I haven’t felt too compelled to write lately. My mind is a list of all the things I have to do before I leave on Saturday – all of the goodbyes, the visa procedures, the returning of library books, the buying of cheap H&M jeans (seriously H&M is so much cheaper and better here), the making of our favorite foods, and the packing of course. My mind feels like a storage unit of all the practical information I need to get through the next few weeks, and I need to get outside of it before I can reach any sort of reflective space.
And then when I reach that space, I inevitably become sad and try to push it away. Start another Netflix episode, respond to a friend’s message, do anything but think about the fact that I’m going to be 4,776 miles away (yes I looked that up) in two days. Normally 48 hours before a big trip, if I haven’t finished packing I have at least started, but this time I can’t bring myself to approach a suitcase.
It’s not just having Erik here, although that is a big part of it. It’s also that this place, in four short months, has really come to feel like my home. Actually since the first time I visited, this place has felt like home, so moving here has always felt right. I know my parents reading this in Minnesota won’t be super ecstatic about that sentence, and it’s true that Minnesota will always be my home, but I think that they are happy to see that I’ve found another place where I feel as comfortable and at peace as my childhood home.
From the bitter-tasting snapps, to the enjoyment of coffee as a pastime (fika); from the modern and efficient trains to the old cobblestone roads and brightly colored buildings, from the Michelin-man dressed children to the way-too trendy hipsters on Södermalm; from the long summer days to the beautiful winter sunrises and sunsets; I love this country.
These last four months have given me a taste of life here, and now all that remains to do is to get better and come back.
Since I’ve been off antibiotics, I actually think I’ve begun to feel a lot better. At least I’m not dealing with the side effects of all those drugs anymore. I felt like I had a bit of a relapse around Christmas but after about a week of taking the herbal medication, I felt as good as I did before the relapse. I took that as a really good sign because it had taken me about two months on the antibiotics to get to that level.
My bladder has felt stable enough that I’ve even been able to reintroduce a little coffee into my diet! Oh coffee, how I’ve missed thee! Erik was laughing at me this week because I spontaneously broke out into an “I get to drink coffee” dance. I’ve heard that coffee is not great for the adrenal glands, so I’m trying to keep it to a half cup two or three times a week, but even that is such a luxury!
So, things are looking up! I’m feeling optimistic, which is scary because I really don’t want to be disappointed if this thing isn’t done with in a few months. I guess the trick is being optimistic, but trying to be okay with the way things actually unfold, and trying extra hard to appreciate all the good little moments. In other words, enjoying the journey along the way, instead of just pining for it all to be over.
In that spirit, I’m hoping to make the next three months in Minnesota as enjoyable as possible. There will be lots of getting outside for cross-country skiing and skating in our backyard, chasing Gus around in the snow, reading good books, studying Swedish and cooking delicious food. I’m always up for visitors, if anyone has some frequent flyer miles that they’d like to use, or is in the mood for a road trip! And before that all, I get to spend a week in Florida, where I’m pretty much on the same track as my grandparents 😊. So, it’s all good.
Giving thanks every day for a loving boyfriend who has listened to me cry, rage, and sometimes say nothing at all, parents that can take me in and support me for however long it takes for me to get better, and a future to come back to.
USA, here I come!