in an uncertainty

29:43 – Uncertainties in a relationship

33:27 – Advice to emigrants

34:04 – The Obstacle Is The Way

Transcript

Sarah 0:01

There are some pain points about moving to a new country with your partner, there's going to be things that come up that kind of "get under your skin" a little bit. But once you work through those with your partner and find a solution, then you just kind of check that off and move on to the next thing. So I think that if you're honest with yourself, and you're like, Okay, like I don't necessarily want to take the easy road, but I know that we can get through it, then I think that mindset will carry you really far if you're moving to a new country with someone.

Daniel 0:35

Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 42 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast. If you're new here, in each episode, I talk to a new guest - someone who left their country to chase a better life. And through their stories, I hope you can find the ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De Biasi. And in this episode, my guest Sarah and I are talking about relationships and moving to a new country with your partner. Sarah is a relationship anxiety coach and founder of You Love And You Learn where she helps her clients navigating through relationship challenges. Because Sarah recently moved from the US to Sweden with her partner. We will talk about the challenges of moving to a new country as a couple. And what this big change can affect the relationship and what you can do to have a better experience overall and become a stronger couple. You can find more about Sarah and her work in the show notes at emigrantslife.com/episode42. She shared a lot of information about the process of moving to Sweden, from opening a bank account to getting a social insurance number. So make sure to check out the show notes on our website emigrantslife.com to find all this information. And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Sarah.

Hi Sarah, thanks for being on the show.

Sarah 1:48

Thanks so much for having me. Great to be here.

Daniel 1:50

Oh, great to have you here. So, Sarah, you are originally from the US. And you moved to Sweden just like a few months ago, right at the beginning of the year. Right?

Sarah 1:58

Yeah, end of January. So we've now been here just over two months.

Daniel 2:02

Enjoying the winter in Sweden?

Sarah 2:06

I am. So it's actually funny because we're in Malmo, Sweden, and it's the very southern part of Sweden, which is very nice. Because before I went there, I think that people were assuming that we were going to be very far north. And so I was even worried about what the temperature would be like, and I was worried that it wouldn't be very late at all. So I was pleasantly surprised getting here that the temperature in the winter was not too crazy, it was pretty mild. And right now I am ready for it to start feeling a little bit more like spring, but the winter part wasn't too bad.

Daniel 2:40

So is that the part of Sweden where there is pretty much no light over the winter?

Sarah 2:44

So in the northern part of Sweden, that's where it gets really dark. But in the southern part, it's pretty normal compared to where I was back in the States, which is great. I've heard that between November and January, it can be pretty dark. But we weren't here to see most of that. So I think the days that it was the darkest, it got bright by eight and then it got dark, closer to 430 or five. But that's not all too different than winter back on the east coast where I'm from, so.

Daniel 3:11

So let's start from like, why did you leave the US and move to Sweden?

Sarah 3:14

So the short answer is that my boyfriend got a promotion at his company. He works for a small sports technology company in Sweden, and they transferred him over after he got a promotion. He's been working there for a few years. So it wasn't a new company altogether. But I think the longer answer is that I studied abroad in Switzerland when I was in college, and I just fell in love with Europe, I absolutely loved traveling, I had learned to be comfortable with putting myself in different situations. And so getting the opportunity to live somewhere outside of Virginia, where I grew up and also went to college was just really exciting to me and I had always kind of envisioned myself living somewhere different just to try it out. But I never imagined it would be in a new country.

Daniel 4:02

So when your partner asked you or told you that he was planning to or planning that opportunity to move to Sweden, were you excited or you were anxious? You were, I don't know, how was the situation?

Sarah 4:14

So I was actually more excited than he was expecting me to be. And that's what really made him feel more confident in the decision of us going. So he had told me, I think back in August of 2020, that it was even a possibility. And I was really excited. I was like, Oh my gosh, that's such a cool opportunity for you. And then I was starting to think it would be a great opportunity for us to get out of our comfort zone travel. And so I think my energy and excitement was part of the reason why we ended up going because if I had been more hesitant I think that we might have just started off on a different more analytical foot of like, Oh, is this really the right move or should we actually be doing it?" But my excitement was part of the push for us to go in the first place.

