hide or dive?

there comes a point in an immigrant’s life when you no longer are visiting the new country in which you find yourself. the honeymoon is over. there comes a time when all of the sudden you realize that you have become part of society. you no longer live as an outsider, but face real life in your new country. i have no idea how long it is until you reach this point for most people, but for me, it took 9 months.

perhaps it’s because i know that i am going to visit the states & my family in a few weeks; perhaps it’s because i very well may be completing my swedish classes in a few weeks; perhaps it’s because i must, must, must begin to speak in swedish all the time;  or perhaps it’s because i need to begin to focus on what comes next… whatever the reason (and most likely it is all of those reasons combined), i am fighting the desire to run into my shell and stay there. it’s scary to face my new place in society and all the pressures that come with adjusting to it. it’s hard to figure out exactly where i belong & what i can do here. it’s hard to express myself in another language & hard for my personality to come out when i feel like i talk like a 5 year old. it’s time for me to move on, move up, and dive deeper into this swedish life, and all i want to do is hide. i am scared. confused. homesick.

and while i’m at the place where i need to throw myself whole-heartedly into swedish society (in order to master the language), i am stuck at the same time. if i am not studying swedish, then what do i do? my internship only lasts 6 weeks, so that will end at the same time my studying ends. what comes next? what do i want to come next? and does what i want even really matter?  no matter what, i believe that i must take more classes in order to be a teacher in sweden (which is not really what i want to do anyway). and i can’t do anything with my master’s of divinity degree (long story). then, of course, i can explore the possibility of studying more (= working on a PhD), but that would not be for another year. i’m a little stressed. confused. worried. it’s nice to know, though, that others who have moved here have faced the same feelings/challenges. i know that i just need to book a time with someone who helps us immigrants figure out what to do & how to do it. so, that’s what i’m gonna do. that will help out so much, so i need to just set aside all of this worrying until i talk with him/her.

i am certain that all of these feelings are a phase, part of the process. i must resist the urge to hide myself away, and keep fighting. i must trust myself. and never, ever change who i am as i adapt to all the new things that face me. a new country, a new society, a new language will not change me… they will only add more experiences and more knowledge to who i already am. somehow, since i have been here 9 months now, i have lost the sense of adventure of living here. but, i must remind myself that every day of everyday life is an adventure in itself. though i feel a strong desire to be surrounded by things that are familiar and return to old ways, i must fight on… for i know that so much amazing stuff lies ahead. besides, what do you learn & how can you truly grow if everything is easy? yes. every day is an adventure. through the tough times, through the fear, after the uncertainty comes a new level, a new circle, a new perspective. without the mountains and the valleys and the plains, the journey would be boring. so, i will not hide, i will walk on & dive in…

with all that said, it’s time to experience this day & all that comes with it. it’s time to see where this day leads me. it’s weekend now and lina & i have 3 days off, so there are many adventures to explore! woo hoo! hope you enjoy your friday to the fullest!


0 thoughts on “hide or dive?

  1. My dear friend I know exactly what you mean! Even though I do speak the language and after 6 months I finally got my degree transfered sometimes it’s still hard no to retreat. I was waiting for the possibilty of working as a nurse for soooo long and now that it’s here I am a little bit freaked out. But I guess that’s what we have to go through. So let’s take a jump into the strange waters and trust that someone will help us swim through them!!

    1. Nicole: Yes!!! Let’s just jump in… and it’s good to know that there are a few of us in the same boat. 🙂 Can’t WAIT to see you! Kram

  2. I think everyone goes through this, which of course doesn’t make it any easier when you’re the one experiencing it. And I think some places suit you better than others, some places become home and others never will, even though you keep living there. I spent 5 years in Australia and the moment there was nothing keeping me there anymore, I left. I always felt like I never quite fit in, something was always rubbing. But then I could have stayed in Canada for good and been happy, it’s still home in a way that Australia never was.

    Have you read ‘Almost French’ by Sarah Turnbull? I read it once on the plane from Melbourne to Sweden and cried and underlined whole paragraphs and thought it was amazing (still do!). It’s a non-fiction book about an Australian woman who moves to France to be with her French partner, about how she has to learn the language (speaking like a 5-year-old…), how lonely she feels without a job, how to negotiate having two homes, how home is where she lives in Paris but how much it hurts when the plane takes off from Sydney and she sees the red sand and the ocean that’s also her home, being homesick but being home, learning a new life. I have it at home somewhere, I’ll try to dig it out for you, let’s see if we can ever manage to find a time to get together! 🙂

    It’s frustrating having to go through the ‘What do I want to do when I grow up?’ process again when you’re an adult and you aldredy know (knew). I think that Sweden, unfortunately, isn’t very good at taking migrants’ education and experiences into account, to see that they’re valuable and useful in this context as well. There seems to be the expectation that people should start over, learn again, in order to fit in, which I think is ridculous. I hope you figure out what you want to do and what works best for you.

    1. Sara: Thanks for your words of support. It is so wonderful to know that I am not going crazy, or experiencing something out of the ordinary. I am more than excited to be here, and I think that truthfully, as I have reflected on it, I haven’t had to fight for too much in my life. Most everything has come easily for me. So, I really am thankful for the opportunity to have a chance to really grow. Some days it just seems to get the best of me. But, more than anything, it is amazing to be with my love. I wouldn’t change a thing!

      Yes, we must find a tme to get together soon; and no, I have not read “Almost French”, but it sounds like I would love to! Hope all is well with you and Dana!

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