I wasn’t born here. And to be honest I never planned to move to Sweden. But life brought me to Norrköping at 24. It’s now my adopted home, and it feels like home.
The names of Henk Helmantel, Luis de Geer, evoke in me this strange sense of recognition I feel. Our lives are in no way the same, but we all came here. It’s probably overly emotional and sentimental.
Something similar to patriotic maybe even. But not to the country I am from, but to something that happened to us when we left one country for another.
I have struggled to see my identity change over the time I have spend in Sweden. The initial years felt in a way, like I was in the backseat of a car, comparing to the years previous, in which I was behind the wheel. Life was happening to me.
And as much as Swedes and Dutch, and the countries we live in, can be similar in many ways. They are also very different. The voices I heard when walking to classes, the signs in the windows, the smells coming from the restaurants, and the way Swedes will stand meters apart at the bus stop.
I adapt, but I also behave with instinct, which hasn’t always served me. It’s a back and forth, of what to keep, and what to change. And at what point have I become a different person.
I think people definitely change over time, it doesn’t take moving to a different country to happen. But I wonder if it was more noticeable because so much more was being questioned at the same time.
This city has changed me. It’s remade me. And as much of the Netherlands, and 24 years there, are still informing me every day. After 10 years in Sweden, this country has forever changed me, and it will be a part of me.
Norrköping is my home, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.