Daniel 4:58

Okay, so you guys have like a few months to prepare yourself at the what side of what do you guys wanted to do?

Sarah 5:03

Yeah, absolutely. And once we had made our decision, the visa process did take a little bit of time. So I think we ended up deciding pretty quickly that we wanted to do it. But then our final visa approval, I don't think happened till closer until November. So there was kind of a period of time where we were very hopeful that everything would go according to plan but with the pandemic and with just other regulations, we weren't, we were just kind of holding our breath until things were approved finally.

Daniel 5:34

What was the main thing that made you decided to go to Sweden? Was it the opportunity, the career for your partner or it was more like trying something new, something different?

Sarah 5:42

I think the more literal reason was because he got the opportunity. But for me, I always just, I'm the type of person that likes to put myself in situations where I can grow and learn. And I felt a little bit stagnant where I was at my current job, I had been there for four years, and I have been living in Virginia pretty much my whole life. So I think those things, you know, I was happy, but something was still kind of not 100%, making me, you know, feel fulfilled. And so the opportunity to kind of push myself out of that routine was exciting, especially after the pandemic and feeling like that year kind of got almost ripped out from everybody. So the chance to be in a new place and explore made me really excited as well.

Daniel 6:29

And speaking of your job, did you have a career? Did you have to quit your job to move to Sweden? Are you able to work remotely?

Sarah 6:37

So I worked for four years for Hilton headquarters, so the hotel company, but I worked in their marketing department. And I did have to end up leaving the company. I tried to ask about potentially transferring because they do have offices based in Europe. But unfortunately, just at my level, it wasn't really possible. And with the time difference being six hours from Sweden to back home, I didn't want to work fully remotely and have my day be so far back at the end of the day, I think I would have been working till like nine or 10 pm every night. And I just knew that being here, I didn't want to have that type of schedule. So luckily, kind of another side story of my life was during the pandemic, I decided to start a passion project, a relationship blog. And relationships are something that I'm passionate about. My parents got divorced. And I've seen a divorce on my mom's side of the family a lot. And so it's just something that I've always wondered, why do some people end up you know, with unhappy relationships, and then some people have really happy relationships, what's going on? And so I actually created a blog to learn more about relationships and learning how to move through some of the anxiety that comes when for someone like me who's a child of divorce, when you have, you know, uncertainty around relationships. And so luckily, during the pandemic, I had decided to start that blog and then had slowly transitioned into coaching other people through their relationship anxiety. And so it was just very divine timing that all around the blog building phase, I also had the chance to leave my full-time job and decide to jump all in into this. So that's kind of the lucky part of my story is I left my full-time career. But I also had something in my back pocket that I wanted to really try out and see what I could make happen.

Daniel 8:34

That's worked out quite well.

Sarah 8:36

It really was great timing. And I had decided, at the end of you know, last year that I wanted to shift my blog into also relationship anxiety coaching business. So I can do that from anywhere in the world. I have clients right now who are back home in the states or in the States. But I also have clients here in Europe, and I have clients like in New Zealand, which is crazy. So I'm actually in a better timezone to meet with someone in New Zealand that I would have been back at home. So it's pretty cool. Knowing that these days, you really can have a business anywhere in the world. And that was a huge factor of being able to move with Nate.

Daniel 9:13

And with your experience in relationships specifically in relationship anxiety, what advice would you give to the listeners that maybe they are in the situation you were in where the partner is abroad, and they are maybe not sure what to do?

