LC Forstén Fotograf

Capturing life's moments, big and small, through portraiture and documentary story telling.

Photography in Stockholm, Sweden. Documentary photography focusing on families and weddings. Portraits of maternity, infants, children, families, professionals.

Advent Calendar 2017: 9 - Work!..?

Dec 9th – What is the deal with your work or as some like to say it “Do you ever plan on working in Sweden?”

Why yes, we do plan to work and not be a drain on the socialist system for the rest of our lives.  It will help to get INTO the freaking system so we can do that!  There is a lot going for Sweden and once you’re IN the system, I hear it’s great.  This unexpected set of turns and check points has been less pleasant than making some cool friends.   To say the least, it's been slower than we expected.

First, we expected to sell our house faster.  We had to sell it before becoming residents here or we would pay a hefty 22% tax on the profit.  Not an option.  We thought we'd sell it before we left town... it took 3 months.  Could have been worse, but it was not what we planned for, based on the best information we had available.  So, we waited, I considered flying over to do bad things to our terrible realtor but refrained, and ultimately, we sold our house to a good friend.  All ended as well as could be given that we couldn’t get the three months of waiting back.  C’est la vie when you’re on a crazy adventure, eh?

Then, we expected to get into the system with a bit of red tape but nothing quite like we’ve experienced.  Cora and the kids signed up for their taxID numbers without TOO much hassle.  It was what you would expect, a long line at the tax office, explaining our family situation and showing ALL of our documentation (adoption paperwork, marriage certificates, birth certificates, etc).  Once we explained our family in a way that they could fit us into their boxes, we were golden.  The lady was so nice that she even tracked Cora down on Facebook because she accidentally sent the paper with our contact information back with our originals of other documents.  We got those numbers in about two weeks.  Then Cora went to the bank eager to get her bank account that would unlock Sweden, a bank with whom she has an account in Finland… only was told she needed her Swedish ID card in order to get an account.  Not just a tax ID number.  No work around possible for people who ALREADY HAVE AN ACCOUNT WITH THE BANK.  And a passport to assert identity.  Not good enough. 

So, she went back to the tax office, ordered the ID card and we waited two more weeks for it to arrive.  The day it did, she went back to the bank and we got a bank account, hooray!  But in order to unlock Sweden, you need an online bank ID code that verifies your identity.  You can’t get the online ID code immediately, you have to have that mailed.  It takes 3-5 business days… about two weeks.  But it didn’t come… so Cora went back to the bank after 3-5 business days (two weeks, after being told on the phone to be sure to wait for all of the days, and Monday isn’t a business day…??!?!?!?) only to find out that the teller failed press the button that finalized Cora’s request for the expletive code.  We waited another 3-5 business days (two weeks) (although this time it came faster) and got the code.  Then Cora could register her business.  But it takes some time for them to ACTUALLY register it once you’ve completed the complicated online form, you guessed it, about two weeks.  We’re still waiting for that number.  Once she gets that number, I can go in and register for my number.  The nice lady at the tax office told us about a loophole where business owners’ spouses can skip Migration and go straight to get the tax ID number once the business is registered.  We’re hoping it works like she said it would…  I’m guessing there are steps we don’t know about and each will take roughly... two weeks.

In the meantime we registered the kids for preschool, after searching high and low for one with openings mid-year.  This is a key step in “both of us looking for work/setting up work during business hours when we can actually do good work. “  Then (about two weeks later) we got a letter saying that until we BOTH have tax ID numbers, the kids can’t go to preschool.  Regular school would have been fine, because it’s illegal to homeschool after 7 here, but not preschool.

So we are practicing patience and our kids are REALLY enjoying this life where both parents are around 90% of the time.  And we really need to get into a regular routine because it’s been nice living with so little structure.  But also crazy making.  It’s going to be nice to have a routine again.

And Cora has a potential space to rent, and it should be awesome… and as soon as her business is officially registered… she can sign the lease and move forward.  We’ll tell all about it when it’s finalized.  Don’t want to jinx it.    

So, what’s our situation?  We’re trying to be patient, to not to think  about our savings, to keep our eyes on the prize and trusting it will all work out… hopefully sooner than later, but in no case sooner than two weeks.

And as to what I’m going to do?  That’s a whole other post.  Maybe I’ll write about it in two weeks.