Going back 25 years
In response to the daily prompt from the new course Writing 101, I will make a journey back in time. I had emigrated from Denmark to Sweden with four small children.
Outside Uppsala, an old university city in Sweden is a small village Storvreta. Many families with children lived there in the 1990-ties.
I came to start a new life with my family. The area is surrounded by pine forests, and big stones from the Ice Age lay around in the rough forest paths. Once my girl got lost and shouted “mother!” and “Jesus”! in turns. I was so sorry to realise that she had been lost without me even knowing it.
The weather very much unlike Denmark where we always have the wind ever-present.
The winters were cold, and the summers were warm and short. Summer arrived on one day! On the first of May. That was a huge celebration, people went out in the evening to make bonfires to celebrate, also when snow was still lying around. I wanted a white wooden house, and somehow I got that. It was a journey of great faith.
Two years before I was separated from my ex-husband. It had been one long road towards a cul-de-sac. Whatever I did to please him made everything worse, and in the end, I realised that I had to leave him with all our children. We had all been abused both physically and emotionally.
It seemed that it suited him so well that we left because when he got the information from my lawyer that I wanted separation, he had already long ago prepared himself for going to the States to study another degree.
Some of my good friends from Finland had attended bible school in Uppsala and wrote to me to come and visit two years before I immigrated. Visiting them sparked in me a new hope that life could be different, full of security and joy. It came to me as a sentence in my head that I was going to that bible school to be renewed. My friends saw me in a deficient state of mind and prayed for me a lot.
I gave up my job at home and travelled the twelve hours’ drive up to move in. I had only 150 $ to live in the first month, but somehow I never lacked anything. A good friend of our family helped me to move and paid many of my bills along the way.
It was so difficult for me to explain to the children that we were going to move. I am sure that they ought to have been made more ready for the significant change. On the other hand, my children were all very open to people and always looking for new contacts. It was like we stopped at the parking place of where we were going to live, and they stepped out and started to speak Swedish to the children playing there. For some years I had played Swedish children’s tapes from the church we were going to attend, and I think that helped a lot in the start for their ability to communicate.
One thing I regret immensely is that after two years of attending bible school I started to work too many hours. The children were left at home much of the time to manage themselves and they have bad memories from that period of “the wild west”. If I could go back and change that I really would.
Some of our best memories were the winters with skiing. That would be in Norway or north of Sweden or just where we lived. My children loved to go by slalom skis or later on snowboards.
In the summers they would build small tent villages in the cleared parts of the wood around the white houses together with the neighbour children, and they were allowed to stay there at nights.
It showed up to be a lot harder to break up again and return to a Denmark I didn’t really know anymore. For children to be uprooted in their teenage years is harder than when they are very young. Some of the friendships are intact still and its a privilege to know different countries from the inside. But it takes time to adjust to new habits and dialects even in your own country. Today my oldest child lives in Sweden, and the rest are spread around in Denmark.
The friendships I got in Sweden are for life. It takes time to become friends, but once you are you just know that they are as loving and faithful as the time we met.
Maybe you would like to know why I returned to Denmark? I married the man who helped me so much with the moving to Sweden and paid a lot of bills so that the children never felt that they lacked anything. He had a good job in Denmark as a scientist, and I had to let go of Sweden.
Coming back now and then I have revisited the village with the white houses. They have turned green to my regret, and I have this feeling that it is wrong. It is a different place, and my feelings get very mixed seeing the area.
I believe that this story could also be featured under the blogging event hosted by “TinyExpats” called “Show your world.”
I left that white house, but I got a bit of Sweden with me as I live in a white wooden Swedish house now since 18 years back.