As a Social Studies project in school my friend’s nephew needed to interview a foreigner living in the US. I was that foreigner.
I thought it would be fun to share a little more about me and the experienced I had moving here.
What makes me, me.
Hope you enjoy it!
(N= Nephew, K= me)
N: Where were you born?
K: I was born in Gothenburg, Sweden.
N: How old were you when your left your home country?
K: I came to the US for the first time when I was 19 years old. I didn’t really move here then as I came for school and went back and forth a lot, for holidays etc. I permanently moved when I was 27.
N: Were you “pushed” to leave? If so, what were the push factors (like unemployment, war or disease)? (I think the teacher thinks we are talking to someone over 75 ! 🙂 ))
K: No, I was absolutely not pushed. I had a dream of becoming a professional golf player and I found out that I could get a scholarship and play during University here so I applied for scholarships and was lucky enough to get one!
N: What do you miss about your home country?
K: Swedish candy!! 😉 I know, not healthy but ooo so good. We have stores on every corner with pick-your-own candy, so you can get a crazy variety of candy in one bag. Salted liquorish and really good chocolates!!
I miss my family and my friends. I miss the Swedish ways, which could take forever to list but anything from design to manners to traditions. I think it’s more about not belonging. Missing the feeling of being connected with people that have same or very similar experiences. Leaving that for a place where all of a sudden you are so different, where you have to defend or explain your ways when it used to be just…normal. So sometimes I just miss having Swedishness around me and be able to just be. However, that is also what I love about moving to a different culture, all of a sudden you have to think more about why you do things the way you do, why you believe what you believe and think a certain way.
N: Why were you “pulled” or “drawn” to immigrate into the United States?
K: I wanted to learn English, I wanted adventure and I thought this would be the best place for me to improve my golf skills AND somebody paid me to do it, how could I not!? 🙂
N: What is better for you now than if you hadn’t moved?
K: I have a much more broad view/perspective on life. I believe all the challenges with putting yourself in an unknown situation makes you stronger. I have an understanding for people with different backgrounds or beliefs that I didn’t have before, as well as I have developed a great skill of being able to look at problems/issues from many different angles, not expecting the first, maybe obvious, answer to be correct.
N: What is not as good as you thought it would be?
K: Hum, well I always joke around with the fact that I had not done very much research before I moved so I thought I was moving to Beverly Hills, as that is what I had seen on TV. The city I moved to was Silver City, New Mexico. Not exactly that. Joking aside, as naive as that was, I still couldn’t believe the ignorance I met when I came here, and still do today, not knowing more about the world outside the USA. I made a crazy move and challenged myself immensely and that might not be right for everyone, but I do think it’s important to step out of your comfort zone of your home, your city and maybe even your country to get a better understanding of the world we all live in. There is so much beauty out there and when you look for that, the best thing of it is you will find it on the inside as well.
N: In what ways have you kept your home country’s traditions or ways of life?
K: It’s funny you ask that as I feel like I’m becoming more and more American and really like to keep my roots. When I first moved here I wanted to fit in and right away introduced myself as Karen instead of my real name Karin pronounced Car-in. Now if you were to speak with me you would most likely not even hear that I’m Swedish as I barely have any accent. I have gone back to introducing myself as Karin (Car-in). I eat European style with a knife and fork, I try to celebrate all Swedish holidays with Swedish foods and traditions. I dress and style my home like a Swede. I speak with my family and friends to keep up with them and the Swedish language. I like to point out all Swedish inventions, companies and sports heroes 😉 Just so you don’t forget that we are all over the place and I get to be proud of where I am from, for who made me who I am today even though I am fortunate enough to been shaped by many different people and especially two cultures.
N: What is your current occupation and do you like it?
K: I am a designer and creative director. I have a branding business. I help business present themselves better visually to attract more and the right clients. I work with my clients to get a clear vision for their business to help them be and do better. I then use that information to make their logo, website, marketing material etc. I absolutely love what I do.
N: Thank you again Karin!
K: Thank you for taking the time to explore the world outside your home! I hope I am able to give some knowledge or maybe curiosity of what is out there.
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