Asterisk

It has been months since I have added anything to this little blog of mine. The reasons for this are two fold. Firstly, I have been exceedingly busy with university and internships as life is beginning to finally take some sort of shape and secondly; I have spent the last six months living in Sweden, where of course, people have no time to write at all.

I told myself I would not write a personal, reflective article on my time in Sweden. I generally find them to be rather bland, without insight, and slightly narcissistic (who else really cares about how I felt?). However, it seems, I have caved to my impulses. Maybe it is because in the last two weeks I have struggled, somewhat, to readjust back into my hometown. Maybe it is because this is not the first time I have had to do this, and I now know exactly how difficult it is to return to a normal life. Maybe, and most probably, it is because this time I have left behind things that are just as valuable to me than the things I am coming home to.

I am reminded of something that a close friend said to me whilst we sat in a busy café in Uppsala one afternoon. It was prime-time for Fika and we had just finished our second refill of coffee whilst the remains of our kanelbullar sat idle on a plate between us. Whilst this was months before I was set to return back to Sydney, the conversation had turned to the rather fleeting nature of our friendship. I would go home to complete my studies, she would stay to continue her work. I mentioned how after my last return to normalcy I had somewhat acted up – changed my career path and abandoned some of my social circles, amongst many things. She said something that I think is most true of this situation.

“It is that when you are away for so long and you return home, you see that everything is the same, but you, inside, are completely different”

These were words that the writer inside me began to instantly note down. I remember recognising the feeling and being so glad that someone had finally put them into words, though at the same time dreading the prospect of experiencing that anguish again.

And here I am, at past 1am in the morning, dreading the thought of work in the morning.

Don’t get me wrong, though, it is not because of a distain for my life in Sydney that I miss my Swedish life. It is more that I miss the sense of adventure that every day brought me, even though I didn’t realise it at the time. I wish now that I spent more time just walking through the centre of Uppsala and taking in just how different and incredible my life was at that moment. That as I walked through the snow that covered the city centre there were people in Sydney that had never even seen snow in their lives.

My words, I am sure, will resonate in every one of you that has travelled before. It is different, though, I believe, when you making a home in foreign place, rather than just a temporary adventure. That is what it was for me – Uppsala was home, as was Bristol before it. More so, I dare say, than Sydney will ever be. That’s because here my life is so much more regimented. I have work, for the purpose of earning; university, for the purpose of my career; and friends and family, which in some way guide my thoughts and feelings.  In Uppsala, however, so much of everything I did was on impulse. I was more me than I could ever be in Sydney.

You can understand the difficulty, then, of returning back to everything you once knew. I returned to same streets, the same house, the same people – though inside I am not the same person. I am a better version of myself, a more complete version, one that knows exactly what I want from life, without the impasses of routine and responsibility. Call it an enlightening experience, if you will, but I think it is more simple than that. I feel I was just getting used to being me, and now I am back to being me with an asterisk.

This entry may have turned out more personal than I would have liked, but alas, here it stands. I cannot help but think of the old scientific process of finding out what the atom was made out of. My high school teacher told us “to find out what was in the atom, we essentially shot stuff at it to break it apart to find out what was inside”. That, I guess, is what happened to all of us that ran away for the past few months. We shot at our lives with Fika and snow, only to find we were just ourselves on the inside.

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