Saturday, 8 June 2013

Question 8a: How Settled Do You Feel in Your Country?

Thursday was the National Day of Sweden and since 2005 it's also a public holiday. So what? I thought. It just felt like another Saturday, an opportunity to get out of town and into nature. I felt no desire to run around waving a flag. To be proud of a country is quite artificial. Just because you were born somewhere you can't give yourself credit for that country's goodness or whatever. And feeling ashamed of a country doesn't feel relevant either unless you're part of the government.
The reason for celebrating the National Day is that 6 June is the date when Gustav Vasa was made King and Sweden became independent. England doesn't have an official National Day, but some people celebrate St George's Day 23 April in the memory of the patron saint's death date. How exciting.
To feel settled in a particular country is a different question. You often feel at home in a country just because you're used to a certain culture. And sometimes you can feel at home in another country without knowing why. Maybe because you like the food or the climate or the people.
Most of the Swedes (13 of 15), who were all born in Sweden, said they felt very settled, and even though they sometimes longed to move abroad they didn't want to leave Sweden for good. Here are some of the answers that stood out:
"I'm not 100% settled ... If I get to travel now and again I enjoy it very much, but if I stay in Sweden for too long it gets boring. It's just that I really want to experience other cultures."
"I find it quite easy to feel settled, if I stay somewhere for more than three months I feel at home."
"I'm very settled ... I almost think it would be a good thing, not feeling so settled. There's so much you feel secure with here, it's hard to build up that in another country."
Of the people in England, where 6 was born outside of England or hade parents from other cultures, there were 9 of 15 who felt very settled, and of the 6 people with other origin than British, there were as many as 3 who felt very settled. The people who felt the least settled were the ones who had travelled a lot. Here are the answers that stood out from England:
"I'm pretty settled after I've decided not to travel so much. I've limited myself to only travel for a month at a time; I've made more roots here now, I'm not in a hurry to move to another country." 
"I'm never settled, if someone gave me the opportunity to move outside of the UK, I'd definitely think hard about it."
"I have fantasies of going abroad. A fortune teller once told me that I will live and die in another country and it makes me happy thinking of that."
This study is by no means scientific, the answers are based on interviewing 15 people in England and 15 people in Sweden, aged 22-59. Look out for the next question: How settled do you feel in your city?

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