Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The grass isn't always greener on the other side...

It just might appear less brown.

Much has happened and at the same time nothing either. It has been a rough summer, full of emotional ups and downs, physical and mental trouble and that ever present issue of economics, becoming more and more pressing.

source: backpacker.com
I more often than not feel as if I am trudging up a huge sand dune, feet sinking deep in the fine sand, making no or very little progress, while the searing sun drains my strength or as if I am caught in quicksand, sinking away deeper, despite or because of my struggles.
The sands of time are running and it feels as if my life/future is slipping away like dry sand between my fingers...... which is a coincidence, since I strongly dislike sand....

I actually tried to hold on to dry sand, while on a beach last summer and no matter how hard I tightened my grip, the sand just kept running....

You may have noticed a near total lack of outdoorsy things I did myself, apart from that short week on the coast and truth be told there just was not anything to write or tell about. I simply lost interest (or heart). I still have no (lasting) job and by now have become convinced that I probably never will either, for the simple reason that a) I am not indigenous, b) to old and thus to expensive and c) am experienced and matured, which means I most likely am not as compliant as my employer would like me to be. These experiences are being shared by other non-natives I have come to speak with btw...

Taken during a trip with our guests.
On the large horse my youngest daughter...
and on the pig.... well... ;)
One of the absolute highlights was the visit of a couple of old friends. We had not seen each other since we left Holland 3 years ago, but when we met it felt as if we had only seen each other last week. The connection was still there and that felt so good after previous, less positive experiences. Sharing time with people like that, talking about real things in life, communicating on a level above the weather and social niceties really lifts the heart and mind. And I even was able to share some of my limited woodcarving knowledge with one of their daughters. This visit however did also made some other things painfully clear. When they left for home, they left behind a sense of  emptiness and loneliness, a void that can not be filled by what we have here.
We have come to the conclusion that Swedish social structures (families, friendships etc), at least in our area, are like loose sand (there's the sand-thing again), lacking cohesion. They are courteous, friendly and will help you if you ask, but will back away afterwards. They shy away from developing real relationships.
It is one of the cultural and social differences from what we are used to and one with which we struggle, ever since we came here. Again, this is confirmed by other non-natives and indeed by some natives as well.

I even caught myself wondering if we should just go back, but looking around, I realized that we can not. We could never adjust to the rushing concrete jungle again, if we ever did.

That means keep going and trying new things, finding new ways, continue probing for a hole in order to break the deadlock.

For now I'll be busy, thank God, with our charcoal kiln and harvesting potatoes again. At least that might yield some things to show for and talk about and give a sense of purpose...


  1. Ron, all I can say is that I know exactly how you feel. I feel that way myself quite often. We are outcasts for sure, but if you take a look around you you will see there´s a whole lot of us around. But we are in a story. And as Samweis says to Frodo: "The people in the story always had the chance to go back. Only they didn´t." And that´s the reason there are still stories told. And I hope you continue living your dream. Take care!

  2. I do not consider myself to be an outcast. I am not as everyone else, true, but no outcast.
    Being different here in Sweden is far less an issue than where we come from. That is one of the great benefits of living here; you can be just as you are with far less social restrictions than we have been brought up with.
    The main problem is that I, and many with me, feel that the people here in general are not as ....... well.... accessible as we had hoped/expected/thought/would've liked. It appears they live their lives much more for their own, on their own and coming from a culture, where people much more interact on deeper levels, or at leased used to, that creates a feeling of distance, emptiness.