Making : Up my mind about what I want to do with the rest of my life……….or not. One of the reasons I wanted to come on exchange was to figure out what I should do after school finishes – this year was meant to show me what I was meant to do but it hasn’t really helped me at all in that aspect. If anything it’s given me seemingly endless possibilities that I never would’ve considered before-everything from studying abroad for uni and permanently living in England to becoming a travel writer of pilot has occurred to me (that last one is quite weird considering my solid disliking of planes). Every now and then I bombard my parents with a message claiming to have figured out my life entirely – I want to be a sports journalist/politician/teacher/doctor/lawyer- only to realise the next day that another occupation seems to be calling my name.
Drinking : Hot chocolate. As the mercury drops I’ve started to enjoy hot chocolate again as something to warm me up when out and about. I can’t explain the difference between Norwegian and Australian hot chocolates but, believe me, there is one and Norwegian ones are significantly better (the fact that they come with a generous serving of whipped cream also helps).
Reading: Tante Ulrikkes Vei in my Norwegian class. I’m determined to finish it before I leave and have thoroughly enjoyed the 10 or so pages I’ve read so far. It is written as a series of email correspondences between people so doesn’t have a lot of the heavily descriptive passages that sort of bog me down when trying to read Norwegian books (there are seemingly infinite different ways to explain the grass is green and the sun is rising).
Wanting: Someone to invent a nose-warmer (and, if it is a thing already, to have one sent over). It’s a bit chilly now as I walk to the train station at 7:20am (between 5 and 10 degrees) and, whilst I have gloves, a scarf and occasionally a beanie, I often find my nose gets quite cold. I can’t pull my neckwarmer over my nose because then I wouldn’t be able to breathe properly so it is just left to freeze. Feeling gradually returns when I’ve been on the train for 5 or so minutes.
Looking: For things starting with ‘L’. Whenever my mum’s side of the family has Christmas together we do themed Kris Kringle. Previous years the themes have included something DIYed, something secondhand and something that reminds you of that person. This year it must be something/s that start with the same letter as the person’s name. Despite the fact I won’t be home for Christmas, it was decided I was still required to participate so now, as well as trying to find gifts for everyone, I have to find things that start with L (my mum’s name). This has, so far, proven slightly difficult especially after being told that a ‘Lucky Troll’ doesn’t count as beginning with L.
Playing: ‘Rugby’ in gym class. I’m not quite sure at what point I figured out that this version of ‘rugby’ was a little different to that I’d known. Maybe it was when the teacher dragged out small soccer goals the ball had to be thrown into to score, maybe it was when we got told we could only take one step with the ball, or maybe it was when the teacher encouraged us to throw the RUGBY ball like they do in American Football. Needless to say I’m not quite sure ‘rugby’ was the right name for it.
Deciding: What I tell people about my exchange. Something that’s been on my mind at the moment is the fact that no one but me really knows what goes on in my exchange; I am the only one who has lived through every moment of my last 250ish days. Going on exchange is probably the best decision I ever made but,as I’ve mentioned before, there have been some hard times. When I reflect on those times I know that they are the reason for the majority of my changes. I know they made me a better, mentally-stronger person but I am aware that it’s hard for others to understand that. I don’t know if I’ll ever tell anyone the full story of my exchange, partly from a fear they would look down on me or tell me I did everything wrong in certain situations. I don’t really regret the decisions I’ve made whilst in Norway, after all they are what has brought me to this current point. The problem is not everyone would see it that way, I am able to tell that I grew from certain experiences but it is undeniably harder for those who are not in my head to see that. I also don’t want pity from anyone. Let the record show that there is no reason I deserve pity, nothing seriously bad has happened. That hasn’t stopped another exchange student though. I’ve been made to feel as though I should be upset or sad about the school I go to or the fact I don’t have a billion friends and even the age of my host parents. These things don’t bother me, I am having a great time doing exchange my way and staying constantly busy. But, again, others don’t seem to see that that works fine for me. Exchange students have a reputation for being insanely popular- I don’t fit that brief but that doesn’t mean my exchange hasn’t been just as good as those who party every weekend. The point of this is that I’ve learnt to filter what I share to certain people in order to avoid unhelpful opinions.
Wishing: It would be possible to go bush walking in Australia without having to duck around spider’s webs. It occured to me this month, as I was walking through the bush/forest with my gym class, that there were virtually no spiders webs- it certainly makes everything a lot more enjoyable.
Enjoying: A break. September was an insanely busy month and I am very grateful to now have a week-long Autumn holiday to just relax (of course with the occasional trip to explore a new place).
Waiting: For snow (pretty sure I said the same last month). It is coming! Places more north have gotten pretty decent snowfall (by my standards anayway) already so I’m hoping we’ll get some next month! It is nearly impossible to not be happy when there is snow- it just wonderful.
