Last July, after moving to the Swedish countryside, I wrote a post titled Difficulties with Boredom and Loneliness. This was by far my most popular post. I believe many people identified with the feeling of moving so far from home, and learning to adjust to a new culture. Sadly, finding people to identify with online was not enough comfort me in my loneliness.
By the end of August, life was returning to “normal.” My boyfriend went back to work, and I was alone more often. I began taking a Swedish for Immigrants course, and even volunteering in the English department to keep myself busy. We got a beautiful puppy named Tesla to keep me company, and I tried to work on all of the projects I’d intended to get to while in Hawaii. Blogging, video editing, journaling, painting, block printing, and living the domestic lifewent well for a while, and as I started to settle down a bit, I began to grow restless.
As if on cue, I began to yearn for travel and adventure. I thought that if I could just find a job and a social circle everything would fall into place. I didn’t realize I was in the wrong country for either of those. Jobs are hard to come by as an immigrant, even harder when you don’t speak the language. As for the social circle, those are very difficult to break into as an outsider. Culturally, Swedes don’t typically venture too far from home and maintain childhood and early adult friendships, and leave little space for outsiders. For someone who comes from a more extroverted culture, and is considered to be on the extreme side of the extroversion scale, I was in a very difficult space. No friends, an introverted culture, and no venue in which to facilitate connections with my peers. My loneliness spiraled into depression, and before I knew it, I was hardly talking to even my boyfriend.
The worst part, I felt, was that I tried so hard. I put so much effort into being social and meeting people, but the social code of conduct is so drastically different from what I am used to back home. Eventually I gave up and tucked myself away, and tried the best I could to put on a happy face. I was, after all, in the best relationship of my life, with a really loving and kind man whom I trusted with every ounce of my being. He made me comfortable, and I felt deeply loved by him. I’d hoped that would be enough for me. Sadly it was not, but his love for me did shine through.
Sensing my unhappiness and depression, he suggested I try going home for a while and figure out what would make me happiest. In the end, what was intended to be a holiday trip home turned into my permanent move back to the US. I miss him, and our little muffin top Tesla, but I realize that was not my path. Not at this time, anyway. I have spent the winter hiding away, working, saving money and making plans. I still do not yet know what the future will bring for me, but in the meantime, I am happy to be back in Burlington, Vermont. A place where friends jokingly refer to me as “The Mayor” or “Kevin Bacon” because I cannot walk 5 feet without running into someone I know.
I didn’t tell anyone about my move, and still find myself explaining to people almost 5 months later that I am back for a while. I wanted to write a post explaining that I have, in fact, moved back home.
Things are going really well since I moved back. It has taken me a few months to break out of the depression and recover from the involuntary introversion, but I am finally coming out of my shell again. I am excited to announce that I recently acquired an art studio with my good friend, Natasha. I will be spending a lot of time there this summer working on my art: painting, block and screen printing, craftin
g, and working on a new line of handmade travel inspired items that I am SO EXCITED to share with you when I am finished with them. I will be selling stuff here on my website, as well as my Etsy Site (keep in mind it’s sparse at the moment, but be sure to Follow my page for updates!)
If all goes well, my hope is to be living in a van by the end of the summer, and putting more effort into my projects and travel plans. I am a little bit scared about what lies along this path for me, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am not one for creature comforts. I would trade them for a world of uncertainty and adventure. I don’t foresee this ever changing about me. For that, I am grateful.
I am also grateful for the love and support of my dear friends and family. Biggest thanks go to my dear Jens for taking care of me, and for knowing when to push me out the door 😉 Sometimes that’s all I need. That’s love. Thank you ❤