I was going to try to sum up my entire experience, but once I started I found that it was pretty much impossible. So instead I am going to describe one of my last days here.
After going a long time without real human interactions, I was excited to get out on Monday and do some errands. I took out my trash on my way into town and discovered that someone had left bags of cans and bottles (which can be redeemed for money) in the recycling area. Figuring that the owners obviously didn’t intend on cashing them in, I took a bag of the bigger bottles and headed off to the store.
As I walked up to the store I noticed that the parking lot was empty. This was very unusual. I started to wonder if Memorial Day was celebrated internationally, and panicking because all I had in my fridge was half a head of cabbage and some salsa. I walked to the next store; same story. Sadly I had to ditch my bag of free money next to a trash can. I’m sure someone was happy to pick it up later.
The next item on my errands list was to go to the school and turn in my last paper. Walking up to the doors I saw people inside and so figured it was open. However, the automatic doors didn’t open as I approached. I quickly realized that I needed my code which I never asked for to get in. Though even if I could’ve gotten in, the reception desk where papers are turned in wouldn’t have been open. So I returned home, hungry and unfulfilled.
That night I was desperate for human contact and so did not let myself crawl into bed with a movie. Instead, on Facebook chat I found a friend (Rebecca) who lives in the student housing closest to the school. She said I could come over and chat in their kitchen, so I wandered over there. All semester I have wished I hung out with my friends in this building more often. Something (most likely the distance) always kept it from happening. Anyway, when I got there she was in the kitchen along with one of her Norwegian kitchen mates (Christian) who was studying for a test. Rebecca and I talked, with the occasional input from Christian. We looked over her vegan cookbooks while talking about food, looked at pictures from her recent trip up north, and laughed. Eventually, Jordon, one of the other Americans, wandered in. He stayed and chatted for a while before heading back to his room. Christian left not to long after him.
Rebecca and I then stayed up talking for hours. We had never really talked one on one before. It was really nice that we got to know each other more, but I wish it had happened sooner. Spending time in their kitchen three days in a row made me realize what I have been missing this semester, and that is a sense of family. I was happy to have found it, but sad, again, that it happened so late in the semester.
Anyway, at one point I started talking about how I tend to freak myself out in the dark. Having had my back to the window the whole time I was surprised when Rebecca said “You won’t have any problems walking back tonight, the sun’s already up”. At nearly 4 in the morning the sun was indeed rising. I went and stood on their balcony. It was so beautiful and peaceful (and cold) outside. Not very long after I headed home.
It was the best walk I have had here. Four in the morning seems to be a good time for me in Norway. Birds were chirping, but other than that it was pretty much still. No cars, no people, and a rising sun. I stopped and watched a cat staring at a bird, ready to pounce. Once home I was not motivated to sleep due to the brightness and the invigorating walk, but I put on my eye mask and fell asleep.
I would like to end this blog, as it is my last, by saying that no matter what I have said about my experience, negative or positive, what it really comes down to is that I lived in a foreign country for five months. How awesome is that??