|Norwegian landscape and sky|
9) The Norwegian sky. Everywhere I look in this country, there are magnificent patterns in the sky - clouds, rainbows, sunrises. I've never been in a place that has such consistently beautiful skies. I feel as if I'm bounded in - under a ceiling, if you will - and it's actually kind of neat to have such a keen awareness of the 3-D space around me.
8) Smoked salmon on bread. The Norwegians have a tendency to pile animal products on top of bread, and smoked salmon quickly became my favorite. I had it almost every day at lunch.
7) Waffle Wednesdays. Okay, it's not really the waffles I'll miss but rather lunchtime with my IRIS colleagues. It's so important to have one designated time in the day when everyone sits together and chats. IRIS is quite a social workplace, and I really enjoyed being a part of the community there.
6) Heated bathroom floors. 'Nuff said.
5) My bike commute to work. There's nothing like waking up before sunrise, packing a bag, and heading out on an adventure. I got to do this every day that I biked the 15 km to IRIS, and by the time I arrived, I was always wind-blown, enthralled, and wide awake. Biking was a built-in workout, and I got to really appreciate the landscape as I rode. I'm going to miss this routine.
4) Living in community. In Oregon, I have my own apartment, and honestly, it's a bit lonely sometimes. Living in a house with 16 people was definitely a different experience, but even though the kitchen wasn't always perfectly clean, it was so infinitely worth it. I will miss Vilius calling me Miss America. I will miss movie nights with the girls. I will miss Jonathan's hair-brained ideas, Paritosh's lame come-backs, and Kanjana's egg rolls. My housemates are eclectic and unique, and they contributed so much to my time in Norway. I will miss every single one of them. Every. Single. One.
3) Ingeborg. From the very first day when she found me confused and desperately lost outside of IRIS, Ingeborg has been a gem of a friend. I am so blessed to have found someone who shares my love of art and showed me around her country. Whenever her boxy silver car stopped at IRIS to pick me up, I knew it was the start of a long and wonderful evening. Ingeborg is solid gold.
2) Dinners at Andrew and Astri's. It was such an incredible privilege to be invited into my adviser's home. Every time I spent an evening with Andrew and Astri's family, I would come away with a warm heart and a head full of new thoughts. Frankly, my time in Norway would have been worth it if all I got to do was sit at the kitchen table and listen to Andrew talk about data, about science, about life. Keeping up with him intellectually was an all-out sprint, but once the work was finished, I got to see a different side of my adviser. I'll miss hearing Andrew and Astri's perspectives on balancing a family and two careers; I'll miss playing and dancing with their daughters. I'll miss gin and tonics, bean bag chairs on the deck, and that same Coldplay album always going in the background. Andrew and Astri made me feel so warm, so welcome, so much a part of something - and I will be forever grateful to them both.
1) My Norwegian self. I have most definitely changed since I first came to Stavanger last August. I feel different now than when I arrived - I'm lighter, less stressed, more confident, and a more mature, critical scientific thinker. My life in Stavanger is simple. I got to learn from an incredible scientist, live with a community of fantastic people, see enthralling landscapes, breathe fresh air, and know that I had a place in the world. I have no idea how I'll feel when I get back to Oregon - if I'll stay this light-footed, confident girl or slide back into my old self - but if I do, I will miss the person I was while living in Stavanger.