Hi, hello, it’s me. This page is a rebel and makes no effort to follow any rules about word count. It’s going IN. Grab a coffee – you’ll thank me later.
Preface. So having reluctantly attended a number (a very large number) of interviews recently (personal & professional), I’ve had to learn very quickly how to condense the ol’ life story into a short synopsis of how my weird, wonderful and sometimes more than bizarre life has shaped me into a super confident and independent woman – fazed by nothing ..er. So it’s not surprising that writing this is proving a little more tricky because the previous statement is only true some of the time and as it turns out I’m not as straight forward as I thought.
Normality & conformity. At the age of 0 I was born into a working class family in a textile town in Sweden called Borås – it was 1989, and you would be correct if you assumed that I proudly call myself an 80’s baby. It still counts. My single mother sported a bad ass boy cut, double denim and a bad ass tan because it was the hottest September on record. Queue me. Sumo baby. All the rolls in all the right places.
Plot wist. Over the next 7 years or so I enjoyed a pretty normal upbringing (as far as I know). Mum was still working at a dentists and we had lots of friends and family around. Life seemed good and I have lots of fond memories of beach days and special occasions. It’s like that part in a film where everything seems to be running a little too smoothly – time to change things up a bit. Or so thought the mother.
1997. Now this is where it all gets a little blurry, can probably put that down to age, but maybe it’s also a bit of a mental block. Turns out kids like stability?! Who knew. (Mental note made for future sprog). Faint memories of teachers being less than impressed at mother taking me out of school at the age of 7 pass through my mind, but it’s hard to remember whether they’re my memories or things she’s told me.. hmm.
The spiritual journey. Or so my mother called it, and the reason for us moving to India. We had visited India once before in 1995 with a group of Swedes following the whole spiritual guru lifestyle thing. Im still not sure how she got involved with that actually. Perhaps I’ll ask, however the reason behind it now seems clearer than ever. It doesn’t take a big event for us to lose meaning in our lives or to realise that maybe you’re a little lost, even when you’re amongst all you know and thought you loved. Also as we grow and learn we might realise that were on the wrong path, but don’t quite know how to find the next one. I know these thoughts have passed through my mind on many occasions. I don’t think we should ever stop soul searching in fact because it’s this contemplation that keeps us in-touch with ourselves.
Ashrams & caves. Just a couple of abodes we passed through during our Indian residency and general life sabbatical. As a child you embrace all of the culture, tastes, smells, colours and experiences. And much like a chameleon learn to adapt to your surroundings. I have memories of playing with other children – none of whom could speak each others language, but you learn to understand each other using all of your other senses and it just sorta works. I can’t remember if I was a shy child in Sweden or not, but I know in the following years it was painful at times. Mum would often push me into situations I wasn’t comfortable in, causing some major anxiety. I know now that this is something that has definitely stayed with me and rears it’s ugly head at times, but for the most i have learned to overcome. But thats a different post.
Hit by a wall of stuffy intense heat. Stepping off the place we had first landed in Bangalore which is where we spent the majority of our time, then Goa (nearly died by killer wave and killer flu, monsoon season is a hoot!) and further down the coast to the stunning Kerala, a short flight to New Dheli (Google images of their telephone/ electricity lines for a laugh), then upwards into the mountains on a 5-6 hour bus journey. This I definitely do remember and makes me laugh when I think about how absolutely mental the whole thing was. Imagine an old rickety bus driving up the steepest thinnest mountain roads (bumpy is an understatement) to the point where all of the seat cushions were on the floor because they weren’t secured in place. You shall never moan about Britain’s pot holes again thats fo sho. We spent some time in Kodaikanal, and then Rishikesh (i remember cows and bridges and being rudely mistaken for a boy), and Haridwar by the river Ganges (witnessed the epic Hindu Pilgrimage). Finally before heading back down to Bangalore we headed to Almora in the Himalayas where we saw some amazing caves and dangled our legs off the edge of a mountain from which you can see the snow covered peaks of Nepal.. We were up in the clouds (quite literally).
Back to reality. London. This is where we first landed back in Europe. Not the reality of our previous life in Sweden, but onto a new journey in the UK. I think it was the day before my birthday and we stayed in a hotel whilst mother figured out next steps. There was absolutely 0 routine and I think the stress had probably taken a toll on us both. I had a private tutor very briefly in Bangalore who taught me a few basic words in English but I don’t remember it being of much use. So as a mental reference I was an almost white haired, green eyed girl with the worlds darkest tan – looking & sounding Swedish AF. For those who don’t know me I now speak the queens English and often get referred to as ‘posh’. I mean okay yeah fair point in regards to how I speak but if you take a second to make a closer observation I’m sure that theory would quickly unravel. However it is something I’ve always been proud of because it means I’ve got something to show for my efforts. More on this later.
Scotland – of course. Yes what is the furthest place from London you could possibly choose to go – well Scotland of course. Of course.
Watch out for offensive apples. Yes because this is one of my first memories of Edinburgh where we stayed in a B&B for a short period of time during our stay in the city. Mother and I walked past a homeless man, and in typical mum style she offered him an apple – all she had on her at the time. I have never experienced such disgust aimed at a fruit before. From there we travelled north to Forres where we stayed for the next couple of years and where I went to my first English school which happened to be a Steiner school. We also spent time in a place called The Findhorn Foundation – best described in their own words.. ‘Explore your new story in our experiential learning centre and ecovillage, surrounded by a stunning Scottish landscape of beach, bay and forest. Expect a miracle…’ Not sure if I experienced any miracles but set close to the sea we saw a lot of seals which was cool. We lived a couple other places around Scotland too but it’s all a bit blurry trying to make sense of it as I’m sat in Nero sheltering from the rain 18 years on.. I’ll have to come back to this part and fill in the blanks with mothers help.
Planes, trains and automobiles. Except it was just a train. The longest train ever from Scotland don to Cornwall. This is another area where we moved around a lot so not sure I can piece it together quite right without some help from mum but I’m pretty sure we arrived first in Penzance. I’ll have to come back to this part too.
Taking another break, to be continued..