Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A New Adventure

It’s been almost five years since I started writing this blog. And almost one since I wrote anything last. I moved from Sweden two years ago. A lot has happened since then. Some of it worth writing down, some of it not. Most of it unrelated to Swedish stuff, hence the silence.

I’m back in Sweden now, albeit just for a few days. Visiting friends. Visiting family. Just visiting. It’s nice to be back. It reminds me of everything I left and had. Some of those memories are amazing. And some memories I can’t shake despite trying my damndest. I suppose spending three years here and building a life here does that to you.

I look back at some of the things I wrote (and there’s a lot of words written here…) and like to see who I was and who I have become. Some of the things I wrote, I don’t agree with at all anymore. Five years of living does that to you apparently. Some of the things I wrote I still agree with wholeheartedly. Some of the things I wrote, I wrote to get a rise out of people. Some of the things I wrote, I wrote because I needed to bitch and moan, and it is strangely cathartic for me to bitch and moan in writing. All of it I wrote from an American perspective. That’s what I brought with me. This was never meant to be a critical look at Swedish society by a Swede. It was meant to follow the good and bad of moving to a new country through the eyes of an American who just happened to have a Swedish background. There were bound to be problems and frustrations. There were bound to be viewpoints that clashed with what many Swedes believe. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It made me who I am today. For better or worse.

But every time I come back, I miss this place. I am reminded of everything that has changed. Friends who are married and having children (not necessarily in that order). Friends who are moving away from Sweden. Friends who are moving elsewhere in Sweden. New careers, new apartments, just new. But I am also reminded of everything that has not changed. The silence on the subway. Being ignored in stores. There is something calming about all of that. Both that which has changed and that which has remained the same.

Maybe someday I’ll move back. But not yet. Instead, my youngest brother just moved to Sweden. He will be working on his master's degree here for the next two years. He is moving alone (I’d like to think he learned from my mistakes and isn’t dragging a girl with him, but I think he’s just smarter than me).

He will begin writing just as I did. In fact, he’ll be writing on this blog as the Throwing Swede. There’s a good chance he won’t agree with some of the things I said. There’s a good chance he will experience plenty of the culture shock that I did. Regardless though, it will be something new. He’ll of course bring his own American perspective, just as I did. Because when it comes down to it, despite our backgrounds, we were raised in the US and what we experience here in Sweden will always be clouded, to some extent, by our American perspectives.

With my brother writing, I will be trying to write once a week from the US. Hopefully the pressure of having someone else to work with will force my hand (or my typing fingers at least). We’ll see. Regardless, I hope you stay with the blog and follow my brother’s journey. I hope you continue to comment (good and bad), agree and disagree, and most importantly read.

Welcome to Sweden. And a new adventure.

6 comments:

  1. What university will he be attending? If by some chance he is coming to Skåne I would be happy to help him out with any logistics.

    I was directed to your blog by the girl you dragged along with you so I even sort of know him through about 4 degrees of separation!

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  2. Good to hear from you, because now I know you're not dead. It's weird that I have two friends that died on facebook, one for over a year now, and their accounts are just hanging out there. I get birthday notices for them. But, anyway I digress. We spent two weeks in Sweden in June, and I definitely saw the ignore feature in shops. I mean at one point, just to test this out, I walked up to the counter in a used book store, and the clerk ignored me, until I finally said, "Ursäkta mig?" Had I not read your blogs, I would have thought it was me.

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  3. I wonder if you still feel like you'll drive a mile to buy milk "just because you can". That was something that really turned me off from reading this blog– that you seemed to hate that Swedes are less car centric. Weighing the pro's and con's of transportation in US vs Sweden I personally feel Sweden is superior in every respect.

    Anyway, reading this post was very touching. I myself was born and raised in Malmö but moved to the US (LA to be exact) and have visited Sweden every so often since. I know how it feels to go back and see what's new (with friends and their lives particularly) and what's old and never changes (the beauty of gågatan). This post resonated a lot with me and reading your blog posts give me mixed feelings– it makes me love Sweden more while also seeing what isn't so great there but ultimately it leaves me feeling sad I ever left (even though I have a happy life here in LA).

    Good luck to your brother, and if he is in Skåne, or Malmö, it'd be interesting to actually meet him (put a face and meet a personality to a blog) when I visit Sweden later in the year.

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  4. YAY! I´m so happy that you´re back! i seriously checked this blog almost every week for the past year and FINALLY! Like christmas way to early. Love it!

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  5. Agree with Mrs Clapper (not necessarily that often). Looking forward to share your brother's journey.

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  6. Well that didn't last long. But now I'm back in Sweden and writing, so that probably counts.

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