Velkommen til Bergen!
I made it! Today marks my fifth day in Norway, and although there were a couple of dicey moments, I am now settling in nicely.
Lesson learned: try to avoid 30 minute layovers on your international flight connection, or your luggage will probably get left behind! On the other hand, if your luggage does get left behind, that means someone will deliver it to your dorm for free. That way, you don’t have to haul it (possibly for hours) from the airport to your new home, so as long as you keep some clothes and basic toiletries with you, lost luggage can be a blessing in disguise!
I’ve met so many new people in the past few days that my head is spinning and done so much that I feel as though I’ve been here a few weeks instead of a few days. I’m living in a suite with 15 other people who share a kitchen and living room, but don’t worry, only two of us share a bathroom. Many of my suite mates are German, so perhaps I will learn two new languages during my time here! In fact, most of the international students are German; I have only met three people from the States so far. There are also people here from Poland, Russia, Serbia, Austria, China, Japan, Korea, and Uganda, just to name a few places!
Just a few hours after arriving, I had my first experience with Ikea, which is about 20 minutes north of Bergen’s city center by bus. Sadly, because the building where I live is brand-new, it did not include bedding as stated on the housing website. This meant an emergency trip to Ikea in order to buy pillows, sheets, blankets, and a couple of other essentials. I have to say that this impromptu trip to Ikea – fresh off a plane, jet-lagged, missing my luggage, hungry, converting currency in my head, and still grappling with my first impressions of Bergen – was probably not all that it could have been. Not to worry though, because I will give it another try when I head back for a desk lamp next week!
The first few days in a new place are always crazy, but even that can do nothing to diminish how gorgeous Bergen is. The hills, forests, and ever-present drizzle of rain have a strange way of calming your nerves, soothing any frustrations you may have, and forcing you to take a step back to just be present and in awe. The city, surrounded by seven mountains and the sea, is built in clusters wherever it can be: nestled in hillsides, along fjords, and on islands. This means that everywhere you turn, the scenery is breath-taking, as humanity has to integrate with nature here rather than overrule it. On Tuesday, I’ll get my first opportunity to really experience the nature around Bergen during a student hike up Mount Fløyen, but in the meantime even the views from my dorm are enough.