Sarah 9:28

I think the very simplified answer would be: definitely go for it. But I know that that's so easier said than done. I think that it's really important to always analyze the risk versus reward. But when you're identifying the risks, also be really honest with yourself, and are those risks just you being afraid? Because sometimes the risk is like, Oh, I won't see my family and friends for a while. But really, the fear is like, Oh, I won't meet any other friends there. It's not necessarily the fear of leaving people behind. It's fear that you don't have others there to build a community with. So I think that the risk versus reward for me like there was way more of reward than risk. And then I also reminded myself, it's not a permanent decision. So you know, let's say we had gotten here, and I wasn't really liking it, which I do. But if I hadn't liked it, then we could always move home. But you'll never know until you actually try. And so the story you're telling yourself about what it could be like, if that's coming from a place of fear, then I would say, to try and release those fears, give yourself a chance, and try and make it happen.

Daniel 10:36

Correct me if I'm wrong, but like the situation, like your situation, that you're following your partner, I think it's, it's called like trader spouse, I think that's the terminology they use, which I found I think it's a terrible name to call somebody like a trader spouse. I mean you have to give up your job. But how hard is to be in the situation where you are, kind of leaving your identity and just follow your partner with their career?

Sarah 11:00

That kind of goes into a whole other subject, which I could talk about, which I think is like don't have your identity tied to just one thing, because I think it's really important to always be evolving and changing. So I think, if my identity was tied into being at Hilton, then it would have been a lot harder for me versus my identity is tied to, you know, following things that I'm passionate about, or following opportunities for growth. So I think if your identity is really tied up in something, then it will be much harder to leave it. Whereas if you are the type of person that says yes to adventures, or says yes, you pushing yourself past your comfort zone, then that's part of your identity, and that would obviously guide you towards leaving. So I think, coming from a relationship anxiety perspective, though I had done a lot of work before we had the opportunity to move to Sweden, I think that a year ago, maybe if you had put this in front of me, I don't know if we necessarily would be in the same place now. But after almost a year of me learning about relationships, learning about relationship anxiety, and learning how to, you know, move through it a little bit more, I felt more comfortable going over and felt uncomfortable embracing the uncertainty.

Daniel 12:12

And do you want to give some tips of how to to go over this anxiety in a relationship?

Sarah 12:18

So if someone is listening, and they have any doubts about their relationship, and I'll quickly define what that was looking like for me, so it was basically doubts about my amazing relationship and partner, but just doubts that things weren't the right fit. Even though there wasn't really anything wrong, I was just fearful that it wouldn't work out or, you know, afraid is this the one for me and kind of overanalyzing things. So if that is you, then I think that one of the first things is gaining that awareness and being honest with yourself about it. Because a lot of people don't talk about this type of thing. We are in a culture and society that's like you have to be madly in love 24/7, otherwise, you're not with the right partner. But you can have a very happy loving relationship, but still have some doubts, like that's okay. And so just acknowledging that that's what you're feeling, but that you want to move through it is a big first step. But then, a big part of this work is identifying what beliefs you have around love and relationships. So if your beliefs around love and relationships are that they should be easy, that you shouldn't ever have any arguments, that you're going to feel happy 24/7 with no hard emotions, like all of those things are what we're taught by society. So then if you're thinking those things, if they're not matching your reality, then you might have a lot of doubts, or worry that the relationship is not the right fit for you. So really taking a hard look at what beliefs you have around love and relationships has been really important for me. And then I would say working with either a coach or a therapist, to learn how to move through that because a lot of the reason why you have those beliefs, it's tied to either past hurt, or past like experiences either with relationships or from child caregiving situations that lead you to believe that love wasn't always safe. So working through that with someone and learning how to actually not stay stuck with those beliefs is really important. And so that's been a big part of how I was able to shift my mindset around it.

Daniel 14:15

And for your experience, personal and professional experience, do you think that moving abroad moving to another country with your spouse, or your partner is healthy with the relationship or put more challenges pressure, and stress into the relationship?

