Monday, March 23, 2015

Trailing Spouse Advice: Something For Yourself

my hockey team, VIK Dam, after our tournament this past weekend
Hockey is a small world, and as such I receive e-mails every so often from other hockey wives who's spouses are considering making the move to Europe for their career. Beyond just being a hockey wife, these women (and myself) are what could be considered trailing spouses. A trailing spouse is somebody who follows their significant other to a new city, state, or even country, because of their spouse's career.  While there are so many benefits to this lifestyle, there are also downfalls. One of the downfalls can be a loss of identity, feeling as though you don't really fit into the new place. Especially in this lifestyle, my husband already has things set: he has his work, and with that comes his team and a built-in group of friends. For the wives, this isn't necessarily true. Personally, moving to Sweden meant quitting my job, leaving my hockey team, and leaving behind all of my friends and family. This can be a difficult transition, but there are ways to smooth it over.

One of my biggest pieces of advice to others who are in the same position as myself is to have something to do for yourself. Whether that is taking classes at a school or online, joining a team, blogging, or finding work on your own, it is important to maintain your identity as an individual. For myself, playing hockey on a team has made all the difference this past year. Find something for yourself, and have something that is yours

Ignoring the fact that I love hockey, being a part of the team has helped improve my quality of life in Sweden in so many ways. My hockey team is exactly that- it is my hockey team. Being a member of this team has helped me to create my own identity and life in Sweden, and have something here that is for me. Rather than just waiting for Nick to come home from practice, or watching his games, I have something that is my own. And of course, it's nice that Nick and I switch roles every once in awhile, and he is the one sitting in the stands cheering me on!

I have made great friends through my hockey teams, both this year and last year. This year's team has been especially fantastic at including me in everything the team does, and reaching out to help me fit in. Because with the language barrier, it can be difficult. Some of the best conversations I've had this year have been with girls on my team, and even girls on the other teams. This past weekend, I met another woman living here in Sweden who was from Minnesota as well, a town about 15 minutes from where I grew up. I had a wonderful chat with her about the similarities and differences between Sweden and Minnesota, both in terms of daily life and in hockey terms. 

I'm completely aware that this post is a bit of a ramble, and I'm also completely fine with that. In a way, this post is a thank you to each of the individuals I've met through my hockey team. You've helped me to have something of my own, and continue doing something I love. In another way, this post is advice for other hockey wives or trailing spouses: find something you love, and pursue that in your own time. Having a passion of your own will create more happiness for you, and make transitions when moving from place to place easier. 

With the other captains for the women's team!
one of my friends & fellow hockey wife,  Ashley, came to watch one of my games :)
huddled up before a game


  1. It is so true that you have to find something for yourself when you move abroad. It can really make your experience abroad so much more enjoyable. It is great that you have such a great group of friends in your hockey team!

    1. So much more enjoyable! Last year it was nice for the first few months with nothing to do…but then just got boring! So happy to have so much going on to keep me busy now.

  2. Wow, I love this. It felt like I was reading my own thoughts. Sometimes this can get really hard but yeah, I have also noticed the difference of these feeling once I started my masters and by reaching out to the blogging community. I'm so happy to see that things are great! Nick has a lot reasons to cheer on you. Go Samantha! :-)

    1. Right there with ya! I love that now I have my MBA, blog, and hockey on my own… I can see that you feel the same :) It is amazing how much easier expat life gets the more involved you are!


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