My teacher asked an interesting question last week. Whats the most courageous thing you’ve ever done..I was struggling so much to think of an answer.It could be because i am not used to blowing my own horn or I just didn’t realise that my being in that class and in this country was actually an act of courage.
Two years ago, i left everything i had known for 30 years and found myself in a completely different situation.For some people it may seem as an act of cowardice,but i choose to look on the brighter side.
Off course i had visited Sweden on 3 different occasions before, but when i think of it today the decision to permanently stay in a foreign country where i knew nothing was a leap of faith. I only had a few friends, could only say hie, you are beautiful, thank you in Swedish. I also knew how to pronounce a few important basic Swedish words, the ones that we always want to learn each time we are in contact with a person who speaks a foreign language. Yes am not a saint alright!
first time in Sweden 2010
It didn’t help much that it was winter and i still don’t know if it was the case of the proverbial first cut, because i could swear that year the winter was so hostile. The incessant rain, the cold that made me drop a tear each time i attempted to go outside. The almost knee -level deep snow, who can blame me for regretting my fascination and doubting my love for snow. Having to adjust to the weather patterns was a nightmare, and for almost 3 months we battled with adjusting our sleep patterns to the new environment.
first few days in Sweden 2012
As i seat now putting my thoughts on this template, it’s the month of January. I am looking at the beautiful view outside, yes it’s snowing , windy and cold, it is clear how things have changed, its 10 am and I am already up, bravo to me…
The downsides of it all during that time were not having a permanent place to stay, having to down horrible vitamin D tablets and sometimes sleeping pills, things i never had to do before.
not so cool..still have to take Vitamin D especially in Winter
So during that time with my partner we spent most of our time indoors, sleeping because suddenly insomnia kicked in. We always used to sleep at 6 am the following day only to wake up at 5 pm the same day and it was already very dark, going outside not only seemed tedious but excruciating too. That’s how i managed to gain a few stones because all i wanted to do was sleep and to eat. Fast food proved a great and fast option . Apart from bread, Macdizzy(my pet name for Mcdonalds ),and my newly discovered soda called Zingo everything was tasteless, thus more salt, more ketchup became my remedy to all meals…
That period was the most difficult, i missed my family, i missed my brother so much.. I missed my colleagues, I missed the food , my apartment my comfort zone, in short everything i had left behind i longed for it. It’s the simple little things that you begin to miss.
back in Zimbabwe
When that nostalgic feeling kicks in you miss seeing the sun, even the man selling airtime by the corner of Five Avenue and Mazoe Streets in Harare. You miss hearing familiar sounds such as someone demanding their 5 rand change in a kombi(taxi,) and the early morning roar of the overzealous presidential guard recruits jogging and singing along Baines avenue. You begin to long for familiar things like the aroma of township styled fresh chips and vinegar in the streets of Nyazika avenue in Mbare, the kids running around with jolly juice at the boreholes, the ZESA enforced candle light cold dinners because of load shedding and the Yay! Magetsi auya ( when electricity is back) Jubilation and ululation that follows after. You miss the faces of the pool mates from the local Aries pub, the humble yet intimidating look on that old high schoolmate always pestering you for a dollar to buy booze. Most precious of all, you miss the smile on your father’s face each time you visit him…
Zimbabwean delicacy gochi gochi..
I had left all that behind and now it was time to get used to the weather, the Metro,having cinnamon in everything, and explaining that you only speak English and sometimes trying to use the little swedish vocabulary secretly hoping you wont offend anyone or mispronounce a word and end up saying profanities.
Suddenly you are a minority again not only because of gender expression, but race, class, language…your journal becomes the closest friend you share everything from the aha! to the uush! moments.You realise that life is not all rosy in a foreign land.
good friends we had..Zimbabwe
In 3 months time we had a permanent place to stay. I applied for an advertised post and got a job as Project Manager working with newly arrived LGBT persons in Sweden. Many people told me how lucky i was because the chances of that happening are zero-none.I still feel it is the works of a greater power, it’s beyond me.. My work is my passion. And having the opportunity to still work on issues close to my heart was a bonus. I work with the most amazing team my work has been and continues to be a place of growth for me..
good times with new friends
It’s amazing what time does..Now i just completed an online Swedish language assignment, this i could hardly do a year ago. I am not so good and maybe still lack the confidence to speak swedish but i can understand and write many words now..besides school, thank God for friends and technology i am slowly picking up.
So now 2 years down the line I am acclimatising to some things. I still miss my family though i got to spend time with them in South Africa the past year. I have met new friends, got my permanent residency, found new places to hang out , i am learning a whole lot of new things about everything and about myself too. My taste buds are starting to behave,i no have cut sugar from my diet. i have added a lot of words to my Swedish vocabulary and i think am secretly falling in love again…with snow.
i now prepare my own meals
It’s true that we all come from different backgrounds and are at different levels of consciousness around so many issues. Sweden is not an LGBT heaven but In my own narrative am not sure if its hell either..
I have come too far, been through highs and lows, my faith and positive energy kept me sane.In Zimbabwe we have a saying if you are going to curse the darkness light a candle..That was and continues to be my motivation through my journey.
Life is a transition, each day takes a new turn and if you seat and wallow in self pity, complain about each and everything it will weigh you down and take you nowhere. Moving around with negative energy only brings you such, because what you send you the universe comes back ten told.
Take time to appreciate the things you have, do something about those you wish you had or to have and remember to always keep moving and to keep hope alive.