On our walk this morning I could hear snow melting and birds chirping, and I could feel the sun on my face along with the slush under my boots. Spring, hopefully if there is any kindness at all in the world, is happening upon Oslo slowly and that can only mean one thing: time to say goodbye. Again.
As always, we’ll leave Oslo not knowing how soon we will return, if ever. My flight is in two weeks and four days, leaving very little time to pack, organize, and bid adieu to the people and things that will be missed most. Also, I need a nap every day, so all plans have to revolve around that.
Last night I met my Swedish friend Jonna (on the list of people I will miss) for a scone at United Bakeries (tops the list of things I will miss), and during our conversation she told me in her characteristically frank manner that she finds it very strange to move to a new place knowing that, in all likelihood, all the work you do to get to know people and get to know the place will result in your leaving 8 months later never to see most of the people or the place ever again. And the only answer I could come up with was ‘Yes, it’s strange.’ And it is. But what else can I say?
I have written posts about the nature of the goodbyes in this lifestyle before when we lived in Germany. I notice I left that tidbit out when we left Bakersfield last year. In fact I have a draft, where I attempted to start to post about leaving a place I had lived, twice, and friends I had made then kept then been reunited with, but I was all blubbering and boo-hoo in that post and it never did become fit to print.
This year I’m feeling a bit…ambivalent? No, I certainly care about the friends I’ve made here. Numb? Probably not, I’m guaranteed to cry off and on for various reasons over the next 18 days.
Maybe it’s just experience, and the knowledge that the friends I’ve made here who I am meant to keep, I will. We’ll stay in touch, see each other on Skype, and hopefully make a visit someday. The knowledge that, while there are delicious treats and lifestyle conveniences that I like here in Norway, I can live without them much more easily than I’d like to admit and they can be replaced by treats and conveniences somewhere else.
And more than anything, it’s that home is waiting. Even though we don’t have a house in any particular place, we have some homes to visit and no love of things Norwegian or excitement over new friendships can replace the feeling of getting back to those who’ve loved you longest. We have to see sweet Lila and the lovely Toolie twins to catch up on all we’ve missed with their growth. We have to meet Henrik and start telling him stories of mommy and daddy back in the day. We have to see our parents, feel their love expressed through clean sheets and full fridges. We have to see our old friends, and let them make us feel like we never left and make us wish we never had to again.
Two weeks to go in Oslo, to soak up the sights and devour the scones and then it’s Ha Det Bra to Norge and Hello to home!