Jag älskar dig (I Love You) Stockholm…

…and you will get through this.

You will get through this because you are a city of creativity, of effervescence and love. A city of acceptance. You are a diverse community that includes people from all walks of life. It’s this mix of individuals who come together in this beautiful city that makes you feel a part of something special. I never felt out of place as I walked beside the water or through the streets. I never felt isolated while drinking in a pub or having a fika with friends. I felt more and more a part of Stockholm every day I lived there. This was through the experiences I had and the memories of those experiences that I still carry around. It was through the relationships I made with the city and the friends I love – both Swedish and other Internationals alike.

This is why my heart hurts so much reading about the events that happened yesterday. That someone wanted to try and taint and break up this community that I have a special place for and this city that I care about. My heart hurts for the victims and their families. It hits so close to home because in another time or another place, it could have been someone that I really cared about, or even me. That could have been injured or worse. Of course, we can’t live our lives thinking about events in that way. Who knows why things happen the way they do… but maybe we can help stop tragedies like this again by our reactions.

So, we will grieve like we did in London and Nice and Berlin and countless other places across the world. We will grieve when it happens again, but I have noticed that we are learning to respond to these attacks differently. With resilience and solidarity, instead of judgement. We will not let attacks like these define our cities or a group of people. Instead we need to stand against hate. Attacks like these push people together, rather than forcing them apart. Stockholm, you are a city of love, peace, acceptance and creativity. That is what defines you. Stockholm, you will get through this and continue to be the thriving city and community where I left my heart. While I am not with you I think of you always and treasure the memories you gave me

always.

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