Pre-Departure Thoughts

So, I am leaving to Oslo tomorrow.
I am – leaving – to Oslo – tomorrow.
Yep, no matter how many times I say it, still doesn’t feel quite real. The fact still hasn’t sunk in judging by my worryingly low-level of stress, I am currently more stressed about not being stressed than about the move itself. Welcome to my life.

I am currently still packing, trying to be extremely realistic about my clothes choices because if I didn’t I would end up leaving with a whole ten suitcases filled with JUST clothes. I also never thought I would be packing so many jumpers, scarves, gloves and clothes to layer until I feel and look like an onion. The reality of it, is that we complain about England being cold and rainy but it’s not a place where I could potentially have frost from October to April nor have snow, actual snow, for majority of the winter.
For the very first time in my life I am packing for the unknown.

This far, that has been the major difference with moving to Oslo compared to moving to Exeter from Paris. The big difference this time, is that despite all the research I’ve done, all the people I’ve gotten in contact with, it still feel like I’m diving into the unknown. I am trying to prepare myself to a culture shock and I am honestly just clueless as to whether I will fit in or not at all.

I don’t sound the most optimistic but in reality I am also very excited, believe me. For some strange reason I crave change on a regular basis and love discovering new countries and cultures. Stress and excitement are feelings that come hand in hand when moving abroad in my opinion. It’s a bit overwhelming at times, you ask yourself if you’re not going slightly mad. But at the end of the day it’s the amazing feeling that comes with “I’m going on an adventure!”
I won’t lie though, I feel like this Northern adventure of mine is going to be a challenge. Ironically
BI Business School provides us with videos titled “How to deal with Norwegians” and “How to make friends” (no, I am not joking nor exaggerating) and, well let’s say they keep it real. I am sure they have the best intentions, but when the video explains to you that Norwegians are nice but very reserved and hate small talk well… I am not very reassured. Re-read that sentence with me. Hate small talk. WHAT? How am I meant to make friends then? Given, I hate small talk myself, but it’s the basic way of getting into knowing someone, or have I been doing it wrong all this time? I am also gutted as I have become a professional after Fresher’s Week in Exeter! “What’s your name? What do you study? Where are you from? Why did you chose Exeter? What societies are you going to join? Should we go to the tester session together?” And boom after that you got yourself a “friend”. All those questions are just not going to work with Norwegians that HATE small talk are they? – Jokes aside, I am a bit worried about not having small talk to rely on and the supposed coldness of their character at first. I am also the type of person that believes you hate me with your guts if you’re not friendly with me the first time we meet. Stupid? Yes, but it’s real.

On the bright side, once integrated into their friendship group you are part of the family and you’re in for life. I wish I could fast forward to that stage. In the meantime I keep reminding myself that I am not alone, that everyone is in the same boat. Stop thinking you’re a princess Alex, you are not going to be the only Erasmus student in Oslo.

But enough of the things that stress me out. I am incredibly excited to discover the city. It seems like such an interesting mix of both random bits of forests and parks scattered around the city and really modern and new architecture for the rest. I am also excited for Buddy Week where we are assigned with a group of second years to guide us through the week and all the events. At least they make that easy for us, since small talk is not in their customs… (I’m not bitter, I promise). As pathetic as it sounds I am excited to go to IKEA to buy one too many fake plants for my room, and a few pots and pans, because that could be useful… And of course I am excited about meeting the people I’ll be living with and see my new home.

These are my thoughts currently, a bit of a mixture of total clueless-ness, some stress, excitement and somehow a feeling that things will be okay? Deep down I know it will be okay. Stay tuned for the next post about more exciting/stressful thoughts but hopefully less cluelessness.

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