As of today I am 3/5 done with my study abroad experience. In some ways it feels like my trip is almost over and in other ways it feels like I still have a lot ahead of me. And in a way, both are true. Two months doesn’t feel like nearly enough time to do and see everything that I would like to here, but my schedule for the next two months is definitely full. Soon I’ll be writing papers for each of my classes, which will total about 40 pages, and preparing for final exams which are spread throughout the month of May. In mid-April I’ll be embarking on an 8 day trip through France and Italy for Easter Break (same concept as Spring Break) and sometime in May I’ll be hopping on a train to go see the majestic fjords in Stavanger. This weekend I am taking an overnight trip with my friluftsliv class to a popular ski resort where we will get one last chance to ski and learn about the outdoors while being in the outdoors. Even with all of this, though, I wonder if I’m really taking advantage of my opportunities enough.
I have to remind myself often that, yes, my time here is being very well spent. Even days when I seemingly do nothing are days when I learn a little more about myself and what it’s like to truly live on my own. Back home, even living in an apartment on campus, I have people who help keep me honest and look out for me when I need them to. Here, I live with five other people who I rarely see. That’s not a bad thing, though, because I’ve really started to learn how to be completely independent because of it, and being independent in a country where you barely speak the language is no mean feat! I can cook proper meals for myself without using recipes, I’m becoming much more aware of my cleaning habits (having a linoleum floor makes you hyper-aware of any dirt on the floor), and I’m becoming more and more interested in getting outdoors and being active.
There’s just something about Norway that really fosters that need for independence and growth. Between the law that gives people the right to walk, ski, hike, camp, etc… anywhere they want to, and living in a small valley town with not a lot for entertainment unless you’re willing to spend quite a bit of money, I’ve really started to learn the value of “making your own fun.” It’s the simple things in life that matter the most, and that really is the most important lesson that I’ve learned here so far.