A pinch more awesome

by Elin Vallin

I come from a sleepy town up north where we are considerate towards each other, always putting the needs of our friends before our own. Back home, we let someone else have the bigger cookie. Here in Stockholm, everybody wants the big cookie themselves. Now that i’m finding myself in a new environment, I spend a great deal of time making observations, comparing and processing the many differences between my small hometown and the life in the big city where I live now.

Back home

Back home everybody knows each other. And those we don’t know, we kind of choose not to know. You’ve got your close group of friends and you stick with them. Anything else would be weird. Of course we meet new people from time to time, but we feel comfortable with our little “crew”. We feel safe, we feel like it’s enough people in our life. But you have to be rather careful with what you say or do outside of your group of people, because no one wants to risk becoming the hot topic of the gossip in town. We stand by each other at all times. When we can’t carry ourselves, someone else does. We care so much about each other that it can hold us back. As part of a crew you avoid bringing too much attention to yourself. You just blend in.

My perception is that most of the people back home are satisfied with their life. And I don’t blame them. I was one of them, I also had that feeling of being satisfied with everything back home. In fact, I still do, I love my origin. There is no place on earth that makes me feel so relaxed like home. But there’s another aspect to this mentality. The most important thing to bear in mind is; don’t tell anyone how good you are at something. You don’t want to be seen as a show-off. That can be socially devastating. The hardest thing about this small town-behaviour is to learn how to be confident and independent. But for a restless soul like mine, I felt a need for an adventure. I had to push myself a bit further.

The new world

Now it’s been almost 2 years since I left for something new, but this town still makes me feel like a newborn sometimes. It’s like having to learn how to take your first steps on shaky legs. And after having learned how to take a few steps, you move on to learning how to talk. Then,  you learn how to network and socialise – with the right people of course. That’s what it’s all about, knowing the right people. When you think you got it, you have to push yourself a bit more because you can always do a little better. Walk a little faster, speak a little louder, just be a pinch more awesome.

There is a sense of a never ending race to the top in this town. The louder you are, the better it seems. Preferably you should walk around as if you occupy your god-given space. So for me, a small town girl competing with hundreds of thousands of people thinking they are divine, that’s a lot to compete against. What they don’t know though, is that I on the other hand, walk around like a silent phantom trying to learn from all of them. Collecting traits, studying and learning from them. Because somehow, I’ve realised they know how to keep advancing. Most people seem to embrace change and seek new challenges. It requires constant improvement with no time for failure – adapt or die. You have to get out there, make yourself shine and never be afraid to tell everybody about your success.

The perfect hybrid

Back home everybody knows who you are. If they don’t know who you are they sure know who your mother is. In Stockholm you can walk around like a ghost. I still haven’t figured out which one of the two worlds is better. In some way they complete each other. Home taught me how to become a good fellow human, while Stockholm keeps pushing my boundaries in a way I didn’t expect. I’ve still got a lot to learn about this big city life, and I believe I always will. Slowly this small-town-girl is starting to blend in, while still keeping her home town considerations close to heart.

Elin Vallin
Office Manager