I haven’t updated in a while and in the time since, I’ve been asked if I’ll keep this going when I inevitably come back to the United States. For the time being, I would say Minneblog will be a thing after I get back and that’s for a couple of reasons.

The first is obvious. I really like doing this. I was a writer for the Wake, the Odyssey and the Minnesota Daily before this (all campus-based papers in Minnesota, although the Odyssey has branches all around the US). Afterwards I ran an ill-fated blog called Gopherthoughts for about six months. I took a break for a half-year after that and once again feel the urge to be a writer. The difference now is that I don’t have the same aspirations of doing this forever. When I started out, I really wanted to be a professional journalist when I grew up. When you’re 18 though, and you find something you think you’re good at, often times you just go for it. I think a lot about that now. Just because you’re good at something, or you think you’re good at something, does it mean you’re meant to do it?

I’m not so sure.

Anyways, the second reason comes down to feedback from you all. It’s been mostly positive so far! I’ve heard people here in Oslo who’ve read it and laughed, and also people back home who’ve messaged me about it. It’s awesome to hear that, and it really does make my day. As long as the readership and the feedback are there, I’m happy to do this for a while. As a kid I always loved to make people smile. While I’m not always great at it, I think this is a good outlet to try. Hopefully you all can get a kick out of me struggling super hard and being homeless in Rome. It’s funnier now than it was then.

Finally, I’ve met a lot of people in Norway that I genuinely want to keep in touch with. I think this is a good method of doing so. Studying in a foreign country gives you so much opportunity to grow and find out what you’re capable of, and I think when you do that with people in a similar position, you build bonds with them very quickly. I really hope this will serve as an info dump to them, if they care to read.

So yeah, I think Minneblog will be around. It might go through some more revisions as I try to improve the experience overall. But for the foreseeable future, this is the writing outlet for me. The topic of this post though is actually about my March and how many great visitors I’ve had since ending my career as the least successful homeless man in all of Italy.

On March 17th my Mom and Aunt came to visit for a 4 day stretch before shipping off to London. My Mom is in her early 40’s (you’re welcome Mom) and has never been to Europe. She’s been to Florida more times than I could count, but has never come out this way. Oddly enough her first European country got to be Norway, which of course I am grateful for. My Aunt was the catalyst for this trip, and she’s a veteran when it comes to Europe, so the two made for a ying-yang duo in the Minneapolis of Europe.

My Mom is a source of a lot of my less-refined humor. By that I mean she likes potty jokes. A lot of our time in Norway was spent laughing at the foreign faux pas associated with her time. FOR EXAMPLE: Famous Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbø came out with a new book in his fiction-series. I’ve never read it, but the book is called “Tørst” (“Thirst” in english) with the subtitle of “A new Harry Hole thriller.”

No, Norway did not create a new very specific, sub-category of thrillers. Harry Hole is the main character (like Harry Potter but with more ass?). The pronunciation is Norwegian and isn’t as great when put into the native language. But for us english speakers, reading that a new harry hole thriller is sweeping the nation is just great.

Anyways, it was interesting being a tour guide of Oslo. I remember getting my very own tour on my first night (shoutout to you, Torestein). I was a scatter-minded overwhelmed 20-year-old. Now I’m 21 and “eurotrash” as my family called me, and I give free tours of the metro. I managed to get them to the parliament, Holmenkollen ski-area, Karl Johan gate, my university, as well as many of the other popular streets around town. It was great.

It’s fun to see familiar faces too. When your last 3 months have only been new faces and places its good to take 3 days to show your Mom around. It’s also sad when you have to leave again.

The sad feels were brief, because my long-time friend (I mean 10 years long) Tom Richmond came literally the next day. So now that I had my Oslo tour guide business established, I got to refine it with Tom. This time around we spent more time in Grunnerløkka (think Uptown but in Norway). We toured some of the pubs and daytime activities of the area. It was great. It was a similar experience as to when my family was here.

Having visitors is great. It reinvigorates your interest in the city you originally came for, and puts foreign travel plans on hold.

Whats on deck for travels when this break is over? Well I just got back from Denmark again (yeah I went back). That may have been the most fun trip yet, as we went by boat across the North Sea. It was truly an unforgettable weekend doing that. But after this month? As of now, only Amsterdam is in the books. London is in the back-burner though, and I will get there. Germany is in the same boat and will be going down when a certain other friend finally gets to Europe.

Norway has been incredible all the way through. Thinking about how afraid I was to leave initially seems like a lifetime ago.

More posts to come soon.

– J

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