When Steinar Bryn told us not to waste our time being homesick- that these next 6 weeks will fly by so fast. He was not lying.
But yet, the first week at Lillehammer felt like time was going by slow- we would all wake up, eat breakfast, go through a lecture or discussion and by the time lunch would roll around- it seemed like this morning’s events were yesterday’s. But it was the same day and I thought to myself “wow, we have a lot to get through”. When Wednesday came and were invited to go to Steinar’s house- it seemed like I had been in Lillehammer for 2 weeks, not three days. The close friendships we built in such a quick amount of time awed me and made me less homesick than on the first day. Truth be told, I was just missing my nephew and my bed.
This does not mean to discredit my experience at Lillehammer- I adored the scenic landscape, the calm waters, the church and its cemetery, and the midnight sun. All those who were remaining after Lillehammer at the International Summer School can vouch for how much we all missed Lillehammer- especially in the hustle and bustle of lunch.
Once we started the summer school, then yes- time was flying by ridiculously. I would read my compendium and be prepared for the next 3 days and voila!- those 3 days were up and I had to prep again. It was exhilarating though- going to class, going to lunch, joining my Peace Scholars on field trips to the Nobel Peace Center, Norwegian Refugee Council, PRIO, Fredhuset, etc. Every time I realized I was in Europe- no wait- Oslo, no wait- finally here at the summer school with the people who I had only seen pictures of- I had to soak in the moment. Close my eyes, breathe and listen to the voices of those who would now only remain in my memory (until we are reunited). Each and every one of you have been so kind to me, even in some small way and I am so humble to have met you all. I learned from all of you- kindness, forgiveness, patience, acceptance, perseverance, and gratitude.
I was glad to have learned how the welfare state in Norway works- for when I would conduct my research or go out in the city, I would see those policies in action at the neighborhoods of Gronland, the Immigration and Integration Center, Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers and of the election season. (Hoyre was handing out button pins of Erna Solberg at the Nationaltheatret station). I was also glad to have gone on those field trips- for whom I was lucky enough to interview and make progress on my research. I send my thanks to them!
Six weeks is not enough time for a young person- to reflect on what she would like to do next, who she is, and where she belongs. I do wish I had more time but nonetheless, I would take these 6 weeks over 0 weeks. I would like to thank, Professor James Rae, Professor David Andersen-Rodgers, and Professor Patrick Cannon- for 1) sending me here and 2) motivating me to keep going. Also our Dean of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies, Orn Bodvarsson; and now Interim Dean Ted Lascher. I would also like to thank my mother- despite her flaws, her resilience inspires me( even if she will not admit it) and I hope mine does too for her. She was not happy to let me go for 6 weeks, yet told me to bring a “Norwegian souvenir”, two weeks later. There is a lot more people I should thank- but I will list names: Phoenix Johnson, Ms. Louvenia Azzan, Andrea Lagomarsino, Eustanik Blanco, Michelle Frederickson, Torild Holmstad, Augsburg College, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng and my nephew.