adjusting

i’m having a hard time adjusting here. it’s been three weeks so far.. and it probably gets better with time, but when everything is so hectic right now it calms me down to imagine life back “home” in gothenburg

💙💛

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hejdå göteborg (for now)

Tonight is my last night in Gothenburg after five and a half years.

When I first arrived here, I had no idea I would have been here for this long. But after a couple years here, it became home and I didn’t plan on ever leaving. I thought I’d buy a little cottage or maybe apartment in the city and grow deep roots. Things change quickly, don’t they?

In a lot of ways, I feel like I grew up here, found myself here, and feel a sense of belonging here. It’s hard to say goodbye to my lovely Gothenburg ❤️🇸🇪 so I’m just saying hejdå for now.

Let’s see what the future holds! For now, I’m looking forward to settling in back in North Carolina and spending quality time with my parents again.

Another big move! But this time I’m taking my Swedish souvenir with me 😘 an adventure for the team.

here and there

i’ve been a few places in the last months and since i haven’t been consistently posting, i thought to share just a few photos

Trollhättan.. we rented a car just to see the town.. it’s a calm place and i can imagine us living there and enjoying the nature

Paris with work.. in the distance of the second photo you can see the eiffel tower (view from the office.. otherwise you wouldn’t know you’re in paris!)

Nyc from the plane.. cool view right? I wasn’t there actually but was in nc for a short work trip then had a layover in nj

some photos around Gothenburg.. morning walks to central station and a view from gothia ❤️🇸🇪

Summer vacation in Rhodes! What an adventure 🙂

And I’ll just finish this post with the view from my window each morning so i have that captured somewhere to look back on someday when i’m waking up somewhere else.

Take care! 🙂

a tour of hammarkullen

hammarkullen is a neighborhood within the hjällbo suburb of gothenburg.

the majority of apartments in the area were built in the late 1960s during the so-called “million program” where sweden attempted to fix the country’s housing shorage by building a million housing units over ten years.

hammarkullen, like many neighborhoods from this time period in sweden, is characterized by socialist modernism architecture.

there are rows and rows of these enormous, streamlined housing blocks

and though they do look slightly depressing, they’re also fascinating

there was a real vision and ambition in this time period

to create modern and affordable housing for everyone

in full service neighborhoods with a library, grocery stores, butiks, restaurants, and community spaces

all within a 15-20 minute tram ride into gothenburg’s center for work or pleasure

pretty idyllic isn’t it? i really like these neighborhoods around gothenburg!

they each have a unique feel to them.. as you can see, hammarkullen has art everywhere

it’s like stepping into a different world

the vision for these neighborhoods didn’t last forever, unfortunately..

these are now the poorest and most segregated communities in gothenburg with higher levels of crime than elsewhere in town and a fairly low population of native swedes

i still think the suburbs can be nice areas to live in. there’s lovely nature and they remain the most affordable neighborhoods (while still being high quality housing)

the stop for hammarkullen is one of the few underground stops in gothenburg. here you can enjoy this beautiful mural while waiting for the tram to arrive

thanks for the visit, hammarkullen. stay kul 😉

feathers quilt

just finished this bird themed quilt:

there are several different variations of bird blocks on pinterest.

i modified the block to avoid any pieces smaller than a 2.5″ half square triangle. it does mean that my birds are slightly more abstract 😉

like 50% of my projects, it’s perhaps not totally my style, but sometimes i’m sucked into these patterns i see on pinterest. it’s also entirely from scraps which makes for a vibrant quilt (and budget-friendly) though it does mean you’re not using the fabrics you would have chosen from the store. the initial blocks were only browns and muted green/blue shades, but you notice that only lasted for say 3 of the 35 blocks 😉

you’ll also notice that i didn’t do a border. still unsure on that call…

not sure what my next projects will be. i’m thinking to take a stab at something new like crochet.

but first i have to quilt the king-size star top i finished awhile back. it’s just so huge that i’m intimidated with my tiny sewing machine…

snowy short valley

i’m in the middle of a four day weekend. yippee! 😀

we just got back from a walk, so i’m posting some pictures to show our neighborhood plus a couple i took in the city center earlier this week.

tram line! cool tunnel right? 😁

^^ welcome to the nordic region.

