Living together with the two most beautiful girls on earth
Life has changed completely, for the better!
by Mikael Strandberg
I still get a stream of emails every week from especially readers in the US and the UK asking me, is the Arabian Expedition Still On?
Well, the answer is yes. And no to a certain degree. Things have changed dramatically.
A year ago, at this exact time, I came back from Yemen getting ready to go to Oman and set off from there to Mauritania on a camel. For two years at least. The main idea was to build a bridge of understanding between the Christian West and the Muslim East. A minor reason, on the personal side, was to do some kind of a pilgrimage. I was in a limbo in life, it had very little joy and not a lot of structure. I wanted to get out there, pretty much by myself, into the silent, sandy, empty, frugal and demanding deserts, and hopefully, at the end, have found the meaning of life. I have spent most of my exploring life, well, long before that, trying to understand this issue that nobody really seems to fully understand – the meaning of life. I was ready to face whatever difficulties to find some calmness.
However, in Yemen, where I went to study Arabic to be able to communicate during my Expedition, I immediately met another student whom charmed me beyond recognition. I fell in love with her. Even though it was almost to good to be true, finally I had met somebody who had the same interests in life like me. Travel, literature, people, other cultures and who nurtured big visions about the future. She was a tad younger than me, with a razor sharp intelligence and so full of life! We pretty much spent every second together exploring this amazing country. She also managed to get me to see how extremely vital it would be for the Expedition to have a female member who spoke Arabic and who was well versed in this part of the world. I agreed happily. So for this reason we ended up in Oman together. In October2009 we realized that the love of my life was pregnant!
I have long ago realized that a major part of the meaning of life is parenthood, having children. A family. No matter how we look at life, it is the base of our existence in every way and I have, far too many times, understood how impossible it has been for me to get close to -and understand- this important part of the existence while documenting the lives of people I met. It has been a long life dream for me to have my own family! But so many things over the last years, nasty events, plus I had an empty and meaningless life internally, has happened, so I thought my chance was gone. And it felt like a utterly useless life lay ahead. My old becoming-a-monk ideas came back to mind. But, someone up there gave me a second chance!
Anyway, when we found out that we were pregnant, we immediately took the decision, which was easy because nothing was happening on the main funding scene, (still hasn´t happened…..), to leave Oman and set up a life back outside the Arab World. We didn´t tell anyone outside our family and friends, since one never knows what will happen. We kept it a secret. For many reasons. We eventually ended up in Sweden. Which is truly a great country to have a family. I love it more than ever!
Our daughter was born at the end of July. One of the most beautiful beings I have ever seen! There´s no doubt, it is by ease the most emotional and happiest day of my life!!! Nothing will ever be the same after this! Since then life has changed dramatically. Every day I wake up early with joy in my heart and realize that I am sharing my life with the two most beautiful and utterly kind women on earth! What a privilege! I am really incredibly fortunate! I just love changing diapers, seeing the little one develop every single second (today she had her first genuine smile!), admiring her mother for getting up 2-3 times a night to breastfeed and I can spend hours just admiring my daughter! And my partner of life!
My first feeling once my daughter arrived after such a struggle, was that I loved these two humans more than anything on earth and that I will spend the rest of my life trying to make them happy, create opportunities and always be there for them. Than a great worry arrived, how in earth am I going to support all of us!!! And that is a new worry I have never really had, but now, it, on and off, dominates my life. Therefore, I will have to, to continue the only life I know – exploring. But, I won´t be away for two years! (Well, as it feels like now, not even 36 hours….)
My answer is therefore: The Arabian expedition is still on, but it will, if it happens, be run differently…..