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Starting a new blog!

Hey friends. So, while I was in Norway discovering myself and whatnot, I had this blog mainly to vent about the culture I was experiencing and how amazing/challenging everything was.. But I stopped writing here when I moved back to America, thinking “oh, there won’t be anything to write about. Nothing’s goin’ on”.. well. I was wrong.
Being back in America, being in college and being in a big city… has been even more challenging than my experience in Norway. It may not be surprising to some of you, but it was definitely surprising to me.  SO…I will be starting a new blog that will encompass some of the things I’ve been experiencing, thoughts, feelings, hopes.. etc. and hopefully, you guys will be thoroughly entertained/interested or whatever.
I definitely am going through some transitions with my relationship with God and who I want to be…Things I want to do. So I’d love to vent.. You can read or not, but be on the look out for a new blog website to be posted here soon!

Love you all. Meanwhile, here is one great thing I’ve done lately: Image
Rock climbed and sat on a cliff. I’m looking forward to improving my climbing skills by being a part of BROC (Belmont Rock Outing Club) and I’m so thankful for all who are a part of BROC. It’s made my first semester at Belmont quite amazing.

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The end.

As I left Norway yesterday, I was struck with the most intense sadness I’ve ever felt when leaving a place. Ever. And I’ve moved a lot and said many goodbyes. But nothing that compared to the feeling inside of me as I drove away from Fredtun Folkehøyskole and got on the plane. As foreign as it was 9 months ago, Norway has become home for me. How does that even happen? A foreign country, across the globe from where my real family lives is now the only place I ever want to be.

I can’t explain it, I can only hope you don’t relate…Or maybe that you do relate. Because leaving a place that you love, and leaving people that you have come to love, is something that really makes you appreciate what you had. That’s important to do and it is very difficult to do while those things are within your grasp all day every day.

You don’t think about losing the simple things like meal times with friends you’ve lived with for a year, Game of Throne Tuesday nights, watching TV until early morning hours, pranking teachers and fellow students, Morning meeting song singing at 9:00 a.m., Freaky Friday activities, until those things aren’t happening anymore. You don’t think about how much you love your friends’ jokes during class, the time you spend with them and even just seeing them… until all those things are over.

It hit me that I’ve made some best friends that have changed my life and my perspective on a lot of things. I can only pray to God and hope that somehow our paths cross again in the future (hopefully soon!).

But that is a hard thing to do. To have faith that things will work out and paths that are supposed to cross again, will… It’s hard, as exciting as college is going to be, to not want to turn my butt around and fly back to Norway.

I just have to remember, that I have a whole bunch of adventures waiting for me in Nashville and elsewhere…and so do those best friends of mine. We will live our separate lives, keep in touch and one day meet again. Truth is, I miss them. I love them. I miss Norway. I love Norway. But life goes on. Adventures will continue to happen. We will meet again. Thank you for the most challenging, self-discovering, amazing year of my life. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Quote of the day

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happysad.

Tonight we had our “Linjeavsluttning”  (course ending get-together)

We shared videos, photos and basically had an incredible time laughing and smiling together. At least that’s how I felt and I hope I’m speaking for the others. The (three) guys in our class of 16 people prepared a funny, yet sweet speech for us girls. We did the same for them and the teachers had some sweet comments to us. We grilled chicken, made hot dogs, ate potato salad, made fun of each other…

Jeg kommer til å savner H2O. 😥

(I’m going to miss H2O)

As sad as I am that things are coming to a close very soon… It’s unbelievable how great everything was. It makes the leaving and the sadness, not so intense.

I have made some amazing friends and literally had the best year of my life.

Not gonna lie.. it’s been hard. It took a long time for me to come out of my shell and looking back, these are some people that helped me do that. Without them, I could not have managed. For sure.

Frida- The first person to let me follow her around until I got comfortable with where everything was, and how it worked. Also, one of the best at speaking Norwegian to me from the very first day. Couldn’t have done it without her.

Iluta- My fellow International (Latvian) (knowing almost zero Norwegian from the start, like I did). We struggled together, and I’ve really realized how much I’ll miss her next year. She’s so kind and easy to get along with. It was a pleasure getting to know her 🙂

Silje- The other American! She and I are from the same background in a way so it was very easy to get along with her from the beginning. Plus she’s such a sweet, kind-hearted, hilarious, adventurous soul. She’s inspiring. The way she is up for anything can always cheer you up. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks and thinks about other people’s needs before her own constantly. She is unique in a way that I admire. So glad we’ll be in the same area next year, cause I’d miss this girl tooooo much.

