I was born in Bamburg, South Carolina. Upon arrival i was unpleasantly surprised to find I had a brother who was waiting eagerly. He proceeded to drag me around by my head and other displays of fraternal affection. Shortly after my birth we moved to Michigan where I grew up. My father is Swedish and my mother American. Many summers we traveled with our father to Sweden to visit our grandparents there.
Growing up in America with a single, uneducated and very young mother we were VERY poor and occaisionally hungry, homeless or both. My father's father was a successful Businessman in Central America. He paid for our visits to Sweden where life was very different.
That contrast between poverty in a capitalist system and the care free luxury of living with well to do relatives in socialist Sweden made a deep impression on me. I grew up thinking Sweden was the land of milk and honey.
When I was 19, my life was in a state of mild disaster and I voted for the first time. That turned out to be a more spicey tex-mex disaster. I beleived the election had been stolen, not won. Later my suspicions were confirmed. Not only were there questionable political maneuvers to prevent recounts. There was also fraudelent vote counting, ballot tampering and mobs intimidating voters likely to vote against them outside election centers. It was in short a completely undemocratic fiasco the likes of which would make Putin green with envy.
My father, a historian, once told me that one gives a government passive support simply by dwelling within its borders. In a democratic society, even if you disagree with the governments policy you must concede their right to govern because they have the support of the majority of the nation as defined by the constitution.
Well what if they lied, cheated and finally stole the mandate, using constituents as lynch mobs to supr ess the other side? Well if I beleive what my father told me, and I did, the logical conclusion is that it is my moral obligation to leave the country if i have the means and in so doing remove my complacency for an illegal administration.
So I left at the age of 19. I boarded a flight to Amsterdam with a tote bag and suitcase, then took the train through Germany and Denmark then finally Sweden. It may sound like an overly complicated itinerary, and it was. But I wanted a dramatic adventure to go with my expatriation. A direct flight would have been mundane and anticlimactic. Such good timing, look what has happened since!
So life went on, I studied Swedish, had to start school over again from the beginning since I didn't finish my degree before leaving. I learned Swedish and relearned a lot of stuff I already knew. Eventually I got really sick of school and worried about all the money I was borrowing so I decided to look for a job. 3 years later and one country away I found one.