Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and how it all meshes together
Here I am, 5 years later, finishing up scrapbooking that amazing year, focusing on all that Sweden meant to me and what I learned from that experience. It's kind of funny to do that in yet another country, having another expat experience.
Before we moved to Riyadh, I corresponded with some ex-pat American women about living in Saudi Arabia. I mentioned to them that I had lived in Sweden for 5 1/2 years, meaning that I had developed some skills that I thought would be useful. I knew that it would be different. I didn't expect Riyadh to be Sweden or the U.S. Most of them ignored my experience and thought it wouldn't be helpful.
But they were wrong. It has been helpful. I think that living in Sweden taught me to be open and surrender to the experience. I know a few ex-pat women, in whatever country they happen to be in, that hold so tightly to where they came from that they never learn to appreciate or even enjoy where they are. They are so intent on finding chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies, that they miss trying out Princess cake (a Swedish cake--really worth trying). That's why I try the foreign foods or explore different places. I don't need to always have American food to feel American. I know who I am and where I came from. But I don't mind growing and expanding with knowledge and experiences from other places. I know where I can adapt and what things I need to have to keep me connected to my roots. I hope that I am wise enough to see that what I've gained from living in different countries only expands who and what I am.