In 2012, I sold my house, my car and I sold, gave away, or burned most of my personal possessions. What little I had left, was put into storage and I moved to Sweden for love. I also moved to Sweden with a mission. I am a writer and photographer. This is my story and this journal is where I’ll document what I see and what I learn as I navigate life in Scandinavia.
I invite you to take a look around 2Sweden4Love. Check out my photography in The Gallery. The blog contains a variety of information on culture, lifestyle, creative ideas, and my observations about life in Sweden.
Do you seek a writer or photographer for features, editorial or marketing content development? You can check out my writing and photography services or please feel free to contact me here. I’m always seeking great gigs with great people in the Nordic region, Europe, and of course, the United States.
“Some of the changes you go through will be big and profound. Some will be small and subtle. I suspect that the small changes will be as important, and maybe more so, than the big ones” – Matthew Clark
It is something that millions of us might aspire to – the adventure and romance of living abroad. And while for some, it is all of that, with travel to nearby foreign countries, new friends and new languages, there are ways in which living abroad can break your heart – no matter how effortlessly you have managed to fit in to your host country.
Being away means exactly that. So when there are funerals or weddings which take place in your home country and you can’t go, either due to work or financials, it can be a devastatingly lonely event. It might not even be something as traumatic as a death or as joyful as a marriage. It could simply be that one day you are walking down the street and are struck by a memory – an all consuming heart-wrenching knowledge that someone you love very dearly is 3,582 miles away.Read More»
My love affair with Sweden always included notions of woodland sprites, fairies, trolls, and nymphs. It seemed to me that in this Scandinavian land, one could experience a special kind of magic found only in a Nordic wilderness.
The culture of Sweden, and her neighbors, has a long history of embracing the spirit of the forest. Nature, and access to nature, is important and it is one of the reasons Allemansrätten (the right of public access) exists, allowing all people to roam freely on any land with the exception of private gardens and homes. Preservation of the environment is nearly encoded in the Swedish DNA and evidence of this is shown through their systems of recycling and waste management.
This love of nature is one of the things which drew me here. But I have to admit, I haven’t taken advantage of the beauty that surrounds me. I have been too distracted with finding work, fitting in, and keeping abreast of the news on my social media platforms.
These are dark times and it is now more important than ever to grab whatever beauty and refuge we can find wherever we can find it. It is more important then ever to indulge in a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of imagination, and to release our minds from the constant onslaught of bad news. More than ever we need to allow our eyes to follow the path of a butterfly, find faces and castles in the clouds, and listen to nothing more than the wind in the trees. Here in Sweden, this can mean simply walking out your door.Read More»
If you were to think back over the years of your life … when was it that you felt most happy in your own skin? Who were you when you were the most confident? The most joyful? When was it that you were the best version of you?
This question came to me from a recent episode I watched on Grace and Frankie. If you watch that show, you know that the ladies recently went through a trauma and are in the process of reinventing themselves … at age 70. It’s down right inspiring and a lesson for us to remember that age is just a number.
I think somehow, over the years, many of us have forgotten the best version of ourselves … the essence, the thing that made us uniquely and unapologetically us. Do we try to cover up that uniqueness due to society pressures or because of layers of damage caused through the years? Have we just lost or forgotten who we really are?Read More»
I’m not sure what I expected.
That’s a lie.
I was expecting a metamorphosis – a transition similar to the changing of a butterfly or the Parisian sophistication of Sabrina.
“Come to Sweden and be with me, and I promise you, we will have a beautiful life,” he said.
It is only now, after four years of challenges, that I see the glimmer of that beautiful life. It didn’t happen in one week, as when the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Nor did it happen in one year as in Sabrina’s case.Read More»
Sometimes things turn out exactly as you hoped, but not at all in the way you planned.
