[stuhk in th uh mid-l with yoo]: Also known simply as “Stuck In The Middle,” this Stealers Wheel classic was co-written by the group’s guitarist Gerry Rafferty and keyboard player Joe Egan.
So… not everything I write is The House That God Has Forgotten. I have freedom. Freedom to entertain you with whatever thoughts I have about whatever. I think this post can be just as interesting. At least maybe for you that want to know me better.
On June 25 1999 I moved to Sweden. In other words just barely over 20 years ago. It is hard for me to believe that I have been gone from home so long.
Or really? Where is home?
Yesterday was the 4th of July. American independence day. And I felt homesick.
I dreamed of cookouts and watching the fireworks while having a picnic. I missed the feeling of having something to do. A day that unites everyone in America. A day where you do not care about women’s rights, gun control, or what party lines you have. You just celebrate.
You celebrate a birth of a nation.
What is hard for people in Sweden to understand is that back in the 1700’s the USA was a colony of a country on the other side of the world. Paying taxes for things, living under the thumb of a king. It was something they got tired of. And aside of all the things that Americans have done in history, this day is to celebrate the independence from England.
I have been getting homesick lately (it has been 8 years since I have been there last), not because I want to live there, but because I want to go back and visit.
You see I am a time capsule of America. The last time I lived there was in 1997 (I lived in Germany on an army base in the middle there) and I still speak just like I was stuck in the 90’s.
I know no new slang, no idea what people listen to nowadays and no idea how people dress (but judging by the pictures I see most people my age dress like old ladies).
And it all made me think of one thing:
I will never be American. I will never be Swedish.
Sure I am a duel citizen, but that is geography. I have the world open to me with a Swedish passport, and that is a wonderful thing. With my American it is another story (I think the only country that would be really excited to see me is Israel).
I will never speak Swedish correctly. I will have an accent. I will say the wrong verbs. I will mess up the order of things. Don’t even get me me stared on with the writing! There is a good reason to why this blog is in English and it is not because I am making this blog global.
I will never be able to live in America again. First my family is here. My daughter and my wife. Two people I cannot imagine my life without. The other would be the culture I just don’t understand it anymore.
The speaking to strangers on the buss or on the street. The “I love you” that rolls of the tongue like a waterfall. Just watch reality TV they all love each other.
Here in Sweden, we do not love each other. In fact we do not even like each other, we are just in the same space.
Mind you. I do not want someone to come up to me on the street and start talking to me. Or on the bus, or the subway, and even the train. I enjoy my space.
And like every Swede that rides some sort of transport… headphones are important so you look busy and do not speak to each other.
I do miss knowing my neighbours. Here it is a bunch of senior citizens that were afraid to let me in the building when I locked my keys in the basement.
When I first came to Sweden everything was so exciting. The chocolate to the concept that everything is not open 24 hours a day. Here you have to wait. (Although in 20 years the grocery store is usually open from 7-22).
All of the new things I discovered. Like Feta cheese. I did not know what that was until I moved here.
I miss real Mexican food. Not food that is Mexican twist. Cucumbers with tacos is not real tacos. I missed fried chilies stuffed with cheese in a flour batter. I miss real refried beans. And places where you can buy a breakfast burrito stuffed with eggs and chorizo.
Here I have to settle for day old bagels and yogurt that tastes like blueberries and vanilla. And at work, I must have my glass of orange juice.
Everything here is more simple. It is the perfect example of lagom.
Everyone has a hard time coming up with how to define that word, but it really means simple. Plain and simple, here we live a simple life.
And that has its plus sides. You never care about what other people think about you. You do not care if everyone likes you or not at work. You just live your life and well… that is your life.
There were parts of me that were American that I threw out the window. I enjoy being alone now. I do not worry about how many friends I have or not have. I just roll through the days.
Although that is perhaps not fair to say. It could be the medicine that makes me this way.
Anyway, a long time ago “Xenophobe’s Guide to Swedes” and I think it gave a real racist view of my new home. People do not just sit around and drink too much at midsommar, people do not spend every waking hour of the wintertime in a sauna and people are not cold. After you get to know them.
The thing about Sweden is that you have to earn your friends. Earn your girl/boyfriends and in cases like mine you have to earn your children.
Luckily for me in Sweden, I was able to have a kid. A kid that is not even biologically mine, but sees me as her mother anyway. I have the pleasure of shaping this young girls life. Teaching her what is right and wrong, how to be polite and also how to stand up for what is right.
Something I would never get the chance to do if I was in America.
So in the long run. Twists and turns and all of the thinking of “How my life would be if…” I always have my daughter to get me inline and think; “For all the wrong turns, the failed marriage, the countless girlfriends and the long struggle have been worth it.”
I looked up online if I could give my daughter the opportunity to be an American citizen. To have the chance to maybe decide to start her life there and have children in my home country.
Then I found out that I have to be her biological parent to give her citizenship.
Somethings never evolve back home.
Sometimes it is much better to live in Sweden.
I still however cannot help it when I hear the national anthem not to get goose bumps. I still miss the idea that I cannot go see a Cowboys match, or even watch a soccer team with my favourite American players play in (Ok I can go to France, or Germany, but it is not the same) and baseball. You will only find real fun baseball in America.
And with the world cup going on there is only one team in my heart, it is not Sweden, but the United States some things never change.
Somethings never change. That is just the way it is.