We’ve finally arrived in 2019, the final episode of the 2010s. 2019 started on the same note that 2018 ended. I still felt pretty fragile from what had been an intense autumn and my coping mechanisms weren’t the best. It helped to be back in Malmö and being surrounded by friends and family, and I think that’s the first time I’ve actually experienced that. I’ve moved around a lot in my life and have always felt very independent of any relationships of any kind, and for the first time, I felt that I needed to be around people that I love and trust.
I’d just moved in with H and the kids and we spent much of early 2019 decorating the house together. We started by painting what is now the dining hall and the weekends were spent pottering around the garden.
I went to Stockholm in January for the first press trip of 2019 and managed to squeeze in a dinner with Zemika in her new flat.
I was named one of Sweden’s 100 top marketing talents by Resumé and celebrated by taking my sister out for a drink. That night I also decided to give up smoking and chucked my last packet of cigarettes. I’d been an on-again, off-again smoker for well over a decade and my main problem in giving up was that I really enjoyed smoking. Living with H and the kids definitely complicated things though, as I didn’t want the kids (or, frankly, H) to know that I smoked. I eventually grew tired of the stress of hiding it and decided that the easiest thing was to give up. And so I did. I haven’t had a cigarette since.
We had a big work event at our Malmö office and a colleague and I emptied our favourite Malmö plant shop for the occasion.
Spring came and I signed up for a crawl course. I’d managed to convince my sister to join me for a Swedish Classic and the first race we were doing was the Vansbro Swimming Competition. I’d never crawled in my life, so I decided to do a crawl course. I’d wake up at 5.15 am every Tuesday morning the get to the swimming centre for 6 am. Around the same time, I started to feel a lot better. My mental health was back on track and my spirits lifted.
And then one day, my father called me and asked me to come to Helsingborg. My step mum, Ylva, had been ill for quite some time and she’d recently been diagnosed with cancer on top of her other medical conditions, and things were all of a sudden deteriorating quickly. Work was particularly busy at the time, but I travelled to Helsingborg, stayed with my dad and worked from the hospice where my step mum was. I was with her during her final days of consciousness and I’m so glad I had that opportunity.
I went more or less straight from the hospice to an offsite in Ystad where I finally presented the brand book we’d spent so much time working on. It was a relief to go back to work. During my first day at the offsite my father called and told me that Ylva had passed away. It felt like closure—she’d been in so much pain for such a long time and by the end, she was like a shadow of former herself. I know that this is something that people say, but in this case it was really true.
A few weeks later we drove to Åre for our annual skiing trip. It’s usually a pretty intense trip and going on a skiing trip with three kids as a ”responsible adult” isn’t exactly what my holidays pre-H and the kids were like hehe, so it’s taken me a few years to get used to. Thankfully I have an amazing partner in crime who is the most patient person on this planet and picks me up whenever I fall down.
I went to Vienna with my best mates from college to celebrate Jacob’s 30th. He lived in Vienna at the time and it was a glorious weekend of great food, wine, and hikes.
A few weeks later I travelled to Paris and VivaTech for a big product announcement we had coming up.
Gabi and Nathalie happened to be in Paris at the same time, so we decided to spend an extra 24 hours there together. It was amazing. It had been so long since I spent time on my own with girl mates and we had such a blast. I came back home from Paris feeling refreshed and energised, which—mildly put—isn’t always a feeling I have after a work trip.
I flew back to Sweden and went straight from the airport to the estate agent’s office. I had just sold my flat! I wasn’t allowed to let it for longer than a year and that time was essentially up, so I decided to sell it. It was an emotional decision for sure, but at the end of the day an easy one to make. I loved that place, but not anywhere near as much as I loved living with H and the kids.
We headed to Geneva a few weeks later. H was going there for work, I came with and we went to the Geneva Polo Club (!). Not exactly where I normally hang out, but a fun experience regardless.
A few days later I flew to London with work for London Tech Week. Looking back, it seems *insane* that I travelled so much and so often, but I didn’t really think much about it at the time. Mapillary had been nominated for an award and I was overdue a catch-up with several UK-based journalists, so I went.
Summer came and we painted the lounge blue. Here’s what it looked like before.
We went to Koster for our annual two-week summer holiday and spent most of the time playing board games, going swimming, fishing, and eating delicious food.