Liking: A lot of things. The cooler change in the weather. The fact I have a holiday. The way I get to enjoy a sunrise as I walk to the train station….who am I kidding, I thoroughly dislike getting up when it’s still pitch black outside but I also know the sun isn’t going to start rising earlier again whilst I’m here.
Wondering: What the reason is for European magpies being lovely, peaceful birds when Australian magpies just want to tear your head off. They are slightly different species- European magpies have a sort of blue-ish add-on to their tail. Speaking of Magpies, I’m also sort of curious as to how Collingwood managed to blow their 1st quarter lead in the GF (woke up at 6:20am on the first day of my holiday to tune in to ABC Grandstand).
Loving: How anything goes in Norway. People can wear the craziest thing and everyone else just accepts it.
Considering: Giving ice skating a crack when it finally gets cold enough. For those of me who don’t know about my ice skating ability (or lack thereof) I have been ice skating a grand total of 3 times and am still absolutely appalling – think bambi on ice except instead of bambi it’s a newborn giraffe who’s legs keep getting tangled. Still, there is a very cliche part of me that can imagine nothing better than ice skating outdoors as snow falls.
Buying: New jeans. Fun fact: when you wear the same 2 pairs of jeans nearly every day for 5-8 months chances are you will wear holes in them or they will become so baggy that you chafe. I needed new jeans. I bought new jeans. Problem solved!
Watching: Vanity Fair. It is on the main channel here on a Sunday night and I watch it with my host mum. I had been hoping it would be to the same quality as Poldark (another British TV show that had been on and was, quite simply, a masterpiece) but the show doesn’t feel as authentic (when it’s set in in the 1800s but INXS plays in the background it kind of loses its magic).
Hoping: That I can figure out how on earth to send a package from Norway to Australia. It should be simple but Norway doesn’t exactly have post offices. There are places you can send mail but they are just sort of hole-in-the-wall additions to their versiuon of Woollies and Coles and it isn’t as clear as Aussie post offices. I’m a little unsure exactly what forms I need to fill in but am sort of hoping that the person manning the desk can give me all the information I need.
Marvelling: At just how many days have passed since I left Australia. The first three months of my exchange feels like a lifetime ago and my life in Australia might as well be a dream.
Cringing: Everytime I lose the ball in basketball. I played in a basketball tournament this month ahead of the official season. There are still times when my netball-ness comes out when I play (when I’m in the moment I tend to forget that the other team can literally just grab the ball out of my hands) and I am always a little embarrassed, especially because I know no one really understands that I have a whole lot of habits built up from 7ish years playing netball that I can’t shake easily.
Needing: To use hand cream…… a lot. It is now a fair bit colder than it was and the skin on my hands has become incredibly dry, to the point that it sometimes borderline painful. So my use of hand cream has, after a short hiatus, continued.
Questioning: My constant lack of socks when inside. Whenever I’m at home I walk around barefoot but now, as it starts getting a little colder, I’m pondering as to whether or not I should change this habit to prevent my feet getting cold.
Smelling: Boiling cabbage. Fårikål is a very typical Norwegian Autumn food that is sort of like a cabbage and lamb stew. It tastes fine but the fact that the room has to smell like boiled cabbage for 4-6 hours is a serious negative.
Wearing: A thermal long-sleeve. It isn’t yet cold enough for me to bother with thermal tights but a thermal shirt is a welcomed addition underneath a woolen jumper.
Worrying: About the logistics of coming home.
Noticing: Just how bright the moon is at night here. I think it was last year that we were meant to have a ‘Supermoon’ visible yet were immensley let down in Sydney due to the ordinariness of the moon that night. The brightness of the moon here is brighter than any Supermoon I’ve seen on a regular basis which comes in handy as the days get shorter.
Knowing: The next 96ish days will pass by in a flash.
Thinking: About the difference between those who leave and those who get left. The thought occurred to me yesterday that, if either of my parents left me and the rest of the family for a year, I’d want daily messages and updates on what they’re up to. However, when I’m the one doing the leaving I don’t feel the need to know every little detail and don’t share nearly as much as what I know my Mum would like. I don’t think I really appreciate how hard it must be to be left, especially considering they don’t get a choice.
Admiring: The houses in the older parts of Oslo. I went off on an ‘adventure’ yesterday to find pretty places (not the first time I’ve done this) and found a way to Grünerløkka, arguably the trendiest part of Oslo.
Getting: A cute, little reindeer toy that is ridiculously soft. It is adorable and I love it.
Feeling: Lucky/unsure/calm/sad/happy/fiercely independent.
Listening: To my spotify playlist – everything from Doctor Who soundtracks and musicals to Norwegian songs and 2000s emo music on shuffle.
Smiling: At the fact that my conversations with my sister when I call home always seem to leave her borderline hysterical about whether or not I’m bringing home a blue jumper she wants to have. She’s ridiculous and I’m never quite sure whether she’s actually serious but I always end up in fits of laughter – I think it’s a sibling thing?
That’s all for September, bring on October!
Until next time,