Yesterday, while cleaning out my kitchen cabinets, I stumbled upon some old wine glasses. These were a part of so called "start pack", purchased in IKEA some twenty years ago, when I moved away from home for the first time - and for good. I was twenty something, I had finished school and I have started to work. I thought it was time to start my own life, in fact I longed to do that. If felt right in every way.
In the beginning of 1989, I found a short add in the news paper about a little apartment for rent. I recall it as if it was yesterday, when my father took me to see what would become my first own home.
Located in the opposite part of town, I moved, quiet unintentionally, as far away from my family as I could. A first, significant sign of what was to come.
I was in a very proximity of the ocean, on a quiet street in one of the best neighborhoods in the city. The small - or rather tiny - apartment was located on the second floor of a set of red brick houses, built in the 50's.
The place could easily fit into my current living room and there would probably still be some square meters left free. Consisting of one single room, one toilet, a shower inside a walk-in closet an a kitchen quite literally inside a closet, it was the smallest place I have ever lived in by then or since. Still, it seemed to have everything I needed and I loved it and my new found freedom that came with it. It even had a small balcony, facing the backyard, which I often used in the summers and where I planted my first plants, way before I became an avid gardener decades later.
It was one of the first significant milestones in my life, when I received the keys and moved in. I recall packing my small room in my parents place into boxes and relocating my few belongings into the 22 square meters (236 square feet), that would be my home for the next three years.
I guess, one can say I did grow into an adult during that short time. I experienced a time of enlightenment, when I started to discovered who I was and what I wanted out of life.
Every day, when it took me over an hour to get to work I was dreaming about a car. When the thin plastic of heavy grocery bags cut into my fingers, while I was walking back home during winter evenings, I used to look up at the dark sky, and the flickering navigation lights of planes, taking off at the nearby international airport. I dreamed about far away places, that were yet to be discovered by me and wondered if I ever was to board the planes flying south or west, towards future adventures of my life.
At the end of each month, when my salary check arrived and it again reinforced the fact, that I could never afford a bigger apartment, a car or take part in any exciting travels, I knew then, that I wanted more out of life. I only needed the right opportunity to present itself to me, the one which would offer a change. I knew I was only waiting. And I knew it was coming.
I made many sweet and precious memories while dreaming my days away in this first apartment of mine. I guess mostly, that despite my dreaming, I never stopped living. It was a time of care free years, when I had the privilege of a young, unblemished mind and held a curiosity to discover the world, with all the optimism and fearless joy that used to encompass me. Today it amazes me, how much actually did happened in my life in the span of those three years, a time that feels so short in my eyes today.
It was also here, when the opportunity I was waiting for, did occur during an early spring three years later. I took the decision to leave Sweden and move away from my family and everything I knew, across the Atlantic Ocean to the US. A move, that changed my life in such a drastic way - and in every way - it almost felt as it happened by a stroke of magic.
But that is an entirely different story all together.