Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Take me to Normal Land.

I know a little girl of 2, and when she pretends to go somewhere imaginary she says she is going to NormalLand. Sign me up.....

I am heading to NormalLand in 6 days...Oct 19th SwedeMomma and the girls are heading to Florida for 5 weeks, returning Dec 1st just in in time for Swedish Lucia magic.

I have been very thoughtful about the differences between Sweden and the USA lately. I am living the conflicted life that everything here is structurally perfect, the house, the seasons, the school, the little red barns and tapestry of green and yellow fields bordered by the colorful autumn trees of the Skåne landscape. It is picture perfect.

We left Florida in July 2008 just months before the economy crashed, with Bush and Cheney still in power. The feeling was one of impending doom....when we left, it was like the typical TV car wreck scene from CHIPS where someone is running away from an over turned crashed car that is leaking gasoline and ready to blow. We were running for cover. And sure enough, right as we settled here we peeked out of our sheltered place to see the american economy implode. The wreckage is still smoldering, and the damage still being assessed, and people are trying to remake their lives under new circumstances created by so many personal tragedies, small and large. We feel lucky to have escaped so many of the problems those we left behind are facing.

But I miss my people. I miss my home. I miss working, my friends, and knowing how to participate in the society around me.

In childhood I would imagine my jungle gym a circus. I created a shows, made tickets, and imagined a packed house ready to join me in the fun. As a grown up, I am full of ideas, always connecting to people and connecting them to each other, seeing possibility and potential all around me, and making things happen. I create circuses, and people come. In Sweden, for better or worse, I know no one, and while my little world here could not be more beautiful, there is only my family to share it with. For now, it is enough. It is healing to be in the isolated peace, but the quiet is getting deafening. I find myself longing to get the circus started once again. To be part of the world again.

On my return, I look forward to hanging out with my parents, swimming in the sunshine and relaxing in the hot tub at night, visiting with my sister and her two little girls, my brother will take my girls fishing, and my mom and dad can see how cute my little girl is at 18 months. Swededadddy will stay home and tend to his family business, and we will miss him, but are glad to be heading out. I am going back in time for a favorite boy's 7th birthday camp out party, will make the 1st, 3rd and 6th birthday parties for a cousin's baby and two special little friends, see high school friends, will go to a Halloween party I would probably cry about missing if I had to read blog posts about it from a far, and have a big family Thanksgiving with a special appearance by an aunt traveling from far away. I am in limbo in Sweden. I still am creating a life here. But meanwhile, the life I left behind in the town my family lives in, that I grew up in, started a business in, and became a mother in is perfectly intact. I can drop in, head out with friends and bask in the excitement and beauty that comes from returning to a stage already set, a life that has been on pause. It's like old times, but better, as everyone is all the more happy to see us since we have been gone.

I wonder how it will feel to be home on this trip. Last time we went to America, we felt like it was a great place to visit, but we were glad we did not live there. It seemed so busy, fast, overstimulating, over consuming, impoverished, and stressed. It was like one big Disney World turned into a whole nation. We were glad to come back to quiet, sane, safe Sweden. Now, the craziness of it all aside, I miss the singular fact that it is where I am from. It is a big crazy circus, a nation in pain struggling with some very hard issues, but it is home.

To me, it is NormalLand, and I am going back.

I always did like the circus. So we got some tickets, but I am not sure we are ready to run off to join the show.


Rose said...


Welcome back to the circus!

Karen said...

Have an AWESOME trip!!!!
Perhaps the trip will give you some perspective on where you really want to be.


Mama Bird said...

Oh, mama, the circus analogy is soo right on. I feel like I have definitely joined the show lately. Perhaps as the trapeeze artist, swinging around upside down! I'd like a ticket to your safe haven of peace, for at least 5 weeks. We could have traded spaces, but then we wouldn't see one another. I am so looking forward tpo your visit & to seeing your sweet girls.

Urban Pilgrim said...

Can't tell you how nice it was to read your post and find a kindred spirit who is going through something similar. I too left the US and now live in Stockholm with my Swedish boyfriend. I love it here and feel lucky to be out of the states, which as you aptly stated, is a smoldering wreck. But I miss home and feel a bit disconnected here.

I hope you have a wonderful trip back home and get "recharged" before you come back.

And if you have time, check out my blog about living in Sweden I would imagine we write about some similar things (

Safe travels!