Latest Posts

The appalling silence of good people

You’ve got a voice. Use it. 

I have long thought about how to write this post, and often abandoned it again for a lack of the right words to use. Today, I stopped caring about getting this perfectly right. Today, I am using my voice, no mater how angry and hurt and screechy it might come across. Because this is too important to stay silent. 

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12 little things to keep anxiety at bay

Spoiler alert: scrolling through Facebook is a No No

Hands up if you’ve truly had enough of Covid, lockdown and homeschooling. Living in LA county, we are at the epicentre of Coronavirus infection and death rates, and the promised easing of restrictions that can happen in some counties will have to wait a little longer at the Golden Coast. As it does for lots of people around the world.

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Letters from lockdown

Hello from the other side (of the pond)

As this blog was born out of the isolation of first time motherhood, I thought it fitting to let it have a bit of a rebirth. Something like Phoenix from the Flames, minus the wings (wouldn’t that be just the best right now, to have wings?!), plus unicorn patterned face mask. (On that note, do you think face masks are ever going to go away again, or are we going to see an Asian-like face mask fashion trend coming on?)

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Happy Birthday, Met Mum

I almost missed this, but this blog turned 10 (T_E_N!!!) last March. How the hell did this happen?

I miss writing so much, but for one reason or another, I don’t feel that this is the right place anymore. The things that are on my mind are nothing I would like my ten year old, her friends, my husband, his parents, my ex, or the moms at school to read.

So, just in case you missed my musings, I’m going anonymous. Leave me a comment or message me on instagram so that I can email you with the new URL. And, of course, this will have to remain between you and me, right? 🙂

See you on the other side.

There’s no plastic in Malibu

It’s soon going to be four months since we moved to Malibu. The Expatriate Adjustment Lifecycle (yes, there IS such a thing) stipulates three months of Honeymoon, followed by Culture Shock. Let me tell you one thing: living out of two suitcases and moving from one AirBnB to the next, with leaking roofs and bug infested accommodations and all, turns the whole idea of a honeymoon period into a sarcastic, dark joke. The first five words my two little girls uttered upon entering our new abode: I want to go home. Sadly, I felt the same. I just didn’t cry as much (in front of them).

Don’t get me wrong. I love Malibu. I wake up every morning and am deeply moved by how beautiful this place is. I have so far seen whales, dolphins and seals, and I try to go to the beach on most days, even if only for a five minute meditation. And after we moved to the current AirBnB with its functioning roof, clean floors, soft linens and actual doors (one previous place had forgotten to install a door on the girls’ bedroom *rolls eyes*), things started to look up. Literally. But while I love the views and adore our generous and extremely helpful host, the 40-minute-drive to school, which includes 20 minutes through a steep and winding canyon, became a little tiring around the second month mark.

Forgot milk? Make that a one-hour-roundtrip.

Overall, people are genuinely friendly. Though my poor little introvert soul is struggling slightly with the casual niceties being thrown at it at 8 o’clock in the morning – don’t they know I can’t adult, let alone do social before my second cuppa? And please, don’t ask me how I am if you are not ready for an answer, warts and all.

After living in Sweden with its down-to-a-tee public transport system, food-waste-to-biofuel-recycling and overall great awareness for all things green, coming to California has been a bit of a shock. Living green and sustainably? It’s a farce. Sure, plastic straws have been all but banned in Malibu, all under the above slogan. But what good does it do when they stick your paper straw in a plastic cup and you drive off in your gasoline guzzling pickup truck? And who’d have thought styrofoam was still in production?

Same for yoga. It’s a bit disappointing and can’t live up to its reputation. What I thought would be THE place for yoga and meditation turned out to be mediocre classes in lacklustre spaces with teachers who don’t adjust or do any meditation. Oh yeah, but there’s a massive phallus-shaped crystal in the corner. Because that’s going to cut it. Not.

This weekend will be a massive milestone for us. I want to say we will be moving into our new house, but it’s more like moving into what will hopefully be our house one day. It doesn’t have a kitchen, or a proper bathroom, but features a leaking roof. It seems to be a reoccurring theme (unsolicited piece of advice: put an old towel into a bucket to catch drippings to muffle the sound, especially at nights. You are welcome).

So, yes, the grass is definitely greener here. Especially compared to Sweden, which is no act of magic (I don’t miss the slush and the brown and the ice one single bit). But moving is never easy and I am hoping for a reverse Expatriate Adjustment Lifecycle. Bring on the Honeymoon!

