While studying abroad in Berlin, I had the amazing opportunity to join my Norwegian friend on a weekend trip to her hometown of Oslo. It was such a cool and special experience to travel with one of my closest friends and share her home and her culture.
I’d never been to a Scandinavian country and I had no idea what to expect. From the moment we boarded the flight the attendants spoke in rapid Norwegian, explaining instructions and helping passengers. As a non-Norwegian speaker, this was definitely a bit hectic but nevertheless exciting. I loved being able to see the differences and similarities throughout the trip between Norwegian, German, and English. These languages are all connected to each other, and whenever I heard a word that sounded similar or familiar I couldn’t help but geek-out and point it out to my friend. Our flight landed around midnight in Oslo, and the first thing I noticed was that the sun refused to sink. Light lingered around the horizon all night. I knew all along that Norway had almost all sun in the summer, but to experience it firsthand was completely different.
We spent most of our first day walking around the central parts of Oslo. I was especially excited to see the changing of the guard at the palace. As a former Million Dollar Band member, I always feel at home when I see a marching band.
What I loved most about Norway was how beautiful the landscape was. It’s rolling green hills and tall trees seemed strikingly similar to where I grew up in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia (with the added bonus of the North Sea only minutes away). We went to one of the beaches where the locals go and it reminded me of times back home when family and friends would go spend a day at the lake. Swimming in the 50-degree sea was not an expectation of mine when we left for Oslo, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do it.