Where Are You From? What Do You Do?

Cat paw prints in the frost

Frost on the grass

Swedish winter light

“Why Sweden?” people ask, and I say “I don’t know”, “long story”, or “why not?”. It’s because of that light, really. I have never been good at answering these kinds of questions.

“Where in France are you from?”
“Here is where I was born.”
“But this accent of yours?”
“Ah, yes, I got it from where my family is from.”
“Oh, so that’s where you grew up?”
“No, no, I’ve never lived there.”
“Where did you study, then?”
“Here. And there.”
“Is that where are you going “home for Christmas”?”
“Er, no, actually…”

Except for these somewhat confused conversations, I’ve never suffered from the fact that I just don’t have a straightforward answer to the where are you from question.

It feels like a wealth rather than a gap in my life. For a while — not anymore — I considered it a superiority. That was extremely arrogant, but I clung to it as a desperate reassurance that my life was what I wanted it to be – which it wasn’t.

Unhappy as I was in the lab, every time I stepped outside to make my way to the campus, Iooking at the light, the snow, and the colorful houses, I couldn’t help but say to myself: this is where I want to live, and here I am.

***

It’s the second winter in the little red house up North, away from the lab. It feels better than the first one. It feels good. I feel at peace with myself. I mean, have you seen that light?

***

Now for the what do you do question…

… well, one thing at a time.

Frozen droplets

Misty winter view