Given that I live in a country that’s not where I am from and am married to someone from yet another country, I suppose I spend a little bit more time than the average person in thinking about where I want to live.
From my first visit to Australia nine years ago, I felt that I fit in. Whether in the city on the beach or in the outback, I found I could relate to the people and that I intrinsically belonged even though I did not live in the country. Maybe being married to an Aussie had something to do with that belonging, but I don’t think that’s the complete answer. My friend Debora has lived in Stockholm on and off for 25 years and is married to a Swede, but still does not feel like she fits in there. “Unlike Asia, you look like you belong in Sweden,” she says. “So you have a false sense that you do belong. But you don’t. I am not from Sweden and am too loud and too American to fit in completely.”
Although I have a fantastic life that I love in Stockholm, I still don’t have that same connected feeling that I get in Oz. And for the moment, I don’t feel like I belong in the US either. I suppose I’ve gotten addicted to the exotic lifestyle of living internationally. It’s an interesting place to be in, but also confusing as it gets down to the question of where I belong in the world. I have not worked that out yet. But this search for belonging is one of the main themes in my book. I will keep you posted on how the process goes.