Miles: Thursday nights=random feelings?

February 6, 2011

This is less of a “Miles has something full of insight to say” sort of post and more of a “hey look, I’m still alive!” sort of post.

My cold is gone! I spent all of last weekend in my flat, watching TV on my computer and pretending that my throbbing headache could be wished away. I bought a Norwegian Neti-Pot (you proud, mom?) and it looks like a green sea-dwelling dinosaur. RAWR. It’s helping. I’m excited to ski again.

Classes are going well. I absolutely adore my Norwegian professor, Astrid. I would go as far as to say Jeg elsker Astrid. (look it up, fools. I’m practicing.) My gender studies course begins on Monday, and I’m looking forward to meeting the sort of Norwegians who sign up for a gender studies course. I am not looking forward to the 9:15 am class — thus far, I have been spoiled with all late-afternoon courses. The United-Statesian who teaches my North American studies course is starting to bug me—he mumbles, he may have (definitely) used a word for African-Americans that makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

I went to a fantastic open mic at the Nordic Black Theater last night. It’s called Open Xpressions and runs every 3 Wednesday nights. The house band plays reggae music, the acts ranged from hip-hop to acoustic. Apparently other nights it spans across more than music — poetry, monologues, etc. Next time I think I’ll perform a poem.

I am going to the Arctic Circle! Another United-Statesian and I are going to Tromsø, which is probably the farthest north I will ever go in my life. We hope to see the Northern Lights. Please send all Aurora Borealis vibes toward Norway next weekend. In return, I will post pictures when I get back to Oslo.

Last weekend seemed off for a lot of people, myself included. All of the new internationals have been in Oslo for about a month, and a sort of comfort is settling in. My flatmate and I talked (in-between coughs) about how the comfort almost makes one more homesick. I agreed. It isn’t that I feel homesick, it is that I feel strange feeling at home in Oslo. It makes me wonder where my “home” is—or if it is or will ever be contained to one place. It makes me wonder how to shape the rest of my life. I’ve started thinking about graduate programs, and what sort of careers I want to pursue. But I also think about travel. Being here makes me want to be everywhere. I think I needed that first push out of the US to realize that the whole word exists. I want to see it all.

I’ve also noticed a discomfort, but a beautiful discomfort, in how much time I’ve been spending with myself. This is not to say that I’ve been spending time alone. I mean that I’ve been learning about myself. I am the person who knows myself the best, definitely, but in Minneapolis, or in Madison, there are enough people who know me almost as well as I know myself that sometimes I can let them take care of me. Here, nobody knows me well enough for that, so I am forced to pick up just about all of the weight with regards to myself as a person: how I function, how I react to things, my daily feelings, what triggers me to act/feel certain ways, how I push myself socially/physically/mentally. I am learning a lot about who I am. I am learning to truly take care of myself. A lot of times there is an element of difficulty, of discomfort, but I try to welcome it. I am learning.

(Also added to all of that was certainly the fact that I was sick all weekend and just wanted someone to take care of me but had to be a grown-up and take care of myself.)

Things I have learned:

I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO WILL EVER SEE NORWAY (AND THE WORLD) THROUGH MY EYES. Even if I am surrounded by international students right now and even if I know a bunch of people from Minneapolis who are abroad right now, I am the only person in the world who will have the Miles Walser Norway Experience and that means I will have a story to tell. I have a worthwhile voice. Sometimes I need to remind myself of this.

I AM GOING TO BE OKAY. No matter what. I will. (Again, I sometimes need to remind myself. I am starting to really believe it. It’s a good feeling.)

That was sort of a lot of feelings. In my defense, when you don’t go out all weekend, you spend a lot more time thinking about yourself and your life and the world. (If you’re me, at least.) I’ll try to jam-pack my next post with action and adventure. KA-POW!


One comment

  1. I’m guessing the word your professor used may actually be the correct Norwegian word for “black”.

    The Norwegian word, “neger” – which is used for Africans as well as African-Americans – is actually the Norwegian word for the color “black”. It is not a derogatory word in the language, although a similar looking word is considered offensive in the English language.

    And it’s a word that can understandably make a non-Norwegian person (especially North Americans) feel uncomfortable. I get around this by using the word “svart” (dark/black). It may seem incorrect to the Norwegians, but it makes me feel comfortable.

    You might be interested in a very popular song from Norway, “På Ål stasjon”, that tells the story of the first time a young boy saw a person of a different color at the train station in his small hometown. I wish the Norwegian video was on YouTube, because it’s really well done.


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