Tag Archives: right place

There is a Right Place for everybody

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.

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WHERE WILDERNESS CREATES ABUNDANCE

One of the nicest thing in my life is my garden. I always had one, no matter where or how I lived; little tiny gardens in my window, a somewhat larger one on the balcony, or even a few different ones when I live in a house surrounded by land. When I feel depleted or exhausted I go into my garden to replenish; smell a flower or a herb, replant something, clear some weeds…having my hands touch the earth is soothing and healing. I can spend hours in my garden and I love all the scents!

For an outside garden I have found it takes 5 years to reach balance, that is when the garden has found its rhythm. Some plants have an affinity for each-other and thrive together – in my garden the most obvious at the moment are the different thymes that are so loved by the roses…I can feel their harmony.

Some plants just can’t stand each-other – lately it has been the rosemary and parsley – and need to be moved apart. Other plants are okay, but not happy and it takes me some time to realize that they need other neighbors. It also happens that plants shrivel up and die, very quickly, when they are not happy. When a new plant comes to my garden, I place it in different spots, with different “friends” to see where it is the happiest, it actually perks up when it hits the right spot. I tried, at one point, to plan my garden – to no avail. The plants, herbs and flowers were not always happy with my planning and I had to start moving things around a bit. This is why it takes time…plants live, breath and have different personalities; I’ve got the pushy roses, the shy ones and the very careful, sensitive ones. They are all roses but oh so different in character. I had a beautiful Aquilegia that just shriveled up and barely survived, so I moved her to the back-garden which is wilder and rougher…she has now become a huge family, lining the neighbors wall and thriving with high grasses, blackberries and nettels…she likes the wild life!

Most of my berries live in a totally wild area behind my house. It is a tiny jungle of currants, black and red, gooseberries and raspberries mixed up with a jumble of vague bushes. Each year they deliver such an abundance of fruit that it keeps us with jam and juice for the entire winter season. Once I tried “cleaning up” the jungle a bit, that year we had no berries… so I go with the flow and allow it to happen as it will. Sometimes the plants that arrive chez moi are hot-house bred and they almost always need to die the first season, no matter how diligently I try to nurse them, only to come back with a vengeance the year after. Some of the stuff in my garden just moved in by itself and stayed, chatting happily away with the neighbor.

We don’t create our gardens, we open a space where creation is allowed and then it happens. This is my best tip for stress-management 🙂