What's it Like Living Here?
Well, it's different in some ways and exactly the same in others. It's dark in the Winter, light in the Summer. Almost as if the Winter was one long night and the Summer one long day with the Spring and the Fall being the proverbial dawn and dusk. It's cold in the winter, but not as bad as you might think. Stockholm is no colder than Chicago during the winter. What's really beautful about Sweden is the classic Swedish Summer, especially in the north. It never gets dark then. You can sit out in your yard and read a book all night long without needing a light. You have to buy thick, dark window shades so that you can make your bedroom dark. It's quite an experience to spend the whole evening in a dimly lit bar and go out into bright sunshine at 2 in the morning.
Are the people different here? It's hard to say. On some days, I feel like a real outsider, other days, I feel like I fit right in. There are outward differences, but down inside, people here want the same things as people back home in the US. Everyone want's to be happy, to have a good job, to not be alone for their entire lives and to succeed. But what makes living in another country difficult is just breaking through and getting past all the unwritten social laws, which we as Americans also have. It takes a lifetime of saying the wrong things, doing the wrong things and acting the wrong way before one finally begins to catch on.
Living in another country has really taught me that. Some people have an understanding for all my mistakes, others do not and I really do get tired of hearing "Typical American" all the time. I am sure that if you asked a Swede who has lived in the US as long as I have lived here, you would get the same answers about his experiences back home in the States, but for him, this is home. It's home over here for me too, but over there is still home. You see how confusing it is. I have met lots of people who have moved here from other countries. Sometimes, the Swedes call us the "hole in the heart people" because we really don't know where home is. You feel your Fatherland calling to you, but you know that you can't really go back there either. There are days that I REALLY wish I was back in Chicago, there are other days that I couldn't imagine living anywhere else than here.
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