When I reconnected with Daniel and officially moved to Sweden in 2012, a wise man, who also happens to be an extraordinary songwriter/artist and friend of mine), Eric Bazilian, once said to me, “You've begun a new adventure, one where you belong to two worlds.. and one where you will always feel a part of you is missing. When you’re in Stockholm, you’ll long for Melbourne some days. When you’re in Melbourne, there’ll be this pull for Stockholm. If you can roll with this, and accept those feelings anyway, you’ll be ok”.
Three years later, ain’t that the truth. Eric(American) would know it, he married a Swede too, 20ish years ago, the lovely Sarah.
Torn between two worlds… or belonging to two hemispheres?
I’m writing this on mother’s day(not in Sweden, but in Australia and many other countries around the globe), and of course I miss my mum today. Just perfect really, because I also have the flu, horizontal, in bed. Courtesy of my hubby, and trying desperately not to pass it on to the lil’ 8 month old mini-viking.
You could argue I’m in a melancholic mood, but no arguments here, getting this sick means my brain is forced to stop, as the body shuts down, while you check in and reflect on what is so in your own little world. Ugh. Do I have to?! A necessary evil I suppose. Just don’t make any big decisions in this state, they say..
When you’re under the weather, you just want your mum, don’t you?! I do. I had to move to the other side of the planet to begin to kind of resemble(well, I have a way to go yet) the kind of woman I admire in my mother - strong, independent, selfless, generous in her actions, gifted, and a woman who simply DOES NOT STOP until she gets the job done! 'Growing up’ and living in Melbourne for a good 35 years meant an abundance of things - loving family, the best of friends, comfort, support, a successful career, my own house, creativity, opportunity, a University education, unforgettable summers.. and the list goes on. But on some level, I never really did grow up. Being the youngest of three sisters, I always hated to admit, but it was always difficult to shake off the approval junkie in me. Post Bachelor Girl and a couple of solo independent instalments, it was time. Time for a new adventure, because comfort usually brings more of the same, but to take risks and leave the nest is when you really stretch yourself, almost out of necessity. This is something my parents inadvertently taught me by being immigrants themselves(my father’s escape was a little more desperate as he fled communist Albania in the 1940s). Of course they never wanted me, their little ’baby’ to leave Melbourne, but they understood it’s what my soul wanted, just as theirs did, and never fought me on the matter. They graciously... accepted it.
So, I found a new nest in Stockholm or, as I like to call it - the North Pole. And I need to be a version of myself I’ve never known, the strongest ever. And that’s not all bad news really. I gotta take care of my own baby now, even when I’m sick! WHA?!?! I don't remember signing on for that! No, I’m not advocating super womanhood here, nor am I boasting it, but being a mother, also in a foreign country, means 've got to dig deeper, find resources in new places, and ones within myself I never needed to use because someone else could always do it for me. Daniel and I have no family in Stockholm(and of course a million babysitters in Melbourne), so when we both fell sick this weekend, I realised.. yet again, I’m an adult now. I gotta get my shit together and be a powerhouse! (Can’t just spit the dummy - two people are depending on me!) Of course there’s our Stockholm friends, but we’d have to dump Leo on them for days while we recovered, and that’s not fair. Plus, anyone being around us would catch this nasty flu virus in an instant.
No newsflash here, whatever hemisphere you're in, life can be painful, end of sentence. Eric's words frequently spin round in my head. I know that I am torn and miss my posse back home..and I can pine for what I don’t have...or I can accept the wave as it passes over me, and be grateful that I know I’m alive & sweatin' (a temperature of 39 degrees to boot - boofreakinhoo), for the wonderful friends I now have in Stockholm too, and that I put myself in this very position anyway. Careful what you wish for - that ol' chestnut. The moment you step out of your comfort zone, you create new adventures and with them new obstacles. And that's just how that ride goes. You can't have one without the other.
So the ride comes with some prickly bits, and ok, so I can't just duck over and see my folks for an hour. And yes, spontaneous visits have gone out the window. Dump the baby and run down the store without having to take everything bar the kitchen sink, now not likely. And mum can't just fly 24 hours across the globe, and 'abandon' my 86 year old father, so she can steal a quick squeeze from her first and only grandson. BUT - it does come with some supersized awesome stuff, like - double the interesting experiences, opportunities, summers, creative Skype sessions, music, creators, friends, family, excitement to get back 'home', escaping the height of Swedish winters and.. love attacks from every corner of the world. And as distance makes the heart grow fonder, it also romanticises (and catasrophises-is that a word?) almost everything. At the end of the day, even after say, an hour of racketing about the so-called Sweden-Australia battle in my crazy head on any given late afternoon when Leo's teeth are driving us both nuts, I still keep choosing, and winning the 'battle', but over and above it, the little nest I had a big part in creating, the 'Tanielo'.
So, how does one reconcile it all? Well I've learnt it's OK to miss things, and people. It also doesn't mean anything is 'wrong' or I have to change any of it. I also understand that mine and Daniel's 'new normal' is that no one place or town has 'forever' attached to it, and that my notion of 'home' is now complex. I DID sign on for this the moment I said yes to Daniel, and Stockholm - two fundamental deal-makers in two of my greatest passions in this life - loving partnership and music-making.
Accepting all this as so, is crucial, and incredibly freeing.
I belong to two hemispheres. One nest. Prickly bits and all.
(Gentle reminder: Eric is the lead singer/guitarist of 'The Hooters' and also penned the grammy-nominated, worldwide smash, 'One of Us').
'Til next week.. thanks for reading, and sharing. New look website in the works too ;-)