Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Beginning of the End

I have lived abroad for 1099 days. That is three years and a couple of days. I arrived in Stockholm on June 5th, 2007. That means I just passed my three year anniversary of living abroad the other day. It felt good. I think.

I think, because my time in Sweden is coming to an end. I will be moving back to the US on June 30th, 2010. I’ve quit my job. I’ve been travelling. I’ve been taking full advantage of all that Sweden and Europe has to offer in these closing weeks. And it feels good. I think.

I think, because I’ve been here for three years and I have a good life here. Good friends. Good job. Good everything. But I think because it is time to go home. Staying longer I run the risk of settling here. As much as I enjoy Sweden, I am American. I don’t want to settle here. And I tend to be a grass is always greener on the other side. It just happens that this time the other side is across the Atlantic.

The US is home. Even if in the last three years I have spent less than 10 weeks in the United States. Even if I am moving to a state I have never been to. To a city I have never been to. To a place where I don’t know a soul. I suppose home is relative.

The blog will continue until I leave. It will continue again in the US. I’m not sure exactly how. Or why. But the closer I get to my date of departure, the more worried I am about the culture shock I will encounter in the US. I have grown accustomed to my life here. There are plenty of things I don’t like about Sweden, but plenty of things I do. There are plenty of things I don’t like about the US, but plenty of things I do.

I’ll probably bitch and moan about the US like I’ve done about Sweden. Because that is just kind of what I do. I’ll probably still end up stabbing myself in the neck with toothpicks while I sleep or electrocute myself in the bathroom. Because that is just kind of what I do.

I am excited about what is coming. I’m nervous as it gets closer. I am excited about what I am moving to. I’m nervous about what I am moving from. It’s time though. Time to go home.

Welcome to Sweden. And my last few weeks.

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  1. I've enjoyed your writings the last six months or so and will look forward to hear about your "reverse culture shock".
    Best of luck on a new start!

  2. I truly hated reading this ominous title and am sad to read the post, but sad in a happy way. Sad that we're going to miss your special brand of "edutainment" but happy for you that you're on your way "home". It's been such a pleasure "reading you" this past year or more. I look forward to your posts, I enjoy your posts and I will miss your posts. Godspeed Hairy! You'll have to let us in on exactly where you're relocating. Virtual Hugs to You!

  3. Good luck on your move! I'm going to miss your posts from Sweden but I'm looking forward to read about your experiences moving back. After 10 years in the US (Colorado to be more exact) I moved back 1,5 yrs ago and it was indeed a culture shock for me. It's strange feeling that way in your own culture, but eventually you'll get used to it... Have some fabulous last weeks here and a wonderful journey home!

  4. Jag hoppas att du fortsätter med din blogg även i USA. Jag har följt den i drygt två år, även om jag inte kommenterat så mycket. Du får ju inte bli för bortskämd...

    Vilket state och stad är det du ska flytta till föressten? Om du inte vill att kulturkrocken ska bli allt för stor så är kanske St-Paul eller Minneapolis ett bra tips. :)

  5. Good luck!!
    It's been really good reading you, looking forward reading what the next adventure has to offer you:)
    If it makes you feel better, I call home the place where I know I will never be. Still, is exciting to live in 'almost-home' places!

    Enjoy your last weeks!!

  6. Wow! Exciting! I guess you must be busy selling all your stuff on Blocket!

    Good luck!

  7. Good luck on the move back home!
    I hope you'll still do the blog when in the US. Now with the experience of all things Swedish you could find new things about the US you hadn't thought about before.

  8. Sounds like you're on your way to something exciting. Please keep up the posting though, I'm sure your insights are only going to get even funnier (in the best of ways) when going back. Too bad a meetup never happened, but oh well. Good luck!

  9. I found this blog while searching for information about moving to and living in Sweden, but the reason I kept reading is because you're a really good writer and I enjoy your perspectives on the topics you choose. I'll continue reading as long as you keep writing! :D Hope your moving back to America goes smoothly!

  10. Congrats, I think! We used your advice a lot on planning to move to Stockholm last year.

  11. Oh my Gosh... You moved here the same time I did... I got here a month after you.... : )

    as you might have guessed I came from Seattle...
    I miss it a LOT.... But, I am not so sure I would ever move back... ;\

    I do wish you much good luck on your journey... :-)


    Just a Gurl From Seattle....

  12. @ Angelique - We used United/Allied Intl. when we moved back to Sweden 1,5 yr ago. I don't remember exactly what we payed but they offered the best deal of all the companies we got quotes from. Took 5-6 weeks (we moved from Denver to Stockholm, so I'm sure it would be cheaper and quicker when moving from Boston) to get it here and they handled the customs and everything.

