I bought this jumper I found in a shop here in England. I have no idea why it has the word “Stockholm” on it and I don’t care. It spoke to me. I had to get it. Of course I did! I’m Swedish and lived most of my life in Stockholm, now I find it here, just when I needed it.
“Buy me” it said. “I know you miss Stockholm, and this is comfy and will keep you warm this winter while you can think back on your Stockholm days”
So I bought it.
Now I wear it all the time. Not just because it says “Stockholm” on it but also its very comfortable.
I have been living here in the UK for almost 8 years. And I can honestly say that for the first 7 of those years I never felt homesick. But then during my last trip back to Sweden in April this year I had this really strange feeling. Like I didn’t want to leave. The last day I spent the whole day fighting back the tears, and I felt an emptiness that I’ve never felt before. Lately, in the last couple of weeks, this feeling has been creeping up on me again.
I love living here in the UK and I wouldn’t want to move back, for many reasons. But I also love Sweden. It is “my” country after all.
I don’t know what had made me so homesick lately.
Maybe it’s because I knew I wouldn’t go back there for a while. We’ve just bought a house and we are short on both money and time.
I don’t quite know what I miss about it either.
Of course I miss my brother and his family. I miss my best friend. I miss my other family members and old friends.
But I also miss the things I never thought about before: Buildings, places, music, smells, food, all the water, the beauty. How different everything is over there. It’s the little things, and it all piles up.
I do miss our life there to some extent, but as I’ve written about before, that was another life to me, one I could never go back to.
But it’s as if I think about it, I can almost imagine this alternate life we could have had in Sweden had we not moved. The other me would maybe still be working as a nurse. Maybe, because our boys would still have their disabilities and difficulties they have now, and I have no idea how much help and support we would have had there. So maybe I still would have chosen to stay home.
We would still live in our house, which we loved and maybe we still would have seen our old friends regularly? Or would I have built up friendships with other autism parents as I have here?
I don’t know of course.
And there’s no point in thinking about these things because they don’t change anything.
But I get this sick feeling in my stomach whenever I listen to an old Swedish pop song from my youth.
And trust me, it’s not my youth that I miss. It’s a strange feeling.
I spent most of last week listening to old Swedish music in the car, singing along to Robyn, Kent, The Ark, The Cardigans, and a whole lot more that I hardly ever listened to or even liked when the songs were popular back in the 90s and 2000s. But now they bring back old memories and have become sentimental to me.
I’m not even really in touch with what music is popular in Sweden anymore. And not just with music, but TV, movies, celebrities, politics, news. I read stuff online every now and then, but it’s not the same.
When we first moved to England, I found it really hard to blend in. Moving countries isn’t just about the actual move, finding a house, schools and which is the best supermarket. A lot of it is the little things. How ‘the system’ works, but also about the people; Music, culture, tv programmes ‘everyone’ knows of. Who is who. An old celebrity dies and the whole country is in mourning, and I have never even heard about the person!
All these things makes you feel like a stranger. A foreigner. At the same time you loose touch with more and more things in your native country.
For a few years I felt like I didn’t quite belong anywhere. I felt completely out of touch with what was going on in Sweden, at the same time not completely integrated in England.
There are a lot of things I still don’t understand or know about this country, but I do feel at home here now. I can keep up with whats going on and who is who and how to find stuff out. Most of the time.
I feel like I belong here.
So why is it that I feel homesick? I don’t know.
I thought I was just going to have to ride this feeling out. Have a cry or two and just wait for it to go away on it’s own.
But thankfully I have an amazing husband.
Luckily he knows what it’s like to feel homesick, since he spent quite a few years living in Sweden with me. He told me to book a trip ASAP.
I started arguing that we should be saving since we are moving soon. But he didn’t budge, he told me I need it. It will ‘re-charge’ me.
So I made a few phone calls to make sure the it suited my family and friends over there, and I booked a trip for a week later! It’s the most impulsive thing I’ve done in a long time, but it feels great!
I feel so much better knowing that I’m going.
I’m going to see friends, family, eat food, walk around Stockholm and enjoy every minute of it.
On Friday I’m off, and I can not wait!