So first, I'll get to the basic details:
- I submitted my application online on April 8, 2019
- (I technically could have applied on April 7 2019, as that was exactly 3 years from the date I was folkbokförd in Sweden, but that was a Sunday. Sooo... *shrugs*)
- I didn't see the part where you were supposed to click some sort of link to be taken to a form to print, sign, and mail in with your passport. Realizing I messed up, I emailed MV to see if they could send me a copy sooner (the website says they'll send you a copy if one isn't received within 21 days), but nope; they said I would have to wait and they'd mail me one. It arrived 5 weeks later. *Sigh*
- Once I received my copy to sign, I did so and mailed it in with my passport.
- 6 weeks after mailing in my copy and passport (and 11 weeks total from the day I originally sent in my electronic application), I got my decision. However, I expected it to take an eternity so I wasn't monitoring my application online. The paperwork indicating I was granted citizenship showed up at my house a week after the decision was made, on the Monday after Midsommar.
Another couple of notes: 1) I forgot to mention I had done SFI, and I didn't mention any of the SAS classes I had started but never finished. I wasn't sure if the employment section was meant just for activities that you gained income from, or if it was for anything that occupied your time. I only listed the class that I finished and received CSN for, plus my job. But I had also checked off "other source of income" or whatever because I was mammaledig for most of my stay in Sweden, but there was no way to explain that in the sysselsättning portion of the application. 2) I guessed on my annual incomes because it didn't clarify if I should include mammapeng, barnbidrag, etc. And most importantly, 3) I wrote at the end of my application that I would need to request my passport back in a few months if I didn't receive a decision in that time, as I had an appointment with the US embassy to get my infant son his American citizenship and I'd need my passport for that.
Aside from those details, I never contacted MV and truly expected to wait the full 29 months (as was quoted on the website).
The moment I found out (for nostalgia's sake):
I was coming home from picking up my daughter at förskola and got the very random urge to check the mail. I have no idea why. I wasn't expecting a package and normally I never get the mail because it either requires me to leave my kids alone in the house to walk all the way to the roadside or I need to pull over on the road to get to the mail box, which is a bit dangerous as the road is traveled often. I don't know what compelled me to do it, but I simply got the urge to. I saw some ads and two large envelopes. I got back into the car and before driving down our driveway to the house, I happened to look at the two envelops. One was from the BVC, and the other appeared at first to be some sort of survey or junk mail for my husband, it was a large plain white envelop with no logo or identifying text on it. But then I saw it was addressed to me. So my eyes diverted to the sender's address, and it said Migrationsverket in plain Times New Roman font.
In that moment, I think my heart either jumped to my throat or fell to the floor; I wasn't quite certain, but I definitely did feel my breath choke up slightly and my blood pressure rise. Based on the size of the envelop, I assumed it was good news.. although I noted that there was no feeling that my passport was included in it. Were they going to ask me for more information?
But nope! I opened it up and there it was in all it's glory, the Bevis with one sentence on it, that I had been granted citizenship. I felt obliged to scream in excitement, but I didn't want to scare my kids. My daughter could tell something was up and kept asking what it was, so I just told her momma was really happy and that she would get some chokladmjölk to celebrate the good news!
My thoughts later on...
After excitedly texting my husband and posting the obligatory picture on Facebook, the realization struck me that.... well, this wasn't exactly the moment I had dreamed of it being when I was still waiting for my original permit and envisioning this strange time in my life where I would have lived in a foreign country long enough to be welcomed as a citizen.
It might have been a crazy moment worth publicly celebrating, had I not had kids.
But in reality, no moment in this lifetime will ever supersede the awe and wonder of the day my kids were born. Not just the intensity of labor followed by the relief of delivery, and not even the hormonal high, but that moment of meeting your child for the first time and seeing the face you could only imagine for the past 9 months as you caught glimpses of it on ultrasounds... no moment in my life will ever surpass the magic of those moments. Everything is pale and gray in comparison. I was relieved that I had crossed the finish line, so excited that I was done with this journey and could feel, finally, very stable and relaxed with my position in society. No government decision could place more hoops for me to jump through, no worries about ever being separated from my children due to complexities of not sharing the same citizenship as them. I was free to just move on and not be in immigration limbo ever again.
I talk occasionally with the friends I made in our original permit waiting process, and we still discuss those PTSD-y feelings we have from back then. As I reflect on those moments now, however - and as I often feel when I reflect on any difficult moment in my life - I feel a sense of longing and a desire to go back in time and live some of it again. Because, although they were dark and grueling and difficult times, I find that I never quite feel more alive than when I am in a deep struggle with something in my life. When you're living each day and you're so present in the challenge, when you eat sleep and breathe the problem so much that you can hardly even sleep.. I dunno; I guess you're just really reminded of how badly you want something, and your heart, brain and soul sync up for a common cause. It's special.
So, where does that leave me now?
Well.. I guess it leaves me right back where I already was, haha! Our daughter - who was conceived at the 1-year mark of our wait for my original permit - will be turning 3 years old in just 2 months. THREE YEARS OLD! And our infant son, who was born on New Year's Day this year, just turned 1/2-year a few days ago. I'm currently on maternity leave from work, and will return on 1 January 2020. Hoping they take me on full-time so we can save up some money and travel back to the US for a visit in the fall of 2020.. it will have been 3 years since I last visited home, if we do get to go at that time. I long so deeply to visit my hometown(s) again. We just bought a second car and we're developing our land more to make more exploratory space for our kids to play in. We live really far from any city so our goal is to eventually move closer to a bigger city (although still live on the countryside), but we are committed to our house for the next several years, so we're cozying up to it.
My husband rather desperately wants to move to the US but I am 100% against it. I said we can discuss it once our children are school-aged, so we agree that, at least for now, we will be living the next 6-10 years of our lives here in Sweden. And by then, we may just be ready for a new adventure. I would be up for moving to another country that is not the US, but we'll just have to wait and see. Ideally, we could afford to buy a summer house in the US and just travel back and forth between the countries for a while, so that's sort of what we are eyeballing. But, that will be well down the road. For now, we are just carrying on with living the family life we have right now, and occasionally looking back to that wild time when we were young and free and living that crazy dream of moving abroad for love :)
Thank you all for following along on my adventure! It has been one heck of a ride :)