Some of the most important people I have met this year. I have been amazingly lucky to have spent so much quality time with all of my Norwegian families and friends. It feels utterly surreal that tomorrow I will be in Canada again, right now it barely feels like Canada even exists. I have taken over 6,000 pictures this year and filled 4 journals with scribbles that only I can read depicting what I have done each day but nonetheless there is a looming feeling that I will forget my experiences here. Yesterday I went to the grocery store to stock up on foods I will miss in the next months, and I have been fortunate to recieve lots of wonderful presents this year as reminders of people and places that I hold close to my heart now. Being an exchange student this year has changed my life in many different ways, and probably countless ways that I don’t even recognize. I find it hard to put into words how truely grateful I am to have spent a year of my life exploring this country and exploring the meaning of family, friendship and travel. Closure isn’t something that is easily achieved, but hugging my friends and family goodbye I have to remember that the goodbye dinners and all my ‘lasts’ here do grant me closure and I am trying to embrace that.  Bags are packed, and my plane leaves in less than 20 hours. I can’t believe its over, I would relive every moment of my time here if I could, and I couldn’t be more happy with the way I have spent my year. Sitting on the plane here I was full of anticipation and Norway was a blurry mystery of mountains and trolls. Now I like to think I understand Norway, I am fluent in Norwegian and feel like  belong here, but the mystique of Norway has not dissipated. Something I am looking forward to about going home is the first time I will passingly hear Norwegian/Swedish/Danish as I’m walking down the street and my heart will jump and my head will fill with memories. I try to keep in mind that saying goodbye to everyone here only means that saying hello next time will be all the more special. Jeg kan bare gleder meg til det. Jeg har ikke ord til å si hvor takknemelig jeg er, og jeg håper at alle sammen vet at jeg snakker sant. 

Cottage trip with Silje! Lovely to be out on the sea, there are very few things that trump the Norwegian seaside during summer.

A wonderful mix of some of my best friends in Norway. This was 2 weeks ago at my going away party I was lucky enough to have! I’ve met so many great people this year, it makes me feel sick to think about saying goodbye to all of them but here I am. What an amazing ride this year has been, getting to know so many different people and beginning to understand the meaning of a strong friendship. I could not ask for better friends to share this with, or better host families for that matter. Maybe that post will come tomorrow if I feel up to it, I’m not sure if I will ever feel ready to leave my life in Norway but I have accepted that this is happening and am very thankful to have something that is so hard to say goodbye to. 

Some exchange student folk, ut på tur. 

The Porsgrunn International Theatre festival with some friends of mine. It was a good show.

Banana chocolate pancakes curteousy of the resident Canadian chez Maiken in Brevik (I was going to write ‘hos’ which is Norwegian for ‘chez’ which is of course far more known. I vote that English adopts a word to serve this purpose instead of saying ‘at the house of’). Brevik is an adorable little community 5 minutes away. Maiken and Oda are featured here, I’ve been spending lots of time with them lately but we really only got to know eachother a month ago. I have already made plans to visit them while they live in Paris in 2 years. 

Sunny day on the ocean with Frida and Silje. Frida just got her license so  it was fun to cruise around the shore and stop for a rather nødvendig ice cream break.

Adrenaline and raw hands. This was really fun, I can’t wait to learn more and get more experienced. 

The past weeks have brought beautiful weather and I have started bringing my camera most places just in case I see something worthy of not forgetting. This is Skien’s downtown.