From São Paulo to Scandinavia

Like many members of our community, expat partner Beatriz Facio had mixed feelings about giving up her career and relocating to the other side of the world. But she’s now feeling more at home in Malmö.

Building relationships

“After we moved, for many months, I missed Brazil and sometimes I still do. But good friendships have made it easier to feel at home in Sweden,” says Beatriz, a paediatric nurse and an academic from São Paulo, who relocated to Malmö in August 2021. “Another expat partner was my first connection here. She contacted me after receiving an email notification via the Global Connection directory that I had moved to Malmö and said: ‘We have lots in common. Let’s hang out the Swedish way and go for ‘fika’! Now we’re close friends! I have also made friends at my language classes and workshops that I’ve attended.”

There goes the sun…

“Obviously the weather is a complete contrast to Brazil. I was worried about the short days and long nights during winter, so I made sure to google some tips for how to stay healthy and positive when you see so little daylight!” says Beatriz. “After one year, having experienced all four seasons, I think that I love autumn in Malmö most of all.”

Closing up early

Besides the weather, Beatriz has also slowly adjusted to some extreme cultural changes: “The streets are so calm here, even in the daytime. São Paulo, where we had lived in Brazil, is like New York – a city that never sleeps. If you decide you want Thai food at 2am, you can find it! If you need a pharmacy in the middle of the night, you’ll find one. We were kind of shocked to go to a restaurant in Malmö with friends and discover it had closed at 5pm on a Saturday.”

Play it cool!

“In Brazil, we say hello and acknowledge nearly everyone we meet or pass in the street! You say hello or exchange some words. But in Sweden, everyone looks straight ahead or looks down when they pass you. My husband had to tell me I didn’t need to say ‘hej’  to everyone I passed!” says Beatriz. “I don’t know many Swedish people so well. My friends are mainly newcomers to Malmö, like me. But learning Swedish has also given me confidence about living here.”

Photo: Beatriz and her husband