South Buffalo native Lindsey Higgins never expected to call Stockholm, Sweden, home. But in 2012, Higgins found herself packing her bags to move 4,000 miles away, to a country some consider one of the happiest places in the world to live.
“I fell in love with Stockholm pretty quickly after I moved here. It’s a beautiful city. I fell in love with the old buildings, and all of the green space,” Higgins said. “There’s also, I guess, kind of a different attitude with Swedes. People are very respectful of your space. A lot of people see that as it’s hard to get to know people here, but for me, I find it refreshing.”
With a master's degree in geography, Higgins was drawn to Stockholm for a doctorate project looking at human environmental interactions in East Africa, reconstructing past climates using sediment from the bottom of a lake.
“I’ve always been really interested in how people interact with the environment, especially related to climate,” Higgins said.
While her love of her work drew her to Sweden, her heart will always belong to Buffalo, specifically, South Buffalo.
“South Buffalo’s a pretty tightknit place. You grow up there, and you get married there, and you have your kids there. And it just continues on that way,” she said.
Name: Lindsey Higgins
Current location: Stockholm, Sweden
Previous location: Buffalo until 2010; Columbus, Ohio until 2012
Miss most about Buffalo: People: family and friends.
Love most about Stockholm: The old buildings, the green space
While Higgins isn’t currently living in Western New York, she is planning her wedding to her Swedish fiancé, Patrik Mattsson, in Buffalo.
“It’s home,” Higgins said. “We thought a lot about where, people might want to see and experience things, and we settled on Buffalo.”
It seems fitting for Higgins and Mattsson, who first connected over Buffalo band the Goo Goo Dolls when they met in 2015.
“We kind of figured, either way, whether we have it in Sweden or have it in Buffalo, half the guests would have to travel,” Higgins said. “But for me, it means a lot to be able to go home and do it in a familiar place.”
Seeking a feeling a familiarity, Higgins and Mattsson want a very relaxed Buffalo wedding, complete with pizza and wings.
“When I go back to Buffalo, pizza and wings, that’s special to me,” Higgins said.
Because of the distance, Higgins only gets back to Buffalo once every year and a half. Some of her fondest memories growing up in the Queen City are of baseball games.
“I spent my whole childhood going to [Buffalo] Bisons games,” said Higgins, who took her fiancé to his first baseball game when in town this past summer.
Her love of the sport started as a young girl, playing softball with the South Buffalo little league, which her dad used to run. She played softball all through school, playing for Hutchinson Central Technical High School.
She also spent a good portion of her childhood at Tifft Nature Preserve, then Tifft Farms.
“You could hold your hand out with seeds and the chickadees would come,” Higgins said.
Another childhood favorite, Custard Corner in South Buffalo.
Higgins says it’s difficult living so far away from her home.
“It’s easier having access to video chat and electronic communication," she said. "But it’s tough because I don’t get to see my nieces grow up and that’s what I think is the hard part of being so far away.”
But as much as she misses everyone, for her and her fiancé, life is in Sweden now with their three cats.
“I moved to Sweden in my 20s and I’ve been here for six years now. Life is pretty much here,” Higgins said. “Sweden is a great place. The health care system, the education system. Life works well here.”