I should have written this before. I actually wanted to write about “Joys of Being Back” in my first weeks in Oslo. But love is felt at its most when it’s time to say good-bye, ironically – and as I sit on my return ticket I feel more for expressing it now :)) Plus there is such a lovely sunny day in Oslo. Plus I had such an amazing night yesterday, meeting one of my best friends for dinner and going out to dance salsa later.
Before it is too late – I want to share my reasons to love Oslo. Now or never :))
When I just arrived to Oslo, these were the Joys of Being Back:
- food. Believe it or not, but I was so happy to go the humblest of all stores, Kiwi, and shop through the choice that had been usually so boring to me. Pølser (sausages) with potato salad. Leveporstei (patè) and eat it with cucumber slices on the knekkebrød (dry breads). Norwegian chocolate Freja. Sørlandschips which are the best chips ever. It was basically a thrill going to a food store and see the food I had forgotten it existed. It brought so many memories back 🙂
- nature. What makes Oslo into a great city is that it takes such a short time to get into real nature. Walk a bit and you will be by the river or by the fjord. Take a metro to the last stop and you can get lost in the woods for hours. I was missing this in Barcelona. Though Bcn has many parks, they are usually not so big and are full of people and activities. And I am so Norwegian in this need to be alone, one-on-one with nature :)) There is this great natural park of Collserola in Bcn though, but it takes a long hike or a journey to get there, up in the hills. While Oslo offers an easier access, and I appreciate it!
- work! Oh, it was so lovely to get back to teaching. Especially teaching Norwegian to adults. Especially after working in customer service in Bcn. After all the hours when customers tell you what’s wrong with the whole thing – here I was, a boss of the classroom, leading the whole thing. So refreshing! 🙂 It was so much fun, that sometimes I felt that my classes are going to tip over into the standup show, and the guys will go all easy-peasy, but no, they worked hard and they learnt :))
- interior stores and interior magazines full of beautiful Scandinavian design. Maybe, I lived for too long up here in the North, or maybe they are really the best. But there is no other design I enjoy as much as the clear, minimalistic and natural Scandinavian style. It was a feast to walk through those stores (my favorites are H&M Home on Karl Johans street, which is huge; and Bakke i Grensen). To go to the library and browse through the latest issues of “Bo bedre” (for free!) or to buy “Interiør magazinet”.
There was a period when I was sulking, especially about the neighbor behavior. Not only don’t they say hi here. But also I have neighbors who open the front door without noticing that I approach, and then they would run inside, slam the door, get into the elevator – and while I get in, I would just see the elevator doors closing. And the guy would go to the same floor where I live. While I would stand there with my groceries, waiting for elevator to get down. What an autistic culture! It would never happen in Barcelona!
But then I thought: instead of focusing on what I miss of Barcelona right now – I can focus on what I will be missing in Oslo when I leave it. And appreciate it while I have it. It is so usual to see what is lacking right here – but what if I flip this coin?
And here are the things of Oslo that I am going to miss:
- That feeling of security. When you can leave your bag on your side in metro or in cafe, without holding it tight on your knees, controlling all the time where your things are. That I can come to a salsa party, leave all my belongings, including credit cards, cash and mobile in some corner and literally forget about it (now, after Bcn I cannot really forget about it :)) But this is something you can really do here). That I can walk in peace, without looking over my shoulder. That I don’t have to paranoiacally clench my bag to my heart in every public place (and in Bcn every place can be a public place).
- That style of Norwegian girls. It is not how it used to be ten years ago, no. Girls in Oslo have become far more style and fashion conscious, and because they have good money here, they go with cool clothes. And it can be so inspiring to sit somewhere in the downtown and do people watching.
- That community spirit. I will miss that I know so many people in the salsa community. After couple of years you get to know almost everybody. And I would always come to dance event alone – and never be alone. I would see old friends, hug them and catch up. In Barcelona I get a feeling that it is a freaking enormous buffet, where everyone is running around and never crossing your path twice :)) First, there can be five events at the same time, and suddenly one is more crowded than another. Next, there are so many people coming and going, that it is impossible to keep count. Tourists, Erasmus students, whatever. So you meet, say hi, even can have a chat – and then you never see the person again. So social dancing there is not as social as it is here, ironically. For me, at least :)) But this is a general problem for Barcelona. You meet a lot of people – but it takes time before you cross your paths again. While Oslo is not such a huge capital, and in the end you all end up together in the same places. Sometimes it can be boring – but sometimes it can be so familiar and just lovely :))
Who would know that after the series of depressing rains of September, and after the crazy cold evenings of this week (last night it was +3, feeling like winter in October. While lowest Barna could give was +10 degrees) – after all this non-optimistic weather I would come up with a list of so much love for Oslo? :)) Maybe, it really helps to sit on the return ticket 🙂 Or maybe, Oslo is much more lovely than I am used to think of it?
Which things would you miss of the place where you are right now?
Have a lovely weekend!
And may you walk in beauty!