I struggled to write this post. Usually when I can’t think of anything to write, I just don’t. It’s easier that way. But I feel like this one needed to be written. It should be reflective and thoughtful. Maybe it should bring a tear to your eye. Or to mine. But mostly it was hastily written and became more of a stream of consciousness post. Which is funny, because I hate that style of writing, once mocking it in an essay in high school after having read As I Lay Dying. But so it goes.
I’m back in the US now. And I’m scared shitless. There isn’t a part of me that isn’t scared. I’m horribly nervous. All of me. And those two feelings are pretty overpowering right about now.
I was in Sweden for over three years. My first year was pretty miserable mixed with a whole lot of good. But hardly a day went by that I didn’t want to leave. Couldn’t figure out why I was there. Couldn’t figure out why I was putting so many relationships into that situation. Then it got worse. For a lot of reasons. Many of them my own doing. Many of them still my own doing.
I ran home to my mamma and pappa. That’s what they are there for I think. And I moped around Greeley for six weeks. Miserably moped. And they put up with me because somewhere in my birth certificate it says that they have to. And when it came time to leave, I damn near lost it when my ticket said I had to fly back to an empty apartment in a crappy part of the Stockholm suburbs with no job and few friends. It wouldn’t have been the first time I lost it in that first year. Life was not good. In my own privileged world. Which is unfortunate, because despite bitching and moaning quite a bit, despite being a grass is always greener kind of person, it is very seldom that life isn’t good for me.
But then I managed to scrape together a life in Stockholm. It took a while, but it happened. I made friends. Suddenly, I didn’t spend entire weekends at home watching Friday Night Lights. I found a job I enjoyed. And that paid me when I was supposed to be paid. I found that I was more than capable of being an adult. Except for trying to cook for myself. It was a strange revelation. But one that I suppose was necessary. I have moments when I still struggle being an adult. It’s an exhausting process.
Stranger still was that once I made the realization that I had a life in Sweden. That I had friends. That I had a responsible, good paying job. That I was half an adult. Well, I decided to run away and move back to the US. I decided that the job I liked wasn’t something that I was going to like years from now. I decided that despite having a life in Sweden, I didn’t want to spend my life in Sweden. I decided I had people I cared about more than I sometimes admit here in the US.
All those questions I had that first year, were answered really by the third. I moved to test myself. To be horribly selfish and do things on my own. But I couldn’t quite let go of home, in more ways than one. And that’s what I learned by year three. That I didn’t need to. That I didn’t want to. That I shouldn’t have to. I learned what I might want to do for the rest of my life, and I learned what I definitely don’t want to do for the rest of my life. I learned enough to know that it was time to leave. And some things are worth moving for. And so I did.
And now I’m struggling again with trying to acclimate. Trying to realize that this isn’t just a run home to mamma and pappa. That this is more permanent. That I have chosen a new career path that has so very little to do with what I have done in the past. That I may end up being in my 30s with experience and education that no one cares about and find myself horribly unemployed. This has resulted in me walking around with a knot in my stomach and eating and drinking enough yogurt to have cultivated a burgeoning civilization in my gut.
So in just a few weeks, I’ll be migrating east. East of Greeley, Colorado to the great Midwest. And by great I mean expansive, not necessarily better than good. And so I will find myself in what can best be described as Scandinavian America. But that doesn’t have much of a ring to it, so instead in an ethnocentric sort of way I will be a Swedish American in Swedish-America.
Welcome to the US. And a Swedish American moving to Swedish-America.
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