In honor of my friend Caitlin’s Spring Break, I skipped off to Göteborg, Sweden for a couple days with her and our friend Melinda.
Loved the State Museum. Got a half-price Italian meal—ordered a glass of wine like a fancy-pants. Went Thrift-Store shopping (brand new red belt!). Fell in love with Lidl grocery stores and their cheap prices. Stayed at a hostel and snuck 3 people into a 2-person room.
Basically, I had the best time. It was nice to just spend some time being in another city. Oslo is fun, and each time I return from a trip I feel more and more like I’m coming home to Oslo, but I am also enjoying my Scandinavian adventures outside of Oslo.
Which sort of brings me to my point. I’ve been abroad for about a month and a half now, and I’m starting to wonder why I’m here. Not in an arms-outstretched, screaming to the heavens sort of way—I just want to know what I truly want out of my experience. When I come back home, and people ask me about my semester abroad, what will I want to tell them? Is it important to me to party every weekend, or is it important to me that I continue to write as much poetry as I write in the states? Do I want to ski on Sundays, or run around the city center? Do I want to travel around Europe, or do I want to stay in Norway the whole semester? (Yes, I know that the aforementioned trip to Sweden makes the latter option impossible at this point…) Do I want to try to eat out at every restaurant in Oslo, or do I want to keep cooking? Should I buy fancy bread, or make my own like I sometimes do in Minneapolis?
I try to keep all of these questions in mind as I make decisions about how I spend my time. I know I won’t be disappointed by my Norway experience, but I want to be as un-disappointed as possible, you know? I don’t really have the answers yet. I try to just trust my gut. I think that, as cheesy as it sounds, if I keep my one goal to be my truest self as often as possible, I’ll most certainly have the best experience that I can.
Things I have learned:
DADS RULE IN SCANDINAVIA. And by that I mean, they act like Dads. All the time. At the State Museum in Göteborg, I walked into the children’s area, and saw a roomful of small children and fathers. All sorts of fathers playing with their children. In my Gender Equality class, we’ve touched in the equality between parents in the Nordic Countries, but it was quite a gift to get to witness it. If I ever have children, that’s the sort of father I want to be—the kind that is an equal partner in the world of raising children.
MODERNIZATION IS SOMETIMES NOT SO MUCH FUN. One of my first reactions in Sweden was “wow, this look so European.” I would never argue that Oslo isn’t European, but it is much more modernized than Göteborg. Because of this, the buildings look much closer to buildings I see in the US. There are more chain restaurants and stores. More people speak English. Modernization = Globalization = US Imperialism? To be determined. (I think yes, at least a little bit. I’m not super fond of it.)
This was a shorter post. Maybe I’m actually getting better at not rambling? Doubt it! I think I’m in my second “too much input, no way to output” phase. It’s as if I’m cracking through to the second layer of life in Oslo, and I don’t know enough to comment yet.
Oh, and Wisconsin continues to fight. My mom keeps me updated regularly. I’m sending so many positive vibes towards Madison.