Time for change
It's time for me to be moving along again. I spent much of last week in Sweden, and the upshot is that I'm joining a startup company there. The work looks to be interesting, and less dominated by doing web development, which I'm mostly fed up of. It'll give me a bit more financial stability. I can still keep on going to Perl conferences, and it's not a full-time arrangement either, so I'll continue working on Rakudo, Perl 6 and other small bits. Overall, it was a hard offer to turn down, so I've taken it.
For the first time I actually have work that needs me to base myself in a specific part of the world - specifically, south-west Sweden, around Malmo/Lund/Helsingborg. So, sadly, at the end of February/the start of March, it'll be time to say dovidenia to Slovakia and move over to Sweden. Unlike when I moved from the UK to Spain - which I gladly did to run away from hurt - and when I moved from Spain to Slovakia - which didn't feel so bad, since I didn't want to face the hot Spanish summer and was excited to be going to live in central Europe and to study a Slavic language - this isn't a move I'd have just spontaneously done without something to motivate it.
That isn't to say Sweden doesn't have many attractions; I have always very much enjoyed my visits there, there's some great scenery to be had, there's lots of places by the sea, I like the people, there's lots of good restaurants and the pro-conformity and confrontation-avoiding social attitude fits me well. Of course, it presents me with another languages to get to grips with too - Swedish in all its oh-no-you-have-HOW-many-vowels glory. On the other hand, the grammar - after Slovak - should be a good bit easier. That's kinda annoying in the sense that I'm good at grammar and suck at rendering tricky sounds. Ah well, I'll try and find a good teacher (my Slovak one will be a hard act to follow though) and see how it goes.
But despite all the attractions of Sweden, I'll certainly miss Slovakia. Being in central Europe has been really nice - I love the hearty food, the architecture and the scenery throughout the region. I'll also miss the language - I don't know why, but I'm somehow fond of, and fascinated by, the Slavic language family. And of course, I'll miss the people here, especially my friends from Bratislava.pm and those I've made through the international church here, which has been an enormous blessing to me. I've found it kind of sad to hear one Swede describe this as me "moving to a sane country", and one family member describe Sweden as "better than Slovakia". If there's any word for this part of the world, it's perhaps "misunderstood" or "under-appreciated" or some such. Sure, it's a bit rough around the edges here and there, but hey, so am I.
Anyway, I figure that since becoming an adult, I did a few years of work-focus at university, followed by a few years of traveling, living where I liked, and avoiding committing myself to things that would tie me to living in a certain place. Now it's time to do a chunk of work-focused time again, and accept the commitments that come part and parcel of that. Of course, there'll still be travel and fun - my university years had both of these. And I'd not like to imply any expected duration for my time in Sweden - that'll come out naturally, just as the right opportunity for me to kick off a work-focused chunk of time also naturally appeared. So when I say goodbye to my home here in a couple of months, I do so with an expectation that life stands a good chance of granting me another opportunity to live in this region again. And I'll most certainly be able to come and visit in the meantime - it's not all that far away. :-)
Comment By Nicolai Wadstrom
Can only say best of luck, being a Swedish ex-pat, I would not be saying that Sweden is a more sane country... There's a lot of insanity in Sweden, you will soon find out! It's just a different kind perhaps...
And Bratislava sound, as much of the Eastern Europe, extremely interesting to me.
Anyway, best of luck in my old home country!
Comment By thickas
God Speed, Jonathan.
I hope you enjoy Sweden.. and, and feel so good about the place that the complete Perl6 thang happens by epiphany (and maybe some light beer).