Alex- The one who came to my window all the time to try and get me to leave my room and be involved. The translator (a fantastic one- I might add). The friend. He was there for me when I needed him, yet allowed me enough space to learn on my own, which eventually I did. I honestly think I would have left Fredtun early on, if he hadn’t been here. He’s great.

Anne- The one person I can say honestly reminds me of me. I hope she doesn’t get offended by this. Haha But we think so similarly. When I first saw her, someone said out loud “you should meet Anne etc. etc.” And little did I know, we were both thinking the same thing when we heard that: “No, no no. no. No. No. So awkward. Don’t wanna meet random person.. ah” Luckily, we both got out of that introduction and were later able to laugh about it and realize that we could be good friends. I would call her one of my besties, and someone I can trust to know what I’m thinking or feeling without me having to say it. She is honest and absolutely made sure I stopped taking naps. Good job Anne. Dude. Man.

Daniel- ENGLISH. Thank you Daniel for speaking English 1) so well and 2) so often. The first meeting in our classroom my teacher Daniel said to me “I will speak a lot of English now, but it will start to become less and less until at the end of the year I won’t speak any. Only Norwegian”  To this day, he doesn’t speak English when instructing our class or giving us information. I’m proud. Thanks Daniel for that smooth transition and perfect class atmosphere/norwenglish balance.

My family most importantly. You guys continually supported me throughout this challenging experience. Without that, I would not have even tried it. I would have quit before I even started. Thank you for that.

Mr. and Mrs. Hogarth- My second parents. While my parents could talk to me via phone, you guys were here to drive me places, transport my baggage, mail me candy (the best part) and check up on me at exactly the right times. It was almost like having my real parents back in Norway. Thank you so much.

Everyone who chose not only to just speak Norwegian to me (whether it was because they didn’t know English or not, I don’t care), but to also understand my horrible grammar and pronunciation without making fun of me. It makes a difference. And despite the fact that I like being joked with/about, learning another language is one of my few insecurities, so it means a lot to me when people can listen to me and act like I’m speaking completely normal, well-pronounced Norwegian (even though I’m not at all).

There are others (almost everyone) who helped in a small way or two all year long, whether it was just saying “Hi”, laughing at my stupid jokes, helping me understand (translating is hard- so A HUGE THANK YOU to those who have done it all year long even a little bit). Giving me a small motivating push in some way. I can’t thank you all enough.

It’s been real. It’s been fun. It’s been real fun.

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Wanderlust

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(n) a great desire to travel and rove about

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 “The Wanderlust has got me… by the belly-aching fire”

Sometimes, I love going out of my way, away from what I’m used to …nights in a village in Africa, a school in Albania, a church floor in Greece, a villa in Spain, hotels in Scandinavia. Nights with strange paintings and hard beds. Foreign sounds outside the window. Foreign bugs inside the window. I know where I am, but it is unfamiliar.. In a good way. I love seeing things I’ve never seen before. Breaking the routine of three or four boring meals a day (usually something safe and/or delicious). I want to try food from all over the world. And, of course, instagram it. Hehe. I gotta go with the flow a lil bit. I’d even eat grasshoppers if I was offered.

I love the times when some landmark, view or building that I’ve only seen in magazines and newspapers is literally right in front of me. I love photographing every moment possible. 

Although sometimes I think one person could travel around the world all his/her life and still not see everything there is to see. There is too much.

And, when I think that people will die without seeing a thousandth of all there is to see in the world, it makes me feel sad, but blessed. I’m lucky to have seen and experienced so much as this age (as I’ve stated before). 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co6WMzDOh1o

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Now… where to go on this lottery trip?? South America.. Asia? 

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Aksjonsuke/Winning the Lottery

From Tuesday April 16th- Saturday the 20th our school participated in something called Action Week. It was good timing to have a fundraising week I think.. and I am pretty sure our Global Connection class/teachers are the ones who started this years ago. It’s brilliant.

Basically, we are supporting three organizations (two in Kenya and one in Ecuador) which aim to support children living in slums and on the streets with means of education, sports and just a generally positive living environment. The week before last, we separated and walked throughout the neighborhoods in Stavern and Larvik, putting flyers in post boxes which advertised our services. We stated we could do any sort of inside or outside house work and in return only ask that they donate to our “pool of money” for these three organizations. 
We got a LOT of calls asking for painting jobs, yard work, dog walking etc. We also walked around later and asked if they were willing to donate (if they hadn’t already). I was surprised at how much we made just doing that. Sindre and I walked together and collected 1,400 kr.

I was with five other people from my course assigned to helping Jostein (one of our teachers) paint every single room in his new house. We worked about 7 hours every day all week and finished Friday! It was tough and tiring, but it felt SO good to be a part of this week. We worked our butts off not only for ourselves, but for people who need it more. It felt incredible.Image

Also, we had a sponsor run, during which I raised about 3,000 kr ($500). Thanks to all of you who helped : ) That was a big accomplishment for me, because I despise running. Image

I represented my country while running. Yes. 

