According to a no-frills, nothing-fancy watermarked piece of paper from the Swedish government, I’m now a Swedish citizen.
There’s no history test. There’s no ceremony. There’s no secret handshake. It simply is what it is.
Do I feel any different? Absolutely not. Am I different? Uh, yup. Live, breathe and function in any new place for about five years and you’ll be different, too. It’s hard to see in yourself, but it happens. In the slideshow below are a few of the things that make my heart happy about being here.
With all of these joys come the struggles of being internationally uprooted – of being far, far away when life happens; of communicating through e-mails and crappy Skype connections; of not making new memories with people you love. Yes, this choice I’ve made is a trade-off. And holy hell has it been worth it.
But I’ve also had a sickness I just can’t shake. In Swedish, it’s hemlängtan. In English, well, it’s time to come on home.
Maybe it’s not the first thing that should be on one’s mind after gaining dual citizenship, but somehow it makes sense. I now have two official homes. I never intended to call Sweden home, yet it certainly is. I’ve been kneaded by Swedish ways, popped in the immigrant oven and PING! I’m done – filled with the best parts Sweden has to offer. But now it’s time to be delivered elsewhere. You ready, America?
So by the end of the year, before the soul-suck of Swedish winter, I’ll be back in Louisiana. I’ll speak at you in Swedish, forgetting you won’t understand. You’ll stare at me, befuddled, and list the ways I’ve changed.
And then, months later when visa stuff is secured, you’ll get to school Karl on how to be American.
That’s as much as I know right now, but it sounds good to me. Bittersweet, but good.