Last year I arrived at a crossroad. My work was unsatisfying, I felt shackled to a routine and the harsh northern winter was gnawing away at my last mental reserves. After leaving my job I was free in a sense that I could break up with everything and choose a completely new path. This liberty however can be crippling because it meant that I didn't know where to go...hence the crossroad.
After taking some time off over Christmas and getting an injection of excitement with the spontaneous roadtrip through Slowenia and Austria I had landed a gig at IO Interactive in Copenhagen. I left Hamburg after 2,5 years with my bicycle, a backpack and an IKEA bag to start a new adventure in the foreign lands of Scandinavia.
A month of onboarding alongside my sound design colleague Kristian, who started on the same day and who proved to be great company in learning the ropes!
Through the connection of a good family friend I got a little room in Österbro, sharing the appartment with a very active 75 y/o danish woman and another guy for the first month. It wasn't much to brag about but I enjoyed living very minimalist with my basic starter kit from Hamburg.
When Corona hit Copenhagen I had been working for 2 weeks and although everyone was immediately sent to work from home, I was lucky enough to work from the studio. Cycling to work in the first weeks of the aftermath was hauntingly beautiful. The streets felt so desolate and empty that gave the city a ghost town feeling which in turn was contrasted by the first signs of spring that announced itself.
A month went by and I had a lot of fun getting into the flow of work and learning about our engine, diving back into Wwise and doing very hands-on sound design tasks! At the beginning of April I crossed the Öresund bridge for the first time and set foot in the land of Sweden.
At first, Malmö seemed like a cute little coastal town that didn't live up to the standards that Copenhagen set but after the first month I slowly opened up to the city and its people. I had already been learning some Swedish over Duolingo 2 prior so I could make out certain things when I engaged with pescy adminstration. I also had some colleagues help with translation of important formal documents that I received in the native language.
The studio in Malmö was also a big hit at first since most people were still stuck in Quarantine and I really wanted to meet everyone. I definitely suffered some loneliness and got a bit homesick in the first few months of being here but when people slowly got back and I started hanging out with colleagues it went uphill again.
Besides learning Swedish I also engaged in the street skating culture and converted an old deck that I found thrown away in my nearby park to get myself a functioning skateboard along with some real skating shoes and a jeans vest! My sound design colleague Gabriel was kind and keen enough to teach me the basics of this new past time that I really came to enjoy it; hitting up the famous skatepark Stapelbadsparken every Sunday for a ritual skate session
So, after having left the crossroad half a year ago I find myself practicing ollies in Scandinavia, embracing nordic culture and learning the ins and outs of AAA game development. I feel like I am back in the hands of the sculptur, a piece of clay being moulded into something new. A lot of what I experience is outside my comfort zone but I am grateful for this opportunity and optimistic that I have a lot to learn here. :)