Friday, January 11, 2013

New York in Stockholm

For roughly 20 years my big dream has been to live in New York City. And from about 10 years ago when I started frequenting NYC for a week or so regularly, this dream has turned into a major goal of mine. New York is, apart from Copenhagen, the city where I feel instantly at home with its busyness, diversity and cheer coolness. It is the ultimate living space for me. Yet, I never managed to relocate there. Instead my choice of career and field have dictated other temporary homes and my personal life has lead me to places I never thought I was going to live, Stockholm being the most odd one of them. I am now living in a Scandinavian capital, clean and airy, friendly, yet reserved. It is a small capital (a bit smaller than my native Copenhagen) but at least is it one and the public transportation beats any city I have ever been to. Still, this was not a city I would ever have chosen myself. Ever. And I am now living here, not because I chose it but because I have to. I could certainly get a job somewhere else (I have recently had several serious suggestions) but my daughter and her dad is here.

On the surface this seems to potentially lead in one of two directions: I could either become a bitter, angry and generally grumpy person who hates everyone here because here is not where I want to be, or I could "suck it up" and learn to live with my situation for better or worse. But neither of these options really feel right. I must admit that I occasionally am on the verge of being slightly bitter but the better part of me refuses to even entertain that thought. But I am in no way a person who would ever "suck it up" either; I sometimes stay quiet in situations where I don't want to get into trouble but in my personal life and career, I am not known for just letting be. If anything, I do too much and tell everything about my detailed problems at that moment, just to make a slight change and get out of my problems of my own.

Instead, I realized, I am trying to create my own New York in Stockholm. I live in the most urban area with tons of cafes merely a few blocks away. I have American friends that I work with in these cafes and I speak mostly English throughout the day, even with my Swedish friends. I live on 33 square meters with my 2 year old daughter. We eat bagels. I go out for dinner despite not being able to afford it and buy no clothes for myself for 3 months to make up for it. I enjoy the fast pace of the Swedes and listen to loud electronica in my earphones when I take the subway. I travel as much as I can to get out of here which of course is a bit of a contradiction but it gives me momentum to continue staying. I still believe that one day my dream will come true, one day I will have a small apartment on Manhattan and live my life there. But until then I just try to create my now little NY here where I am stuck until further notice.

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