'Stockholm is amazing, it brought to my life what I had been missing in the past'
Publish date: 31 January 2018
Anabelle Garcia from France had been living in different places in the world when she fell in love with Sweden after visiting Stockholm.
Q: Tell us about your move to Stockholm.
I had visited Stockholm on holiday a number of times, but when I moved here it was the first time I had nothing – when I arrived here I had no family, no friends, no job, and I wanted to give it a try. I wanted to try and learn Swedish as quick as possible and to find work.
Stockholm is amazing, it brought to my life what I had been missing in the past – the cultural part, going to a concert, going to a museum, but also to feel very free and have the nature all around. The water is here everywhere, the trees are here everywhere – so for me this is just perfect.
I tried to find out why I fell in love with Stockholm, and I think it’s because it has these two very strong aspects – the nature, and everything that a capital offers to have a very interesting life.
Q: Describe your job?
I work with children, as an international infant massage instructor and a preschool teacher in an English structure, here in Stockholm.
Q: You run your own company, what was it like to start your business?
I got a lot of support and there is a lot of information in English. You have free courses to inform you on the best way, and they really support you. So it was amazing, I always felt welcome to ask questions.
I really encourage you to build your own company here, you’re very well supported.
Q: What did you know about Stockholm before you moved here?
I knew very little. Before, I was living in Switzerland and they opened a direct flight to Stockholm. I had always been interested in traveling to Nordic countries. I started visiting Stockholm. First for the weekend, then for a week’s vacation.
For the first time, I really felt home somewhere. There’s not really a rational explanation, as I really loved the country where I lived before – but I never felt home.
Here, for the first time, I felt ‘this is it! This is where I should work’. I really love Sweden, the landscape, the people and the culture – everything combined together.
Q: How do you become friends with a Swede?
The first friends were through my work, which was very nice. This is different from where I come from, usually we have a distance at work, very professional. Here it started at work, I met one person and they introduced me to their friends, and so on.
Q: How would you describe Swedish people?
They have a very healthy lifestyle, which is inspiring. They take care of their bodies, they take care of their minds. The family spirit is very strong here. Every day I meet with families, including expat families, and they are very happy with how children grow in this country.
Q: How is the commute from Varmdö?
It’s really well organized, it’s fast and I really enjoy it because the nature is so beautiful. Compared to Paris, the commute here is super calm. When my family visits, they ask ‘Is this the busiest hours? It’s so calm’.
Q: Why do you like living in Varmdö?
I really like the balance of living outside in nature, and working in the city center. I get to be surrounded by people and socialize during the day, and then in the evening be surrounded by the nature.
Q: What was new to you when you started working in Sweden?
The fika break is part of the culture. You get this moment to yourself to rest, or to be with friends or colleagues. It’s good to take this time.
Q: How do you feel about Sweden today?
This country has so much beauty to offer, the wonderful quality of life. If you adopt this country, it welcomes you.
Q: Once someone has moved here, what would you recommend they do next?
After finding housing, which can take a lot of energy - learn the language. Your English will improve wonderfully because Swedish people speak great English – but that’s a trap.
If you don’t know English, then head straight to Swedish. It’s really a way of saying thank you to a country that has opened its doors and allowed me to have such a wonderful life here.
Q: How international is Stockholm?
Very international. I teach the baby massage classes in English, since the Swedish people speak wonderful English I knew they could attend. I wanted new parents moving here to feel welcome and be able to participate.
Q: Are foreigners contributing to Swedish culture with their own backgrounds?
I think so, I see it as the perfect balance. Why not take the best of two cultures?
Bringing our own culture can bring something very nice to the country – new ideas, new culture.
Q: Why should someone move to Varmdö?
The beauty of this archipelago is breath taking. You feel the calm of the nature.
The beauty of the area is that it’s so well organized with the transport, so it’s very easy. You have everything very close. 5-10 minutes away you have a large shopping area with a big supermarket.
And if you want to visit the city center, it’s 30-40 minutes directly into the very center of the city.