Toughest 10 Things About Living Abroad

I realize that people from home may tire of hearing about all the things we love about Sweden. Maybe I don’t talk as often as I should about the things I miss about living in Nashville. So here it is: a list of the top 10 things that I miss from home!

Cost of living

Things like eating out, grabbing a beer, and just about everything else cost a bit more in Stockholm than they do in Nashville. Now that JoEllen and I both earn salary in the Swedish kroner, this is a little less painful but when we think about how many US dollars certain things cost we still cringe a little.

Fried chicken (and other Southern food)

Mmmm chicken. I miss you, Chick-fil-A. And Cracker Barrel, with your delicious fried okra and macaroni and cheese. Good ole southern cooking is just so comforting, and there is nothing abroad that can compare.


For six years JoEllen and I spent four days every summer surrounded by positive vibes, live music, friends, and spicy pie at Bonnaroo. My heart breaks a little every year in June when all my fellow Bonnaroovians gather on the farm without us. I hope to make it back someday.

Time zone TV

Since we are seven hours ahead of our old Nashville time zone, we are sound asleep when most TV shows are airing. This means we don’t get to enjoy the shows at the same time as everyone else. More frustrating are the never ending attempts to avoid spoilers. Several shows (and wrestling matches) have been ruined because of social media and friends texting spoilers. Please stop!!

Our favorite bars

Is there anything better than meeting a few of your friends at your favorite bar? Though JoEllen and I have found several nice spots in Stockholm, we miss our old favorites like The Flying Saucer and Two Bits. Some Sundays I wish I could call up a few friends and camp out somewhere with a board game like the good ole days.

Live music

Leaving one of the greatest cities in the world for live music is just tough. Everywhere you go in Nashville there is a quality band playing, and just about every touring band stops through. Since Stockholm is so far north, not too many bands make it up here, and when they do, tickets are not cheap.

Mexican food

Gooey, goopy, salty, cheesy, spicy, crunchy, delicious, delicious Mexican food, I miss you SO much. Margaritas, nachos, spicy salsa, sizzling plates of fajitas are almost worth moving back for.

Family holidays

Obviously, being so far from family can be rough, especially on holidays. JoEllen especially has a difficult time on Thanksgiving missing out on all the good food and family love. This year’s Christmas was especially lonely for me, I missed being part of family traditions like opening stockings and avoiding drama.


Though not keeping in touch with family isn’t really an option, not keeping in touch with friends is. The longer JoEllen and I have stayed in Sweden, the more out of touch we become with many of our closest friends. I understand that we are the ones that left the country and that maintaining the same level of friendship is nearly impossible. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it sucks.

Nieces and nephews

Saying goodbye to my nieces Harper and Collins was by far the most difficult part of leaving America and being away from them remains to be the hardest part of living abroad. I miss them and the countless little ones on JoEllen’s side of the family. They grow up so fast and we are not there to see them changing and to support them as they go through life.

Though living abroad is an amazing experience, it is not a never-ending sequence of trips and exciting adventures. Being far away from home isn’t always easy. Some things just can’t be replaced.

2 Comments on “Toughest 10 Things About Living Abroad

  1. So happy you are having the experience of living abroad, but we miss ya’ll too!! 😘❤️😘

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