Sunday, December 26, 2010

Back home! (or is it?)

by Carl Mattias

We live in a time of technical wonders. One week ago at 12:55 p.m. (local time) I got on a plane to Sweden, 8 a.m. (local time) I arrived in Sweden 12 hours later. In just 12 hours I had traveled to the other side of the planet, left my American friends, the culture and the language to meet my Swedish friends, culture and language.
Suddenly I'm back in Sweden again.
I received a warm welcome and the friends I was staying with (in my apartment in Sweden) had actually cleaned the place before I arrived (Well done guys!). I almost felt guilty for buying them a sign saying "Man-Cave" "Enter with caution", almost.
I received a very warm welcome especially when I went to my old home-congregation later the same day. With people throwing their arms around me and hugging me (yeah, we do that in Sweden, it's kinda weird...) and welcoming me "home" and some of them, the ones I'm closest to, inviting me to their homes. The latter was especially welcome, since I'd lost my luggage on the flight to Sweden (got stuck in Chicago, again...). I got my luggage back 38 hours after arriving in Sweden though, so with the help of a friend being kind enough to lend me some clothes that hadn't been stuck on me for over 24 hours I managed (note to self though, be sure to include laptop recharger in hand-luggage next time).
I also had the pleasure of visiting Johannelund (my theological Seminary in Sweden) since they didn't close for Christmas until December 22. It felt weird, yet familiar to walk in the corridors of my old school and greet professors and students alike.
After meeting quite a lot of friends I traveled to Skåne (the area south of Sweden) to see my father and my relatives on his side. Once again I was welcomed with the "Welcome home" phrase. I was very happy to see them, and I'm sure they were happy to see me. As I mentioned in an earlier post Christmas was a bit different this year since I actually didn't have to travel on Christmas Eve (in Sweden Christmas Eve is the day when we celebrate Christmas and get our presents, stay tuned for a "Swedish Christmas" blog special). On Christmas day I went to my mother in Växjö (Vaeckstjou), where I am now, in the southeast of Sweden to celebrate a second Christmas. For the third time since my arrival in Sweden I was greeted with a "Welcome home" phrase leading me to ponder the question "where is my home"?
The simple answer is that home is where you live. Since I have lived in the US for the last 4 months should my room at Luther Seminary be considered home? How about Uppsala where I have lived and studied for 4 years and do have an apartment (even though I don't live there for the time being and all my possessions have been moved out)? Or is home where family is? The problem in my case would then be that my family lives in different places and the fact that my family (both parts) have moved since I moved away from my parents. Meaning I have no old familiar room to get back to and no old house were I spent my childhood. Home for me must therefore be something different than where family or where I reside.
Taking this into account I have come the the conclusion that home must be where I feel at home, it's neither a specific building nor specific people that makes it home, but it may aid the feeling of being home. For instance even though I do not have any specific place to call home during my Christmas break in Sweden, I still feel like I'm back home!

Merry Christmas everyone!


Post a Comment

<< Home