Living as an American in Sweden, I meet a lot of other internationals. I find there are expats who are miserable in their lives, loathing everything from the food and the people to the landscape and the weather. They seem determined to enjoy nothing. And then there are those who throw themselves full-on into their new life, sampling the food, learning the traditions and the language and in the process, enjoying it all. Long ago, I found that I did not want to be around the miserable ones who found fault with everything. I sympathized with them, but I just could not afford to be brought down by their misery.
Now I am no saint in my international life. I am not above making regular rants about the darkness here in winter or complaining about the high cost of living. There are things I would like to change. That said, I do love my life overall and try to embrace what is unique about life in Scandinavia, as well as what is unique to me as an American. I feel lucky.
Which brings me to a book I just finished reading: Julia Child’s My Life in France. (This American chef is immensely popular just now thanks to the Meryl Streep movie Julie & Julia.) The book is a mouth-watering read in terms of its descriptions of French cuisine. But as an expat, what I particularly enjoyed about Julia was her complete immersion in France and her absolute love of life there, even with all its quirks. She had an inspiring recipe for living abroad that is well worth emulating, no matter where you may find yourself.