Monday, October 5, 2009

Healthy homesickness

A returning question that I get asked from time to time is whether or not I’m homesick. It surely is a legitimate question, as the distance from home is greater than any other place I’ve lived, and never before have I been continuously away from my roots for this long. “However,” I usually tell my friendly inquisitors, “keep in mind that I have lived away from home for five years already.” I moved in to my first apartment at age 16 to go to high school in Knarvik, which was a prolonged one-hour drive away from home. After four years at high school and two more apartments, I spent a year in the barracks of the Norwegian infantry, far north of any sophisticated civilization, before I ended up in Henderson House here at Carnegie Mellon.

My Bergen wallpaper, me like!So in general, I am used to be away from home, and I am not homesick. At least I am not as homesick as one of my roommates in the army was, I mean, he was seriously homesick; he was on the phone with his family for at least two hours a day. Occasionally he would smash his head against the wall and scream in frustration of not being home. While others said “anywhere but here,” he would say “nowhere but home.”

He had my sympathy, and I learned a lot from observing him. I learned that there is value – real value – in loving your home. The more I think of this guy, the more impressed I am with how much he appreciated home, and the more I realize that value for myself. He inspired me to draw my beloved home city Bergen and post it on my cork plate. The Bergen drawing followed my plate throughout my time in the army, despite changes in room and roommates. He also, though more indirectly, inspired me to bring a camera to Stoltzekleiven and Fløien to take pictures of my favourite trail before I left off to the states. I now use one of those photographies, one with the exact same motif as the drawing from the army, as my desktop wallpaper. See above.

I regret that I don’t have a photo of my Bergen drawing on this computer, but if it happens to strike me as a good idea to post the drawing whenever I come back to our family computer, then maybe you will have a chance to see it. It won’t be soon, though.

I haven’t talked too much with my parents, and I haven’t smashed my head to the wall. I don’t feel like I’m missing my pre-college life, and I don’t at all consider to transfer to the University of Bergen. Yet, I am proud to announce that I, at least a little bit, miss home. I love to talk about home with my friends – I like to portray for them the beauty of Bergen.Streets of Bergen I enjoy to explain what the narrow streets looks like, how they climb from the fjord up the abrupt mountain sides, twisting and turning as they were shaped by time and topology; I like to describe how you can bath in the sea in the middle of the city, and how the taste of the salt water compares to that in the fresh lakes only 30 minutes of hiking away. And of course, I am super-excited to show people my wallpaper, point out all the different places, buildings and restaurants, and tell why they matter to me.

However much Pittsburgh is a fabulous place – it is not home.

Read more:
Warrior of Agape: WeHe
Wikipedia: Bergen
Visit Norway: Bergen

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