I have lived in the USA since 2008, and for the most part Florida agrees with me. It hasn't always been smooth sailing of course, life rarely is, but I was pretty sure I had settled down and wanted to stay.
Good Friday this year, that changed. It was as if someone flipped a switch in my head. We were talking about holidays at work and I said, "Back home, at my old job, I would have worked a half day yesterday, and Easter is a four-day holiday."
I might only be a three-day holiday now, I know we moved one paid day off to get the new national holiday on June 6th, but I can't remember which holiday we took it from. Either way, Swedes like paid holidays.
One of my colleagues said, "Wow. How do you manage that?"
As she finished the sentence I thought, "Damn, I really want to go home."
Just like that I missed everything Sweden.
I missed "fikaraster" - the Swedish coffee break that is protected by law, it's a time when people come together and chat over a cup of coffee. I missed our abundance of vacation days, being able to go to the doctor without worrying about the bill, having all these paid holidays us Swedes love so much, Swedish pizza, tasty water from the tap without chlorine and chemicals, and a million other little things.
I know many Americans will react with a knee-jerk move. "If you like it so much, you should go back."
You know what? I will. I've been thinking about it ever since Easter. I'm not sure how - moving across an ocean with pets is more complicated than it looks at first glance - but it will be my new goal.
I'm just so tired of crowds, traffic jams, people hitting me with their shopping carts in the stores, people waving their religion in my face and screaming I'll go to hell if I don't repent, hatred towards other religions, sexual preferences, colors, genders, you name it.
There are crazy people everywhere, but the average Swede doesn't care what deity you believe in, which restroom you use, or any of all that stuff that gets Americans all worked up. That is, we don't care as long as you leave us out of it. If you try to pull us into your whatever-it-might-be we will resist.
Many things aren't perfect in Sweden. I remember many things that drove me crazy when I lived there. But things aren't perfect here either.
There are a couple of things keeping me here. The husband, but seeing life in a flash of reality, he will either die or get better. Seeing that he currently weighs maybe 90 pounds and is unable to rise up on his own, the former is significantly more likely than the latter. And, there's Cat Depot. I love my job, the cats, and my colleagues. However, with the Internet, it's possible to be friends over a distance.
I'm sure the pets won't appreciate the move when it comes, they'll hate the long flight, but they'll get over it.
As much as I hate snow and being cold, I come from a land of ice and snow, and it's getting time to embrace it.