Take a look at this. It’s me! I can’t remember how old I was when this picture was taken… notice the fab 70’s tile work in the background. But what has happened since those jolly childhood years in the 80’s? Did I turn out the way I was supposed to? Have I made my parents proud? Have I accomplished my goals?
Well, aside from a growing debt… unpaid medical bills (Thanks, Blue Cross!), dental bills (I need to stop drinking soda and juice), credit card bills, I think I have it pretty good. Of course, it’s been a long and hard way to where I am today.
High school years… don’t get me started. In one word: ANGST! In several other words; over-achiever, but not really achieving enough… make-up crisis, soul-searching, longing for that cool guy that was “just not that into me”, family drama, friends coming and going, being hurt by loved ones, longing for that “better place”, poetry writing, abstract acrylic painting, snowstorms, champagne at 5 am with my best guy friend, pissing off my flute teacher, pissing off my parents, pissing off my friends… being angry with myself. All in all, pretty normal for a teenager. I think for some people, it just takes time growing into oneself. I remember feeling so ugly at times that I just needed to hide. Isn’t that sad?
After high school, I went to a make-up artist school in Oslo called “Nordic Institute for Scene and Studio”, aka NISS. It was awesome. I learned to do classic make-up, as well as special effects for movies. I did some freelancing, and got gigs doing make-up for two major Norwegian rock bands, Briskeby and D’Sound. If I were smart enough to post you-tube videos here, I will. But for now, give me a rain check on that. The only thing that stopped me from following this career was… a waiting boyfriend back home. Ah, yes. Amore. What was right at that time, doesn’t necessarily feel right today, but looking at the bigger picture.. I think all happens for a reason. Besides, I wasn’t really THAT into doing make-up anyways. But I still have the experience, and if you want me to do a make-over…anytime, baby. I’m pretty awesome.
Then followed some hard years. I don’t really want to go into details about those. Let’s just say I spent some time in my hometown, unemployed for a while…. before working as a waitress at the local burger joint. I made some money, yes. But I also spent countless, endless hours faking a smile to drunk assholes that grabbed my butt, asked for my number, and wouldn’t leave at closing time. Dream job? Hell no.
I also went to France briefly to work as a nanny. That sounds pretty counter-intuitive, because I am not really fond of kids. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind them. But I am just not one of those “dooby-dooby-dooooooooo” people who just need to tickle them. Work was fine. I stayed with an Iranian-French family, and they had the cutest kids. I learned some French, got to see Perros-Guirec in Bretagne, Rennes, Brest, Saint-Brieuc, Paris…ah, Paris. Such a lovely city. Too bad I didn’t get to enjoy it more. I left after a month. It had nothing to do with France, but everything to do with boyfriend drama at home.
But let’s fast forward a little. In 2003 I went to Bergen, and enrolled at the university there. What an eye-opener! This is what I had been looking for during my lost years. Academia! Linguistics! Literature! Post-colonial studies! I spent days learning to draw those damn syntactic trees, but in return.. they are now permanently tattooed in my brain. My friend Heidi and I could usually be found at “Kvarteret”, discussing in detail the complexity of fortis and lenis, alveolar flapping, morphlogy, bilabial nasals, and our favorite, the glottal stop, and always fueled by those delicious mochas with extra chocolate and whipped cream.
Needless to say, I worked hard in school. I sacrificed sleep, food and movie nights in favor of doing research at the library. I needed those grades in order to snag a spot at the University of Oregon, my main destination. I applied for a scholarship through an exchange program, which means I don’t have to pay tuition (yay!), and the cost of travel will be covered by our fantastic government. I still needed to take up a loan though, granted living expenses and school supply expenses would still be paid for out of pocket.
So here I am… in Eugene, Oregon. What was supposed to be a nine month study overseas…turned into over four years of career and immigration turbulence. What’s the point in going to the US to study journalism that’s culturally, socially and politically tied to the US without actually getting to practice in said country? It’s the American Dream, baby! So I needed a job.. and I got it. I also met my wonderful husband here, Jamie. The love of my life.
I am proud of what I have done so far. There are times I wake up in the mornings wondering that the point of it all is. But then I think back. I could have been stuck in a small village in Norway, sans education and working at a factory. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just not my cup of tea.
But I feel like it’s time to move on. As I am getting older, the need to be close to family surpasses the chase of that perfect job. To be blunt… I love my job. But I am not making any money doing it, which sucks. I could try to relocate here in the US. But I am still a Norwegian, and I miss home. I know that there will be great opportunities no matter where I choose to take this journey. And this time, I am not alone. I have a life partner who’s ready to take the plunge with me. Together, we can only grow stronger.
And the list of achievements… will be longer.