It is something that millions of us might aspire to – the adventure and romance of living abroad. And while for some, it is all of that, with travel to nearby foreign countries, new friends and new languages, there are ways in which living abroad can break your heart – no matter how effortlessly you have managed to fit in to your host country.
Being away means exactly that. So when there are funerals or weddings which take place in your home country and you can’t go, either due to work or financials, it can be a devastatingly lonely event. It might not even be something as traumatic as a death or as joyful as a marriage. It could simply be that one day you are walking down the street and are struck by a memory – an all consuming heart-wrenching knowledge that someone you love very dearly is 3,582 miles away.Read More»
My love affair with Sweden always included notions of woodland sprites, fairies, trolls, and nymphs. It seemed to me that in this Scandinavian land, one could experience a special kind of magic found only in a Nordic wilderness.
The culture of Sweden, and her neighbors, has a long history of embracing the spirit of the forest. Nature, and access to nature, is important and it is one of the reasons Allemansrätten (the right of public access) exists, allowing all people to roam freely on any land with the exception of private gardens and homes. Preservation of the environment is nearly encoded in the Swedish DNA and evidence of this is shown through their systems of recycling and waste management.
This love of nature is one of the things which drew me here. But I have to admit, I haven’t taken advantage of the beauty that surrounds me. I have been too distracted with finding work, fitting in, and keeping abreast of the news on my social media platforms.
These are dark times and it is now more important than ever to grab whatever beauty and refuge we can find wherever we can find it. It is more important then ever to indulge in a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of imagination, and to release our minds from the constant onslaught of bad news. More than ever we need to allow our eyes to follow the path of a butterfly, find faces and castles in the clouds, and listen to nothing more than the wind in the trees. Here in Sweden, this can mean simply walking out your door.Read More»
If you were to think back over the years of your life … when was it that you felt most happy in your own skin? Who were you when you were the most confident? The most joyful? When was it that you were the best version of you?
This question came to me from a recent episode I watched on Grace and Frankie. If you watch that show, you know that the ladies recently went through a trauma and are in the process of reinventing themselves … at age 70. It’s down right inspiring and a lesson for us to remember that age is just a number.
I think somehow, over the years, many of us have forgotten the best version of ourselves … the essence, the thing that made us uniquely and unapologetically us. Do we try to cover up that uniqueness due to society pressures or because of layers of damage caused through the years? Have we just lost or forgotten who we really are?Read More»
I’m not sure what I expected.
That’s a lie.
I was expecting a metamorphosis – a transition similar to the changing of a butterfly or the Parisian sophistication of Sabrina.
“Come to Sweden and be with me, and I promise you, we will have a beautiful life,” he said.
It is only now, after four years of challenges, that I see the glimmer of that beautiful life. It didn’t happen in one week, as when the butterfly emerges from its chrysalis. Nor did it happen in one year as in Sabrina’s case.Read More»
Sometimes things turn out exactly as you hoped, but not at all in the way you planned.
Years ago – well, not so many years ago – before I moved to Sweden, I would entertain thoughts about the wonderful new opportunities living in Scandinavian would bring to me. As a woman of a certain age, I had raised two sons, dealt with the realities of home ownership, and experienced the distress that comes from having two parents with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now that my kids had grown and my parents passed away, moving to Sweden was to be my time. Finally, I was going to be able to make the mosaic table I had always wanted to design. I would be strong and healthy and embracing a clean natural Scandinavian lifestyle. I’d be working as an international writer or correspondent for a great news publication or two, and my guy and I would travel to Norway, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Poland … of course, there would also be regular visits back to the United States.
Some of those things happened. And some of those things I still hope for. The journey I’ve traveled over the last three years has been rewarding, sometimes excruciating, and more of a self-awakening then I ever anticipated.Read More»