Getting ready, getting (slightly) stressed

26 May 2013

If we wanted to, we could start counting down the days to our move now. On the whole we’re doing ok with the preparations and all the really big things seem to fall into place: Rolf will be leaving France next Sunday to start his new job the following week. We will also complete the purchase of the house so he can move in on his second day in Sweden, with just a suitcase and no furniture. This shall be interesting… I think he is still undecided whether to buy a proper bed or an air bed for these first few weeks in Sweden until we all arrive with a lorry full of our stuff.

We just have a few hick-ups to deal with, such as the process of trying to register within the Swedish state system. This has been a pain in the neck so far, much more so than it was when we were settling in the UK or in France. At the root lies the problem of obtaining a Swedish Social Security number (personnummer). We applied for one in April (remember: my husband has a permanent work contract, he will be paying Swedish income tax as of next week, and we have a place to live) but we have been rejected nevertheless, on the grounds that Rolf had not started work yet. This does not sound like a big deal, but in Sweden, it is. Without a personnummer, you can’t open a bank account, take out a mortgage, obtain home insurance, or get internet access for your home.  And these are just a few examples. I won’t even start on the difficulties we have with health insurance during the transitional period from living in France to moving to Sweden.

I do not understand why they make it so difficult, but it’s all part of the experience – and this problem with the personnummer is well known, everybody trying to settle in Sweden seems to struggle with this. Luckily we have a very able and well connected estate agent, who has helped to make things go more smoothly, but we’re not quite sorted yet. Our current endeavour is actually the home insurance which we would like to have once we own the house. I am still trying to find a company prepared to sell us a policy….

We are also trying to find a removal company. This has been interesting: I emailed a total of six French companies with the request for a quote and had a total of: no replies at all. I also contacted an English company and had a quote within an hour, it took a mere two days for a Swedish company to provide one. We are still undecided which one to go for (I’ prefer the English one, we’ve used them before and they were great) but we are in agreement that we will not pursue the idea of finding a French company help us with the move… 🙂

I am also, obviously purely to prepare for Sweden, on a light shopping spree here in France. I have recently obtained a nice pair of wellies to keep my feet dry in town and when digging in our garden (we also need this kind of equipment in France right now, the weather is not at all up to speed for this time of year). I also bought some reclining chairs (unbeatable offer but, unlike the wellies, not at all useful in Lyon at present). And the best thing: the wellies as well as the chairs are Made in France.  I like them all the more for it and I am still surprised at how irrational this is. But the same thing happened to me in England, I bought some very English stuff I absolutely had to take with me before we left the country. I think it’s some sort of adult comfort thing, like a cuddly toy for a child with the smell of home. My smell of home seems to be in my wellies…

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