Happy Memorial Day weekend to all my friends who celebrate.
Home is where the heart is? “When I was back home …” Back home. “I need to go home for a visit.” These are terms which expats use all the time. Even while setting up a new home in a new country, we are strongly attached to the place of our origin.
“Where is your home?” he asks me with a look of such sadness it would break your heart. I know what he wants me to say.
Despite the amount of despair conversations such as these cause my fiancé, I just can’t – yet – seem to come to terms with exactly where my home is. Where is it that I feel most comfortable – and especially now that I’ve lived in Sweden for over two years – would my US home still feel like home? Am I a woman without a home? A woman with two homes?Read More»
When my parents were first starting out, they lived in a gas station in Colchester, Connecticut. Not realizing how ungodly unhealthy it might be to do so – this was back somewhere around 1950 or 1955 – my father fashioned a lovely little home for himself and my mom. This gas station sat alongside the property that was my grandparents farm and my father, a carpenter by trade, had gutted the building and reinvented it, complete with white picket fence and window boxes. They lived there for some years.
After awhile, it was decided that it was time to build a real house of their own. They purchased land in East Hampton, Connecticut. Every night after work, both of them would return to that little gas station, eat, get dressed, and make the twenty-five minute commute to the site of their future home.
It was a home built with love and most of the work was done by my dad and mom. It was and still is, I assume, a beautiful house. Set on seven acres of land, it was a sprawling brick ranch with two bathrooms, a full basement and attic, large living room with a stone fire place, a den, dining room, breezeway, two car garage. The interior and exterior details were second to none … well, you can imagine. “God is in the details,” my mother would tell me.Read More»
Sometimes things happen which really put life into perspective.
For some time now I’ve been complaining and feeling as if, since my move to Sweden, that my identity is being systematically erased. When making the move to Sweden, I was well aware that I’d have to give up my home, my car, and most of my personal belongings. I was also aware that when arriving here I would have to start again, I would have no credit history, and would have to rebuild my business. I could deal with all that. I did it voluntarily.
What I wasn’t aware of was that in addition, it would be very difficult to find work or clients as an immigrant. My college education would mean nothing and the fact that I ran my own business in the US would mean even less. I also learned that while my US driver’s license is still valid in the US, it is no longer valid in Sweden (after a year you must replace the license from your home country with a Swedish one at the cost of approximately 5000SEK or 770USD). To me my driver’s license meant freedom … independence. It was something I had since I was 16 years old.
This really was starting to get to be too much. I felt like not only was I having to rebuild a life but that I was, in fact, going backwards. All the accomplishments I had made over the course of my adult life … were being eliminated or were not acknowledged at all.
I am an asshole.Read More»