Linda Löfling

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Expat Life

Expat Life Inspiration

WHAT IS A FAILURE?

When I first got the idea of leaving Oslo for Madrid, people had MANY opinions about it. They told me it would never work, I would never make it here alone with my child (and if I did, it would be a real damage to him to move to a new country). It was a mistake of me to quit my job, to rent out my house, to go to a country where I did not even speak the language.

I did not listen to them, I was not happy in Oslo, in fact, I had never been more sad as the last year I was living there. The way I see it, it would have been a failure of me staying in something that did not bring me happiness. A beautiful house, a good job, things settled – guess you have all heard this story before : Inside I was screaming. I wanted more out of my life, I was not feeling alive. Everyday I struggled to understand the meaning of my life. The meaning of having that house, that I was so unhappy in. The meaning of working in that respected job, that did not give me any pleasure. The meaning of getting up and going to bed everyday and feeling like I did not have time or energy to appreciate my son. I could not understand why my live should be like this. People insisted, I was not going to make it, I would regret my choice, I would end up unhappy. But we moved, me and Mini. Together. Our first trip here was in February 2018, one weekend of beautiful discoveries, I remembered we walked in a park in the sun the evening before leaving home to Oslo on sunday, and I thought about how beautiful life was and how thrilled we both were to start over in this new place called Madrid. After all these hard years, with so much suffering and sadness, we would finally find peace and recover.

Despite my “so it seemed” courage and positive attitude, I was all the time feeling the questions of my friends, colleagues, all these people surrounding me. “What if it would not work?” Would it be a failure then? Would that be a good enough reason for me to stay where I was in Oslo and keep my mouth shut? No. Of course not. Trying is never failing. You must try and you must sometimes fail too, in order to progress and develop. It hurts when buds crack to bloom.

I do not call my choices in life mistakes, nor failures. I would say they are only failures if you do not learn from them and I am good at learning. Moving to Madrid was not a failure. It was an adventure. I would have regretted it forever if I would not have dared to go.

What I want to say with this is that you can never know what the future will bring, never. Sometimes we end up in unwanted situations we did not plan from the beginning, and sometimes the fear of failing, or the fear of the unknown, makes us stay longer in something that is bad, than what is maybe good for us. I feel a lot of things about Madrid and this year, but most of all I feel gratitude for everything I get to do, and discover. I know, that it is my courage and boldness that has brought me here and I am proud of my accomplishments. I am courageous. It is a gift being a courageous person. Sometimes it brings you into challenging situations, but that is a part of the game.

Just listen to your gut feeling. And jump. Say yes, as often as you can. Don’t be so scared of the unknown, remember:

 

There’s freedom, waiting for you,

on the breezings of the sky.

And you ask

“But what if I fall?”

Oh, but my darling,

what if you fly?

 

 

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Expat Life Inspiration My City Tips

A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT SATURDAY

Many people know I am a sporty person, but not all know that I am a horse rider! Sporadically since I moved to Paris and those years that followed but now I’m back again! Yesterday I jumped up on a horseback for my first lesson! This will be followed by several, hopefully on a regular basis. I am so, so glad that this actually happened, and I am so grateful for the opportunity that was given to me as a surprise <3

(And for those who are curious of where this was, it is a stable in Griñon, a little drive outside Madrid.)

If I can get horses back in my life, I am pretty sure that anxiety I struggle with sometimes, would slowly dissapear. Horses and all activities around them, are completely clean from performance for me, I just go into some bubble of calm and relaxation. That smell of the stable, the horses, the equipment, what memories and feelings it awakens. Memories of struggle with cold winterdays and rainy autums where you have been out to take care of those horses and riding no matter the weather. Memories of when you succeed to be one with the animal and it listens and does the movement you ask for, memories of warm sunsets, galopping on a field, laughs together with family and good friends, secrets and conversations shared on miles and miles of wooden paths, from a warm horseback. The warmth of the animal, the respect you always need to have and the focus you need to sharpen up and have 100% alert, it makes you forget everything else for a while and really live in the moment.

Mindfullness at it’s best I guess?

Now it’s time for breakfast and a day on the pueblo, the spanish word for countryside. Love it!

