Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Second Swedish-American in Sweden


                I am the younger brother of the Hairy Swede, and I have followed in his footsteps. I have recently moved to Sweden and I will be contributing to this blog in order to chronicle my time here and keep my friends and family updated.
                Of the Swedish-American family that I grew up in, I am the least Swedish. I was not old enough to remember Life Before America when we moved; I have spent less time here than the others; I am further removed from my family  in terms of age; I have lived the majority of my life and experienced just about all that I know from an American cultural standpoint. I decided to ignore the horror stories of my brothers and venture forth to experience Sweden on my own.
                There will of course be differences: my predecessor, the original Hairy Swede we all know and love, lived in Stockholm as a young professional. I will be living in southern Sweden as a student. I'm also a very different person. Hairy Swede has actually called me a redneck, on multiple occasions, to which I have taken great offense, given my extreme class. The point is, though, that different people, living in different parts of the country, while coming from essentially the same background, will have very different ideas and perspectives on the experiences which we are sharing, yet which define us as individuals finding our places in the world.
                As some may know, we grew up in the same household, which was inundated with both Swedish and American traditions. Being the youngest and arguably least Swedish, I feel that I have a grasp of this Americanized bastard Swedish tradition. However, to experience the real thing will change me, just as it changed my older brother. He began his journey with a wider range of background information to guide him, and still his world was forever changed and his ideals were ultimately challenged and perhaps strengthened. I do not have the same background, perspectives, or beliefs that he has. The one thing we share is the adventure. My journey will mirror his in myriad ways, but ultimately, the choice to live lies within us, and we have both made this choice, and so have both chosen to change.
                I arrived in Sweden yesterday, and since then I have gone through several changes already. When I left America, I was extremely nervous. When I got here, I started to realize that there was no reason for my nerves to get in the way. I made a decision to do this, and I have the tools at my disposal to do it. I will do this, and I know that no matter what, it will change me, and that change will come from me. Walking along the beach last night, I wondered why I didn't miss this place more than I had, and I decided that the adventure that I'm beginning will affect me only insofar as I allow it. I decided that I will allow myself to change because I know that I am being true to the person that I have always hoped to be and to my past self. The memories that are evoked when I walk down the streets here are strong and vivid. To stay true to my memory is something that I feel must be done in order to make this an experience that I enjoy, rather than to expect something that will never happen and have a terrible experience. The smell, the temperature, the food, everything here reminds me of some amazing times from my childhood, and it is these memories that I have to honor in order to truly love this place. I have always wanted to spend some time here aside from the vacation time we typically take. Instead, I have taken the plunge and will immerse myself in a dream that I've had since I was a kid and I will let myself be taken in by it in order to experience life. And in the end, life is all an experience to be had. I will have an experience here. 

13 comments:

  1. Welcome to Sweden. I've enjoyed reading your brother's blogs in the past, as we travel to Sweden every other year to visit relatives, and now the family of a Swedish exchange student we had here. Try to get to other parts while you're there. I found the dialect is different outside of Stockholm area, especially pronuciations of "sju" and "är"

    ReplyDelete
  2. so cool you guys are back! good luck on this new adventure, younger brother of the Hairy Swede!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I met your brother, here in Stockholm, after reading some early writings his blog. He was briefly in our book discussion group. We miss him. We have, however, your cousin now in our group--Agneta. When you may visit Stockholm, please consider contacting me so I may have the pleasure of meeting a third member of the family. Perhaps you could attend a book discussion just for the fun of it, without necessarily having to read the book. I know the others (around 7) would be delighted to meet you. Or you and I could have a cuppa or a beer.
    Best wishes,
    Ron
    pavellas.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice to see new activity on this blog; looking forward to reading both brothers.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Welcome younger Swede! I look forward to hearing your stories, as I moved back to the US about the same time your brother did, and it will be nice to hear about the first time experiences again. Enjoy it while you are there. You will miss it when you leave!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sunny - I've already been having quite a few experiences with the thick skånsk accent. I've been preparing for that, but it will still probably blow my mind.

    bicycleporn - Thank you very much, I appreciate it!

    Ron - I will definitely be trying to visit Stockholm at some point, and when I do I will definitely get in contact with you.

    Shawna - I'm going to do my best to make the most of my time here and I can already tell it's going to be a good time.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Good to hear you've picked up the torch and will be continuing the blog. For frame of reference, how well do you speak Swedish?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't speak as well as my brother, but I can understand almost everything and can speak enough to be understood and can hold a decent conversation.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hej N.
    kul att ha dig i Sverige!
    /Bengt

    ReplyDelete
  10. So happy to see this blog up and running again. Look forward to following your adventures Throwing, and good luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Welcome to Sweden,

    Looking forward to follow your journey, didn't capture your brother's writing until the end so I am exciting to follow your adventure from the start.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My brother was even worse than I was at writing regularly!

    ReplyDelete