Years ago – well, not so many years ago – before I moved to Sweden, I would entertain thoughts about the wonderful new opportunities living in Scandinavian would bring to me. As a woman of a certain age, I had raised two sons, dealt with the realities of home ownership, and experienced the distress that comes from having two parents with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now that my kids had grown and my parents passed away, moving to Sweden was to be my time. Finally, I was going to be able to make the mosaic table I had always wanted to design. I would be strong and healthy and embracing a clean natural Scandinavian lifestyle. I’d be working as an international writer or correspondent for a great news publication or two, and my guy and I would travel to Norway, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Poland … of course, there would also be regular visits back to the United States.
Some of those things happened. And some of those things I still hope for. The journey I’ve traveled over the last three years has been rewarding, sometimes excruciating, and more of a self-awakening then I ever anticipated.Read More»
Happy New Year Everyone!
I’m happy to share with you my latest article, at Göteborg Daily, on freelance writer and blogger Afrah Nasser. Afrah’s blog has been featured by international news media outlets such as CNN, BBC, Open Democracy and many more. So how did a girl from Yemen, in Gothenburg to study communications, become one the top voices reporting on the Middle East today? Read my article “How A Gothenburg Student Became an Important Voice From the Middle East” and find out.
Freelance writer and journalist, Afrah Nasser, sits down and explains that it’s been a long day. “The end of the semester is always the hardest,” she says.
Judging from her list of accomplishments, it seems the 29-year-old Nasser thrives on long days. A self exiled, political refugee, from Yemen, she has been residing in Gothenburg, Sweden, since May 2011. She is currently a graduate student studying communications at the University of Gothenburg.
Her blog, which focuses on human rights violations and revolution in Yemen, has been featured by CNN, BBC, The Monitor, and Open Democracy as being a top Middle East blog. The International Journalist Network cites Nasser as one of the most active female journalists on Twitter. She is this year’s recipient of the 2014 Dawit Isaak Prize …
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski – available for print or online publications and businesses. The Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Check out my writing and photography services. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations. Contact me here or at lisa @ 2sweden4love.com
When my parents were first starting out, they lived in a gas station in Colchester, Connecticut. Not realizing how ungodly unhealthy it might be to do so – this was back somewhere around 1950 or 1955 – my father fashioned a lovely little home for himself and my mom. This gas station sat alongside the property that was my grandparents farm and my father, a carpenter by trade, had gutted the building and reinvented it, complete with white picket fence and window boxes. They lived there for some years.
After awhile, it was decided that it was time to build a real house of their own. They purchased land in East Hampton, Connecticut. Every night after work, both of them would return to that little gas station, eat, get dressed, and make the twenty-five minute commute to the site of their future home.
It was a home built with love and most of the work was done by my dad and mom. It was and still is, I assume, a beautiful house. Set on seven acres of land, it was a sprawling brick ranch with two bathrooms, a full basement and attic, large living room with a stone fire place, a den, dining room, breezeway, two car garage. The interior and exterior details were second to none … well, you can imagine. “God is in the details,” my mother would tell me.Read More»
A re-post from my blog at www.lisamikulski.com/blog.
Oh hell no! Not me. But yes, it did happen to me and it was dark and ugly and intense. I never expected to experience culture shock in Sweden. After all, I had visited the country three times and because of the relationship with my guy, I considered myself fairly well educated about the culture, work environment, the society and current events. I mean really, how much different can Sweden be from the US? Even more surprising was that I would experience this seven months into my move to Göteborg. So, when I began to wonder exactly what the hell was wrong with me, it came as a complete shock to learn that indeed I might be shocked. I’m not even sure that I’ve come out the other side of this cultural shakeup yet, but I’d like the think the worst is over and that the pendulum is now swinging toward something more normal. There were several other contributing factors to my melancholia, some of which I will share with you, some of which I will not. For the sake of this post, let’s focus on culture shock.
I was pre-warned about the dark, dark days of winter. And while it was always a concern, I am a solar powered gal, I can write to you that the utter lack of sunlight took a profound toll on my senses. When you hear about the dark Scandinavian days, they don’t just mean dark . . . They mean a total lack of sunlight. Gone were those warming rays of the sun that I once felt in my home land,Read More»