Written by Hayu Hamemayu
It was all started in one of those dark and gloomy days in November 2017. During a regular browse on the Internet, I came across this announcement in The Newbie Guide to Sweden website where they’re looking for a volunteer blogger. It was naturally interesting for me because the writing was the thing I wanted to invest myself in ever since I moved to Sweden, so I thought that could be a good opportunity.
But I hesitated at first
“What should I write? What’s so special about my experiences? Why would people read my stories?”
Then I realised that the idea of the blog section in the Newbie Guide website is to share stories of living in Sweden. Any story. It doesn’t have to be inspirational; it’s enough with being informational or even just personal.
Besides, living abroad is not always easy. Just like living elsewhere, it has its ups and downs. So if we can read other people experiences, it may not give you an instant solution but at least, it makes you feel that you’re not alone. I think that’s quite important when you’re living far from home.
So I decided to join the blogger team.
My first posts are mostly about the excitement of living in Sweden. I started with the story about me as a new kid on the block, how I felt when I first arrived, the anxiety that I had, and some practical tips such as the apps you should have when in Sweden, and how to save a little bit of money in a not so cheap country.
Then, when I was pregnant to my second child, I decided to write a series on my expecting journey from pregnancy to delivery. This series is about what to expect when we are expecting in Sweden, including the rights as a mother, pregnancy in Sweden dos and don’ts, until the process of delivery itself.
I also write a lot about Lund, the Swedish city where I live. Most of them are daily life hacks such as where to shop second hand in Lund, where to buy Swedish souvenir, where to get your dose of Asian foods, and so on.
I tried to cover my experiences in dealing with Swedish culture as well: the popular media I use to learn about Sweden, the foods, the habits, everything. And I think newbies in Sweden find this kind of stories really speak to them. My story entitled The “This is Sweden” Moment is still the most shared story by far.
Looking back to all those stories I’ve written for The Newbie Guide to Sweden, I realise how far I’ve come since the first day I stepped out of the train in Lund Central station.
Now I’m no longer a newbie, not yet an oldie. I’m an inbetweener.
And this comes with a feeling that maybe my stories are no longer relevant. I no longer have the spark of the novice, yet I haven’t possessed the wisdom of the old.
Now, after three years and 30 articles, I bid my farewell
I would like to use this last post to express my sincere gratitude to the whole team in The Newbie Guide to Sweden, especially Julieta, who has been really welcome and helpful since the very beginning, even though we never meet in person.
I’d also like to thank all the readers who had read and shared my stories. It’s been a real honour and true happiness to know that some people find my stories interesting and even relatable.
While a thank you is probably not enough, a farewell note could probably do the justice.
Thank you for having me. This is not a goodbye. This is just a reason to fly.
Tack så jätte mycket,
About the author
Hayu Hamemayu is a Lund-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Jakarta Post, Media Indonesia, Kompas, Majalah Kartini, and Indonesia Travel Magazine among others. A traveller mommy by nature and random thinker by inclination, she keeps memories in her Instagram @hayuhamemayu and writes her everyday stories in her blog.