One of the reasons it was such good timing because last week I was really down for a couple days, just hearing about what has happened in Boston and Texas and to people that I know and people close to them. I just needed a boost of faith that humanity still exists in the world and that THE GOOD PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS OUTNUMBER THE BAD. 

It was a HUGE energizer (mentally) to raise….wait for it……over One hundred and TWENTY THOUSAND Norwegian Kroner. That is over Twenty and a half THOUSAND U.S. Dollars. Just from our school of 100 students and 30 teachers. We have made a difference in the world and it FEELS GOOD. 

Also. Here comes the even more amazing part of the week. 

We had a market with things to sell (all the money of course goes to charity) and people from Stavern came and bought stuff and we had games and things. 

We also had a lottery. There were little prizes.. but the grand prize was to win a 10,000 trip to one of the countries where misjonsalliansen (missions alliance) works. They are one of the organizations we support. The places you can choose from, if you win, are China, Taiwan, The Phillippines, Liberia, Cambodia, Japan, Vietnam, Ecuador, Bolivia or Brazil. 

They pay for the plane ticket to and from, and you get to work with the organization while you’re there. 

I WON. 

I bought ten tickets and ONE of them got picked! 

I now have to opportunity to choose a country and go there! Whenever I want for however long I want!!! 

I feel so blessed. I can’t believe this has happened, even after all the amazing places I’ve gotten to travel to the last four years.. I actually am getting a trip paid for! 

It’s incredible. 

I have yet to choose where to go, but I’m gonna wait and do some research. 

 

But goodness. 

Thank you Jesus! 

It has been an amazing week!

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Talents

 “Talents are different from skills, in that they tend to be innate(always there) rather than learned. Once found, they can be nurtured and developed, but finding them can be tricky. It’s partly a process of self-observation and honesty. The rest is learning and practice.
Talents can come in many varieties. They may be artistic or technical, mental or physical, inwardly or outwardly directed. They need not be profitable, useful, or conventional, but they will always be your own, part of what makes you, you.” 

-Chad Eastham 

He is one of my favorite writers of all time. It has nothing to do with the fact that he’s written insanely popular AMAZING books like J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis or Tolkien. He’s written only a few medium sized books aimed towards teenagers and young adults. The books (at least the two I’ve read) have helped me not to take high school and dating so seriously. I learned how to think realistically and not become easily infatuated with boys.. for the most part. Of course, it still happened. But I learned how to realize when I’m doing it and when I need to stop. I learned about how different guys and girls are in the way they think, act and speak. I learned a lot about myself. 

Anyway, I follow him on Facebook and he posted this quote (above) a while back… I really like it, and keep it on a post it note on my computer. 

The reason why is because, I’ve found that I like a LOT of things… if you know me, you know that my interests vary from languages to volleyball to ukulele to photography to kayaking to traveling to reading to international relations to writing to drawing to scuba diving.. and it goes on. and on.. I love to try new things and to find things to do wherever I am. 

It took me a long time to find that I liked even those things more than some others.. I got discouraged several times because I felt like I couldn’t sit down and practice these things enough to get good at them or I couldn’t stick with one thing long enough to call it “my thing”. 

I got discouraged because I had to be honest with myself: “You’re not going to be a singer or a super talented musician. You can play ukulele, guitar and piano a LITTLE bit..but, don’t get your hopes up”. “You’re not going to be a professional climber or kayaker. It can be a hobby, but don’t get your hopes up” “You’re not going to be a pro artist, volleyball player, scuba diver.”

But this sort of harsh honesty has helped me enjoy the things I like and the things I do so much more. My talent is enjoying the things I do, no matter how good I am at doing them, no matter if I will be able to do it for profit or just for fun. I LOVE, with all of my heart, to try new things and improve at them while I can. And now, I have no problem moving on, leaving the other thing behind and trying something new. It makes me happy. 

Also, it’s likely I will come back to the things I left behind at some point in my life. 

Thank you, God for blessing me with the talent to enjoy. 

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The beauty is in the details

Do you ever find yourself wondering about what’s going to happen in the future? 

Probably not. I know you don’t do that.. 

HA. Right. 

Everyone does it. At least a little bit. 

You find yourself thinking about the big picture things. Those things that every little choice in your life seems to affect. They’re different for different people, of course. I find myself thinking about things like: “How am I going to do in college?” “Who will I marry?” “Will I have kids or travel around the world for the rest of my life?” (I want to do both). “Where will I live after Belmont?” “Will I be well-off or struggling to afford my bills?” Things that I really don’t need to be worrying about. These are HUGE things. 

