I am Swedish, my papers say so and my parents are Swedish. I was born in Japan and lived there until I was seven years old when we moved to Sweden. I felt Japanese and considered Japan my home. My “mother” was my Japanese nanny whom I loved dearly , she was my “safe place”. Sweden was not a nice place for me to come to, I was treated like an unwanted immigrant and I kept waiting to “go home” (to Japan). Finally, at 11 years of age I realized that this would never happen and was thrown into despair. Life was unkind to me in Sweden, I was too different and just couldn’t fit in no matter how hard I tried.
As a young adult I traveled around Europe and felt much more at ease in other countries than “my own” and I “became” European. I lived my life in Sweden feeling constantly unsafe, as if bad things could happen at any time, I just didn’t feel comfortable. But I got on with my life. After 30 years in Sweden I finally went back to Japan for a visit and though I felt at home in my heart I realized that I did not belong there anymore, nor did I “belong” in Sweden.
Then life changed, as it does, dramatically and I chose to leave Sweden for good. With a little van I moved my entire life to Luxembourg (why and how is a whole different story). It was not very planned and the first years were extremely difficult, still I felt safe and happy here – as if the country embraced me in welcome and I felt happy even in my scariest and most insecure moments. I have now lived here 7 years and every day I thank myself for taking this step, every day I feel love and gratitude toward my new country. I don’t know if I will stay here always, I might find somewhere else I want to go, but I know for a fact that I will never return to Sweden (except for wonderful visits).
I have been judged and criticized for not liking Sweden by other Swedes, apparently you must love your country…These people will not give me the time of day, they consider me a traitor of the worst order. They also are not fond of immigrants. Lots of people love Sweden, and lots of people choose it as “their” country, living happy lives there no matter where they originally came from. Papers and genetics don’t define who we are, our personal selves do. Getting stuck on nationality and “MY country” is dangerous, this is what make people go to war. Nationalism was the cornerstone of Hitler’s political agenda and people bought it, lock stock and barrel.
Moral? There is a “right place” for everybody. Me and Sweden are just not compatible, it doesn’t make Sweden a bad place or me a bad person. I am compatible with Luxembourg. I have African, Turkish, Serbian, Indian friends in Sweden who are totally compatible with the country. Good for them. If you are lucky enough to find your right place, embrace it and stay in Peace.