^^ lovely at night! ❤ #brunnsparken

^^ we pull our trollies up this path to go to the grocery store at the square

^^ view over kortedala (“short valley”).. gothenburg’s first suburb

^^ this is me bundled up and freezing still

^^ mmm loooove semlor (buns with whipped cream & almond paste)

otherwise it’s just been a chill day. we watched a documentary on netflix called “expedition happiness” about a german couple on a six month road trip through canada, alaska, pacific highway, and mexico.

there are so many wonderful places on the earth and wouldn’t it be great to have the freedom to explore on a whim? 😀

simple budgeting

this post is a bit long, but stick with me and i promise you’ll get some easy and practical advice that will help you take control of your finances!

i’ve always been interested in personal finance. even as a kid, i devised a little record keeping for savings. as a college student, i wasn’t the best at being frugal unfortunately. i also made a pretty bad car purchase when i finished school. we live and we learn… hopefully.

there are a zillion ways to keep a budget and i’ve done everything from absolutely nothing to recording every single expense and reconciling my bank account to the cent. i’m an accountant so i can obviously obsess over details..

but my suggestion for everyone is very simple and effective. it’s not demanding. it’s not extreme. and it’s customizable.

all you need is two pages in google sheets (which is free on your computer and free to download as an app on your phone).

let’s get started!

the first page should be a summary of your current balances. make a seperate line for each bank account, pension account, a fair estimate of your car value, a fair estimate of your house value, etc until you’ve listed all your assets. make a sum total of that. skip a line and do the same for all your debts, listing each on a seperate line and making a sum total of all the debts. skip a line. now on a seperate line further down subtract your total assets from your total debts and call that line your net assets (or equity). now you have your balance sheet! ta da! you can tweak it as you go along and see how you like it. maybe you want to arrange the page differently. from time to time, maybe monthly, update these balances just so you know how you stand and so you have a good track of all your accounts.

here’s a made-up example:

the second page will summarize your incomes and expenses and how all your bank account rolls forward from one month to the next. it will also be a forecast so you can make goals and see where you’re going and how much money you’ll have by say the end of the year. at the top of the first column, write the month name. then under that write beginning balance, and state your beginning bank balance that month. then start going down that month by listing your salary and other incomes you expect. move on to expenses by first listing all your fixed expenses like direct debits for rent or mortgage, electricity, cable, water, car, gas, etc until you list every expense you know you’ll have in a given month. some things you’ll need to estimate based on what the bill normally comes to. create a row for food or split that in two rows like groceries and eating out. this doesn’t need to be super exact or detailed. It should give you a view of all expenses and how much of your salary you save in a given month. always include a miscellaneous expense row, because there will always be unexpected costs. you want your expense total to be accurate, not some lofty goal where you magically spend 90% less than normal. at this point, you’re not trying to cut down on expenses; you’re just trying to make a reasonable record of your income and expenses. sum all this up from beginning bank balance plus incomes less all your expenses and the result will be your estimated ending bank balance. now you’ve just created a forecast for where you’ll be one month from now! now copy those columns several times over for the next month, and the next next month, and go on until the end of the year so you can start to have an idea of what your bank account will look like by the end of the year. remember that one month’s ending balance is the following month’s beginning balance; that’s why it’s a rollforward.

as you do this exercise over time, you’ll get better at estimating your expenses and eventually controlling them.

once the month is over, just do a simple cleanup so that your ending bank balance is correct; you don’t need to be super exact and you can even just plug the difference on a row to force the ending balance to be right if you like. what’s more important is that you reconsider the coming months in your forecast and whether you have estimated those expenses reasonably. are there some expenses that only come once or twice a year? (vacation, taxes, insurances, etc.) put those in somewhere even if you don’t know the exact timing or amount. we just want to be as close as possible so we can see where we’re going.

notice that i haven’t written anything about cutting expenses. i’ve just described to you how to keep an easy record of your incomes, expenses, and account balances. the rest will sort itself out. when you see what you’re spending, you’ll begin to question it. by the same logic, when you see the forecast of what your savings can be by end of year, that will become a financial goal for you to aim for.

good luck!