Monday, April 29, 2013

Y ~ You Can't Go Home Again


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.

One thing that kept me going through all the stupid kickball rules I didn't understand, the body cast that itched and stank, the culture that didn't quite make sense, the friends I dearly missed, was knowing that summer of 1975 we were going home for a visit. Yes, a visit. Not home to stay.

The Swede had (and isn't it appropriate?) gotten a really good chance with Volvo and we (as in he and The Nutritionist discussing it and me eavesdropping) had decided that he shouldn't take the job if it was only going to be for 6 months. He would commit to several years (I remember it as 5, The Swede says it was unspecified, you choose sides) and we would stay in America longer. Hence the visit.

It was wonderful to be welcomed with open arms and free-flowing tears at the airport by Farmor and Farfar, and the Swedish tradition of flowers, most of the time hand-picked either from gardens or the side of the road. 




There are gorgeous wildflowers all over Sweden. Farfar liked to point them out to me and have me memorize them. I wasn't very good at it. Which bothered me, of course, because I like to be good at everything.

Oh the comfort of Farmor and Farfar's house, with its familiar smells, ticking grandfather clocks, gorgeous antiques, and beautiful garden. Farfar was a master at roses and on your birthday would pick you his very best rose to go on your birthday tray. There was a trellis which provided shade, and it was covered in viney-like climbing red roses.

I was anxious to play with my friends again. After all, we used to just go knock on a door and soon there would be a group and we would, “Hey Ferb, I know what where going to  do today.” (Pop culture reference: Phineas and Ferb, fabulous cartoon that we watch in 2013 as a family). After two days of coffee parties and visiting relatives, I was ready for FRIENDS.

One morning I was out in the front yard and heard kids' voices. My friends! This is going to be a great day! I followed the voices. Farmor and Farfar's house was on a u-shaped street with a green space in the middle, and a short hill led to a street which led to a path through the woods which led to our old house. I forgot about telling anyone where I was going and followed the voices. I didn't recognize any of them, but I attributed that to speaking English for a year.

I made it to the top of the hill and almost to the forest path when I caught up with them! “Hejsan! Vill ni leka med mig idag?” (Hi, do you want to play today?) They turned around. All the faces were strangers. I felt my stomach drop. “Vi känner inte dig! (We don't know you!) “Förlåt, jag trodde ni var andra kompisar.” (Sorry, I thought you were another group of friends.)

Turning around and walking down the hill I cried uncontrollably. Our year away was almost like time-travel. Things had changed so much. I had no idea where my group of friends were. I didn't have anyone to play with. Nothing in my life would ever be the same.

19 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

Yeah, that kind of thing sucks. It always reminds of that episode of Leave to Beaver when Whitey (I think) came back for a visit, and Beaver planned to do all of the things they'd done before he moved but none of them worked anymore.
The bad thing is, no one even has to move for that to happen, sometimes.

T. Drecker said...

That's the bad part about being away that long, when you come back, nothing is the same. After an exchange program in college, I noticed that. One just doesn't fit in right anymore.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. this is a tale of two halves isn't it - your family reunion that sounds so lovely and I'm sure must ring true in your heart, as well as bring back happy memories ...

... and your friends - did you ever find them? I guess you must have at some stage ... at this moment I feel so sad for the young Tina ..

Love the photo and the story of the roses, and those wildflowers - gorgeous drifting thoughts can sprinkle my mind ..

Hope you had a happy weekend and wedding ... cheers Hilary

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Time away changes everyone. One more day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry! That's weird the kids would change out so fast. I moved around a lot as a military brat, so I really don't have a place I ever called home.

Brian Miller said...

ah, felt...later in life...but the first real time away from home...so much changes and time passes us by...emotional bit there tina...

Sue McPeak said...

So very true...Home Again...it's never the same as CHANGE and TIME take their toll. Thank goodness for Memories and Photos. I wonder if this Home Again post would have happened if not for the 'Changes and Time' events in your life.

My Letter'Y'...Confessions of A YarnAholic
Sue CollectInTexasGal
AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

Jo said...

What a shame, a big disappointment. I had never considered it before, but as a youngster I was an air force brat because we moved everywhere and I went to 10 different schools. No school friends.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

JoJo said...

One of my best friends moved away to Washington State after the 4th grade. She might as well have been on the moon. We exchanged letters. But when they moved back a year later, so much had changed for them and for me. A year in the life of a child seems way, way longer than for an adult.

Jolie du Pre said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures. So much blonde hair!

Maggie Winter said...

I feel like that when I travel home, it feels like time travel is exactly the right description.
#atozchallenge
maggie at expat brazil

KT Did said...

I actually went back home and bought a little house. Thinking I would be comfortable in my old roots. I hardly visit anymore. Its up for sale. I figure now I will stay at a hotel and wine and dine myself from here on in with memories of what it was REALLY like. Sad but encouraging to be lifted a bit from the past.
KaTy Did at: Life's Ride As I See It

LD Masterson said...

We moved when I was around eleven and my dad gave me the treat of going back for a visit the following summer. I didn't tell my old best friend - I wanted to surprise her.

When I knocked on her door, she was waiting...for her current best friend. They had their own plans for the day, none of which were the things we used to do. She invited me to join them and I did but it was a miserable day.

Laeli said...

Aww,I feel sad for you:( That must have been so awful as a kid.

Carol Kilgore said...

My heart is breaking for that young you. Kids change so much in a year, but I hope you found at least one friend and reconnected.

I've loved connecting with you here for A-Z.

Rachel said...

That's so sad! =( I moved just to a different city when I was younger and I lost my best friend who lived across the street. We weren't really old enough for phonecalls and lost touch when I moved. I can't imagine losing an entire group of friends like that though.

Liz said...

Ah... nothing is ever the same when you return.

I'm just reading 'the 100 yr old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared' and recommend it highly - he is Swedish! Fab book.

http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

Andrea said...

Oh dear... :(

Maria Dunn said...

Isn't that how life continues to be as we go from one phase of our life to another. Some friendships pick right up where they left off after years of being apart. But others, well you can't go home again and expect that you will go back in a time warp. We all change. I have enjoyed this journey. Thanks, Tina, for sharing your story this month. God bless, Maria at Delight Directed Living