Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Over two weeks ago, waiting for my airport transportation, I felt rather a lot of uncertainty. Will I love it, hate it, be bored, be understood, be overwhelmed, find congruence? I was at least certain I'd find time for the odd blog, after all, isn't that why I was taking my laptop? Quite evidently, I failed, spectacularly so. I now have less than forty-eight hours in this country, and I am filled with melancholy. I want to stay! I had not predicted I would feel quite so strongly as this. If anything, I was worried I would be far too bored of the whole thing, especially after almost three weeks with the same person. And now, here I am desperately trying to learn a new language, with a view to applying here to study.

One thing I am so hopeless at avoiding is comparing oneself to one's peers. In the last hour, I just discovered an old-boy has established his own charity to help the refugee camps in Eastern Africa, and will also use his research for an honours programme next year. Some have already finished their degrees and many were probably budding entrepreneurs mid-way through. E.G. that chap who imports champagne to sell online, why did I not think of something like that?  Oft-times I wonder if I will ever amount to much, too much sitting and not enough thinking to make even that viable.

Passion is a wonderful thing, and some people are very lucky to possess it. I can be passionate, but then I weary of it. I traipse about aimlessly, hoping for something to pop-up and seem applicable, but naturally this shouldn't involve too much work. I shy from work. I want and crave the extraordinary, the unusual, yet I will not work for it. How do I drag myself out of the inert swampland I seem content to mellow in? Even today, one of my last days and one I should really make the most of, I overslept. Who does that? I may have been a little tired from the New Year's celebrations, but I don't think that required missing all 4.5 hours of daylight Umeå offers mid-Winter. I could at least have been practising my Swedish! Jag kommer från Australien men jag bor i London...

Perhaps it is just my traditional New Year's pessimism, resurfacing. I have always been very hard on myself, but similar to Edina from Absolutely Fabulous, "I like results." The problem is, as her daughter Saffron counters: "Life is in the details." Regardless, repetition doesn't help it sink in any better. How does one balance between living in the present and for the future? I expect it would be a good 18 months 'til I were ready to start at university here. Time at least to learn the language sufficiently -  or so one would suppose. Many people I have met here compliment me on the incredibly basic Swedish I have learned. This in itself is very heartening, especially as the Swedes are usually quite reticent about compliments. In English we throw them about meaninglessly, they are dispensable, of incredibly low value and clog up one's wallet like the copper coins of the realm. Perhaps I have made more effort than many other visitors do, but then, as my friends here are all native, I am often left out of parts of the conversation. Of course I do not begrudge them that, if anything it makes my pursuit of fluency even more important to me.

Growing up in a hot country, I dreamt of living somewhere cold, where the white Christmas fantasy was reality and everything fits, like a postcard. Or indeed a Christmas card. Many people laugh at the irony of somebody coming from such a desirable climate wanting to leave for colder climes, when of course it is the reverse journey they want to make. I expect it's all a case of "grass is always greener". I do know that I am happier in this hemisphere. So I shall stop moaning, and simply look forward to achieving it, I'm sure that will be another prolonged adventure. To anybody who has ever known the quagmire of uncertainty, I wish you a very Happy and Prosperous new year, and new decade.



  1. I can dither about what to wear, never mind the "quagmire of uncertainty" about life in general. Waking every morning seems existential: rising out of that dark sea lit off and on by dreams into a day in which I must choose.

    I am sure your talents are as good as the champagne entrepreneur.

    A sparkling year! And many more.

  2. Dare I say it? (Yes, because I'm an outspoken, brutal German)... Don't be so hard on yourself, Lewis. Wishing you a Happy New Year! Sabine x

  3. A sparkling year to you too Mim, thank you for your words.

    And Sabine, always dare, that's why I love Germans! x

  4. Hello lovely
    Happy New Year. I have tagged you in a meme - it's quite a simple one: you offer ten things about yourself and then tag seven blogs yourself.