… of the rest of my Swedish life!
After reflecting and thinking through over the last couple of days, I feel like I’ve found some perspective again. The whole situation was weird and awkward, and I think I lost the distinction between uncomfortableness and people flat out being jerks. Even if it turns out they were just being jerks, they don’t owe me friendship, they didn’t ask me to come here. Probably we’ll look back on our first meeting and laugh, but even if not, I can paste a smile on my face and be nice for my Viking’s sake from time to time, but truly focus on building my own life and social group.
I think a lot of factors were in play which I didn’t really acknowledge at the time. They are obviously a close knit group who have known each other forever, and here is this new person who doesn’t speak their language arriving to spend the whole weekend in one of their homes. I’ve always been more of a social butterfly than a one tight crew kind of person, but I can imagine that if the situation was reversed and I was looking forward to a weekend with some close friends, any new person could upset the balance and seem like an intruder. Particularly one who speaks a foreign language – my Viking is so comfortable in English that sometimes I forget he has to concentrate on what I’m saying, and of course the same is true of his friends. They were drinking and relaxing, not wanting to think about vocabulary and grammar they learned in school.
Then, there was the holiday aspect: if I spent, say, Christmas with a group of new people, it could be weird, but at least I would have a running start in terms of what’s expected: gifts, Santa, carols – check. They were all celebrating something that, I’m understanding now, is as big and dear to them as Christmas, and here was somebody like… what’s going on now? There was a special meal (pickled fish, cold potatoes and a kind of cracker they insisted was ‘bread’… yum :-S) and games and songs and they kept having to stop to explain to me what was going on. I guess it would get old if you had to spend your Christmas day being like “so there’s this guy called Santa, he came down the chimney last night, we’re going to sing about him now…”
So it’s cool. Time will tell if it was just a weird start, or jerks I need to learn to deal with as they are important to someone I love, but don’t need to be a big part of my life beyond that. Right now I actually feel like I’m looking forward to the next time I see them, as I just feel curious to see what it will be like, rather than scared and nervous and dreading it. It’s almost like I’m an emotionally mature grown up! Don’t worry, it won’t last… 😉
Speaking of which, I’ve also stopped being so impatient at getting a start on life here – last week I felt like I need a job, and friends, and fluent Swedish yesterday, but right now I feel like it’s okay to take it slow and build it bit by bit. I’ve spent the last couple of days sitting out in the park when it’s nice, and in a coffee shop when it’s been a little dull, reading a book I never had a chance to when I bought it when it first came out (11.22.63 by Stephen King – loving it!). I’ve been people watching the beautiful hipsters and eavesdropping (I think it’s okay when you don’t understand what they’re saying!) and feeling kind of relaxed and vacation-y. I will take Stockholm by the horns and establish myself for real here… soon.