End of the first month

It’s hard to believe that in a few days, my first month in Norway will be over. It’s even harder to believe that this is the longest I’ve ever been away from home. With that in mind, it’s probably a good thing that I’m here for another 5 or so months (see you all on the 4th of July, btw). I’ve decided to dedicate this post to recapping everything that I haven’t written about so far in the month of January, so here we go.

I don’t want this entire blog to be dedicated to things back home, when I’m doing my best to keep my mind in Norway. Interestingly enough, I’ve found myself watching more news and being more critical/skeptical of what I watch since I’ve been here. Internationals ask you a lot of questions about what’s been happening in the States, they’re incredibly inquisitive, and I mean that in a good way. I’m keeping myself extra informed to hopefully be able to answer their questions and not sound too stupid. It’s been a challenge.

My first major European city outside of Oslo was Copenhagen, Denmark. I loved the city, but it made me feel like Oslo really was home. It’s the feeling you get when you go on vacation and upon return, you get that “home again” feeling that reminds you why you love the place you come from. The minute we returned, I think Oslo really became home (at least my temporary home).

More on Copenhagen. The city was great, it had a much more American feel to it then Oslo, with the wider streets, and people using their own cars instead of relying strictly on public transit. There were no tall buildings, in fact the tallest building I saw was the touristy round tower, which couldn’t have been taller than 6 stories. It was a unique feel. The Nyhavn area was everything I was hoping it would be. It was another tourist destination, but definitely one worthwhile. Paper Island was a good demonstration of the unique areas that Copenhagen has to offer. The city turned an old warehouse island into an enormous food truck warehouse, with plenty of unique places to grab a meal. I had a pulled pork sandwich, and it was better than anything I’ve eaten here so far (although I do love elk now). Our last night in Copenhagen was the first night too where it was just the guys going out on the town. That ended with us stumbling upon the “Drunkin’ Flamingo” club in downtown Copenhagen. If you like bouncers who look at your ID and say “close enough,” and drinking ciders in a heated tent, this place is for you. Unfortunately, I probably won’t be going back to Denmark soon. I was caught by yet another transit police officer for riding illegally. My 24 hour transit ticket expired late the night before, and as we caught the early train to the airport the next morning, I completely forgot to renew my ticket. The police officer was nice, but still ripped me a ticket for $100 USD. Sadly for Denmark, I’m outside their jurisdiction. I also played dumb and told him I didn’t have a European address yet, or phone number. So as of now, Denmark has pictures of my ID, and my name. The officer told me if I came back I would have to pay the fine, but since I was outside their jurisdiction I probably wouldn’t have to pay it. So I guess I’ve found my first country I’m not welcome back in, unless I want to pay. And I don’t.

Law classes have been excellent, and even more relevant. My first Women’s Rights class was during the first few days of the protests in the US. I felt a lot of pride sitting in that class at that specific time. It made me think about my friends at home whom I knew were protesting, as well as the women in my life who have been so successful despite the pushback. It’s also undoubtably true that I’m here during a unique time in history. I think about that often, and I make sure I carry myself with that mindset. I don’t try to act as if coming from the US is the most important aspect about me, but that its something I do carry along. Refugee law is interesting too, and I feel like it’s going to be equally as important going forward.

The more I think about these classes the more I realize its important to pull back on the pride as well. I think its instilled in so many younger people that they can grow up and do whatever they want, save the world, etc, etc. I’ve gotten a big head from time to time thinking about my classes and how I want to effect change when I get back. I keep trying to remind myself to take it step by step. Get an education, make friendships, have compassion for other people, and have experiences like the ones I’m having out here. After all of that, hopefully I’ll have changed myself enough to effect change elsewhere, no matter how grand that is. It’s not an overnight change that makes an impact, it’s much more of a slow burn.

Anyways, my 21st birthday is a week from today, and I’ll be out in Stockholm Sweden for it this weekend. I’m going by train with the rest of the Minnesota-Norway crew. And no, 21st birthdays aren’t a big deal in Europe. Oh well.

To wrap this post up, I’ve attached my favorite pictures from the first month.

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