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Ha Det Bra, Norge…

May 31, 2011

On Preikestolen above the Lysefjord

When I returned from Easter break, I knew things were going to be different in Bø. For the first time since January, there was a sense of urgency and rush that filled the air. Students were busy taking exams and writing papers, and little by little, they started to leave. I watched each of my friends say their farewells to Norway. We had dinners, campfires, desserts, hikes, and nostalgic conversations leading up to their departures. With each goodbye, I repressed my feelings of sadness and doubt. Sadness that things would never be the same, and doubt that we were all leaving for good.  It still feels as though we are all just going on a trip throughout Europe and that we will be back in Bø in a matter of weeks. However, no one has come back, and as one of the few people still here in Bø, it is finally my time to say ha det bra. 

For several weeks, I was anxious to return to the United States. I missed cheap food, restaurants, my cat, and the familiar faces from my childhood. I wished I had an earlier flight home, and I was upset that everyone was leaving before me (it almost seems like goodbyes are more difficult when someone else leaves, but you have to stay). Nevertheless, I finished my exams, traveled to Stavanger, and came back to Bø with a different atitude. Things felt rushed again, but I wanted them to slow down. Suddenly, my June 2 flight home was fast approaching, and I didn’t know how to fill my days leading up to the end of my time here. Packing. Cleaning. Doing the “last this” and the “last that.” I felt that I had no time to do all of my “lasts.” Things that seemed so trivial became so special. A trip to the grocery store, a picnic at school, a hike in the woods to see a waterfall you’ve never been to, and even just returning to my comfortable hybel (room) after a night out. All of these events became incredibly emotion-filled, and my heart felt full and heavy. I didn’t want it to be my last walk in Bø. As much as I hated walking up the mountain to my house, I didn’t want it to be the last time. This thinking becomes cryptic and painful, but unavoidable when you are leaving the small village and country you’ve called home for the past half year.

There are still things I never got to experience in Norway: viewing the fjords on a clear day, traveling north to see the aurora borealis, visiting the colored homes on the harbor of Bergen, picking wild strawberries and lingonberries in the dense forest, tasting the cloudberries that only grow in Norway, seeing a moose or a reindeer in the wild, swimming in the numerous crystal clear mountain lakes, and visiting a medieval stave church. While I’m disappointed that I never got to experience any of these, I cannot even begin to list the things that I have done. Many of my lessons and experiences here go beyond my conscious awareness, but I know that what I have done in Norway will be with me for the rest of my life.

I am filled with sadness and joy. This marks the end of a beautiful chapter in my life. I am sad to see it go, but incredibly grateful to have had the experience. I am excited to learn what new challenges and adventures await in the United States and beyond. Studying abroad has taught me that I am capable of anything, and I have a newfound love of travel and exploration that will inspire many more trips and adventures in the future.

It sounds cliché to denote this fact, but studying abroad has been the best experience of my life. I know that I have made lifelong friends, and I have fallen in love with a country that many people can not even point to on a map. While I may not have had the opportunity to learn much of the language, I do feel that I know Norway, and I can’t imagine life without ever returning for a visit.

Thank you for being such loyal readers over the past half year. You have helped make my experience really special, and I enjoyed sharing it with you.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    May 31, 2011 9:59 am

    Thanks Lisa. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your pictures and videos, your experiences. Your stay in Norway taught me some things as well. I learned just how you brave you are. Watching you experience life outside of your comfort zone was amazing. You adapted so well. So much so that it seemed you fit right in! The friendships you made are a testament to this. They will last a lifetime and so will your love for Norway. I am happy that you had this opportunity.

    Love,
    Mom

  2. marianne permalink
    May 31, 2011 1:03 pm

    I have enjoyed reading about your trip to Norway and other countries in Rurope. What a great experience for you to have at an age where you appreciate and enjoy it. Maybe you can take your parents there some day and have the experiences with them that you did not get to accomplish during this trip. Enjoy the trip home!

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