When I knew that I was going to move abroad after my final year of high-school I put duct tape over the lower bottom of my television screen in my one-bedroom apartment in Norrköping, Sweden. I did this to prevent myself from reading the subtitles. Needles to say the amount of people that wanted to attend weekly movie nights at my place drastically dropped. It didn’t really matter that much though. In my mind I was already somewhere else. Seeing new places, meeting new faces. I was moving to America.
When I arrived in the late summer of 2004 I fell in love right away. The conservative and religious Columbia, South Carolina was in many ways the complete opposite of the liberal and agnostic northern country I had spent my first 18 years of life in. I don’t know if I was in need of a change in milieu because I’m neither conservative nor believe in any God. But hospitality are the southerners great forte and I felt right at home.
I didn’t end up in South Carolina, but I stayed in America for almost five years. When I moved back to Sweden in 2009 I didn’t know then – but I think I do now – I had just experienced the best years of my life.
I will not reminisce about it – not further more anyway. But on a day like this, on a day like the 4th of July I really wish I was there again. In a place where everything is bigger. In a place where people bell out the national anthem like it’s the final song they’ll ever sing. In a place where you walk inside with your shoes on. In a place where the first thing you are asked when you enter someone’s home is: “can I get you something to drink?”. In a place where people tailgate. In a place where people always pick either or. In a place where everyone believe they are going places. In a place where refills are always for free.
In 2012 I was able to spend the 4th of July in Newport Beach, CA, with some of my best friends. Our host Mike wanted to start the day accordingly. We had a pretty good time.
Today I have unfortunately not been able to really grasp the 4th of July atmosphere being inside an office in Stockholm for most of the day. But you can experience a great 4th of July even here in Sweden. I remember in 2008 when Bruce Springsteen came for a visit.
When talking about America it’s obviously a fair thing to say that there are always two sides to every coin. However I will only look at one. At least today. I am also certain I would’ve posted something like this on Midsummer about my great love of Sweden if I still lived in the States. That’s how I am. The grass is greener…