I woke up this morning thinking about how I have not been in the mood to write much here on this blog. I started it to record impressions of moving to a new place, to share with family and friends far away. Everything was new and everything was fodder for a post — ah, yes, look at how the natives do things here!
We’ve lived in Stockholm now for about six years (since August 2010), short a few hiatuses in between (Australia, Colorado). We are far from experts on Sweden and living in this society, but we have enough knowledge to be comfortable and look with a critical eye at certain givens.
We’ve experienced the changes in the housing market (our apartment earns more money than we do), seen the arrival of Roma folks from Romania once it joined the EU and how the later waves of immigration overshadowed them, learned how to handle the health and tax bureaucracies (as best we can, and with a lot of assistance), and more. We are not as comfortable in these systems, nor as secure in our observations as we might be at home, something that was made clear to me when I lived in Colorado for a little while, at home and yet not quite.
We also now look to home as outsiders, as foreigners in our own lands. People have been asking me ever since November 9, “How could Americans have voted for Trump?” And I have to answer honestly, “I don’t know.” I might have said the same thing from my bubble in the US if I’d still been living there, but now I’m in my own bubble outside the country peering in.
It’s an odd experience, to see my home as the subject of news stories in Swedish — the obsession here with the election was high. Now, instead of the front page, US political news is relegated to the middle of the paper. And that’s fine with me. I am happy to escape from the headlines from home as much as I can at the moment — because really, I can’t. I keep reading from afar.
I hope to recapture that feeling of being a stranger in a strange land again soon, an observer of foreign practices, inspired again by funny happenings and strange events. I hope not to be on hiatus from this blog as I have been.