Happy Sunday people!

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Expat Life Motherhood

WHAT’S IT LIKE MOVING ABROAD WITH A SMALL CHILD?

Hey there readers! How are you today?

It is time again for a little expat update. Many people are amazed by the fact that I’ve been moving twice to new countries with a small children, first with my, at that time, 7 year old step daughter, and second time with my 5,5 year old son. Has it been easy? Not always of course, but it hasn’t neither been very difficult. I actually have a very good experience from both these times when it comes to adaption and integration for both me as a step parent or parent, as well as for the children.

Here are some experiences I’ve learned when moving abroad with my family:

The language will not be a big problem.

When we moved to Norway from Paris in 2012, my step daughter went to a French school after only a few weeks in a Norwegian one. She did not speak a word of Norwegian when we entered the Norwegian school for the first time, but it did not turn out to be that traumatizing, she got “friends” that were curious about her and when she finally ended up in the French school, it was of course even easier cause they spoke the same language. They teached Norwegian in the French school and since she had already been a few weeks in the Norwegian school and heard a lot of Norwegian being spoken to her, she was all curious about the language and she catched up many words and phrases quickly. Many of her classmates spoke both Norwegian and French and that made her feel jealous and hence more motivated to learn Norwegian faster.

My son and i moved to Madrid in September 2018, he started an international school where they speak both English and Spanish. I chosed a smaller, private school where they are only about 10 pupils in every class, and not that many classes in total in the school. This was because I wanted his teachers to have more control over whether he integrated well in the group or not, and how he seemed to behave and feel in the group. He has been there almost five months now and he speaks and understand both English and Spanish on an almost fluent level already. I was honestly so nervous both times those children were about to start a school where they don’t understand what people say to them, but both times I’ve seen that children are cabable of understanding and adapting languages so easily and that they show curisousity and interest in learning, which helps them a lot.

Not once have I felt that the language has been a real issue to us, of course there are moments where it could help if they were fluent in the current spoken language, but it has never caused a serious trouble for our smallest family members.

The fact of moving abroad together, will strengthen you and your child’s relationship a LOT.

I strongly believe that the fact that we moved to a new country and got to discover it and all the challenges and experiences coming along with it, together, will remain a strong memory and create a special bond between us. Me and my Mini have been flying here to Madrid together for the first time, looking at apartments together and choosing one of them to live, we have practised our first Spanish words together and walked new streets and visited new places together, all those memories are so precious for us and I feel it is something so fantastic to have in common. My stepdaughter does also seem to appreciate having lived the expat experience, she is now almost a teenager and she tells me that it makes her feel special that she has lived in another country and knows another language. When we talk about our awful neighbours in our first apartment in Lillestrøm outside Oslo, how it was when we first got to see snow outside our window for the first time, and when our little dog dissapeared and hid into a restaurant and we did not know how to ask for her as we did not know how to speak Norwegian, those are memories we will never forget, and I believe they have contributed to make us all curious and humble about people and their story about their lives. It is a special feeling when you come from another background than most people in the country. At least we have been lucky enough to have this positive experience and not the opposite. Meeting other expats in the same situation is also something really special, and most of those people I’ve met and keep on meeting, become real friends for life as we share something unique together.

It will make you all more open minded and courageous.

Being new in a country, or a city as well for that sake, will force you to be open minded and wanting to get to know new people. This requires you to be social and make contact with others, which is a very useful knowledge for you later on in life. Me and Mini have been talking a lot about our progress in both learning the language, but also about the project of making new friends. We have encouraged eachother and have had competitions about who can learn most words in Spanish, who dares to talk to most people in a day, who dares to invite a new friend to play or hang out etc. I think that Mini has been very encouraged by seeing that depsite that I am an adult, I can hesitate and become uncertain about myself, but together we can strengthen eachother and most important : daring things helps you come forward. It doesn’t matter that much if you did say something wrong in Spanish, or if that friend was not able to hang out with you today, you will get new opportunities and each time you dare, you will get more confident. I see how he is getting more and more open to unknown people and how he develops his way of being empathic and understand different situations, it makes me proud to see! As for me, I can now call myself an expert in networking and finding new friends 🙂

There are many things to say about moving abroad with your family, this is just a small part of it. I have been asked to write and talk more about it as it is a big part of my life and something many people are curious about, and of course I can do that! If you are wondering about if you should dare moving or not, I can just say that it was not that difficult, and the experience itself, is absolutely worth it.

