Erika Andersson and Andrew Allen left a high-intensity life in London and found a balance in life in Boden. “Life with children is ten times better here,” says Andrew.
Erika was born and raised in Boden but has lived all her adult life in London. The family often thought about leaving the big city and finding peace somewhere else, either in Norrbotten or in central England where her husband Andrew Allen grew up. But they never came to shots, that right situation never occurred. Andrew was busy with consulting jobs as a quality developer in the education system and when Erika returned to working life after parental leave, it was as office manager at a number of large companies. Life continued and the days were long for the whole family, they rarely ate dinner before 6.30 pm.
Until one day Erika got an answer to a job application she threw away, a bit on a gamble. The job was in Boden and started soon.
– It was so unexpected. But I did not want to sit there when I’m 80 and say “Think about …”. It was now or never. I wanted the children to learn more Swedish and meet their relatives while they are still there. I wanted to give them what I experienced as a child, like skiing. I love snow and I wanted to give them the chance to experience it when they were little.
She decided to try living here for a while with her sons Oscar and Oliver, if it did not feel right they could always move back. Even though Erika had a job, housing, school and preschool were needed for the children, who were then seven and soon four years old, so it became a priority to get everything together. They lived alternately with Erika’s mother in Luleå and father in Boden and the parents often showed up with childcare, which made it much easier in the beginning.
– They were very helpful and happy to help, says Erika.
For a year and a half, Andrew stayed in London to complete some major assignments and to sell the home. Just before Brexit and the pandemic struck in March 2020, he moved to Boden full time, and then it was to a large 1920s house in Bodsvedjan where the family settled.
– As if by accident, this job appeared. I could see what they were trying to achieve here and it was in line with my own values and thoughts about learning by doing, says Andrew.
Ever since he entered the industry 17 years ago, it has been his main goal to increase collaboration between education and business and that is precisely an important part of his job here in Boden. This autumn, four new YH educations will start, three in games and one in tourism, and it is a hectic time for Andrew and his colleagues.
– I look forward to the development. There are great opportunities and we want to put Boden on the international map. If we can be a leader in this area, it is important for how the whole society develops, he says.
Of course, the family misses certain parts of life in London, such as hanging out with friends in the park or at a restaurant. At the same time, they are very grateful that they lived right here during the pandemic. Sometimes they hardly dare to mention that they have just been out skiing when talking to acquaintances in England.
In Boden, Erika and Andrew experience that they live cheaper, they have more quality of life, more space and above all more time together. They thrive in the house in Bodsvedjan and appreciate that it is safe for the children to cycle around and that it is close to the center.
– It feels like we have got what we expected. We wanted a slower pace, before we were very busy and everything went super fast. Now we have more quality time with the family. To have breakfast and dinner together every day and talk to each other, I think is very important, says Andrew.
Today Oscar is 11 years old and Oliver 8 and they have a very active life and many friends. So this year there will be a lot of skiing both performed and in the long run and during the summer season football is their biggest interest.
– Everything is nearby and it saves a lot of time. It is close to Storklinten and to the cross-country trails in Pagla and Sävast and the play hall where they play football is right next door, says Erika. #