Yeah I know, Southwest.
Today’s been a weird day. I didn’t get to bed until late last night (or, more accurately, early this morning) because I slept on both of my flights yesterday, so I didn’t start my day until late-morning today. There were blue skies today(!), but Norway is quite chilly. Helsinki has actually been relatively warm lately (about 36-38 degrees during the day), so to jump into below-freezing temperatures – especially after the last week in nice, warm weather around 50 degrees – was a bit of a shock. You’d think after being up north for so long that you wouldn’t forget the cold. Well, you do – at least a little bit.
But today I’ve just felt a bit…off. Maybe sluggish is the right word. Uninspired may be too strong, but basically I’ve just felt meh. I went to a Viking Ship museum today (which I loved – it was simply amazing), but afterwards I didn’t really feel inclined to explore much. I did a little, since I knew that I would regret not seeing more of the city, but still – uncharacteristic. Also uncharacteristic: I found myself missing home today, but…I didn’t really know which home I was missing.
I miss Helsinki. I desperately wish I just had even just a little more time there. I’ve accepted that I didn’t see everything that I wanted to see – that would be impossible. But by the time I get back tonight, I will only have two full days left in the city. That’s not a lot of time. I wish I could just spend some time in the city. I really, really hate to rush this goodbye. I know I’ll be glad (and don’t get me wrong, I am glad) to have taken this trip around Europe during this last week. I just feel very powerless in terms of saying goodbye to the country and the city that has been my home for the past four months. It’s like it’s slipping away from me. Maybe I just haven’t had time to process it yet.
And that’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I feel like the last few weeks have been increasingly out of my control. Academic obligations (e.g. attending the last week of classes) took a chunk of time out of one of my last weeks in Finland. And then exam week basically ate up another one of my precious few remaining weeks. This week, I haven’t been in Finland (obviously). So…I don’t know. The realization that my time here isn’t unlimited and that I wouldn’t have time to do everything I wanted to see/do hit me basically right after Lapland, and my perspective on my time abroad shifted dramatically. Instead of “take advantage of everything while you’re here,” it’s become “savor everything while you still can.” How sad. Once firmly in my control, my experience lately has felt like it’s quickly slipping out of my hands. I don’t like it.
And now I’m so close. So close to home.
I think Oslo has taken the brute force of the realization of how close home actually is – whatever home we happen to be talking about. Starting last Saturday, I began saying goodbye to many of the friends that I made over the last semester, which is, of course, tough. And seeing more and more of them post their “Goodbye Helsinki” messages on Facebook isn’t really making the “goodbye” experience any easier. They’re going home! And, well…I’m not. Not yet. Helsinki or Sacramento – it doesn’t really matter what city I’m talking about at this point. I’m so close to being back in both now. Oslo is weird because it’s a bit of a tease, really. Similar to Helsinki, but…not Helsinki. Just give me Helsinki already! It’s hard to fully enjoy where you are while kind-of-sort-of wishing you were somewhere else at the same time. Sorry Oslo. It’s not you, it’s me.
I don’t know why, but I felt like I got hit in the gut with this stuff today. It’s been a hectic last few weeks, and maybe things are just finally getting to me. At this point, I kinda just want to be in one place for a while. I want to see people. I just want to go home.
Sorry for the depressing stream-of-conscious-y thing that you just read through. Tomorrow, I think I’m going to go check out Oslo University. Apparently, their library is the most technologically advanced in all of Europe. I guess computers monitor the oxygen levels in the rooms in the library and adjust them accordingly so that people can read for long periods of time without getting headaches. I would hate to end on an apology, so there you go.
Maybe that famous Finnish melancholy is finally getting to me.