A New Start.

A new start.

This phrase instantly brings to mind Tobias Funke’s latest flub in the most recent season of Arrested Development. However, as I sit here in Café Aura near the city center of Bergen, scrolling through my friends’ graduation pictures, I realize that this phrase signifies so much more. As many of my peers graduated this past weekend (Go ‘Cats!), the phrase new start implies entering the so-called “real life.” Whether this entails a 9-5 career, endless job applications, TFA, grad school, or the ever ambiguous year-off-to-travel, it generally means the scary and intimidating unknown.

While I did not graduate this past weekend, I did enter my own great unknown. Here I am, living in the second largest city of Norway for the next six months. The past few days have been spent traveling around the city, attempting to get situated.

DSCN0831 DSCN0826 DSCN0841  With a trip to the great IKEA and several outings to the local grocery stores, I feel set. I even made myself a meal. The kitchen in my quaint dorm suite is quite a bit different than what I’m used to, so this was a small victory for me. I’d post pictures of this victory…but my level of cooking with my limited kitchen needs a bit more work. I didn’t know anyone upon coming here except for the few people I have been corresponding with in my program, IAESTE. They have made me feel extremely welcome and have helped me get to know the essentials of living in Bergen and even took me to the VilVite! It’s like Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry with an option to read and hear things in Norwegian! Everyone speaks in Norwegian, and as I sit here in this coffee shop, I can assure you that I do not understand a single thing. I have picked up on some important phrases, like how to say excuse me and thank you, but most everyone speaks English so this is not really a problem. I’m still working on learning anyhow, ‘cause what’s the point of moving somewhere new if you don’t want to learn?

Other observations thus far, in bullet points! My favorite!

  • People are very much into fitness here, and I write this knowing full well my Nutella jar is already half gone.
  • Bergen is really baby-friendly. A lot of strollers on the Bybanen (light rail). I can’t help thinking of Chicago, and what the Red-line would be like with that many strollers. I guess the ‘L’ is eLevated (see what I did there?), making it harder for parents to get their strollers up the stairs and onto the platform. Interesting to think about.
  • There’s Mexican food and restaurants here! My other favorite! In fact, it’s a tradition for people to make tacos on Friday nights for family dinner.

I have much more to share and even more to learn, but this will have to do for now. Stay tuned!


In Honor

This, my first post, is in honor of my grandmother, Nanny Sally. My grandmother was quiet by nature, but easily the most adventurous person in our family. Due to my grandfather’s job, Nanny Sally was constantly moving her family to various different states including Colorado, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Texas (just to name a few). They also lived in Wilmslow, England for 6 months, which was an awesome opportunity for my mom and I to see the UK. In between moves, my grandparents also traveled all over the world. Asia, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Central America, and France are the destinations I can think of off the top of my head, but I’m sure I have forgotten quite a few.

We had to say goodbye to her at the beginning of this year, and even 4 months later, it is still a bit surreal that she is not a phone call away. In a recent chat I had with my Papa Harold about Nanny, I learned that she was quite fearless in each of her adventures and always went forth with confidence and courage. Papa Harold told me that it was he who would get anxious about any upcoming endeavors, but not Nanny Sally.

As I prepare for my 6 months in Norway, I often find myself wishing I could talk with my Nanny. She would know the items to pack, the arrangements to make, and the perfect traveling outfits that I haven’t thought of. She would be so excited to talk with me about this too, and if she wasn’t sick, I bet her and Papa would have already made travel plans. She was such an extraordinary woman. A real go-getter. I will just have to channel her and keep her with me in my heart as I start my own adventure.