Throughout my years of moving and searching, I have recently left a place that I have called ”home” for a place that should feel like home. Due to Luca’s work, we have left Sweden temporarily to live for a few months in USA. My…..home. Okay, we all know that the United States is a big place, and since I come from Minnesota, no one expects me to feel at home in my current residence of California. But the “Americanness” of it all should feel comfortable.
My goal when I first arrived was to not make the same mistakes I did in Växjö. I would immediately get a job, start making friends, and pick up various activities out of the house. Two months later I can account for the job as well as doing some biking around the area for an activity. I attend a coffee hour once a week at the university to try to meet some international students, but so far I haven’t made any connections that result in a meeting outside of this coffee hour. I haven’t quite figured out how to make “adult friends” apart from the university setting. Well, the point is not to complain. I have a multitude of friends around the world, just none in my current place yet. To be honest, I haven’t really tried to the best of my ability.
Ultimately, I have been trying to figure out whether or not I truly miss Växjö as a place to live, or do I just miss the lifestyle I had there and the great friends I made. During the few months immediately before I left Växjö I was participating in an organization that helps with the integration of international students. With my position in the board I was able to meet and socialize with many interesting people who were open and excited. I became invigorated by their energy! Every social engagement was a new and exciting adventure, as if I was experiencing it for the first time again along with them. Often I actually was experiencing it for the first time. For instance I led a group of students on a trip to Russia, a place I had never been to before. I also had many great opportunities with the other board members by going to conferences and platforms in many different places and meeting interesting people who had a similar lifestyle to mine. I finally felt like I had a “place,” and there were people who understood and respected my international lifestyle as a peer.
Yet, now that I have left that place, and have a more “normal” lifestyle: early to bed, early to rise, go to work, make dinner… I crave my time in Växjö. When I left, I felt like I was being ripped away from that place, however I expected that feeling to go away by now. Still I feel a part of me is waiting there, and I can’t let go, and I am waiting to just…..go home. I believe that if I had left during the summer or sometime before the last months, I wouldn’t miss it nearly as much. There is nothing particularly special about Växjö… I don’t miss particular places (except the ones where I have great memories with friends), the weather is gloomy, the administration is frustrating… What I crave the most is the time with the people I had become so close to, some of which I fear I may never see again. Those who say that if someone was a true friend you will see them again doesn’t really understand that life gets in the way, and I cannot realistically see all the people in the world who I consider to be a true friend. Additionally, sometimes it is the special place with a special group that makes a friendship strong, and to remove those elements reduces the caliber of the feeling. For instance, playing a board game with the same four friends in the same apartment….. moments that I will miss, and I would miss even if two or three of us were to meet again under different circumstances.
I often say to myself, “Well, this is the life I chose!” which is mostly true. I always dreamed of a vagabond lifestyle, but I never understood the consequence of making deep connections with people that have only a temporary placement in my physical life.