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.