Here I am waiting to speak to the immigration office, one of the really fun parts of being a foreigner. The line is a mile long as always, so I took a number and walked over to one of my favorite cafes in Bergen, Vaagen Fetevaren (pronounced Vogen Fetavaren). It’s extremely colorful, filled with art and books. Extremely cozy as well, or as the Norwegians would say, “koselig”. Coziness is a high priority in Norway. They do about just everything they can to make the inside of their homes and restaurants as comfortable and beautiful as possible since they know they will be spending a majority of their time inside.
I recently moved out of the student hostel to a part of town called Nordnes. It’s a peninsula just ten or fifteen minute walk outside of the city center. The house is very old and the flat is quite chilly. There is no central heat ( which is pretty common here) but we have some good space heaters and have decorated so it is quite nice. I moved in with another student from the academy who is new this year. His name is Matan and he comes from Israel. He comes from Russian and Austrian heritage but was born in the US and then moved to Israel as a child. I love the way he speaks English. It is probably difficult to do it justice through writing. I love that he uses phrases that no native speaker would ever use but I still know exactly what he means. When he is walking in the cold he says his red nose is angry, or when he wants to put something up on a shelf has asks me to “put it upstairs”. I think speaking English all the time is exhausting for him and I feel lucky as a citizen of a globalized world that it is my native language. After having conversations daily with people who have to speak a second language on a regular basis I have learned to relax a bit about grammar and correct pronunciation. I used to be so picky about using certain words in the right way but really one has to remember that language is just a tool to communicate ideas and feelings and when that is accomplished you have to be satisfied. Saying that, it still amazes me how well the majority of Norwegians speak English. They are able to communicate such complex ideas and emotions in English that I would never be able to in Norwegian.
It is a relief to have moved. Walking everywhere I need to go is really a pleasure. I feel much more at home here and I am actually really glad that I came back. I feel a little silly saying that after I felt so strongly that I should leave here and never come back but I am feeling the happiest I have in a long time, darkness, cold and all.
That said I am still feeling a bit unsure of what it is I am going to do next year. I have been giving it a lot of thought but haven’t reached any solid conclusions. I try to reassure myself that it is ok for now. Matan says that the most interesting people usually have no idea what to do with their lives…let’s hope he is right.
This weekend I am off to London! :) I am really excited to go. I am flying out early Friday morning and staying until Monday morning. I am going with Corinne and another friend Maria Skranes. Maria is a really cool woman who is in a band called the Machine Birds. They are doing really well and have been on the radio here and are currently in a contest for the band of the year. If they win they will get a record deal so I hope it goes well. I am also really excited to be reunited with Hayley and Elise!! Two of my favorite women in the world. And I also want to say that a certain brunette, New York City, up and coming writer will be sorely missed ;)
As some of you may know I decided not to come home for Christmas. A decision that I feel ok about but am now realizing that I am going to miss everyone a lot over the holidays. I want Mom and Dad, Grandma, Albert, Jen, Matthew, Alycia and all my friends to know that I think of all of you often and that I miss you a lot.
Here are some pictures from the apartment and that I have just taken over the fall. Enjoy!