Dreaming Again

If I could go anywhere – where would I be headed right now? In this instance, probably back to bed. My classes really start too early this year. But if I look past that, where?

The first part of 2016 was all about dreams. I finally traveled Norway, I volunteered in Australia, and I did more of the things that makes me happy. In the last part of the year I started Nursing School. It was a roller coaster of emotions, but eventually I settled in in my new home, and I guess you could say my new life.

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Nothing is easy, but most things are possible

When I dream, I dream big. I want to go to places I cannot get to. I want to experience things I probably never will. To me, dreaming is innocent, dreaming is for everyone, and dreams are not meant to be contained. For a while last year I stopped dreaming, stopped because I thought it would make me unfocused, because nursing is a dream – and dreaming two at once is simply too much to ask.

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My heart is almost always restless

Today I realized I was wrong. Of course I can dream several dreams at once. I can want to travel the world and still want to do my best at school. I can dream about Antarctica at the same time as I try to understand neurology. Dreaming is scary; it is frightening to open oneself up to the possibility of failure – of never seeing the dreams through. However, dreaming also makes one creative, and so this year I resolve to travel, even though I’m studying. I resolve to find a way to make the most of 2017.

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And to share it with all of you.

The Buddyweek

I have told you about our crazy tradition when graduating High School. Now I’m going to introduce you to what it’s like to start university and college.

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Our buddies wear yellow!

Every student in their first year is a part of what we call “fadderuken” – buddyweek. Formally its purpose is to let the new get to know each other with the help of older students – the buddys. To some extent it succeeds, but it also involves a whole lot of partying and drinking. For those who don’t drink this can be challenging.

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Making a K for the bar named Kronbar.

I think the buddies did a good job including everyone this year. Sure, there’s been a whole lot of parties, but they also took us around the city doing different tasks, we had a sports day, introduction to the different student organizations, and we had a barbecue (yey!). I have gotten to know a few people, not well, but what matters now is that it all becomes easier with familiar faces in a crowd of strangers.

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# Playing cannonball like our lives depended on it!

The Beginning of the End

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while now. You see, I got in. I’m going to become a nurse. In Norway we start school in mid-August and end it right before summer. Therefore it’s almost time to say goodbye to the Gap Year I’ve had. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened, they say.

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My thoughts are back to being seagulls: many, uncontrolled, going around and around.

If I could go anywhere I wanted, where would I be headed right now? I’ve asked myself this question before. I found the answer to be “certainly not to school”. However, it was a different time. Maybe even a different me. This little detour is crucial for my future, but look what I just called it.

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Last year I knew a Gap Year was right for me, I needed time to figure things out, to try myself in new settings. I slept soundly again for the first time in years.

An education is necessary, and I think I will like nursing. I hope I will. I want to like it. Even though it’s the beginning of the end of my Gap year, it’s the beginning of something else too. The beginning of a different road. A promise of new crossroads to come. Even though I choose to go left now, I believe I will still find green lights ahead.

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Because dreams do come true. I would know.

8 Fun Facts about Australia

Australia is a fascinating country. Big and beautiful, sandy and sunny, but seldom in the news. I learned a lot about it when I visited, maybe more than an average Australian knows. How many of you reading this can name the Australian Prime Minister? Without googling it. Here’s some facts everyone should know – if so only because they are fun.

  1. Their first police force was made up of well-behaved convicts.
  2. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living thing on earth.

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This is how the reef looks from above the surface.

3. In 1967 they lost and never found Prime Minister Harald Holt.

4. It’s home to the top ten deadliest snakes.

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Thankfully, this isn’t one of them.

5. Australia is the only Western country that doesn’t have a Bill of Rights.

6. Australia has 170 million inhabitants – 150 million being sheep.

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They are just as friendly as their two-legged friends.

7. The city of Melbourne used to be called Batmanina.

8. The Selfie is an Australian invention

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He was too busy trying to figure out if I had food to smile for this picture.

P.S. This post was inspired by the first chapter of Down Under by Bill Bryson – a must read for anyone planing to go to Australia. Oh, and I googled it, and the prime minister’s name is Malcolm Turnbull.

The Prison that became a School

You may have heard about Skien. It is a tiny city in tiny Norway. Why, you wonder? It’s because it’s where the Norwegian terrorist Anders B. Breivik is held. I’m not going to talk about him though; he has been talked about too many times, by too many. No, this post is about the city I came to after traveling Norway for nearly three weeks, and about the old prison that became a school.

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Welcome to Skien city!

I stayed there for three nights. I was visiting a friend and thought I had a pretty good idea of what the place looked like – I didn’t. There were bars over the windows, heavy doors to each room (some of which still had functional food hatches), and a net separated the floors. Needless to say I loved it.

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Today, the building is used for Discipleship Training School – DTS. Young people from all over the world (like from: Peru, Germany, India and the US) attend this school. Many of them have a Gap Year, but some also want to become missionaries.

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A food hatch. Disclaimer: not my hand.

It was strange seeing a person in slippers, busy brushing his teeth, causally walking past me, yelling over his shoulder that he would join his friends for pool later. What was it like when there were still inmates here? That guy now gurgling loudly would have had a position at the top of the hierarchy, in for fraud perhaps? Great at talking his way out of things. Great at talking others into them too, like the tall fellow reading on the coach. That one would probably have been in for a violent crime. He would have been great with numbers, but have a poor self-esteem and a slight anger management problem. Had anyone even remotely like this served their time at the prison? I’ll never know, and perhaps that is for the best.

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I’m not the most religious person, and it didn’t take long before I was exposed. However, I was still just as welcome, because a friend of my friend was a friend of everyone. The building might have been a prison before, but for the people I met – it was a home. We sat down together and discussed religion and prison, and when it all got to tense, we decided that it all didn’t really matter at the moment. So what if there are several different types of Christianity, if some believe in the Big Bang and some don’t. There is a time for everything – and we found that it was time to dance.

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So somewhere in the world, right now, there is a place where there used to be a prison, which now is a school. In that place, people, from all over the world, with differences in opinions and beliefs, coexist. Peace is possible, and when a disagreement is inevitable, let’s turn up the music instead of fight.

There’s no place like home, they say

I recently returned from cold, cold, stunning Northern-Norway. Now I’m back in my rainy, rainy hometown. However, I’m not staying long. They say there’s no place like home, but lately, I would beg to differ.

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My thoughts feel like these seagulls; many, uncontrolled, going around and around.

Walking down the same path I’ve always walked, saying hello to the good ol’ trees that’s been there forever, I can’t deny that it’s good to be home. Yet, I have only been back for a couple of days, and now I’m ready to leave again. Anywhere, soon. Restless? Adventurous? I’ve heard this feeling be called all sorts of names. Some frown, some smile. Few understand.

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They say it’s a phase. They say that when you’ve had enough, you’ll settle. But when will it be enough? Wasn’t my trip into the wild challenging in all the right ways? Should I wait to study in favor of traveling the world? Perhaps it is a phase; perhaps it will pass sooner rather than later. Studying is an adventure in itself, right? It’s a different culture, only, not in the way I’m used to. Maybe not in the way I want it to. Once again I have a choice to make. In the future it might seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal, but don’t we all know that when making choices, when aware of making them, they all feel awfully significant?

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I’ll walk around this circular water, on this circular path, and pretend I’m doing it for the fresh air, and not in an effort to stop walking in circles in my head. I need to figure out if I travel to escape life, or if I travel for life not to escape me. If I can solve that, I’ll know where the green lights ahead will take me next.