My sincerest apologies for not blogging in over a week and then posting that small little cultural differences post. I figured it was better than nothing. Anywho, life has just been a tad busy here in Oslo, and I’ve been having to relearn some important lessons I first learned when moving to Canada two years ago: how to maintain balance, and how to step out of my comfort zone. 

Contrary to what my parents may believe due to my moving around and traveling, I do have a comfort zone, and it is actually quite small. I often struggle with feeling like very few people really like me, because I feel unattractive, unfunny, annoying and just not special. So yes, moving to a new country on a new continent, where I know absolutely no one and I don’t speak the native language, that is, in fact, difficult for me. Which is why I spent the first week here largely at home, making only small trips in the day to places like Ikea and the stadium down the street, nothing ambitious. I was exhausted from the huge ordeal of getting here, and I slept a lot. I also was very jet lagged, not sleeping until 6am or later some days, when the sun had been up for hours. It wasn’t until the weekend when one of my roommates invited me out with a big group of his friends that I really got out and saw downtown and met more people.

This past week as been Buddy Group week, the university’s orientation week. Basically you’re sorted into a group (I couldn’t find mine so I inserted myself into another group) of people from similar programs, either all international or all domestic, with two student leaders or “buddies”. The buddies then have the week to invite the group out to events on and off campus, and all of us stop being so much of deer in headlights as we learn more about Oslo and the school. Makes sense. 

I was lucky enough that the buddy group I chose has great buddies and people, and I do really like them. I’ve made a point of going to most of the events; we go out at night to bars, and during the day we go to museums and gardens. I’ve really enjoyed this time. I’ve had to fight with myself from staying inside too much, because even if I have qualms about myself, that is no way to spend my exchange.

That said, there is a balance. Just as I am a happy Amanda when I get to dance at a club with friends, I am a happy Amanda when I get to sleep for ten hours and spend the day writing and reading. 

So I compromised. I went out most of the week, and this weekend I opted out of group activities and spent Saturday reading and writing, but out at the Mela festival downtown (more about that in another post). Today I only just went to the gym for the first time and started writing down when my classes are in my agenda. Mental and physical health can be so fickle to keep track of, but I really am trying to do what I can to maintain both. My first week was spent inside, my second spent out, and now as my third is about to start I’ve started going to the gym and will have classes on Wednesday. Oh but then school and possible work will create whole new problems…oh well, like I said in the beginning, it is a learning matter. 

Hope all of you are doing well and not dreading the back-to-school season too much!

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