Last Wednesday I received a letter in the mail, which said the following:
‘…Migrationsverket beslutar att bevilja dig uppehållstillstånd för tiden 2014-04-14 – 2016-04-14′ etc.
People, do you know what this means? Do you know what this MEANS?
I sure do. I was granted uppehållstillstånd, or in English, residence permit.
It means I can get my personal number, which means everything for someone wanting to live in Sweden: without it, you can’t open a bank account. You can’t take the free Swedish classes offered by the government. You can’t take driving lessons. Even at the freakin’ crochet class they asked me for my personal number.
When we arrived in Sweden in November last year, we thought it would all be easy. We thought we would walk into Skatteverket (the tax office), fill out a form and get the personal number within a few days. I’m from the EU after all, and married to a Swede. How hard could it be?
Then I could sign up for Swedish classes and make friends and be happy.
We were so wrong.
I won’t bore you with all the bureaucratic details, but it came down to this: I had to apply through Migrationsverket (the immigration board) and the average waiting time to get their decision was 12 months.
This was rather disappointing news.
We tried every possible way to get that number, but it didn’t help. Then in January I was told the actual waiting time was 15 months.
I would like to tell you that I handled the past 4 months with grace. But I didn’t, really.
There was a fair amount of crying involved. I have been bored out of my mind. I have complained and whined.
It felt like I had no life. That’s what I told Jacob in the beginning: it feels like I have no life here. Nothing to do, no people to call, no one who calls me. It kind of sucked.
But somehow, after having lived here for almost 4 months, I can see something has happened. I have friends now. I have learned (a little) Swedish, both by studying by myself and by practicing with a friend. I have become a better cook. I have learned some sewing and crocheting. I have signed up for an online writing course (which starts soon, and that’s kind of ironic, just when I am about to get busy after 4 months of free time). I have rested. And watched a lot of tv (thank you, uitzendinggemist.nl).
When we moved here, I thought my life would start once I would get that personal number. But it turns out I have been living my life, and it has been good. And hard. But good. :)