As of today there is little more than 4 weeks until I have to leave Norway. I still haven’t actually comprehended this fact, even though I have written it many times. I am quite sure that I will only fully understand what leaving actually means when I get to Oslo Airport on the 4th of January and have to deal with the fact that I will never have this life again. There is an 100% likelihood of me being a crying mess, just like I was back at Sydney nearly 11 months ago (my oh my isn’t it funny how things go full circle!). I have a lot of thoughts ahead of my departure and I figured I should share them (the point of this blog for me is to be honest and try to explain what I’m experiencing and I saw no reason to end this when the journey is far from over).
When I first arrived all I could really think of was eventually going home, in the epic plan of my life that I had I’d sort of skipped over this exchange year. I figured I’d spend a year on exchange, sort my life out and then never have any problems again, the actual exchange itself was, in my head, not going to be too hard (lord was I wrong). I’ve probably said this a thousand times but this year has presented the greatest challenges I’ve ever had to overcome. It has also given me the greatest rewards I could ever hope for. The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had are all things I wouldn’t change for the world. And now I’m faced with the prospect of leaving it all behind. This year is now everything to me, I’ve built a new life and it is saddening to think that everything will just continue without me next year.
You see I’ve fallen in love, not with a person of course but with a country. I love Norway and my life here. I love the way that in Summer the days are practically endless and the way the seemingly eternal nights of Winter make the Christmas lights seem more magical. I love how everything goes and very little is weird. I love how diverse Oslo is. I love how much I can laugh with my basketball team and all the different places I get to perform at with korps. I love living in Europe and being so close to everything. But probably most of all, I love the fact I don’t have to stress and that there no expectations for me. When I first got here I thought I was doing pretty well to get through the days, no one expected anything in particular from me – I just had to turn up to school everyday. This has meant everything in addition has become a bonus. As soon as someone has a particular expectation it takes away from whatever the achievement is, because it was expected it’s nothing special.
The reality is there are a lot of expectations for me back in Australia and I’m not quite sure how I’ll deal with that after going a year where the only expectations I have to handle are my own. Going back to the same school seemed like a really good idea before I left but now I’m kind of scared of what everyone will say and think when I get back. Furthermore I’m terrified that in some way I’ll be a disappointment. That I won’t get the marks people expect from me, that I won’t look the same and people will think lesser of me because of that and that, down the line, what ever I end up deciding to do with my life will be seen by others as a waste. I guess in short I’m bloody terrified what people will think, no matter how much I want to be invincible and not care. I don’t really want to admit this because I’m not proud of it, if anything I was kind of hoping that this year would sort of fix me in some way. But, even though I’m an exchange student, even though I’ve managed to live away from home for almost 11 months now, I’m still a teenager… not superwoman. Like most teenagers my mood occasionally goes up and down for no good reason, like most teenagers I’m still trying to figure out what I’m meant to do with my life and like most teenagers I occasionally feel like no one understands (*read in a whiny, teenager-ish voice if you want*). Like most teenagers I care what other teenagers think. I have written teenagers because, as I’ve been writing this, I’ve come to the realisation that it is mainly teenagers/peers that stress me out. I have happily given presentations and impromptu speeches in front 12-120 people this year and that doesn’t stress me out as much as doing anything in front of a group of classmates back in Aus. I think it comes back to the fact that other teenagers just don’t seem to really care. If I gave a presentation for a group of adults they might be reasonably impressed but if I did it for a group of teenagers they’d probably get bored and I’d be labelled a show off- teenagers aren’t known for being nice for a good reason. So I’m scared. Scared to see how everything has changed. Scared because I’m going to be diving into the big unknown again.
So here I am. 29 days until I leave with no idea how I’m going to handle what comes next. I’m conflicted. I have so much to look forward to this month, yet everything has this overhanging sense of doom because it is coming to an end.
I think there will only be one blog post more before I leave and maybe one or two after I get back. I don’t really know, I guess we’ll see. It is crazy to think that it has been nearly a year since my last post.
Until next time,