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VICENNIAL
Last week, I passed a major anniversary. It wasn't my birthday. It wasn't even my wedding anniversary. It was the anniversary of the day I moved to Sweden...TWENTY YEARS AGO. I was planning to write a post that day (Wednesday) but work was crazy and I clean forgot when I came home, even though I wasn't doing anything special that evening. So it went by unmarked.

Twenty years ago. When I passed my 10-year anniversary of living in Sweden, I wrote a post about it, because of course I did. I wrote a similar post when I reached my 7-year anniversary, too. Every year, nearly, I have at least mentioned the fact of my moving-to-Sweden date on or near January 11.

But now, I can officially say that I have lived HALF MY LIFE overseas. Isn't that weird? Half my life away from the country of my birth. When I wrote the post 10 years ago, I had still not applied for Swedish citizenship. That's been rectified...I'm a dual citizen now, since several years back, though I give more and more thought to becoming a single-country citizen again for every article I read about Trump and his cabinet. Ironically, it would cost me MORE to renounce my US citizenship than it did to apply for Swedish.

Just for the record, I love it here. Of course, there are things about living in Sweden that are not perfect, but that's true of every place I've lived. I can't imagine moving back to the US, what would be the point? The only reason I would want to, in any case, is to be closer to my mom and sister, but instead I think maybe I should be campaigning to get them over here!

Both my children want and plan to move to the US...Martin is in the middle of college applications for next fall, and Karin is already chomping at the bit to get there as well. I think both of them consider the US as the place to be because every time we go there, it's FUN. We go for vacation, we shop, we eat out, we have parties and go places and do things. It's not boring like every day life home in our tiny village far away from anything cool or trendy or happening. It's not work and bills and stress.

I have very mixed feelings about this, of course. I've always encouraged my children to think about going to school in the US, or living there, but I really, really hope they will come back. And I worry even more right now, in the current political and cultural climate that has changed so much in recent months.

And it's not that I don't miss things about America, I do. I just think we have such GOOD lives here. I've never lived so long in one place, ever, and now we've been in this ONE house for what sometimes feels like forever, and I still love it just as much as the day we moved in. I dread leaving this house some day, which is weird considering that I've loved moving around my whole life and loved moving to new places.

Even though I am a Swedish citizen, I am very much NOT Swedish. I never will be, no matter how long I live here, or how well I speak Swedish. I will always be a child of America but Sweden has wormed its way into my heart, and I don't think it will be easily dislodged, no matter what happens. It would be fun to live somewhere else for awhile, but I think I've found my forever home.
 calm
mood: calm
music: Act—So Let Me Give Your Heart a Break


Comments

Congratulation, Liz. That's quite a milestone. Like you, I think I've found my forever home and I can't imagine moving back to Australia.

That said, I can understand that your kids want to explore their future and spread their wings a little. It's every parent's dread that kids will move far away (just ask lizardmom!). Sometimes they see that the grass is not greener over there and wend their way back, but not always. Neither of my children live in the city they grew up in but they both have made happy lives for themselves, so that's what I think about most. But yes, thinking about it in the beginning is pretty hard.

I know! It's awful contemplating that my kids will do to me what I have done to my mom. And your kids are even further! And grandkids! AAAUGH.

(Anonymous)

20 YEARS!!! wow... and to think that is how many I have been with Tom..... I have missed you for all of them. you may campaign all you want to get us over there and you may succeed with Mom after Grandma passes but I think I am not going to make it over any border for living, visiting yes but living no.... :( But then again never say never.
Love you and ALWAYS miss you! Seester

I will never say never! 20 years...we have sticktoitiveness!

Twenty years!

You are probably right that Martin and Karin associate the US with having fun. It will be interesting to see how that plays out if they move over for school. I hope they have a great time and then decide to move somewhere closer to Mom to live long-term. :)

What she said!

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

Congratulations! Twenty years! Wow! I am just happy that YOU are happy. There is no place like home, and you found yours. xoxo

Re: From Megsie

Although, I COULD consider moving back to Chicago... hahahah!

(Anonymous)

Well, I CAN believe it's been 20 years - at least once every several months, I stop to realize you left here in 1997!! But, I think you've landed in a great place and I'm always praising Sweden as a great place to live (ditto Germany), but most Americans get hung-up on the fact "it's a Socialist country" and they sound a little spooked by that. SO I praise it even more and point out what great places I have to visit.
I have no idea where I'll end up when I move from here, but do believe I need to be someplace where I can do my own thing and not rely on my kids to entertain me -at least until I'm not able to do so. I often tell people that life is just paying me back because I also moved to Europe for 6 years and never once went back to the USA during that time -just totally unaware how much that must have devastated my parents (I sure get it now). At least they came to visit twice and my Mother-in-law came every year. Love, Lizardmom

That's because they don't really understand what a socialist country means. And Sweden is a Social DEMOCRACY. I wish it wasn't paying you back for our 6 years in Europe...I really, truly wish we were closer physically! It sucks, it does.

(Anonymous)

I wish we were closer phyically also, but like I keep telling everyone: my kids have given me GREAT places to visit and that is a very Great gift indeed! Love, Lizardmom

Congratulations! You are obviously well integrated into Swedish culture but still view things as an observer though not an outsider. My sister has lived in the States for 21 years, and I know this because at her wedding, before she moved abroad for "a couple of years", I was discreetly concealing my now-21 year old daughter. You will always live between two worlds, and have parents and siblings who miss you, but who are secretly glad to have someone so adventurous and exotic to talk about!

So true! If we moved it would be Anders' mom and sister who we never got to see. It's no fair either way!

I'm sure you are right that Martin and Karin associate the US with fun times. That ends tomorrow so chances are, they will gladly come back home to Sweden! Maybe we'll move over too. Just waiting to see how this whole Russia thing plays out...

For a long time I felt like my life would be what I had always envisioned if I could just find the right spot in which to live. Now I've been to enough places and have lived long enough to know that isn't how it works but when I was young, like they are, it was a beautiful dream.

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