Sarah 14:28

So the interesting thing is, I think it's both. So, I think it's really healthy, but I do think it provides more pressure. And I think that more pressure in a relationship also gives you more chances to grow. So at home, I mean, there wasn't really that much new stuff happening with us. We were going to move in together officially back in July of last year. And then you know, during the pandemic, we ended up moving in together earlier than that. But I think that part of what creates a strong relationship is getting through times of stress or pressure together like the pandemic, anyone who's in a relationship this year, I mean, hats off to you because it hasn't been easy. You're with someone like 24/7, and you haven't been in your normal routines and things have just kind of been a lot more stressful in general this year, right? So, I think that at the end of the day, though, if you're a couple who's gotten through that and come out stronger, or even if you haven't necessarily come out stronger yet, but you are working through things in the relationship, know that this harder season will lead you to a stronger relationship in the future. So I think that there are some pain points about moving to a new country with your partner, like, you're figuring out where everything is in your new neighborhood. With us, we had some travel hiccups, just like things that happen at the airport, when you're annoyed and tired, you're flying overnight, there's going to be things that come up that kind of "get under your skin" a little bit. But once you work through those with your partner and find a solution, then you just kind of check that off and move on to the next thing. So I think that if you're honest with yourself, and you're like, Okay, like I don't necessarily want to take the easy road, but I know that we can get through it, then I think that mindset will carry you really far if you're moving to a new country with someone.

Daniel 16:09

Yeah, no, I agree. But also, I'd like to share a little bit of my personal experience. I don't know if this is going to go anywhere. But because when I decided to leave Italy, I wasn't sure at that point yet where to go, I knew I wanted to leave Italy. And at that point, there was a girl that was kind of willing to follow me. We weren't in a relationship or anything. But I was at the point where if I will stay in Italy, I will stop the relationship because I knew I would leave, I decided not to even start a relationship. But this person was willing to follow me and trying to have this relationship in another country. But because I was worried that imagine if the relationship didn't work out that we are in another country, I was worried that this person will stay with me just because it's really hard to break up with a person in the same country where you have your friends and family around. I think it is so much harder than when you are abroad in another country on your own. So I was worried so much that this person will stay with me despite if she didn't like me, she didn't love me or whatever. David did decide to go even further. So at that point when she was willing to follow me, like thinking of going to London, going to England. So, because I was so worried I thought I decided to go to New Zealand instead because like, "She's not gonna follow me there." That was just like my own fear. And is there something common that you find in people when you're coaching your clients?

Sarah 17:26

Yeah, so I think two things respond back to that. One is that it's slightly different for me and Nate because we had been together for four years before we moved. And so I already have seen him as someone I want to spend my future with. And I think, as someone in a relationship anxiety mindset, you can always worry that things aren't going to work out whether in the same country or not, you can worry that it won't work out. So I was like, Hey, I mean if I'm going to have that worry anyway, I might as well also go live in a new country, right? So luckily, those thoughts don't come up as much for me. But I think if someone is listening to this, the second piece I was gonna say is that when you struggle with worrying about that, I think you're right like it was your own fear. But I do also think that don't let that necessarily stop you from making a decision, I think your situation was so different because this was not someone you were already in a serious relationship with. So I feel like you didn't know enough about it. But I do think that there's always a chance that things won't go the way that you're hoping to. And so if you guys are kind of picking up your whole life and making major changes like you have to know that that's part of the risk that you're doing, but you can't look at what could go wrong, you have to look at what could go right. And then if something does go wrong, then you make a decision when that happens. So I think that everyone's situation is very different. And if anyone wants to talk to me, like after hearing this podcast, and they do have more of a specific situation, I'd be happy to, you know, give my two cents about that. But I think that for me and Nate, after being together for four years, I didn't necessarily have that fear anymore so in a new country that I would have had in my own backyard.

Daniel 19:04

And what was the challenges you guys have to face moving to Sweden?

