My heart has begun to plant roots here in Stockholm. This is what I realised two weeks ago sitting on the pendaltåg (commuter trail) heading into the central part of the city. With the scenery from Sundbyberg to T-Centralen flying past me, it hit me that I’ve now been in Sweden for six months. Much has happened since returning here last October. Most notably is that I’ve discovered a different, more inspirational way to live my life. This new awareness has influenced both my professional and personal outlooks on life. I could not have foreseen where I’m at right now. However, I'm grateful I’m here. And I committed to staying on board to see where the journey will continue.
I first visited Stockholm in August 2015 not knowing anyone. Yet I felt an instant connection to the city, spending five days awed and intrigued as to why a part of me felt at home here. According to The Newbie Guide to Sweden article titled, Are Swedes really shy and reserved?, it states that Swedes are generally perceived to be shy, reserved and not usually open to initiating first contact. When I was first told this, my first thought was, “Sounds like what I’ve heard about myself my whole life.” Maybe it’s what I connected to during my initial visit, surrounded by an energy that gave me permission to be who I’ve struggled to accept for many years.
So after four and half years and several visits later I’m back, now enjoying the slightly warmer weather and extended hours of sunshine. I’m also building some beautiful and solid friendships. Some of these connections were forged during my previous visits to Sweden. Others have been initiated within these last six months.
I have to admit that when I was on the pendaltåg two weeks ago, I became a little wistful. My friendships here in Stockholm are the emotional roots I feel growing within. I’m not a resident. I’m still on my journey of finding full-time employment. So my time here in Sweden is tenuous. But I’m not regretful. I planned for and chose this path that I’m on. But I didn’t anticipate that my heart would grow so fondly of the people I’ve been fortunate to meet. I’m prepared to take the next indicated step if I need to leave for a time. However, I admit I'll be sad to temporarily leave behind those who have become a part of my now international friendship circle.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that family and friendship bonds can withstand the distance that may be put between them. Thanks to WhatsApp, Skype, Messenger and now Zoom, I’m able to maintain the connections that are still thriving in Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York and other cities.
And I’d like to give a big shoutout to my friend Jenny, my Wallflowers in Bloom cohost. My friendship with her reminds me of the importance of accepting all parts of myself. Even if one or more of my attributes aren’t what one wants or expects of me. Thank you for sharing your love and light, first with those closest to you and now with our growing podcast community.
Until next time everyone, stay safe, be supportive and remain hopeful.