Written from flight DY2856, London Gatwick to Stockholm Arlanda, 10/08/15
The first time I touched down in the UK as a visitor from Sweden, in December 2014, I wanted to kiss the tarmac at Heathrow. I was home.
The first few months as a stranger in a strange land had been hard. I had survived an induction by fire in my Swedish class, an unsuccessful job interview, and the darkest November on record. Home meant the comfort of familiar faces and familiar places. It meant not having to try all the time.
Fast forward eight months and I’m waving goodbye to Gatwick after a weekend visit and processing how it feels.
Recently I’ve been telling everyone how I’ve started to feel settled in Sweden, how it has become my new normal. In fact, before I left I was ambivalent about the trip, unwilling to leave Andreas and our newly-fostered cat Åskar.
And then I got to those familiar faces and places. The comfort of my childhood home. The immediate picking-up-where-you-left-off with my closest friends. The buzz and energy of London, where everything happens. A weekend wasn’t enough to do it all justice, and it was hard to leave.
But there’s also comfort in flying back to Arlanda, back to Uppsala and the home that I live in.
It’s not the same – it means going back to trying all the time. But I don’t think I mind that any more. I’m willing to put the effort in, willing to keep trying, because I can see the life that I could have in Sweden. I haven’t reached it yet, but it feels like it’s on the horizon.
And in that life, I see myself comfortable. I see myself home.