Eva and Stian dropped me off at the airport on the way to the mountains. The car full of ski gear and dogs, we sped down the wintery highway in the stunning glow of early-morning light that painted the landscape in pastel hues of purple and gold. I stared longingly out the window at the world that seemed to fall into the past behind us. Soon, everything would be just a story, a memory, a photograph. I clung to the last pieces of reality as they flew past, drinking them in. The last moments of being here. That deep cerulean ocean, those mountains I know by name. Narvik Camping. Bjerkvik. Forks in the road leading to Lofoten or Tromso or Alta. Mountains I could point to in the distance, reminiscing, “didn’t we climb that one once? And we were so hungry…” and although I am not from this place that sense of home and familiarity emanated from the nordic landscape. And then we were at Evenes, and Eva and Stian were hugging me goodbye in their ski gear and their parkas. And I was gone.
Luckily, I was not forced by circumstance to attempt a transition directly from northern Norway back to Rhode Island. I would spend a few days readjusting in the perfect in-between place: Oslo, where many of my friends from Norwegian high school now live and work. I met my old friend Nina in the middle of the city. I hadn’t seen her in three years, but like everything else, things just sort of picked up where they had left off. Nina had always been exceptionally talented at, in my mind, everything creative, but had chosen to pursue music – and now here she was, living in Norway’s “big city”, playing shows when she could get them and working in a kindergarten during the day. I spent a few days totally immersed in her world. Like Nina herself, her tiny studio apartment radiated with light, positive energy, and creativity. We stayed up talking, went out to eat, cooked big breakfasts, wandered through flea markets, and went out dancing until 5 AM. I slowly re-adjusted to the pace of city life, processing what I had experienced, writing, and looking through my photos.
Beautiful Nina, out on a walk near her house.
One night, we invited our old classmates, Ida and Zlata, over for dinner! It was so, so wonderful to see them again. I cooked up a giant Thai curry dish and we talked about everything under the sun, drinking tea and eating Russian desserts that Zlata had brought.
So “koselig”, or cozy.
It was pretty amazing to reminisce about high school and realize how far we’ve come since then. We’re all following our dreams and becoming what we’ve always wanted to be. All higher-educated. Zlata is already happily married and working on her master’s degree. I’m a photographer, Nina is a musician, and Ida is one of the best young graphic designers in Norway. Being with them, swapping stories and sharing our creative energy, was immensely inspiring and sort of reaffirming. Cheers to being highly motivated, hardworking, studious and creative young women! MAKING IT HAPPEN.
And with that, I returned to the US, where unbeknownst to me, school was starting the next day.