Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U ~ Understanding the Big Picture

These are the continuing adventures of a Swedish immigrant during her first year as an American. She boldly went where she'd never gone before...please come along on Adventures in America.

At some point, I began to realize I was no longer a Swedish girl.  I was a half-Swedish, half-American girl, living in America, and though Farmor & Farfar had done their best to make sure that SHOULD we return, we'd fit right in, I was more an American than a Swede. 

One of their major gifts to both of us girls was that we went to confirmation camp, the ceremony, and the wondrous party at their house after-wards with all the expensive gifts. Think Bat Mitzah. I've been a Christian since age 9, but in Sweden, tradition strongly "dictates" that all kids be exposed to the gospel at age 14 and be "confirmed". 

I also began to understand that though The Swede probably could have gotten transferred to Volvo in Sweden, being as how he was Swedish and all, he didn't really want to.  He'd been fascinated with this country for a long time, he was here.  He liked it here  We were settled.  We were staying.

This realization didn't happen all at once, it was such a gradual process, comparable to the proverbial frog being boiled: put him in a pot with cold water, turn on the heat.  He won't notice as the water slowly heats up until he's in big trouble.  

Of course, staying in America wasn't big trouble - what I'm trying to say is that becoming American was such a gradual process I didn't notice it.  I mean, there I was 14, at confirmation camp, thinking, "Oh good, when we move back to Sweden, I won't have to explain why I'm not confirmed." It was that big a deal. When I found myself back there two years later when Swissie was confirmed and one of the girls, Ann (her real name, for once), whom I'd met when I was a "confirmand" and I were the free-time leaders, I still had that thought in my head, especially as I began to meet some boys. 

Now that was a fun job.  We organized whole group activities, like capture the flag and red rover which I taught them.  We played dodgeball, which they knew about. We did NOT play kickball.  We took them on canoe trips.  We got our canoe tipped...we were popular.  Just a bit older, but off-limits from the campers.  Though not off limits from the groundskeeper, Daniel, who had a best friend who hung out with him a LOT, also named Daniel.  I'm not kidding, it's a popular name.

Ann and I and The Daniels would stay up late and sneak around the property.  The problem was, she and I conveniently each liked a different Daniel.  Inconveniently, that was the opposite of who The Daniels liked.  Sigh.

Nothing came of that summer attempt at romance except one stolen kiss from the wrong Daniel, who really didn't take the news that I liked the OTHER Daniel very well.  He stormed off and I didn't see him for two days.

Coming "home", I celebrated my 16th birthday.  We'd been here 7 years.  I was in high school.  It was then that it really sank in.  How in the world would I transfer to a Swedish high school?  No problem, it never came up.

What did you enjoy about the Challenge? It's Reflections Post time again.
  • What could we do better next year?
  • What issues did you encounter? (Word verification, unable to comment, long posts, etc.)
  • Did you encounter many non-participants? (With help from our minions, we tried really hard to clean the list this year.)
  • Theme or no theme – what seemed to work better? Did you find any great themes?
  • Did you have fun and will you participate again next year?

Your Reflections can be posted anytime from May 3 through May 10. The Linky List (which will be at the A-Z Blog) will go live May 3 and we ask you to add the link to your post, not your website, once you have posted. The Challenge hosts read every one so we know where to improve for next year.


Jeremy [Retro] said...

i am the first to say... this challenge has been a challenge. our host are the best, we endure the battle behind the scenes and most of us fell prey to some type of injury or sickness. no fault to anyone else i found myself unable to visit those people like last year and to that i have had many loyal faces and i am happy you all are out there... the future is uncertain and this is the big picture...

you have done a great job sharing your story and it's been extra cool to get to know you sis.... may your days get brighter and your challenge be fulfilling...

Sheena-kay Graham said...

The challenge was great but I'm not doing it again next year. Still I enjoyed meeting many new bloggers including you. Moving to a new country brings it's own set of challenges.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You guys just slid right into American life, got comfortable, and stayed.
I really wish I'd written that Reflections part better...

Brian Miller said... is a gradual change as we meld in to groups and society and often goes unnoticed which is what i think has been cool about your series....acknowledging it...

Lucy said...

Ah, summer romance, I remember them well :)

Lucy from Lucy's Reality

Jolie du Pre said...


I've enjoyed reading your adventures of your childhood as a Swedish girl moving to the states.

As far as the challenge, it's been a challenge for me. My life has gotten busier, which is actually a blessing because I'm making more money, but it makes it tough to do A to Z. I'm doing it - but it's tough.

Although I won't be returning for a third year, it's been an absolute blast participating. I do plan on taking the rest of this year and into the next to read 5 blogs a day so that I can complete the entire list.

JoJo said...

I was confirmed at age 13 after 2 years of instruction every Monday night. My parents asked me what gift I would like and I told them ELO's 'out of the blue'. It was a double album and I couldn't afford it with my allowance. They were crestfallen....said I'd never remember that as my confirmation gift. Yet here we are nearly 40 years later and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

How interesting. Americans are rather self-focused in thinking their way of growing up is universal -- you are a more indepth person because of your twin experiences! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Andrew Leon said...

When I was in college, my two best friends were both named Shawn. I'll let you guess what everyone called the three of us.

M. J. Joachim said...

I had no idea the state dictated anything about religion in Sweden. It's interesting to learn your perspective about immigrating to America. As a native, it helps me understand the issues of immigration with more compassion and understanding about them. Thank you!

Alison Sommer said...

The challenge has been great but also very challenging.

The only part that felt *bad* was feeling a bit ignored, while other blogs are not. It's hard not to feel left out or discouraged when you see other people promoted or retweeted when you are not.

I have tried very hard to visit as many blogs as I have time to and leve comments, but so many comments don't get responses, and I have come across a large number of blogs that gave up a long time ago. I don't know if there would be a more dynamic way to sort the blogs on the website to allow other bloggers to search by name, category, and recently updated. I think there should be a google plugin for that, maybe an imbedded spreadsheet of blogs or something.

Carol Kilgore said...

I can see where the back and forth would have been a big concern for you. I really love these posts!

Beverly Fox said...

Hello Tina!

Sorry i'm so late to the party but i'm so glad to have discovered your post!

I loved this and will do my best to catch up with the rest of this story, may take some time.

See you around the web!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Too bad it was the wrong Daniel.

All kids exposed to the Gospel at age 14? I really like Sweden now.

Elizabeth said...

I've always lived in the U.S., but wonder how I would adapt to moving to another country. I suspect it is easier for children than for adults.

Jo said...

As an immigrant I can understand how you could become an American without realising it. A bit different if you are older I think.


Rachel said...

That was pretty inconvenient, that the Daniels got all switched up. It must have been a shock to realize everything that you did. I can't imagine anything like that.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I love the way you describe just gently slotting in .. I found going home from South Africa 'interesting' .. and we have different outlooks on life, having lived elsewhere.

The Reflections - I'll do anon ..

The Daniels story was fun .. cheers Hilary