Even before I moved to Sweden I was already on the lookout for ways to acclimate, even if I did this subconsciously. It was probably my third summer visit to Sweden. We were in Gothenburg visiting my husband’s family and I thought it would be nice to have an afternoon of shopping and lunch with my mother-in-law. We were dining at one of the hotel restaurants in the middle of the downtown area and I overheard the ladies at the table across from us speaking English. My ears perked up and, being the American that I am, on our way out I stopped by their table to ask if they were traveling or if they lived in Gothenburg. They lived in Sweden and were actually part of a local club called The American Women’s Club and were out for a dinner and movie event. How fun I thought. I filed it away in the back of my mind, along with all of the other bits and pieces of mostly useless and occasionally useful information.
Jump forward to present day. Tonight is my book club meeting with the Stockholm American Women’s Club group. Yes, I joined up after we moved here. It has been a good way to keep in touch with English speaking women who seem to understand without explanation my experience and reality living here in Sweden. It is not a good or bad thing. It is just simpler. Perhaps it is because we all have a similar cultural background that links us together. I don’t know for sure but it is a nice break from my broken Swedish conversations and feelings of inadequacy and not belonging in a foreign land. And I love to read so there is that.
I never know with the books selected if it will be a good read or a not so good read. With one book in particular I found myself re-reading the previous chapter every time I decided to pick it up and try to get into it. It could not hold my interest and I found my mind wandering through my things-to-do lists or simply day-dreaming. There were simply too many facts to remember and not enough plot to draw me in so I gave up. I put it aside and forgot about it.
This most recent book however turned out to be an excellent read. In the beginning I was not immediately drawn in but I forged on and was glad that I did. Some books don’t grab you right away. They are like a cat stalking you in the dark. You since something but you don’t really know that there is a soft, purring warmness waiting to cuddle up with you or brush against your legs. This book finally found me and curled right up in my lap. It stayed there purring until I completed it.
There is something magical about a good book. It transports you to another place and time. Your mind takes a vacation and when you return you really do feel refreshed.