The Sambo Visa Part 3: Visa Renewal

Hello, I am back with another update on the Sambo Visa so if this is not of any relevance to you, you can skip this post or maybe hop on over to Youtube to see how Stockholm looks when covered in snow.

The snow has since disappeared so looking back at this video now feels super cosy.

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Swedapura is One

Exactly one year ago, I made the big move from Singapore to Sweden and it is really amazing how quickly time has flown by.

Here is an excerpt of what I wrote on 4th March 2015:

But in spite of all this (referring to the difficult decision of having to leave everything behind), I have made the choice to go because I genuinely believe that this is a great opportunity for me to grow, to learn what it means to struggle, to exercise the true meaning of faith, of hope, of love. I don’t know how life in Sweden will pan out but I trust that God is already before me on this journey.

I have to say that when I wrote this, I did not know or realise the true extent of what I was saying. It was something I believed in but today, I can testify that truly this one year has been a true test of my faith, of what it means to love, of starting from ground zero and completely trusting that everything would work out according to God’s plan.

For that, I am thankful for everything, whether it is the tears or the joys, and with a joyful heart I can sing, God is so good.

Looking back at the pictures from last year, it is so nice to remember how far we have come.

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This was us making our way from Jens parent’s home in Sätila with a car full of stuff to our new apartment in Stockholm and having to sleep on the floor for a few days because we had no bed.

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And yes, wow the apartment was once empty!

And of course now if you look at this video, our apartment is anything but empty, even if I only highlighted 8 random things in my apartment.

There is so much more that I want to write about but in essence I just want to say that God works in mysterious ways and there are so many things that our human minds would not be able to understand or “figure out” till it happens and I just want to thank the Lord for putting me in a place where so many times He has spoken to me to “Let Go and Let God.”

I would also like to take this time to thank everyone who has been a part of my journey whether emotionally, spiritually or virtually. It is going to be a long unpredictable road ahead but if anything this year has taught me, it is that whatever happens, God will always be in control.

And with that, here is a brand new Youtube video on Swedapura where I answer questions that you may or may not have been curious about.

Click on the image to be directed to Youtube!

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p.s. As a heads up it is 27 mins long so if you make it all the way to the end, I would like to give you a virtual high five!

The journey of figuring out who “Swedapura” is and being the girl with her heart in two places continues but today, we celebrate.

Till the next time!

 

Out in the Woods w the Marklunds

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Last weekend, Jens and I went back to his hometown to visit his family.

It has been awhile since I have seen them, the last being before I went back to Singapore, so it was nice to see them again (why is Sweden so big?!).

Anyway, it was a belated birthday celebration of sorts for Jens’s brother Viktor who requested for a picnic out in the forest.

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Look Ma, I am walking on water.

After Viktor flew his plane for awhile, we made our way to a BBQ area and while the kids were busy climbing trees and taking selfies…

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The parents were hard at work to get the BBQ going…

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A sidenote to my family: If the wooden shed above looks appealing, an overnight stay can be arranged during your visit this summer. I am very sure Mum would love it. Not.

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So after all the hard work by Pappa and Mamma Marklund, the fire was ready to grill the bacon wrapped sausages.

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And now we can officially say, Spring is here and we have had our first BBQ of the year.

But of course as you can tell, Spring was only in our heads because we still had to have many layers on.

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Although soon, very soon, we can enjoy more days outdoors like this and these perfectly roasted sausages would stay warm for longer.

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It was a lovely day to be out nonetheless and probably the best Saturday we have had this year.

Till the next time!

A Typical Swedish Christmas

Christmas in Singapore for me has always been about going to church/performing in the Christmas nativity play, having a cosy dinner with my family, driving down Orchard Road to view the lights, meeting up with friends and exchanging secret santa gifts. The main focus of course would be around the birth of Jesus and I was never brought up with any other special Christmas traditions otherwise.

However here in Sweden, they have some very special traditions that completes a Swedish Christmas. I do not know the significance or meaning behind any of these traditions but here goes:

1)Lights in all shapes and forms

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The winter months here in Sweden are very dark and perhaps that is the reason why there this mini obsession with lights. On the first advent, almost every home would have lights at the window and they would typically come in the form of candle lights (above) or stars or hearts…

I decided to go for a simple star to place at the window because it could be converted into a normal lamp after Christmas (long term thinking!). Plus my neighbours have also added a lot of fairy lights across their balcony so it looks really nice at night.

Swedes would also light a lot of candles around the house and in particular they have 4 advent candles where they would light one candle every Sunday till Christmas. I skipped out on this tradition this year because I would not be in Sweden to light all of them.

2) Christmas everything – drink, cheese, ham, porridge…

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I still cannot wrap my head around this but basically they have a lot of Christmas specials – Julmust (Christmas drink), Julost (Christmas cheese), Julskinka (Christmas ham), Julgröt (Christmas porridge)

I do not think there is anything particularly significant behind these Christmas specials and to be honest I cannot tell the difference between Christmas cheese and regular cheese. Perhaps this is the Swedish answer to our Chinese New Year goodies? Once a year specials, haha!

3) Pepparkaka

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This could possibly be my favourite Christmas special. Unfortunately I do not know why Swedes eat gingerbread cookies during Christmas BUT I do know that these thin gingerbread cookies are SO GOOD.

I am guilty as charged for eating one whole container on my own because they are so addictive. This was also my first time eating different shaped varieties (yes I am a sucker for such things).

4) Julbord aka Christmas Table

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Like I mentioned before, they have Christmas everything but I felt like this deserved a special mention on its own because it is not just any table but THE Christmas table.

If you are invited to multiple Julbords then here is what you can expect multiple times – Salmon cooked in many different ways, Herring in all tastes and colour, 10 varieties of ham/sausage/pate minimum, Prinskorv (Prince sausage), Meatballs, Lutfisk (Dried cod), Janssons frestelse (“Jansson’s Temptation” – a potato casserole).

Please do not attempt to be creative with your Julbord or Christmas would not be complete if any of the above are missing. Hahaha okay I am exaggerating but if you ever invited to a julbord, definitely do not turn it down!

4) Glögg and sweets

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This may not come as a surprise but sweet loving Swedes must have a good share of candy at Christmas or julgodis (Christmas candy) as they would call it. All the classic Swedish candy brands would release their candy in Christmas related shapes like Christmas trees, Santa etc.

Then of course, there is glögg is a mulled wine that can be alcoholic or non alcoholic. I might have insulted a few Swedes by turning glögg down during my last julbord but basically it is a warm sweet drink that you can add raisins and almonds to. Very good for this cold weather!

I hope this was interesting and if any of you in Singapore would like to sample any of these Christmas treats featured above, please do let me know!

Till the next time!