Saturday, August 11, 2007
"Tillbaka till Sverige" - A Second Year in Sweden
Generally, though Linköpinglivin' is about my experiences in Sweden and abroad, I try to focus on the people, places, cultures and events more than myself. However, some time in early June, I was really longing to not be a foreigner. I just needed a break.
My first year in Sweden was outstanding and I can hardly wait to see what the second year will bring. When it came time to return (late June), I was more-than-ready for familiar places and language, but most of all the refreshing reconnections with people. So, the pictures above are a tribute to a few of these people. Thanks to everyone from Seattle to Santa Barbara to La Canada who welcomed me back with open arms and lots of questions about life in Sweden. My summer at home will not soon be forgotten.
I have returned to Sweden with renewed excitement and energy, ready for a second year in this delightful land. The normal twinge of homesickness felt at all previous returns was replaced by a longing to see people here, experience again the Swedish summer and continue with everything that I had merely established during the first year. "Tillbaka till Sverige!"
Linköpinglivin' started as a means by which to keep people at home informed, perhaps even educated, about Sweden and my experiences. Soon it also became a forum for Swedes to take another look at their own country (or at least be entertained by the musings of one naïve foreigner). Eventually, for me, it became a cherished outlet for reflection and writing, a place to keep inventory and all-important awareness of the many experiences of living away from home.
After some thought and pondering, my goal for the second year of Linköpinglivin' (in addition to my overall life) is to take things a step deeper. Deeper into the history of Sweden and how it is relevant for today, deeper into the culture of the Swedes and how this impacts foreigners and immigrants both in and out of Sweden and deeper into the experience of life abroad for an American. What was breadth will hopefully become depth. What was only observations will become considerations. What was looking in from the outside can hopefully become the view from the inside. What was scratching the surface can hopefully become a greater understanding and appreciation for a unique culture and opportunity to be a part of that culture for a little while. With this, all three previously-mentioned Linköpinglivin' goals can continue to be achieved, but with a fresh start and new perspectives.
At least this is the hope....
A good start to this is the fresh design, color and layout of Linköpinglivin' - please tell me what you think. Welcome or welcome back to Linköpinglivin'. Let's do this again.
1. No more than two hours after landing in Seattle, I was in the front row at a good old-fashioned American baseball game (with college buddy, Dave Hess). What a way to beat jet-lag!
2. Left-to-right: Todd (you know him as THAT brother), Dad - John, Uncle - Pete and me with beautiful summertime Seattle in the background.
3. A reunion with some former students from the University of Washington.
4. Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen during a seven-hour layover on the way back to Sweden.
5. More of Tivoli, Europe's most enchanting and famous amusement park.