This adventure starts like the last one, with a plane problem. I need to accept it, I sort of got a curse with everything that is related to airplanes.
Anyway, my first suitcase won’t open and the second one was lost but I was there, in beautiful Bergen. No, actually, I was in Fantoft, the biggest student accommodation of the city, I will discover Bergen later.
I stayed in a shared flat with 7 other people, 6 other nationalities. Of course, we had to get along with each other but I’m not really what you can call a “sociable person”. So it was kind of strange to sleep in my neighbor’s room on the second night I was there after I locked myself out of my own room. But this “flat story” became, for me, the first one on a very long list.
I had great time there, at our pre-preparties, at eating international dinners, at having girl talks, at movie nights with the guys, at drinking vodka and playing poker, at having lunch while Chinmay was eating his breakfast (sometimes I wonder If you ever succeed to adapt to the European time zone).
Not everything was perfect, of course. It may appear to certain people that Erasmus or going abroad for some time is all rainbow and glitters but it’s not. I had difficulty to adapt because I’m not quite good at socializing. I had difficulties with myself because during those 5 months I put my “planned future” into question. I had support, a lot of support, and I’m so grateful for that. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t talk about it with my friends there. If I did, they would have maybe understood more my mood swing or my exceptional capacity to not get out of my room except for eating (food is a big part of my life).
It did take some time for me to feel that I was right where I was supposed to be. I found it because of them, because I succeeded in making good friends. The sort of with whom you share drunk texts about things you wouldn’t admit sober, have dinners, share a passion for lipsticks, almost successful barbecue under the sun, have cold swimming session in the fjord ,and memorable parties.
I met a lot of people, some very late, some not soon enough in the semester and they all contributed to what I am now after this experience (yeah, even the ones who pisses me off, because without them, I wouldn’t have so much to complain about and it would be sad).
I also met locals, but not that much actually, and my vision of the Norwegians is still very stereotyped: tall, blond and not well-behaved when drunk (I learn that one at parties, it’s not every day that you fall four times in a club because of drunk Norwegians). But the ones I talked to and got to know were really nice and concerned about who they have in front of them.
Norwegians love their country and I understand why. Bergen is beautiful and so are all the part of Norway that I saw.
The mountains everywhere, when you arrive by plane or when you cross the country by train, no matter whether they are, under the snow or as green as the grass of a golf course. The fjords, majestic beauties of nature, the landscapes more stunning every time… Just writing about it makes me even more certain that I want to come back to explore more of it.
The “school” part was pretty different from what we are used to in France. There was for me a lot of work that I had to do on my own, with deadlines really far away at first and not that far away the night before when I had the majority of my texts to read in a hurry. But at least I was not the only one struggling with deadlines. Actually, we were all a little bit in that position (especially after I suggested watching a certain series on Netflix). But we managed it in the end and I’m really proud to have produce English compositions for the first time in my life and to have survived to 6 hours of exams (6 HOURS! Yeah, I did bring my lunch in the exam room). Trust me, 6 hours of exam when all you want is to go back to bed because you didn’t have the right amount of sleep the night before seems as long as a dentist appointment, so for me, an eternity.
I did validate my two courses and even if I’m in a total blur about my future I can say that all I learned was absolutely not a waste of time. Intercultural education is really a subject that promotes openness and should be mandatory for all future teachers.
I loved my room, the shared kitchen even when it was a pure mess, the spirit of Fantoft, the preparties we had where I met people who became more than “known by sight” or who stay at that stage, the ride to the city center in the Bybannen (one of the very few word I know in Norwegian), when we were all singing and when I was on my own, the meal at Kvarter and the time I spend in the kitchen, the snow more than the rain, sliding down Fløyen, the 17th of May, the sun up all night and those goodbyes that break my heart but were perfect.
So why Norway?
That was a question people asked each other back there when you were meeting for the first time. I didn’t really have a choice personally and it was perfect that way.