All I need to do is take it step by step. 

First step: finish your freakin’ job resume! 

Second step: apply for jobs, talk to God, and wait

Third step: stop planning steps. God’s got your back! 

If I can continue to see the beauty in small things in my daily life, I will be much happier. I will be happier if I think about how AMAZING the weather has been in the last few days rather than “when will I hear from jobs I applied for?”. 

I’m happy thinking about the fact that I have a very nice dorm room with an awesome group of girls as neighbors.

I’m happy when I think of the amazing friendships I have made in the last year. I love the people here. Even the ones I’m not close to, they are all so fun and nice. It’s refreshing. 

I’m happy when I think of how God has helped work out every big and small thing in my life. I’m healthy, I got into my first choice school, got the coolest roommate, had a blast this last year (that’s an understatement).. have an amazing family looking out for me, have been able to travel to Ireland, England, Oslo, AFRICA, and many other places. 

 I don’t really have the words to explain how all the beautiful details in my life just make my days so much fun. 

With only five weeks left of school here in Norway.. I can’t help wondering if I’ll ever come back.. I hope I do.. Even just to revisit the memories I’ve made here. 

Sometimes I forget that I’ll probably have the option to dance through the pearly gates in heaven. And you know what? I’m gonna dance. I’m gonna dance like crazy for all that I’ve had and experienced. Meanwhile, since I’m not going to heaven any time soon (I hope), I’m gonna have a marathon of fun (and dancing) before I leave this amazing place and these amazing people. 

PEACE. 

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Picture Collection

Sometimes finding enough or the correct words to explain things is very difficult. I think that’s why I like pictures so much..and why I’m on Facebook 24/7, because it’s basically the easiest way for me to share all my pictures! So, instead of writing about what I’ve done recently, I’m just going to share some pictures with a caption or two. 

 

We got to try curling in Oslo! It is so fun but so dangerous. You have one foot that’s slippery and one that’s not. A little confusing, but really entertaining. 

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We had a very nice group of people to hang out with 🙂 Image

 

Bus ride home : ) Gorgeous!

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I visited Stavanger over Easter break! It was so sunny and beautiful!Image

 

 

I also flew to England to visit my friend Michela! It was also sunny. This is a picture from the airport runway before I got on the plane. I love sun. 

 

 

 

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This is a picture of us from her Polaroid camera. I love it! It’s amazing how you can take a polaroid picture straight from the camera without editing it and it looks so real and beautiful, but nowadays you have to edit so much before you get the colors and beauty of a polaroid. What has happened to our photography? 

 

 

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This is a reflection picture (one of my favorite types of photo) of me and Alex! It’s a glass windowed building where we were looking through to the sea. Again: sun!

 

 

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Alex and his doggy. Sun. 

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This is Jennifer’s sweet boy, Graham. Jennifer took care of me when I was in Stavanger and fed me bacon. Happy days. Good Friday service at the big cathedral in town!

 

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This is from a cafe that Mr. Hogarth took me and Alex to on a beautiful sunny Saturday. It’s called Mocha. I asked for a brownie (the simple one that was on display) and they warmed it up, topped it with chocolate syrup, sugar and a strawberry. I also had a REAL chai tea latte. 

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We drove out to a small fishing village where you walk through the whole village (no cars allowed) and it’s kind of in a valley. Then you arrive at this: (see picture below) THE SEA. So amazing and gorgeous. It was super peaceful.

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Beautiful view of the sea through a valley!

 

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I also got to visit my old church in Stavanger on Easter Sunday! So many lovely familiar faces! 

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Alex’s dogs are adorable. 

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Our first kayak trip of the season! Of course, beautiful weather! I could live like this forever and be happy! It was perfect. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh and yes… there was snow… and ice on the SEA. But that doesn’t stop us with our insanely thick wetsuits! 

Amazing few weeks. God is good. 

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Hemsedal

Hey everyone!

Recently I had the opportunity to go skiing in one of (or THE) biggest ski resorts in Norway. It was incredible and the weather was to die for. Sunny blue skies and freezing. Occasionally I felt my face freezing or turning into little ice crystals. I had an amazing time and learned so much about skiing and doing tricks. I went off my first big jumps in the parks and learned a couple simple grabs (tricks where you grab your skis). It was absolutely a fantastic three days. I made a video using my friend’s and my GoPro videos.

I didn’t include what went down in the evenings, but basically, the music class prepared songs and a teacher would have a little thought of the day talk. It was very cozy with the whole school there and enjoying it.

I am blessed!

Walker

P.S. In the video I’m wearing white pants and a blue jacket. I have a camera on my head.

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