Sarah 19:08

So luckily, we did have support from a company called Human Entrance that had helped us through needs company. And so I think that some of the challenges were honestly like, I was putting some self-imposed stress on us. And I was like, we need to get all of our paperwork submitted, like ASAP and get things done. And so I think I was kind of, you know, rushing things because I wanted to know, very quickly if we were going to get approved or not, because I had to tell my job that I was leaving. So I think for me, the hardest part was the uncertainty, which is a very common theme. Uncertainty leads to anxiety and not only relationships, but also moving to a new country. It really is. It doesn't matter what it is, but uncertainty can cause me at least to feel a little bit unsettled. So I think at the beginning, it was just the uncertainty of not knowing knowing if we were going to be going and then once we did find out we were going, we just had little speed bumps on the way, like, where are we going to live and making sure we found an Airbnb that we liked. And one of the challenges like on the way there was just we went into the International Terminal too early from our flight. And so there was no food or like bars open. And we were just like, Why do we do that? We were supposed to be having like a lovely send off meal. And then we ended up eating at the food court. So like, we had some silly little things like that. And then also some more serious things like, okay, now we need to go get a bank account set up now, we need to get our tax forms filled out. And then some of those things have just been, you know, an adjustment for us, I would say.

Daniel 20:46

So using this company, the Human Entrance, what did they do for you to do all the paperwork, all the immigration stuff?

Sarah 20:53

They sent us a list of the paperwork that we had to fill out, and then they had submitted it on our behalf. So they didn't necessarily do everything for us. But they were like, here's what the forms are that you'll need to download, you'll need to fill these out, you'll need to prepare all of the documents like your passport, birth certificate, things like that. We did have to get our passports renewed because they were expiring within a couple of years. And they needed to be at least within five years, for us to be you know, more permanently residing here. So there were some things like that. But the company did submit things on our behalf to the visa application company, and then they let us know where things were throughout the process. So it was very helpful. Because I don't know what I would have necessarily done. I think that it would have caused a whole extra layer of stress. So I do for anyone listening, if that is your experience where you do have to do it on your own, I celebrate you and salute you. Because I know that it can be a little bit tough to understand what to do.

Daniel 21:54

Yeah, I've done it myself multiple times and it's so stressful, because you can't even know depend on the country where you're going to, the immigration can be so confusing that even finding the information, figure out if it's the right information, you providing it. It's yeah, having somebody that can help you on the way is hugely important.

Sarah 22:11

Yeah. And I think too, like if you aren't sure what I think I would have done if I didn't know is that since I've been here, I've joined a couple of Facebook groups where people are like, expats or just like any people that are in another country that are not from there. So I think that like expats is only if you're from the States I or maybe it is, I don't know, that's what I thought it was. But I think there's also groups that are just like foreigners living in Sweden, or whatever it is. And they've posted a lot of questions about what would you do in this situation? Or how do we do this, and a lot of people will comment with their advice. So I think that for me would be another great resource of just going online on social media and trying to look it up.

Daniel 22:54

And you were able to meet people in Sweden through the social media? How is your social life in through COVID now that you move to a new country?

Sarah 23:02

Yeah, so Sweden has actually been kind of interesting to follow their journey throughout the whole process. And I think that they were a little bit more relaxed on some of their restrictions in the first place. But they definitely have restrictions still in place right now. Like every night at 8pm, that's when all the restaurants closed. So we haven't really had a late night at all. Since we've gotten here, we've just kind of been going out for an early dinner and then coming back, but we have met a couple of people through Nate, my boyfriend, his company, we've spent some time with a couple of his co workers. And then I have been using Bumble BFF to meet female friends. So I think that there's definitely some apps like that wherein a new country, you can kind of swipe almost to get some friends, which has been nice. So I've met a few people through that which has been great. So the social life hasn't been anything crazy. We're just kind of doing like outdoor lunches or dinners right now and trying to kind of still keep it pretty casual. But hopefully when the weather continues to warm up that the regulations will be a little bit less strict.

Daniel 24:06

How do you find the Sweden people like, are they friendly, they are open to meet new people? Or probably it's hard to know through like this COVID but did you have like a feeling of what people are like?

