Monday, August 1, 2016

What Stockholm Really Means to Me

If you are a family member or close friend who lives in the KC area please read this paragraph but skip the rest and come back to the next blog post with pictures about what we've been up to ;).  If you don't fall into that category feel free to read all the paragraphs :).  It is so fun to be here (once we finally arrived).  We've had a great time catching up with old friends (most of which we only knew for about 4-8 months before moving back to the States).  I'm hoping to post about our apartment and what we've been up to so far so check back in a few days for that!
Man it is great to be home back in Stockholm.  I should preface this by saying/reminding those of you who are reading this that this blog of mine is a great place to me to get my thoughts out but sometimes in the process I'm a bit, unfiltered.  (When am I ever really that filtered, let's be honest.)  Please try not to take offense to what I say especially if you live in Kansas.  I've realized that sometimes when I say how much we love Stockholm that others might feel like I'm implying that Kansas sucks.  It doesn't (well . . . it kind of does when it is 110° with a lot of humidity or even without humidity 110° sucks).

Back to the point, it is great to be here.  Man we missed this place.  This is going to sound silly but I daydreamed of walking along the streets here when we were back in Olathe.  I would close my eyes and picture myself walking around Fridhemsplan on the way to the gym or the store.  I would daydream about "our" waterfront and all the walks we took just talking and holding hands.  When we got back to Stockholm I was all smiles the first two days just repeating over and over "We are here! Can you believe we are actually here?"

For some reason it was comforting that it felt like we hadn't left.  Everything looked and felt the same and it felt good.  The opposite was true when we moved back to Olathe.  Everything looked and felt the same and I hated that it felt the same.  It felt like living in Stockholm didn't actually happen.  That it was just a dream.  Other than Linnea everything was exactly the same.  We still had our house (which felt even bigger now coming from our tiny apartment) and my car and the city looked the same (except a few grocery stores that I liked going to closed and now I have to drive even farther to get to the store, ugh, #firstworldproblems).  It was hard being back in Olathe and feeling like what we did in Stockholm didn't really happen.
Jake and I started watching Big Bang Theory from the beginning (we had seen a few episodes here and there) and there was an episode recently that I totally identified with.  Howard traveled to the International Space Station and when he returned all he wanted to do was talk about it.  It was this big adventure and he wanted to share that with others but once people heard a story or two they were done talking about it.  I can definitely relate.  When we moved back to Olathe people would ask about our time in Stockholm ("How is it being back?" or "How was it living abroad?" etc) and once we answered that question the conversation ended.  I wanted to talk about it more.  I love comparing backgrounds, cultures, cities and experiences and I wanted to do that but the conversation usually ended with a filtered answer of "It was great but we are glad to be back".  Stockholm is such an international community that I got used to comparing and contrasting cultures and I miss that.

When we moved back to Olathe I wanted to talk about Stockholm all the time.  I needed time to process what we just did.  I was so proud of myself for moving to a foreign country and then I ended up loving it. Stockholm changed me.  Before moving to Stockholm I would have told you that I wanted to live in Kansas for the rest of my life.  Why would I go anywhere else?  Moving to Stockholm opened my eyes.  I felt like I "found" myself in Stockholm.  The Kara that moved there was scared and not adventurous but the Kara that lived in Stockholm for 2 years actually liked going new places, trying new things and most of all she loved living in a big city that was surrounded by water, parks and gorgeous views.  I don't wear glasses but I think living in Stockholm made me feel like I could "see" in a whole new way.  Once you get used to wearing glasses it is hard to be without them.

I realize that this post probably isn't super fun for some to read but I had to let the thoughts out because they've been bouncing around in my head for some time now.  Come back in a few days to see pictures of what we've been up to and an apartment tour!


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