Back to Sweden (Another Far Country)

DSC_8117Landing in Sweden felt like entering into a memory or a dream. Is this real, is it really happening? Was this here all this time when I was away? Everything looks the same, nothing here is unexpected or hard for me to grasp. I make my way through my life here within the safe path of habits and I’ve done this before. And yet my eyes are so sensitive to everything I see, and my skin shivers at the slightest touch of cold wind.

I was away from Sweden for a long time before. It was two years ago, and coming back to Europe again was a disastrous feeling of confusion and hopelessness.

This time coming home was easier. No life-changing moments. No feeling of turning myself inside out or upside down. I was even mentally prepared for moving from a tiny dorm room – into the lifestyle of plenty that I grew up in.

DSC_8120DSC_8123I was in Sweden for less than 24 hours, enough time to get a good nights sleep and some great Swedish meals, before my parents announced it was time to go travelling. The weather was finally becoming warm. And during summer in Sweden we have a golden rule: never waste good weather! You never know when it will get cold again.

One of the most famous songs of this country goes something like “Summer is short, most of the time it is raining. But now when it’s here: enjoy. Fall will be here soon. Maybe it’s only sunny today.” Encouraging, isn’t it?

So instead of sitting home waiting for the jet lag to pass, I was taken to sit on a boat, and wait for my body to get used to the new conditions.

DSC_8124DSC_8192DSC_8130I must say that Sweden is amazing. What kind of place is this, really? The air is so clean, the towns so quiet. If you wanted you could drink the water even in the muddy lake of my hometown. (Some other parts of lake Mälaren is quite clear, but right outside Västerås the water is really brown)

But one unexpected thing got me annoyed: the daylight. Hey, it’s ten pm, I have a jet lag, and I desperately want to sleep. How come the sun is still up? And how is it even possible to walk in a forest at 11 pm without any need for artificial light? (The two pictures below)

My body got used to the regular early sunsets in Taiwan. That’s the issue here in Sweden. The summer nights are impossibly long and fantastic, and winter nights are impossibly dark and … less mind-blowing. We have a”uneven distribution of sunlight” as an engineering friend so beautifully described it.

DSC_8214DSC_8224The small towns. The overly cute and petite little towns of Sweden. Like miniature worlds, complete with pizzerias and stone churches. This is taken in the town of Strängnäs. But after the hustle and bustle of Taiwanese cities even my town Västerås feels very small.

DSC_8132DSC_8137DSC_8134DSC_8138DSC_8203Would you have imagined staying in Taiwan is the question my mother kept repeating to me. Would I?

Yes, I guess to. I could fancy living almost anywhere.

In the end of the day: Sweden is not really home. I love Sweden. If anywhere is home, it would be here. But I am not thinking we are supposed to get overly attached to our lives.

I imagine life as a long journey towards the real heavenly home waiting for us. What is around is now, is just for now. It is all just passing by. Only the final destination will remain constant.

DSC_8183But I loved living in Taiwan, I really did.