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I’ve been feeling something unfamiliar to me. Homesickness. Not to say that I’ve never missed home, but that I haven’t longed for the past the way I have recently.
I miss familiarity. Moving and transitioning is hard. It’s lonely. Having a few people I know and love in Minneapolis has helped, but at the end of the day, this isn’t easy.
Nostalgia has a strong power over me. Looking back on the past is a dangerous pass time of mine. I get lost in my memories of home, of Norway, of my adolescence and then I am done.
My pictures on my phone or my social media are absolutely off-limits. It physically hurts me to see myself beaming with happiness next to my best friends or family who are so far out of reach in places I called home.
A wonderful book called “The Nordic Theory of Everything” captivated me for a couple of days. It is written by a Finnish women who moved to the United States to be with her American boyfriend, now husband, and became part of a culture that she didn’t anticipate. I only got so far in the book to where she began to explain the differences in the American and Nordic cultures.
After reading a chapter on my lunch break, I wandered back to my desk with a heavy heart. I realized that this wasn’t the first time I felt this way after reading that book. My Nordic book is now tucked away on my bookshelf and the replacement, a fiction novel which isn’t relatable, sits at my bedside.
As much as I want to indulge in someone else’s similar experience, I am not in a place to be critically reflecting on my beloved native culture and the one which I so badly want to be a part of.
I know I should be living in the “now”, and I try to. My life here is exciting and fulfilling. I love my job, my house, and my friends. It just takes a while to acclimate.
This isn’t news to me. Even in Oslo, my third through fifth months were the hardest. You feel like you should be comfortable now. You should have reliable friend group. The truth is, sometimes it’s just not enough time.
I look back on my favorite coffee shops and restaurants in Traverse City and Oslo. I remember nights spent laughing until I cried laying in bed with my sister. I miss learning about Norwegian culture from Emilie, Vilde, and Henning. I loved to tell them about our weird traditions or phrases and making them crack up with my oddly constructed sentences when learning Norwegian.
I want to drive out on the peninsula alone with my favorite songs playing and my hand out the window, dancing in the wind. I want to just hug the wonderful little girls who I nannied in Oslo until they squirm away, giggling. I want to sing beautiful songs with my high school choir – and more, just feel the love amongst all of us.
I want to be closer to home. Closer to Oslo. Closer to before.
You’re not supposed to say these things. Everything is supposed to be effortless and as fantastic as your social media makes it seem. You’re supposed to move on. But I wish I didn’t have to.
There is a price to pay for incredible memories. You must say goodbye. Things have to end if you are going to go further and experience more.
My whole life I knew what I was going to do this year, the next year, and the year after that. Once college was over, I had to decide what was next. Perhaps this is why I have been so caught up in everything that’s passed. It’s my safety net of goodness, happiness, and a time of certainty.
Although the good memories are crystal clear, I’ve been trying to remember how lonely and unsure I was when I moved to college or to Norway. This helps me realize that this feeling is fleeting.
Soon, if things go according to my it-happened-at-college-it-happened-in-oslo hypothesis, new Minneapolis memories will come flooding in.
But for now, I’m homesick and my memories, while held so dear to me, are breaking my heart.