  13. OH my gosh! so sad! I suppose I will be moving to sweden to do my 3 year stint while you will be heading back to the states. Thank you for you all your entertaining stories and mentally (inadvertently) preparing me for life over there. Cheers and good luck!

    Does that mean no american expat group in Stockholm?

  14. Please keep writing. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts for years. Your musings on most anything are great.

  15. I am officially depressed but excited for you. Just when I am trying to begin my adventure in Stockholm, you are leaving! I have gotten some great tips, advice and laughs from your blog.

    Interested to know where you are headed..

    Maybe you can help me find a roommate? ;)

  16. Floridian in FinlandJune 8, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    I suspected you'd be moving back soon due to the sporadic postings in the last few months. Interesting that you don't feel more comfortable over there despite having a Swedish father and speaking the language fluently. Even if you won't be an expat over in the US, I hope you find an expat/Swedish expat community over in your new city. Those who have lived as expats always have a connection I think. I hope you're not disappointed upon your move back. Looking forward to your new blogging adventures.

  17. I feel the pain and the excitement. I am moving back to Charlotte in August. Even though I have my house there (I was only supposed to be here for 8 months, but have been here for a year and a half now), I feel as though my life is here. I have friends here, I had a job here, I know my day to day routine. When I move back, I will have a house, and easier grocery shopping, but not much else.

    I hope your move back goes smooth. Do you have a job lined up and that's why you are moving to a different state?

  18. "... and so it goes..."
    --Kurt Vonnegut

  19. I have been reading your blog for the past 5 months and it has all been very helpful as Im now living in Sweden with my boyfriend. I like that I could\can get a great perspective of life here without any bias. I like a lot of what you have to say and I love what you write. It's kind of odd, my informal virtual eyes and ears
    I understand the time for changeof Sweden is leaving as Im just getting here lol.
    Though and Im glad youre excited about it. I wish you all the best on the next adventure. Until next time.

  20. Very sorry to see the end of your posts, I have read through all your archives and have been following daily for updates. You're a great writer and the content has been very insightful for me as I prepare my move to Sweden this fall. I hope you'll write some more updates about your transition back to the states.

    Based on your quips about California I'm guessing you aren't headed here, but on the off chance that you are I'd love to buy you a beer :)

  21. Hi, I think this is may be my first post here, sadly enough. Just wanted to say I've really enjoyed reading your blog, the last few years I've read different blogs by expats in Sweden, and I have to say, yours is a favourite! I'm glad that you'll continue writing when you get back to the US, I'd really miss it if you quit. Thanks for all the laughs and thoughts!

  22. Welcome back (in a little while) to the states, my friend. I'm super stoked to have you only 4 hours away from me rather than 4,285 miles.

  23. I guess that acting gig in Trollhättan didn't work out?

    Thanks for all the blogging. It has been both entertaining and comforting to see the unique details of Swedish life through another set of North American eyes.

    Lycka till!


  24. I've enjoyed your blog about your life in Sweden!! It has been very entertaining :) Can't wait to hear about your life back in the U.S. and in a brand new city.

    Hope you have a trouble free move. Good luck to you :)

  25. An American GirlJune 8, 2010 at 6:23 PM

    Welcome back to the US, Hairy. America has missed you.

  26. I wish you good luck moving back "home". I have followed your blog for about 6 months and find it very interesting and funny. I am a Swede living in Canada for 22 years and I can definitely laugh (and sometimes disagree) at your comments about my former home country. I hope you continue writing about your new adventures in a new state.

  27. Sorry to hear you are leaving Sweden, but glad for you that you are going home. I hope you continue writing as your posts are truly enjoyable to read. Good luck in the new State! Do you have a job then already? Or are you starting over totally new?

  28. Good luck in your new environment, and as different as it may be to Sweden... Please keep up the good work by entertaining us with your funny posts! Sweden seems to have been a great inspiration for you, but I'm sure you'll always find something worth telling with as much talent as before!

  29. I like change, so I am happy for you. I also like your blog, so I hope there will be A Swedish American in the US.


  30. You leaving blows. Majorly. But I absolutely understand it, and will be sure to stop by on my way to St Paul, Minnesota, some day! :)

  31. I just wanted to say that I have been following your blog for a while and have really enjoyed reading about your experiences.

    I moved from the UK to Umeå nearly 2 years ago and will soon (ish) be returning so I understand your trepidation.

    Good luck with everything :)

  32. Nooooo.. this makes me sad! I love your Sweden stories and I love the way you write them. There are times I miss the US, of course, but I'm settled in Scandinavia. Now I just need someone to build a Target!

