Making the leap from winter to summer is always an exhilarating change for me– perhaps if only to get me out of the dark and gray of Stockholm’s winter. Adapting to the new season means that I am exposing winter white skin to the sun and getting my body used to a 40-degree c temperature change. (It’s around 100 degrees f here!) It also means I’ve gone from snow to sand and have changed my attire accordingly from boots to flip flops.
But more than this, I find myself needing to adjust to the people and culture around me. Every day as I walk the beach, most people either nod or say hello. Now that just doesn’t really happen often in Stockholm. And it especially does not happen in winter when everyone keeps their heads down in the cold. Adjusting to this has been one of the regular challenges for me in my Stockholm life.
Interestingly enough, I have to admit that on my first few beach walks, I was startled. I have gotten used to the non-recognition in Stockholm. But I love, love, love the friendly and easy atmosphere of “no worries, mate” Australia. It feels more like home to me, I suppose. Adam, a friend from Stockholm who is also at the conference, told me yesterday that Australia suited me. Interesting, huh?
While I love my life in Sweden, I tend to feel that I won’t stay there forever. And I always wonder whether the reserve of Scandinavians has to do with their northernly location? While I am from the Midwest, I have always thought I was more of a southerner at heart. (A Southern European or actually living in the Southern hemisphere.) While I’ve never been a Jimmy Buffet fan, I have to admit that a few lyrics from him seem appropriate just now: “Changes in attitude, changes in latitude.” I am loving my change in latitude…