Holy smokes. Has it really been a year? Yes, yes it has.
September 22, 2010 will be a day I always remember.
Arriving in our new city after a long flight. The fact that I'd never set foot on European soil, but picked up and moved here on a whim. Being exhausted from a month of packing and hardcore goodbyes. The $200ish cab ride to our tiny, temporary studio apartment. Not knowing a soul. Feeling slightly guilty and wondering what the heck I was going to do with my newfound free time without work. Not knowing where to buy a grain of food or how to pay a bill. Convincing myself that I needed this experience, so I'd never regret not taking the risk.
I found myself yet again arriving in Oslo from the U.S. last week, almost a year to the day when we first arrived.
However, this time it was a little different. I'd dragged a suitcase through a lot of European cities. I wasn't really tired (yet). My goodbyes in the U.S. were more "see you soons" because being away from home for seven months no longer seemed so daunting. I hopped on the $30 airport express train, just as it was pulling away from the station, and took it to the cozy apartment that has become our little home. I had friends I was bursting to see. My calendar was pressing me with volunteer commitments, errands, and chores. I had our grocery list organized by the shop where each item could be found, and our bills all set up in the payment system in our bank account.
I didn't know everything, but I definitely knew a little more about the experience of living in a foreign country. That it had changed us for the better, and was definitely worth all of the frustrations that came along with it.
And worth every ass-busting slip on the icy Norwegian sidewalks.
Okay, maybe that's taking it a little too far...?
All that to say, it's amazing what a year can do.
Our new friends in Oslo were the key pieces that made the past year all that it was. Without these relationships, and the fun dinners, walks, drinks, and tea dates they brought, it would've been a lonely year. You can only escape with a trip away every once in awhile. It's the daily dose of camaraderie that helps you thrive in a new place.
So, I'd like to give a shout-out to our friends here in Oslo, and to Norge for being a great host for the past year.
Tusen takk for et fantastisk år!
Here's to the next.