Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Delad glädje är dubbel glädje

In Sweden there is a saying that shared happiness is double happiness (the meaning of the title). Here in Sweden I have had my family and relatives to share my happiness with, in places with many shared memories, such as the lake near the house where I grew up or the island in the archipelago where even my dad spent his childhood summers. In Jordan however, in a country I’ve never visited before, comes the daunting task of finding new people to share my experiences with, and above all to have people to share memories with once I return home. When I volunteered in Ecuador for a month at the age of 16 I knew no one there and had never been there before, and neither had my family. I met wonderful people there, but no one my age or from any of my countries of residence (Sweden, Malta, the USA) and there are really only one or two people I still stay in touch with from that trip and I only share some memories with them. My experience in Ecuador also taught me that reverse culture shock is often worse than initial culture shock and I’m fully braced for this in going to Jordan.

Now it’s time to return to the present, and thus my present location, which is no longer Stockholm but the small town of Resele, in northwestern Sweden. Our road trip up here (a 5 hour ride without stopping) was pretty eventful and included swims in two different “landskap” (Swedish “states”). First, we stopped to pick up my aunt and cousin, who were hitching a ride to the town of Söderhamn. Second, we arrived in my hometown of Vallentuna, just north of Stockholm, which I could barely recognize due to widespread construction. Even my childhood home is growing up! There we met my other cousins at the graveyard to visit my grandparents’ grave. We also went into the beautiful Vallentuna Church and I was shocked to find that after studying medieval art at college, I could analyze the architecture in a way I had never done before. I also found out that the church was built in 1200 and home to one of the oldest books in Europe, which resembled the very manuscripts that I studied in my college course. It’s remarkable what you find when you come back home after a long time away.

We then swam at Sparren, my childhood lake, and had the leftovers from the impromptu picnic at Nacka Strand the day before.

Our next stop was Söderhamn to drop off my aunt and cousin and we were met with a magnificent fika by their hosts, which was followed by a refreshing swim in their local lake.

Finally, just as the sun was setting at 10:30pm, we arrived at our little country house in Resele.

By the way, big news: I BOOKED MY TICKETS FOR JORDAN! It looks like I will have a day in Istanbul both on the way there and on the way back since I am flying Turkish Air. I’m getting more and more excited!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marielle, what a cool adventure! I saw that you volunteered in Ecuador, are you also volunteering in Stockholm or Jordan? I'd love to hear more about your volunteer experiences. If you're interested in answering some questions for GoOverseas, I'd really appreciate it so just email me at katie at gooverseas.com.