Today I am writing my blog in a plane to Stockholm after visiting my homeland the Netherlands where I come from and lived for more than 35 years. I moved to Sweden 7 years ago and I’ve built a nice life for myself, husband and children. Made new, incredible friends and built a professional career as an entrepreneur. But today it feels different than any other day. I am crying because I suddenly realize I don’t have roots in Sweden. Me and my family bought a tiny house and we live at the country side north of Stockholm. We have the most amazing view, solar panels, vegetable garden and I compost. I am living the life I always dreamed of. I tried to tell myself I could live without seeing my loved ones from the Netherlands on a daily base because I had my kids and husband with me in Sweden. But with every visit to the Netherlands it feels like harder to leave and it’s as if I leave pieces of my own heart behind. I feel guilty because I don’t want my family and friends in Sweden to feel like they aren’t enough. My life is fulfilling in Sweden and I have so much to be grateful for.
Even though I always felt the Netherlands as a country wasn’t the best country for me to live in, now sometimes I can’t shake the feeling I want to go back. All of this made me realize life is never perfect no matter how hard you try and work for it. Most important is that you are able to surround yourself with friends and family. Living in a country that isn’t your homeland can feel confusing and like an emotional rollercoaster.
But how do I tell people how I feel? What makes it my right? I chose this life. And now my tears are rolling down because there are so many that had to flee their homeland due to war, who didn’t and don’t have the luxury of free choice. It makes me sad and sick to my stomach. How must they feel? Arriving in a new country with no roots, no friends and no family. Just being safe is not enough. I started thinking of what we need as humans to feel at home somewhere. And I think it’s the absence of fear, the presence of kind people that welcome you, and food. If there is food that reminds you of “home” you actually feel at home. Even if it’s just for a moment. Food connects people and trough food you are able to show people your roots.
In a previous blog of mine I wrote about my visit to the Northern parts of Sweden, where I learned more about the indigenous people of Sweden. I read a quote that felt like an arrow was shot in my heart and I am actually thinking of getting it as a tattoo on my body.
”My home is in my heart and it will follow me wherever I go”
I think this is one of the most beautiful quotes I ever read.
And maybe it could be a little tiny support for those in difficult situations. As a memory that no matter where you are in life, you carry a bit of home with you in your heart.
There are many recipes my mother and my grandmother made for me that reminds me of home every time I smell or eat something similar. A lot of those dishes includes meat. And for many years I am eating mostly plant based whole foods.
But there is a cucumber side dish my whole family know how to make and my kids have been growing up with it as well.
To put something homey on the table I love to make that side dish very often, so I will share it with you here.
Cut a cucumber into small slices. Cut a little onion into tiny bits. Put it in a bowl. Now make a dressing with 4 tablespoons of oil, a freshly squeezed lemon, herbal salt, black pepper and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. At the end sprinkle with parsley and let the cucumber marinate in the dressing for 10 minutes or longer before serving.
I would love to hear if you have a special recipe that reminds you where you come from. Maybe we can make a little recipe book out of it. The Vital Woman Homeland Recipe Book written by our readers. Would be awesome!! So please share ladies!
For now, I will dry my tears and focus on feeling grateful and full of love that my life is blessed with so many wonderful people. I carry all of you in my heart wherever I am.