 

Do you have any questions regarding the topic? Any own experiences you would like to share? Please drop a comment or leave me a message on my Instagram account: @lindaloefling .

A nice evening to you! Thank you for reading!

 

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Expat Life Motherhood

HELLO THERE FRIDAY NIGHT!

It still feels hallucinating to be out for a walk at night, I am AL-WAY-S at home with Mini after the sun has set, so taking a walk with him with darkness surrounding us, feels like being in a whole new world. Parents relate? 🙂

There is not much going on here this evening, we are cooking Pasta and making puzzles on the floor, like a friday evening should be, Mamalife 2.0 !

Just wanted to pop in here and send you all a big, warm FRIDAY HUG!

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Expat Life Food & Travel Inspiration

MY TOP 5 FAVOURITE PLACES IN PARIS

Just kidding, it is impossible to choose. But if you have never been in Paris and you seek the “must-sees” when going there, I’ve collected my top 5 WOW places for you. Although my absolute tips is to just go out and hang out anywhere in the city and feel the Parisian wibe. <3

  1. Trocadero and la tour Eiffel. Take the métro to métro 6, Trocadero station and from there you walk out among the thousands of tourists and have the very best view of the Eiffel Tower. I guess that is what you should absolutely not miss if you come here.

2. Montmartre. Métro 12, Abesses station and take the Funiculaire to go up to see the magnificent baislique Sacré Coeur and a SPLENDIDE view of Paris. Here you should take a tour around the neighbourhood and maybe stop at place de Tertre to admire the artists there and take something to eat or drink in one of the cafés there. Montmartre is really one of the most magical places in Paris and I would recommend everyone who comes to Paris to not miss this. Maybe even more beautiful and interesting than the Eiffel Tower.

3. Invalides, Pont Alexandre III and over to the 8th arrondissement. Métro 8, la Tour-Maubourg station.

Classic Parisian spots, Les Invalides is a magnificent building and the streets feels very Parisian and with less tourists around, you get a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower from the bridge Alexandre III, which is a masterpiece in itself. Cross it over to the 8th arrrondissement and admire le Grand Palais as well as la place de la Concorde on your way towards Champs Elysées and l’arc de Triomphe. Well, you see, that was how many? Six tips in one, as there are so many beautifuls pots you see only by crossing one district to another. <3

4. Place des Vosges and Le Marais, métro 1, St Paul station.

Warning for a beauty choc, here every street is like an old painting of Paris in the good old days, and everywhere you turn you will find small authentic cafés and boutiques filled with hand crafted necessary and non-neccessary things you absolutely want to buy. At place des Vosges there are many classic brasseries and in le Marais you find bars, restaurants and hipsters in a wonderful mixture. Le Marais is often mentioned as the gay area of Paris, but that is not really what is significant for the area I’d say, in my opinion it is more the authentic Parisian feeling, and all the beautiful buildings.

5. Parc Buttes Chaumont and the 19th arrondissement. Métro 7bis, Buttes Chaumont station.

A quite unknown spot that I never heard of until I moved to Paris the first time. I love this parc, it is surrounded by pretty surroundings and in the middle it has a fantastic view of Sacré Coeur and Montmartre.

The 19th district of Paris is also an area I like a lot, it is a bit ruff and has a perfect mixture of old and new, modern and old, classy and street style : I love the mix and when I am in this area I like to take the walk around the parc and then down towards the Canal St Martin, which is also another hidden Parisian pearl. Oh my, you hear, I can’t really stick to a few favourite places here. Again, my best tips is to just go out the streets and enjoy the Parisian feeling, every district has it’s own charm and it’s own beautiful spots. If you are curious about going to Paris I would at least make sure I’d see these spots I’ve mentioned here. Or book one month of staying so that you have enough time hehe 🙂

Enjoy your evening, Bisous de Paris! <3

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