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Three Week Update

January 26, 2011

Yesterday marked the three week “milestone” since my arrival in Norway and my “half birthday” (only six months until I am finally 21 [although it is in arbitrary age in Norway]). I have accomplished a lot in the three weeks I’ve been here: meeting new friends, immersing myself into an entirely new culture, and learning a lot about myself along the way.

This week has been the first time that I’ve really felt homesick. However, I think the word homesick does not exactly connote my current state of mind. I am not ill nor do I have a maladie of any kind. Instead, I simply crave the comforts and familiarity of home. I miss being able to go to Subway when I run out of food. I miss the philosophical and intelligent conversations I had with my friends. I miss my unlimited text messaging plan that saved me while I waited in line at stores and before class started. Yet what I have been missing most of all lately may seem surprising.

I miss my courses at the University of Wisconsin. When I began classes here at Høgskolen i Telemark, I was thrilled that I would get to spend my semester earning college credit to ski and make snow angels, but I’m feeling a bit differently now. I crave intellectual stimulation. I crave lectures in Psychology and hearing my quirky, English-born French professor ramble on about etymology and pre-Renaissance France. I suppose this is a case of “the grass is always greener” blues because while I stressed over my stack of textbooks and syllabi loaded with rigorous coursework, I was counting the days until I arrived in Norway. Now, here I am, with ski poles in my hands, and an empty mind.

But I digress…What I am learning in Norway does not come from a textbook or from a world-renowned professor. It comes from the experiences of living in a new place, with new people, and learning to adjust my lifestyle accordingly. I have met some really cool (for lack of a better, all-inclusive adjective) people here, and I am already saddened at the thought of not having enough time to accomplish all of my goals during my five months in this beautiful country. Its difficult to say whether I’m all “settled in” (a question I seem to get asked a lot). As a foreigner, I don’t think I will ever be truly settled here. I don’t speak Norwegian, and I am thousands and thousands of miles away from my home. Nevertheless, I realize that the immersion process takes months, and I am only three weeks into my journey abroad.

Disclaimer: Please note that my remarks about my coursework here do not necessarily apply to all areas of study at Høgskolen i Telemark or other post-secondary schools in Norway. This is my personal experience with my particular Scandinavian Studies program tailored for international students.

Finally, a note to my readers: Thank you so much for leaving comments. I read each reply to my posts, and I am going to try and repsond to each comment left on my blog from here on out. The comments create a useful forum for discussion. I really value feedback, and it is rewarding for me to see that people read my blog. So please share your thoughts with me!

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2011 11:54 am

    yo missy!
    we have intelligent conversatiosn all the time!
    and hey, i teach you norwegian!

    Haha, just kidding- i understand the feeling of missing home- thats why were giving you a hella’ time here! 😉

  2. Katelyn permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:06 pm

    I miss texting you all the time!!! Yesterday I was doing something humdrum in the kitchen and wanted to call you but realized that I can’t!

    • January 26, 2011 8:37 pm

      Ah yeah I know! I hate only having Skype. No word from Wisco yet?

  3. Dad permalink
    January 26, 2011 11:33 pm

    As you state, there is more to education than what you can learn in books. You will likely remember things from your experience abroad years after many prof’s lectures fade.

  4. Dad permalink
    January 27, 2011 3:30 am

    From a Mom’s point of view, I am VERY THANKFUL for skype. Seeing your face is very reassuring. Being “homesick” is very natural. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Enjoy your new surroundings and your new friends. They all sound wonderful!

  5. Mom permalink
    January 27, 2011 3:32 am

    Oops. The above comment of course if from me, your Mom. Just forgot to change the name. So glad to see a comment from Dad!

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