  33. Well, Im glad I found your blog when I did. It helped me some and I found it so right on point ( once I got here ) I would love to get some fika before u leave, but why would you go to fika with a complete stranger who "met" u on your blog LOL

    Either way, hope everything goes well! And thanks for the blog, it helped me know what to expect once I got to SHLM

  34. Well good luck with the move back home! Where are you moving to? I hope you keep up the blog considering its glorious!!!!

  35. NEJ!!! NEJ NEJ NEJ!!!!! Är det sådant här du vill att jag ska läsa efter att ha varit utan dator alldeles för länge?

    Du kan inte sluta blogga. Snällaaaaaaa......... Började nästan grina av att läsa det här inlägget, he he...

    Hejdå :(

  36. Goodbyes are a very tough thing for me. And it is funny that I have read your blog for only a couple of months, but it did freeze my heart to read your post tonight. Maybe because it is so hard to have a sense of connection nowadays and your blog, from so far away, gave me a sense of that. Then again this is just my hypersensitivity talking. HAVING A DIFFERENT BREEZE BLOW ON OUR FACE, WIPING SOME OF THE PAST OFF AND STARTING OVER IS SOMETHING IN-COM-PA-RA-BLE. So here's to you and a new beginning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Best of luck,

  37. ah the reverse culture shock. it can be brutal and most around you won't understand. how very irritating americans can be and worse when you remember you are one too! good luck and please continue blogging....about anything!

  38. I am a 23 year old business major living in California. Sometimes I feel trapped by my American existence. I found your blog last summer when I was looking for travel tips in Sweden. I wanted to explore my heritage. I ended up not going because of financial reasons. But your blog filled a huge void for me, gave me some culture I could feel was my own. The first day I read your blog I was hooked. I stayed up all night for three days reading the archives and have kept up with you ever since. You are a great writer. I hope you don't give it up. Many thanks for all your posts.

  39. I guess every good thing meets its end.
    You know, I never told you why I ended up in your blog. I got interested in this Swedish girl, to the point of falling in love after being with her for five days. A year and a half passed, we talked... rarely online. The feelings held strong for a year. And in the end, I came to the conclusion of how rare that was, and that it was her right to know how I felt for that year. So I decided to go tell her, personally. I searched for tips to survive in Sweden; I was planning on staying there just long enough to tell her, and I ended up on your blog. In its very own way, influenced me, encouraged me.
    So I went there. I told her. And I guess after that, I'll never be the same.
    It's not like it's the blog I comment the most. But it's one of those that makes me laugh the most. And one I hold dear.

    I guess this can be summed up into a giant "thank you".

    Godspeed, Hairy Swede. Looking forward to your new American adventure.
    PS: my word verification word is "waste". What a waste this is indeed.

  40. Haven't been in here for a while and what do I see - you're moving back to the US!! As a Swede abroad it has been great fun to read your stories about your experiences of the country and the people (and what great laughs I have had while reading - you have been spot on in regards to so much!!!)

    After soon 4 years away from Sweden I cannot even imagine how it would be moving back - bit can in a way understand your "I know what I have but not what I get" feelings even though one in a way knows what to get and expect - you change more than the country when being away :)

    Have a fun last few weeks in Sweden and good luck with your move - and I do hope you will continue to blog when you're all settled again!

  41. Well how sad. I started reading your blog literally when I first agreed to move here. I was googling stuff about Americans in Sweden, found this, and got stuck. I will have you know I have never before or after gotten attached to any blog. Just you. I am a serial monogamist. I am feeling a little abandoned however, left hanging. I will miss your posts and I guess I will try to find a replacement. Maybe. Or I'll at least try a rebound blog for a while and see how I feel....lycka till!

  42. It's sad to see that you are leaving, I've enjoyed your blog and views on sweden/swedish behavior very much..

    Hoppas allt går bra för dig med flytten och tack för alla underhållande inlägg!


  43. To quote a former US president, well known for his presidential command of the English language:

    "And so the fact that they purchased the machine meant somebody had to make the machine. And when somebody makes a machine, it means there's jobs at the machine-making place."

    Good luck at the machine-making place, if that's where you're going.

    And please - keep on writing!

  44. Vad roligt för dig att du ska flytta hem till USA. Men vad tråkigt för oss som följt din blogg! Har roat mig med att gå in och läsa din underhållande blogg varje vecka! :)

    Hoppas resan hem går bra och att Arlanda inte "bråkar" med dig.. ;)

  45. Wow, I can't believe you are leaving Sweden! Have a safe flight back to the USA :).

  46. These were all so very nice to read. Especially so many years later. Thank you, everyone.

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