Its been exactly six months since I’ve left the USA. I’m in six months deep. Time flies.
Within these six months in Norway, I have witnessed spring, summer, and now autumn. But surely.. these days.. it feels more like winter. Throughout this time, I have traveled quite frequently. Most of these journeys took place in Europe. I finally visited parts of the world that were always on my radar. So in my last post I mentioned that I visited Bulgaria, London, and Northern Norway. I also visited a few towns throughout Norway, and had the chance to visit Geirangerfjord. That road trip was fascinating. You can view my previous blog post in which I have a few pictures from these trips. In just a few days i’ll be headed back to London. Well, specifically in two days from now.. I simply cannot wait! My routine has become a bit mundane and I look forward in breaking that routine. Should be quaint and cozy to visit London during this time with the chilly weather setting in. London is such a fascinating city with so much to see, do and eat! Speaking of eating.. I already have a food itinerary planned for the trip. But thats how I roll – and I’ve always been this way! Being called a ‘foodie’ is an understatement to my culinary ventures. I have been photographing food, wandering to hole in the walls, and writing reviews for almost a decade. All of my friends and family know whats in store when they set foot in traveling with me. Most places we end up eating at become some of the most remarkable and cherished places.. the ones that keep your memory warm in delight. I cant wait to venture out and try new restaurants and cafes. It’d be nice to visit a few cafes from my first trip to London over the summer. But then again, as I mentioned, there are so many options and new food places to check out. Oh and this time around, I really want to watch my budget and not go overload with spending. The British pound and Norwegian kroner is heavy! My poor little dollars cannot handle this financial burden. Anyhow, this trip should be nice. I think we all need this break in our routine.
So back to my six months in Norway. What can I say? Its been fantastic in some ways – I’ve had all these reasons to explore a bit more and I’ve also made a few new friends. I’ve had the chance to visit many new cafes and sip on some of the best cappuccinos and cafe lattes. There are quite a few coffeehouses here that are cozy and serve up some great pastries. I’m always dreaming about those Scandinavian cardamom buns and cinnamon rolls. They are simply unique. My only problem is that most of the coffeehouses close early. The small towns become even quieter because of that. Some of the cafes in our town close up around 4 or 6 pm. The latest would be 8 p.m. – in which their are only two in Tonsberg. Oslo definitely has a larger variety of cafes and restaurants that close up late. But we usually visit on the weekend. Its always nice to stay up a big longer and have more choices in dining. I think the restaurant scene is definitely an area that Norway can work on. Other than that, the weather has been nice the past few months. Now i’m slowly dreading winter – i’m not able to handle such freezing temperatures gracefully. A big pat of snow hit Northern Norway today. We probably wont get snow in the south of Norway for another month. But until then.. i’ll try my best to keep warm. This kind of weather makes me become lethargic and semi lazy. Oh and my hands and feet are often freezing. I just end up curling up indoors.. longing for hot chocolate and sweets. Not the best time of the year for your figure!
I’ve been experiencing extreme culture shock these past two and a half months. The honeymoon phase of living somewhere ‘new’ was over by end of July. Once August crept by.. I really started to miss the States. I simply started to miss familiar faces and places. Visiting Houston mid August didn’t help – I mean in some ways it did. I was content to visit my family, friends and all the past places I would often frequent. I didn’t even want to leave. It almost felt like I was going back home for good after a few summer months abroad. Everything fell back into place and I was happy to spend time with my loved ones. It was actually difficult to leave. My cat’s face was silently staring back at me, the day I got up and took off on my Uber ride. I think my culture shock became even more intense once I got back to Norway. It’s taken sometime to readjust and figure things out. It’s also been difficult to randomly meet people and befriend them. I’ve come to the strong realization that i’m very much a social being. Not having friends and not having much of a social life has led to some extreme isolation. Its been exhausting to say the least. Their are always social norms and language barriers that get in the way as well. The air is timid, tight and serious. I’m just a colorful California girl that is all about those warm vibes! Haha. So thus far.. I am trying to hang in there. I may have to remodify my life again.. especially if this isolation becomes any worse. It is best to know if you’re in your element or not. & there is nothing wrong with getting up and trying again. I truly admire those that try their best.. and always find a way to make changes. If things dont work out.. there are always other choices out there. I want to strongly believe that my culture shock will calm down. But that may take its time.. or it may never truly fade away. These past six months have truly tested my patience and ability to adapt to a plethora of changes. But my curiosity often gets the best of me and I like trying new things. Explorations and visiting new places never hurt anymore. I’m thankful for all the experiences that I have underwent so far. These experiences have shaped me even more in terms of cultural understandings. I have found an even deeper way to connect with myself. This silence has allowed me to slow down at times and focus on the little things. I often wake up and cook myself a nice breakfast. I’ll be reading a few books and taking slow walks as well. Isolation sometimes corners you in and makes you think about life in different perspectives. These past six months have been completely different than anything i’ve ever experienced. Its been good, fearful, lonely and interesting. But most importantly, I am gaining strength in different ways. In this strength, I find myself again and I remember the people, places, and experiences that matter to me most.