I took the train to Vansbro to take part in the Vansbro Swimming Competition, the first of four competitions that you need to do to qualify for the Swedish Classic. My sister and I had both been practising for months so we were very excited and it was a great experience overall.
We went back to Malmö and had a phenomenal summer. I bought some garden furniture which felt like a very big thing at the time—I haven’t really been the one to spend a lot of money on furniture, so getting furniture for the garden was a big indicator that my priorities were changing.
H and I went to London for Claire’s and Lucy’s wedding on what was the hottest day ever recorded. It peaked at 38 degrees and it felt even hotter. Even so, it was a great day and I loved getting to show H the city I’d lived in for so long.
And a few weeks later we went to Åre for a three-day wedding that included excursions like zip-lining and mountain biking.
Meanwhile, I was hard at work training for the next Swedish Classic race—Lidingöloppet! I did two half marathons in 2017 but Lidingöloppet, although it’s just 10k, is infamous for its hills so I was somewhat terrified and kept to a strict training routine.
Our neighbours hosted their annual summer garden festival. They put up a massive circus tent in their garden and host several musicians, magicians, and whoever else wants to put on a show for a magical one night only. Everyone brings food for the buffet and the whole neighbourhood attends. It was the first time I went and it honestly blew my mind. I’ve never lived in a neighbourhood with that kind of community feeling before and I just loved all of it.
Nicole and I met up in Marrakech for a long weekend. We’d had a wild party weekend in Istanbul together a year and a half before, and this trip to Marrakech couldn’t have been more different. We went on daily excursions, went for hamam, did a bit of exercise, visited museums and were in bed by 10 pm every night. Just what I needed.
A few weeks later I’d invited 30 of my closest friends to celebrate my 30th birthday. I agonised over it for months before H and the kids helped me to make a decision during the summer. We would have a sit-down dinner at our house, I hired a chef to come in and do the food, one of the kids and her two best mates did the waitering and H was toastmaster. It was glorious. I was overwhelmed by all of it. People flew in from London and Stockholm, my 80-yo dad stayed up until 1 am, H had written me an actual song that he had all the guests perform and there were plenty of speeches, so I ended up spending much of the evening crying. I wrote about it here. I was so overwhelmed by the party that my actual birthday a week later was spent indoors, watching a film with H. It was perfect.
I flew to Germany for our Mapillary offsite a few weeks later, and straight from there to Stockholm to do Lidingöloppet. I finished it in one hour and four minutes, an astonishing time considering how hilly it is. I was excited to start training for the next race, the skiing race Vasaloppet, but little did I know at the time…
Because three weeks later I found out that I was pregnant! Eeeek. No Vasaloppet for me. I took the tests when I was home alone with the kids and I felt excited, terrified, happy, apprehensive… All the feels really.
For me, the rest of the autumn was really about my pregnancy. I was so worried that I would miscarry and cried with worry almost every day. As ever, work offered me a break from whatever was going on in my mind. I joined the board of Drivhuset, did my first ever big moderator gig as I moderated Nordic Female Investor Meetup, and—of course—I started blogging here at JWHF! This is all in addition to my day time gig at Mapillary, so the autumn was very busy indeed.
I went to Slush, the tech festival in Finland, with work for our busiest press trip ever and somehow managed to avoid any questions about why I wasn’t drinking any alcohol and why I wanted to go to bed so early every night. I was in week 10 or so and still very tired.
I remember thinking that I looked exceptionally pregnant and that ”surely everyone can see this bump”. Ha ha ha. LITTLE DID I KNOW.
H and I went to Talldungen in December to celebrate having done the 13-week scan. I was so relieved and happy to finally have passed 13 weeks, and shortly thereafter, we told the kids.
Christmas came and we celebrated at ours. Me, H, the kids, my sister and her kids, H’s parents and my dad. In total there were 13 of us and it was a rowdy and loud Christmas, and all I’ve ever dreamed of.
And in a gist, that finished off my 2010s. What a wild, wild decade. I’m so grateful for all of it. There’s a great quote that goes something along the lines of ”I’ve seen more than I remember and I remember more than I’ve seen” and that basically sums up these past ten years. My 20s were extraordinary in so many ways… And yet, I honestly believe that my 30s will be even better.