Well I've been home in the U.S. visiting for five days so far. It's a very unique experience being able to see the world I grew up in and knew for the first 23 years of my life with very familiar, and yet very new eyes. Part of me falls right back into going about my city just the way I always did, and another part of me looks at the place with brand new eyes.
For instance, all of the cars here seem huge to me now; not only huge, but excessively so. No wonder the U.S. alone uses up 25% of the world's oil. Isn't that a sad little piece of knowledge? Living in Sweden, I believe, has really turned me on to the green culture. Rather than driving my car to my friend's house who lives in the same neighborhood, I now ride a family bike. It just seems so wrong to me to look around and see the majority of vehicles being so wasteful, with people blatantly not caring about the planet. At this rate, we certainly will kill it and all its beauty.
Even though I know I have had a bone or two to pick with Swedish manners (or lack thereof in several cases), I am easily more irritated with Americans. At least more often. Or maybe I just focus on wherever I am at at any given time and it seems like the home I'm in is the more irritating one. To materialize these ramblings, here are a couple of mini-rants I have about Americans.
1. LEARN TO DRIVE. Today I was on the highway and I checked my rear view mirror and a woman in a van was perhaps only 15 feet (or approximately 4.5 meters) from my rear bumper. Had I put on my brakes for any reason she would have rear ended me. Not only was she that close to me, she stayed there for at least 10 minutes. Not 5 minutes later, a massive pickup truck cut me off while exiting the highway.
2. DON'T BE RIDICULOUS. While eating dinner with my mom this evening we had the local news on in the background. The news anchor moved on to a story of a woman (I believe in California) who was suing McDonald's because she didn't like/agree with how they were marketing their Happy Meals. Do you really have nothing better to do than sue a massive company because you don't like the way they are marketing one of their products?
I believe I have become used to the quiet, sensible way that Swedes tend to conduct themselves. At least that is mostly how I have come to experience Sweden. It's amazing to be able to look at the U.S. with new (dare I say foreign?) eyes. I am much more critical, and yet a part of me still loves the U.S. because I will always, at least partially, identify as American. It's just inside of me. Nevertheless, I fear I will never be able to hold back judgment on this country, however minute the critique. Nothing can improve if it is never critiqued.
Part of me already misses Sweden. Which I take as a good sign - it's become home for me. At first I struggled with having to choose a home, but now I've embraced that I can have two. No matter which country I'm in, a part of me will feel at home, and the other part will miss the other home. I've had to come to terms with this, especially because it was my choice to split myself, so to say, in the first place.
Be on the look out for more post to come! I'm sure I'll post some more before I fly back over the pond. Who knows, maybe I'll have some more rants, too. ;-)
PS - Happy Midsommar to all of you in Sweden! I'm truly sad to miss out on it, but I will have to just wait til next year.