July 9th, 2018

youarehere

DISTANCE MEANS SO LITTLE WHEN SOMEONE MEANS SO MUCH*

There's a special feeling to being alone after weeks of being social. I feel like I've been on a whirlwind the past two and a half months. A good whirlwind, but a whirlwind nonetheless, what with Karin's graduation, family visiting, friends visiting, and a seemingly unending round of parties and get-togethers. Now, the house is quiet and empty, and clean, and I am rather enjoying it. It's funny how you don't want things to change, and yet they do, and when they do, you can either rail against it or just enjoy the moment. I've had so many moments to enjoy this spring and summer so far. I'm glad I know how to enjoy this one, too.

We've spent the past several days hanging out and entertaining with good friends that we met at the beginning of our time in Sweden, when they lived here. They moved away 17 years ago, and yet it felt, after a few short minutes, as if things hadn't changed a bit. Even though they have, in a million different ways, for all of us. We've seen each other several times over the years, and have even managed to get together in various places 4 times in the last 5 years. Pretty amazing considering they live in Texas, and we still live in Sweden. and neither of those, until this week, was where we met up.

I feel blessed in my friendships, both the ones with people that live nearby and people who live far away. It's nice to know that distance doesn't have to matter when it comes to the ones you love.

Now all my vacation is done and I have the rest of the summer to work...it's stretching out in front of me like one of those scenes in a movie where the hallway suddenly expands in length and you know you'll never reach the end of it. Haha! Today was spent pounding out tasks and trying to keep the lid on a boiling pot of things to do. There are a few people left in the office, but next week, I think we'll be down to the bare minimum...deep in the heart of the hottest, sunniest summer I've experienced in Sweden since the year we moved here: 1997. That summer, we lived in an apartment in Malmö, and it was gorgeous out every day. Then, in September, it started raining and it rained every day for 18 months solid, I shit you not. I told Anders that if I hadn't had that first summer, it would have broken me, and we would have had to move.

I've come to love the cool Swedish summers, with a few weeks of heated up brightness...but it's been sunny and hitting temps near 90F for nearly 8 weeks. The fields of wheat and grass are bleached all around our little village. Our lawn is a crispy tundra spotted with bright green opportunistic weeds. There's been water restrictions in southern Skåne since mid-June. Bad year for the farmers, good one for the beach bunnies. But the nights are cool and breezy and that makes it bearable since the house doesn't overheat and mostly, neither do I.

Martin is back in Detroit; he started his summer job on Friday and the kids for the summer program he is mentoring arrived last night. One of them is the son of one of my college roommates: it's a small world, for sure. I'm glad it's made smaller by friends and family dotted all over it, tightening a bright net of love and connections that keeps me sustained. It's heartening to know that moving abroad doesn't mean losing people. I've moved my whole life. And I've made friends and left friends and found them again everywhere I go.

*Tom McNeal—Far, Far Away