A combination of a great idea of my dad’s and my own led to me having one of the most fun Sunday’s I have had in a long time. I have an NQT observation lesson on Thursday which is highly exciting… but that requires some serious planning to be made extra special.
So my plan was to spend a good proportion of Sunday working on that to make it as good as possible. However, I know fully well that I am not very good at working in my apartment – far too much internet-based distraction for a start, so I wanted to get away and work elsewhere.
My dad’s idea from ages ago, which I thought daft at the time but makes perfect sense, is that I should use my all routes available travel card for Stockholm County (which is HUGE) and make a visit somewhere as a trip out. Now I thought this was daft because why would I want to go anywhere other than the centre – but that was neglecting some of the key ideas about what makes Stockholm special.
So, the combination of these thoughts was as follows. I would take a journey somewhere new and exciting, laptops in tow, and work en route to my destination (which isn’t a new idea, as I’m going swimming tonight and I am typing this on my bus).
I decided to take the bus all the way to Stenhamra, a small town of 3,000 at one end of the bus route that I take every day into school. It is way out in the countryside though in Malaren and completely bizarre I think that a motorway bus goes that far outside the main city boundary. Not only was my work reasonably productive (although I got all sleepy coming back in the pitch black at 16:30) but I was very excited to be exploring somewhere new. The centre had a small supermarket, church, school and library. And a car park.
However, I wanted to walk down to the waterside, and that was where my emotions grew stronger. The walk down from the centre through Strandvägen was one of the prettiest sights I have ever witnessed. Pretty not in a spectacular way, but an aspirational way.
These were fun individually designed large (although modest for that) Scandinavian style family homes. All decorated with the traditional Swedish lights for the festive season. All looking snug in the dusk light, I was aple to see through windows at very happy families playing, baking, eating together, and I realised that was what I wanted from coming here. That was the dreamy lifestyle I was looking for, and I yearned it. I probably am a little young wish for happy families, but this was the image of Swedish culture I wanted to be a part of. When I actually got to the waterside, and I saw the homes with the striking views over it, the Sun battling both to stay above the hills and through the clouds, the waterspouts between those clouds (which I hadn’t seen before) the wind in my hair and the emptiness of being alone with all this around me gave me a huge sense of belonging.
On the way back though, I realised just how selfish this all felt. I am a big thinker – a dreamer – a hoper – a lover. But this was a dream that revolved around things that were materialistic. The nice family home, in the countryside but with access through one bus to the city must meet so many requirements for people. The thoughts of having a family who could snuggle up together through the winter cold, enjoying perhaps not luxuries, but with a standard of lifestyle at least that many could dream of, felt wrong to have. But it is selfish and I do want it and wrongly I probably feel my world deserves it.
Also though, the family man and family house Ben would be a very different person. He wouldn’t be somebody who would feel a need to justify the world, the habitat around would be in such a goldilocks state why would he care. He would fight less for those in need, for he would simply focus on those happy, developing, fresh, homely faces around him. That is happiness, and completely natural and positive human nature, but sadly it is this nature that weakens our society and the ability of it to work together.
Who knows if that will actually happen or not, but the parallels to those ideas of the American dream are hard to ignore, both in practicality and rationality, and the thought of me adopting American principles worries me somewhat now.
But for now, all I truly know is that I will be doing that journey again. Although even better. I’ve discovered a bus route further along that road, that requires me to get a bus to an island further out west, and then further out west again, via a boat journey. And all included in my travel card. Yes Stockholm County is huge and I need to make the most of it. That bus, adorably, only goes four times a day. I think a winter trip out west to a cute country café (if it is big enough for that) sounds like the ideal thing to do at some point. Although I may have to disappoint people by working on the way there…