Swenglish – a contribution from Sweden by Louise Halvardsson

When I was 19 I left my hometown Nässjö in Sweden and moved to Brighton, U.K. I wanted to get away from the tall oppressive pine trees, the silent forests and – in my opinion – the narrow-minded people. As soon as I got off the coach at Pool Valley, and saw the sea and the hippified punks, I knew I’d found my home, my Paradise City.

I was convinced I’d stay in Brighton for the rest of my life. But when I was about to turn 30 something changed inside of me. I’d sit on the beach and cry, not knowing why. I no longer knew if I wanted to stay in Britain forever. I was also unsure about what do with my life in general. So I embarked on a 30 week long journey, staying with 30 people, half of them in England, half of them in Sweden. I asked each person 30 questions about their lives, hoping they would inspire me to find new dreams. I would also compare the two countries, making a final decision whether to live in England or Sweden.

The project turned into a book and a documentary film called Swenglish. And that title kind of sums up how I feel – split between two countries, two nationalities and two languages even though I was born in Sweden to Swedish parents. Ten years in another country will change you forever. I’m in Sweden at the moment and when I think of home the first image that crosses my mind is tall pine trees, the second image is the pebbled beach in Brighton.

Louise Halvardsson, www.swenglish2012.blogspot.com