Sarah 24:16

So I've heard from people who I've met that are Swedish that it's kind of hard to meet Swedes, like they have said that about their own culture, I think. But the people that I have met that are Swedish, they've either just recently moved to Malmo as well. So they were from another part of the country and they don't really know any other Swedes here either. So they're still trying to meet people, or they like my boyfriend's co worker. his fiance is Swedish but he's from the States. So the people we have met that are Swedish, we've kind of met in different circumstances. So yeah, it's only been a couple months here. So I still think I'm also in general new meeting people but so far the Swedish people I've met have been really great. And everyone has been really welcoming. Whatever we clearly do not speak Swedish, everyone speaks English back to us very easily and no one has seemed to be frustrated by it.

Daniel 25:11

So like going to Sweden without the language wasn't a problem because they pretty much they all speak English, right?

Sarah 25:16

Yeah, that's another thing I think that made our transition a little bit easier compared to what other people may have experienced is that everyone here speaks English, pretty much everybody we've talked to. And so we're slowly learning some Swedish but we, we haven't felt pressure necessarily. So it almost makes it harder because there's no pressure to learn it. So we're like, okay, maybe maybe we don't have as big of a rush as we thought we did.

Daniel 25:42

And would you recommend Sweden for people that want to move abroad? Would you recommend Sweden as the first country to move to?

Sarah 25:48

I would say, definitely, I mean, so far, we're really loving it. Like I just said, it's really easy for anyone who speaks English. And I think the culture shock has been pretty low coming from the states to here. I really love the food here. If there's, I don't know if there's necessarily Swedish food that I'm loving. But in Malmo, at least, it's like a whole, just mixing pot of amazing restaurant and culture. And it's right next to Copenhagen's airport. So for us, that's a bonus, because it's an international airport that can take us really anywhere in Europe and throughout the world, honestly. So we're really happy with our location here. And so hopefully, if we ever did a follow-up podcast, I can say that this part of Sweden specifically compared to others, once I explore it more, I could give more insight there. But as of right now, I really liked Malmo.

Daniel 26:38

Before you touched the topic of uncertainty. And I want to go back a little bit to that topic, just because I think is the uncertainty I think might be the word that most define our situation when you move abroad because there's uncertainty when you apply for a visa, there's uncertainty when you are in the country if you're gonna stay in the country, how long you'd be able to stay in the country, there's so much uncertainty in the whole process. Yeah, so actually, I was talking with a friend yesterday. He lives in New Zealand, he's been there for, I think, five years or so. And his visa is locked with the company and the company lost like a big client. And now they're letting all these people go. And being there for five years, you think you create your life there, you pretty much your life is there, your friends are there and everything and all of a sudden, who are the risk that you have to go back home just because your visa is locked with the company. So all the process until you are a permanent resident, or you have become a citizen, always we have to live in uncertainty. And it's something that with your experiences anxiety in a relationship can cross over to this uncertainty in being an immigrant.

Sarah 27:43

I think that what I've realized this year, I think more in the last year since March 2020, is that we might think we have certainty, like just living our day-to-day life, but we don't. Like clearly a year ago, the whole world was shaken up, and people were two weeks before going to work just thinking that nothing was going to change, and look how different things are a year later. So I think that what I've realized not only in my relationship anxiety, but you know, uncertainty about moving to a new country, or just general uncertainty about when things are going to get back to normal, whatever normal is even going to look like, is that the certainty that we thought we had in the first place is not actually there. So just kind of learning to cultivate a relationship with uncertainty even though it's really difficult, but trying to really focus on the present and the here in the now because when uncertainty spikes the most is when I'm looking farther ahead into the future. Because right now I'm certain that I'm enjoying our conversation. I'm certain that like, I'm safe. I am certain I keep almost saying uncertain, but I am certain that I am here that things are working out. So if I look farther in the future, that's when the uncertainty can start causing me to feel more groundless. So when people are looking to cultivate that relationship and try to get more uncomfortable with uncertainty or not have it caused them fear, I just tell them, start focusing more on what you're doing right now and right here. And then when you do look ahead, if that causes you to worry then just remind yourself that there's nothing you can do to necessarily predict or change what's going to happen you can just focus on what you're doing right now.

