It is hard to believe that I am already heading back to the U.S. I don’t know where the time went! I’ve had such a wonderful experience this fall. I fell in love with this city and met some amazing people. I hope the next 3 months go by just as fast. I haven’t even left yet and I can’t wait to return!
I still have more stories to tell about my recent Norwegian adventures so I’ll be continuing to post for a bit, but I thought for now I’d answer a question that a lot of people have been asking me lately. I am definitely not shy about declaring my love for Trondheim and/or Norway to anyone who will listen, which begs the question – why do I love it so much?
I love the attitude of people here. People are happy. Being surrounded by happy people makes me happy. From my friends to my coworkers to the random girl at the grocery store check out, everyone I’ve met has been helpful and friendly. Today I was walking down the sidewalk with a couple of bags and a box in my arms. I was only going 50 meters, from home to work, but the woman who slowed down next to me didn’t know that and she offered me a ride. I am not naïve enough to think that people don’t have problems here (or aren’t sometimes cranky or mean), but I just think that the overall outlook on life here tends to focus on the positive.
I love that you just step out your back door (or hop a bus in my case) and BAM! you are in the great outdoors. The hills of Trondheim can’t really compare to the mountains of the Washington, but they are a heck of a lot closer to the city, meaning you could run, walk, ski… in the forest every night of the week.
I love that people here truly appreciate all the amazing outdoor opportunities here. It is especially inspiring to see people young and old being just as active as us here in the middle. I’m taking notes… I want to be still wandering around the forests when I am 70 years old.
I love the wintertime. Life wasn’t bad before the snow arrived, but once it did, it was game on for me. Having lived in Seattle for so long, I know that the key to surviving the dreary winters there is to have a wintertime activity that you are passionate about. It is even better here because there is snow in town, which is not only fun but also makes the long dark nights a little bit brighter. I think I’ll always be a downhill skier at heart, but my foray into cross country skiing during these past few weeks (despite this weekend’s rough times) has shown me that the skinny skis might just be able to give the powder skis a run for their money on occasion.
I love knowing that there is a lot more for me to explore here. I feel like I’ve seen and done a lot, but there is so much more to see and experience. It is a small city (although, a perfectly sized one in my opinion) in a small country but there are so many mountains to climb, lakes to swim in, trails to ski, islands to explore…
I like the challenge of living in a foreign country (notice the like, not love). Sure there are times when it is incredibly frustrating. Sometimes I feel incompetent. Sometimes I miss the familiarity of home. But it also means that when I figure something out, make a new friend, or when something comes easily, I get more satisfaction out of it. I appreciate the little things more. And everyday I learn something new! Living here also highlights that while we are all a bit different, we are all a bit the same too.
Some of it is intangible, but what it comes down to is that while there are challenges to life here, I am happy here in Trondheim. It was a bit of a last minute decision to apply for the Valle scholarship and I had some hesitations at first, but I feel like it happened the way it did for a reason and I feel like I am supposed to be here. As I get closer to starting a new chapter of my life (the post-grad school years…), it is comforting to know that while I might not be able to stay in Seattle forever, there are other places in this great big world of ours that I would be just as happy to call home.
As I said the last time I left this country – don’t worry Norway, I’ll be back!
Someone I recently met made a comment on facebook regarding a post of mine that I thought was worth sharing. “…Get up on any given mountain, meet Norwegians skiing or hiking, and they’ll open up and talk for hours, share their meals and trust you with their lives.” Another reason to love it here.