The building site has been keeping me pretty busy in the last couple of weeks. At the same time, I have been filing my papers for my work permit and will hopefully see it coming through in the summer. I have vague ideas of what I am going to do. My ideas seem to go round and round in circles, mostly bumping into the restrictions that my family situation dictates. I don’t think I am alone in this, which makes it a little less frustrating. To say it with my friend’s Lou’s words: ‘When I speak to other women my age, they talk a lot about what they want and how they can’t have it.’ But more on that another time.

Feels like failing

Growing up as the daughter of a second wave feminist in the 1970s, I never once doubted that I would become the strong, independent woman I was destined to be. Fast forward a couple of decades, two children and five moves across countries and continents, and I feel like I failed. I failed myself, my upbringing, and if life continues as it is, I am going to fail my daughters.

It is difficult to have a consistent career if you are moving countries every couple of years, and if the (unpaid and mostly underappreciated) job of making a home, dealing with school issues and everything else child-related always (magically) lands in your lap. Isn’t it weird how guys don’t seem to be able to do their own laundry, see the dust on the floor or go grocery shopping as soon as they live with a woman? How do we all slowly morph into their mums?!

Mothering your partner might feel ok as long as you feel that you are building a future together, but as soon as there is a bump in the road, you might start to question your decision to put your own life on hold while looking after others.

During the last ten years, my career had to wrap around the needs of my family. Anything I attempted on the job front had to fit in with school hours and holiday times. Running a yoga studio has only been possible because my husband has been on gardening leave for a good chunk of it, and because the Swedish school and childcare system is hands down amazing.

Childcare in the U.S., however, is a totally different story.

But my frustration doesn’t really stem from afternoon clubs or the lack thereof. I am frustrated that I have walked into the classic mummy-trap. With my eyes wide open! Despite having worked, even despite having run a bloody yoga studio (for crying out loud!) during those last ten years, my career has not really been a priority. And it should have been. Don’t get me wrong. I am more than grateful that I had that time with my daughters, and that we’ve built the relationship we’ve got today. But I should have kept a foot in the corporate world to keep myself independent without having to start yet another business on my own. Because, what do you do when people tell you you have been away for too long to return? You start your own thing and show them, of course. But I’d rather not.

It always takes two to tango, and in our case, it’s been an unhealthy dance of one person not making her ask strongly enough and the other one overlooking wants and needs for their own benefit. Not out of malicious intend – but because it’s been easy to do so. And for a long time, this felt ok.

Of course, I wouldn’t be in this position had we stayed in Sweden. I’d still be running the yoga studio, not once questioning my role in the world of work. But I am not anymore, and I am glad that we made this move for a variety of reasons. I guess my intense frustration is both that of a person who just sold her business, realising that her entrepreneurial spirit is not worth much in the corporate world (funny how they always ask for that though, right?), and that of a person who has not-so-little-kids anymore and is desperate to get back to work.

What this is not is a lack of confidence in my own skills. I know that I have learned more than I could have ever learned would I have stuck to a ‘classic’ career. Running your own show takes way more guts, agility and strong mindedness than to sit it out in a cushy corporate job – and maybe it’s exactly this knowledge that makes me less desirable as a potential employee.

While I am not pleased to see that changing sheets, cooking dinners and tackling the laundry mountain unasked seems to be my responsibility by default (or sex?), I am mostly mad at myself for not having had more of a plan. I have allowed all of this to happen.

My approach to career planning has been ‘keep your eyes open and grab opportunities when you see them.’ Going with the flow worked just fine for me so far. I never thought that the flow would take me down a dark tunnel that so far has no lighted end in sight.

While I am waiting for my work permit to come through, I will be busy doing up the house we just bought. I try to talk myself into believing it’s a job, after all, there’ll be value added and I’ve done it a couple of times before (and it is definitely fulltime consuming incl. nightshifts to kit out bathrooms). And it’s time well spent, as the whole permit thing can take three to four months (adding to the frustration!).

But between tile shopping and visits to the lumberyard, I will have to come up with a plan, meet people, put myself out there again (YIKES) and chase what I want. Wish me luck!

Moving on

Finally, it’s time. The house is sold, the studio is sold, and all the members of our family are sold on the idea of moving. Well, almost all, but I realised that I can’t stay another winter, hence we are moving anyway.  Read More

Dear 1995

Remember 1995 and the years leading up to it? Those were the years of my late teens – years interspersed with teenage angst, first loves and first (very awkward) sex. Sadly, my diaries of that time, which came close to an encyclopedia with its ten or so volumes, are lost. At some point (it might even have been 1995!), I used to share a flat with a guy who had set eyes on me. In return for his unreciprocated advances, he kept a box with my very personal belongings. Creep. Read More