Daniel 29:26

Because for me, the way to fight this anxiety or this like uncertainties having a plan B or Plan C, just because if Plan A doesn't work out, at least I have a plan B that I can go through and adjust. Is it the same thing in a relationship and the relationship doesn't really exist a plan B?

Sarah 29:43

I would actually say in their relationship it's almost the opposite because if you have a plan B then that means you have one foot in and one foot out. And with a relationship when you jump in with both feet first then that's when you find more love and more success when you are like me a year ago. You're like, I don't know, if this is gonna work, and you're kind of like, one foot in one foot out, then that's when the plan B is more necessary, because you're not actually in the relationship, you're kind of half in. So I would say, maybe moving to a different country, like having a plan B is nice, like, Okay, if I don't have this job anymore, is there another option? Or if I can't stay in this country, like, could I also go move back home? That feels a little bit more practical. Whereas in a relationship, I would say, throw out a plan B, because, you know, you'll find the plan B either way, if things don't work out, but you shouldn't be planning for them not to work out.

Daniel 30:37

Knowing what do you know, now, after a few months being living in the country, is there anything that you would have done differently if you could go back?

Sarah 30:44

This one is kind of a silly answer, but I packed a 90 pound suitcase. And I didn't know that traveling in Europe, you can only have 50 pounds or less. So I should have just packed a lot less stuff. And there's a lot of stores here that are very similar to the ones back at home. So I could have saved some of the money I spent on my oversize luggage to just buy some of that stuff here. So I think that's kind of like a silly answer. But then, as far as you know, a real answer, I don't think I would have done much differently. I do think I could have been, you know, we just talked about uncertainty and everything is hindsight. But I do think I could have even moreso enjoyed the process of moving to a new country. And I think that I was focused on all of the stressful parts. And oh, no, I have a lot to do and a little bit less time being excited about the adventure ahead. And once we were here, after some of those to-dos fell off my list, I'm finally able to really relax and enjoy the fact that we are in a new country, we're here together, we get a chance to kind of grow as a couple and see and explore new things. So maybe looking back, I could have had a little bit more of that excitement from the beginning.

Daniel 32:00

I know it's like you're right at the beginning of your journey as an immigrant, but I have to ask this question, because I asked this question to all my guests. Do you have any regrets about leaving your country?

Sarah 32:10

No, not yet. I think so far the only thing that has been different is just making a schedule to talk to my family and friends. I don't have any regrets at all about leaving and even Nate and I today, we're just saying we have no regrets. All we do is miss our family and friends a little bit but even so, I mean, we're going to see them in September because we're flying back home for some weddings back at home. And so I think that anytime that I am missing home, I can just send a message or FaceTime somebody that I love and it usually cheers me right up and honestly, that's the only thing I can think of of anything I'm missing from home right now.

Daniel 32:45

I know the feeling.

Sarah 32:46

Just Chipotle. That's one other thing that I would love to have here in Sweden.

Daniel 32:52

What's that?

Sarah 32:53

Cjipotle, the fast food.

Daniel 32:56

Oh, yeah. Okay.

Yeah.

Do you want to like explain what's Chipotle is atleast for the listeners that maybe are not familiar with?

Sarah 33:02

it's like a fast food chain, that they make burritos and burrito bowls. So I mean, we do have something similar here. But I'm just being facetious. It's just one of like, my favorite Sunday meals that we normally have back at home.

Daniel 33:19

And do you have any other advice you'd like to give to the listeners, I know you already give quite a bit of advice, but you have anything else in your sleeve?

