For those of us who have moved multiple times, sometimes saying in one place can be the hardest thing of all.
This is especially true for me when times get tough. When I have bad days, when I’m lonely, or frustrated, one thing that always pops into my head is ‘life could be easier if you just moved to (insert city/country that is my flavour of the month)’. It’s not that I actually want to run away from my problems, and in fact I’ve never actually followed though with these thoughts, but they are always there, in the back of my mind – you could just move, leave it all behind, start again – it would be better next time, somewhere else.
I also like to research other countries and cities that I’d like to live in. At the moment for example, I like to read about the thoughts and experiences of people that live in Berlin. I’m sure if I moved there from Stockholm, I’d be looking up what life might be like in another city, and probably missing aspects of life in Sweden. (In an attempt to remedy this desire, I’m going to Berlin to explore/work for a week rather than permanently – to my husband’s great relief, I’m sure).
The same thing goes for language. I used to love the Swedish language when I lived in Australia. I’d watch movies, read books, and look forward to my Swedish lectures at university. Lately – the last 3 or 4 months, I’ve grown tired of learning Swedish. Maybe I’ve hit that point where it’s harder to see progress, where I can do almost everything I need to do in Swedish, and so I stop feeling as motivated – which then leads to me thinking of all the other languages I would like to learn instead.
It can really be a challenge – this experience of life across so many cultures – you grow to love so many different places, to make friendships with people who scatter across the globe, you become comfortable with the process of being new (an outsider), and almost addicted to it. It becomes hard to settle, to grow roots – or rather, to take pleasure from these roots – they can seem at times stifling, and yet at the same time something you deeply crave.
I sometimes wonder (out of sheer curiosity, and only very very rarely, a hint of envy) how it must feel to have always lived in one place, to be part of a community you have grown up with, to know where you belong and where you want to remain. I have no idea where I will be in five years time, on which continent I will be living, which language I’ll be learning. But the thought of not knowing makes me feel comfortable rather than fearful.
I just hope I can learn to take pleasure from where I am now, this very moment, rather than imagining everywhere else, anywhere but here.
Hi Michelle 🙂
I stumbled upon your blogs looking for a Glühwein recipe. I have enjoyed reading your blogs all morning, but this post is the one that spoke most to me (well, this one and your interview with Professor Christof Demont-Heinrich). I have always had ‘itchy feet’, but haven’t been able to do much about them. I have moved a lot, but only in a small area. I would love to travel to different countries and explore the culture and people of those countries. My children and I are currently learning German and I hope to one day be able to take them there and explore.
Thanks for writing such a great blog; I look forward to reading about your adventures in Berlin.
Thanks so much for the comment Deann! I definitely think you can get itchy feet even if you’ve lived in just one country or one area.
I’d love to hear more about your experience learning German along with your children.