It's now more or less two months since I first arrived in Sweden and I'd like to think I've come quite a long way. I've secured a job, albeit with somewhat precarious hours, made a nice network of friends and begun to work on several art-based projects (where my heart truly lies) and as that autumn/winter buzz sets in and the air becomes icily cold, I find myself feeling bizarrely contented.
My boyfriend has been staying in a different town, busy making a film (Excuse me whilst I drop a little publicity bomb here: https://www.facebook.com/Zon261?fref=ts) and so I've pretty much been left to my own devices. I've quickly discovered several hubs of artistic activity, all of which are free and open to the public - you pretty much just drop by one day wanting to create something and they give you tools, means, basic education and space to do so as well as numerous places for a good night out and some small cinema collectives. All of this aside, there is still a lot I have to learn about this city and there are still a lot of things I haven't found yet, which often leaving me longing for London, or even Paris. But it's a feeling I know well, the realisation that some of those home-comforts won't be there to comfort you anymore and when I notice it creeping up on me, I know how to shake it off.
But one thing is for certain, I am missing England more than I thought I would six years after having left. Whether I like to admit it or not, I am very much an Englishwoman. There is something about the culture there (both good and bad) which is so comfortable and easy. Unlike most of my international friends, I don't look at London with starry eyes but with a dull ache in my heart, like an old love I'll never be able to forget. When I think of visiting the town, I don't think of national landmarks, the river or the football teams. I think about back gardens tucked away in the south east, Oxleas Woods (which I know inside out), bus routes I love to loathe, the cheap pubs my friends work at and even cheaper cafes. I simply cannot help myself, even though I've been fighting to leave and have always been yearning to travel, there is something keeps drawing me back to the town I grew up in. And although I don't think I'll be returning for a while and I certainly can't see myself with a family there I know at some point, I'm going to have to go home.