It still amaze me how adaptable we are. Human are creatures of habits and tradition, and yet we have an incredible capacity to change, so incredible in fact that we don’t even think twice about it.
I used to spend most of my life in the same 300 km² area, talking to the same people, and speaking the same language. Then all of a sudden, here I am, spending my days talking only in english like it ain’t nothing, cooking alongside Germans and Turks, dancing with Japanese girls and eating fajitas made of tikka masala sauce and meatballs while listening to British folk music. Everything around me is foreign in every sense of the word and yet I take it all in stride, not even stopping to think of how spectacularly different everything here is, when compared to my previous life.
For instance, I’m still not quite used to be beamed with a 10 000-lux lamp while waiting for the bus.
Outside it has started snowing. It’s 3 in the afternoon and tiny specks of snow are whirling around in the setting sun. I come from a town by the sea where snow is almost unheard of, and as I mentioned before, being in the dark in the middle of the day is also very strange. And yet it seems normal, somehow. I think of the Asian exchange students that must discover an entirely new culture, or of US people living in a place where politics are the polar (pun not intended) opposite to what they know, but they seems to be adapting well too, eating turkey with chopsticks and watching their college football games via internet.
But who am I to criticize, I eat my swedish ramen with a fork.
Everything is a bizarre mixture of local flavor and foreign traditions. I have a roommate from the south of France that still enjoy his Pastis apéritif now and then, only the bottle is labeled in German because it was smuggled from Hamburg. My local supermarket has half an aisle dedicated to Thai food, and another aisle with boxes upon boxes of frozen salmon.
And thanks to Sweden’s lax migration policies and the EU, I’m almost a Swedish citizen. I recently got my very own “personnummer”, a unique number used to identify Swedish nationals. I got a birth certificate in Swedish. For all intent and purpose, my life is here now, at least for the foreseeable future, and yet it seems both real and so fake at the same time. I’m feeling like a foreigner, but not like I’m out-of-place. Like a fish out of water, but not gasping for air either.
Also, did you hear the news? Christmas is coming!