Since leaving the familiarity of the United States for the tangled alien landscape of Japan in early 2004, I’ve become a bit of a mystery and definitely a source of frustration for the folks back home. People call me adventurous but my decision to leave was more practical and mundane than a desire to “see the world.” The real reason I left was for work and also, partially to get out of a really shitty relationship. Alas, moving half way around the world wasn’t far enough and my ex decided to come with me in order to prolong the misery for another year and a half.
When my time in Japan (and bad relationship) finally came to an end, I did something completely crazy, reckless, and yeah, kind of stupid. I moved to Sweden as a so-called love immigrant. Nobody saw that coming, least of all me. There aren’t very many immigrants from English-speaking countries here, but most of us fall into the categories of having come here for 1. work or 2. love. Obviously I’m in the latter category. We’re a closely knit group and I’ve made some incredible friends during my time in this mostly cold and dark land.
After struggling through a series of part-jobs for over four years, I now work at a Swedish upper-secondary school as full-time English and Art teacher and part-time secretary. After nearly six years in Sweden I still haven’t quite mastered the language, so my work can be challenging and often frustrating. However, despite the difficulties and the oft-repeated “so, when are you coming home?” queries from my American kinsmen, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Tyvärr.