Sarah 33:27

I would just say that I would just reiterate what I shared earlier that if you're afraid of something, just know that our fear likes to keep us safe. And it's trying to keep you in your comfort zone because it's scared of you getting hurt or something going wrong. But if we only listen to our fear, then we're going to just stay in the same place for our whole life. So just feel the fear and do it anyway is something I definitely believe in. And even if it doesn't always feel easy, you are gonna have so much more reward after doing something hard that puts you in that position.

Daniel 34:04

I actually heard this quote somewhere. I think it's from the book, The Obstacle Is The Way by, I don't remember is the title, we'll put that in the show notes. But pretty much in this book, they says like, "If you are afraid, if you're like afraid of something, that means that's the way to go." Because it feels like there's something that scares you, and so the reward, as you said is greater when you actually overcome the theory of actually doing what scares you. And that's kind of when I was in New Zealand I plan my plan B was Canada because if I can't stay in New Zealand, I will go to Canada, then Canada become my plan A but when I apply for the visa, and I start like imagining to go to Canada, so like picturing myself into Canada, I start having this fear in my body. In that moment of like, I think this is the way I have to do it. I have to do I have to go to Canada because I feel like because I was so afraid and I had the same feeling when I left Italy and then ended up to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. So when I had the same kind of feeling, I'd like, Okay, I have to go to Canada to try this.

Sarah 35:02

I'll very quickly just close the loop with that. And if someone feels fear in their relationship, kind of tie it back to what you just said, like, move forward. Because when I didn't have fear in my relationship, I just knew, like my last relationship before this one, I just knew it was over. And there was no fear, because I didn't, it wasn't something I felt strongly about. Whereas if you feel fear in your relationship, it means like, it's because you have something to lose. So I think you kind of close that loop of a lot of what I share with my clients when I do relationship coaching, but I think it's a perfect example that whether it's a new country or relationships, something really exciting will feel sometimes scary. It's because it's something you really care about. Yeah.

Daniel 35:43

So if people relate with your story, and wants to know more about you, and the work you do, where people can find you?

Sarah 35:49

So my blog and Instagram account are called You Love and You Learn. So over on Instagram, I'm @youloveandyoulearn and then my blog is youloveandyou earn.com, and I have a contact form over there. So if anyone has heard me from this podcast, feel free to shoot me a DM or fill out the contact form and just say that you came from the podcast, and we can have a chat.

Daniel 36:12

Awesome. And as usual, everything will be in the show notes. We actually redesigned the show notes like last week. So all the information we talked about in this episode, all the information and Sarah has been like a super helpful to share with the old immigration process what she uses, everything will be in the show notes. So go check it out at the emigrantslife.com/episode42. Awesome. Thank you so much, Sarah, for taking the time and sharing your wisdom. It was a pleasure.

Sarah 36:38

Yeah. Thank you so much. Thanks so much for having me. And looking forward to hearing the episode.

Daniel 36:43

Yes. And hopefully I will have you again in the future when I don't know some updates from Sweden off from somewhere else who knows?

Sarah 36:50

Yeah, who knows, right? Cause this just could be the first chapter of many.

Daniel 36:54

Exactly. Alrighty. Thank you so much.

Sarah 36:56

Yeah, thank you.

Daniel 36:58

Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You can find the show notes with everything we discussed and much more at emigrantslife.com slash/episode42. Also in the shownotes, you can now leave your comments. If you have questions about relationship and moving to a new country with your partner, or maybe you have moved on your contract with your partner and have some advice you can give to the other listeners write in in the comments and let's help each other on this journey. If you enjoy this episode and found some good informations, share with someone you know, they might find this helpful. Also a few days ago, I shared the post on our social media. Podchaser will donate 25 cents to Meals on Wheels for each review posted on the website. Meals on Wheels is helping American seniors who have been affected by COVID-19 by delivering food to them. Millions of elderly have been affected by the current situation. So if you want to support Meals on Wheels, you can add to podchaser.com, it's spelled podchaser.com and review this show and the other podcast that you love. And the good thing about Portuguese is that I can actually reply to your reviews and when I reply Podchaser will double the donation. So I hope to see you there. Let's do this together. Ciao.

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