Monday, April 23

Preoccupied by shallow-growing roots

I long to let my roots grow deep and strong. I long to belong, to feel truly grounded; but I feel lost, and I am left the wonder: where is my true home? In the nearly 20 years that have passed since I left Sweden, I have lived in Toronto; on Vancouver Island; on one of the Gulf Islands; in Haarlem; in Amsterdam and now in Brighton, but I wonder why I’m more reticent now than ever to let my roots become truly... rooted. To allow a place to feel like home.

Despite my weak and shallow-growing roots, Brighton has been my base for nine years, longer than I've lived in any one place before (excluding the house where I grew up). So I started thinking about what keeps me here...

  • My god son. Although I don’t see him as often as I used to, he and I have a very special bond, and I feel a responsibility towards him that is impossible to ignore. He roots me here more than anyone or anything else
  • The sea. It’s only a few minutes away from my house, and I walk along the shore nearly every day. It never looks the same. It always looks beautiful
  • I’m starting a 10 week taster course at the Shiatsu College in Brighton tomorrow, and I’m hoping to like it so much that I will want to enrol in their three-year course starting this autumn
  • I can walk to work in less than five minutes
  • A selection of drop-in yoga classes are readily available for me to choose from – every day of the week, day and night
  • Walking through a bluebell woodland at this time of the year is magical, I can almost believe I live in King Arthur’s England
  • Rosie. She depends on me and I doubt I could ever leave Brighton as long as she's still here
But there are so many things that prevents me from becoming completely anchored to the British soil: the unsophisticated drinking culture; the chavs; the insanity that doing drugs is considered cool; the fact that cafe's don't stay open past 7pm; the obsession with reality TV shows; the exorbitant housing market; the exorbitant cost of everything...

I suppose for the time being, the pros outweigh the cons. But for how long I wonder?

Photo by Adrian


Bearette24 said...

Your godson is beautiful! (I clicked on the link.)

I do think there is no perfect place to live. It's a matter of pros outweighing the cons, as you said. Also, I think you know it in your gut when you've found "the right one" as well as person.

kikare said...

I was rather critical about certain aspects of Swedish life when I first moved here. Now they seem more okay to me. In a way, I think anywhere can be my home. What I need is the mindset that if this is where I live, I learn to like it.

That is my way of enjoying life :)

Kamsin said...

There is nothing like a bluebell covered woodland floor! And I know what you mean about the sea, I miss that I can't walk to the sea where I am now. And I hear you on all the not so great aspects of British culture. My colleague says Canterbury has "chav pockets" a bit like you get pockets of air turbulence when flying, you encounter chav pockets when walking in the city!

edvard moonke said...

I agree with bearette when she says that there's no perfect place to live.

but, the drinking culture, the chavs and the obsession with reality tv shows (perhaps this last one more than anything), plus a number of other things I could list, all contribute to my desire to fly away too... but where? italy would be my first choice, if only it was as simple as packing my bags and leaving!

BlueJude said...

Roots are a funny thing. Reminds me of a quote..."I have no home but me" by Anne Truitt. One of my faves. Thanks for sharing and Happy Monday!

cheeky said...

This prompt was quite heavy, was it not? It really stirred me and after reading both your posts, and doing my own, I'm still pondering the emotions it has evoked in me.
The things you speak of that keep you there are important. They are connections. We need to have them in order to let go and allow our roots to grow. The ugly elements we'd like to wipe away that keep us from anchoring are just that, elements; pieces of a culture we do not have to be tied to.
I do relate to the feeling of of holding back in some way.
It is how we live, not where we live and it is obvious that you do this by embracing the good.

cheeky said...

ty for sharing.(forgot to say) I really enjoyed reading these posts.

Nicole said...

great second post. i often wish to plant my roots elsewhere, but it never seems that easy when it really comes down to it, but maybe that's just a touch of fear...

it sounds like you do have a great many reasons to stay in brighton.

and fyi - the city i work in - in michigan is also named brighton. hehe!


Vanessa said...

resonating with you all the way here... as I'm sure you can imagine :)

oh and I envy those drop in yoga classes big time.

paris parfait said...

You definitely have a lot of pros, but I agree about the drinking culture and chavs, obsession w/ reality tv, the crazed idea that doing drugs is cool and the overpriced everything. Yesterday I when traveling I heard that drinking is becoming a problem for 11 and 12 year old kids in the UK! It's mad!

Judith in Umbria said...

Maybe you haven't found it yet?

I was an ignorant college student come to Italy to do self-directed study and the moment my foot hit the paving in the Milan train station I was home. I lived elsewhere for a long time, but here is where is home, no matter the difficulties or the cost.

Don't ever let anyone tell you it's easy to up sticks to another country. It is NOT. You know that. But sometimes it is necessary.