It’s been over a week now. I am, once again, registered as a Swede living in Stockholm. Everything still feels new and familiar. Like I’ve never walked these streets a thousand times. Like there aren’t memories around each and every corner. Some that I desperately hold on to and others that I desperately try to forget. Both with varying degrees of success. Friends are older now. Married now. Divorced now. Parents now. I am only one of those things.
It’s always strange coming back to a place you once called home. And Stockholm was home for a solid few years of my life. I managed to work here and make friends here and learn here and love here. It was home. And now it’s going to be home for another year.
I fall back into my life here pretty easily. There are good friends to see and good family to hang out with. Beers to drink and chilinuts to eat. There are museums to visit and parks to walk through. Stories to tell and experiences to write about. So life is pretty good.
But it’s not the same. It won’t be and can’t be. And that’s fine. I’m on my own for a year conducting research. No 9-5 office job, no colleagues by my side. I have to be disciplined enough to get myself to the library or the archive or the university every single day. Reading and noting and photographing and maybe even interviewing. Then there’s the writing. The writing that I need to do for my dissertation and the writing I want to do for my well-being.
Writing is hard though. Hard because for the last few years I’ve been writing academically and not for myself. Hard because I haven’t written like this in years. Hard because of the fits and starts and pointless things I choose to write about. Hard because I can look back and follow my life for a three-year period. I do not have a journal or a diary. I don’t write letters. This blog was (and is again) a way to record my time in Sweden. Which is both fun and embarrassing. There are things here that I no longer agree with. That I wrote. Myself. My politics are different. My attitude is different. My hairline is different. Being able to look back and see what changed, how it changed, remembering what changed, that’s something that I quite enjoy.
Seeing the comments from people who agreed and disagreed. Logging on to Twitter to find that one person started a Twitter account just to harass me about something I had written six years ago. Realizing that I’ve written over 500 posts and nearly 600 single-spaced pages. I’m looking forward to getting back to it. To writing. To Sweden. To my life.
Welcome to Sweden. And my temporary home. Probably.