Leaving my happy place

Sometimes you have to say goodbye to the polar night in Tromsø only to find out that the darker days in Germany are much more depressing and say hello to the sun to find out you actually miss the darkness in Tromsø. But this blogpost shouldn’t focus on the parts I already miss about North Norway. I want it to be a thank you post about my time abroad and about the feeling you get when you have to leave a place which became a happy place to you. 

Before I took a plane to Tromsø I was afraid and excited at the same time. I was stuck between homesickness and wanderlust and absolutely didn’t know how to deal with it. Well, all my worries turned out to be unnecessary. I felt home and comfortable after a few weeks thanks to the small city I’ve learnt to love after one day exploring it, my bedroom view which I still can’t believe I had, my roommates who were sometimes exhausting but still the best you could imagine (I mean, they would tell you every time the northern lights are out and you could go and watch them dancing above you together on a daily basis) and most importantly I felt home thanks to all the people I met and with whom I could explore North Norway.

Everyone who spends a semester in another country spends it differently. Some are travelling 24/7, others focus on partying (which is the minority in Tromsø, I guess) and then there’s me. I found my balance between being alone and being together, between travelling around North Norway and spending time in Tromsø. I’m not regretting anything except for maybe not visting Svalbard which I can still do in a few months or years with a group of scientists to figure out more about the effects of climate change on the northern hemisphere. I am thankful for all the little things I’ve experienced such as spending uncountable hours at the Tromsø harbour, strolling around the small Sentrum and sitting way too many hours at my favourite Café – either alone or with my Dutch BFF Michelle.

Café Svermeri, Tromsø

What I definitely found during my time in North Norway was my hidden love for nature. I feel like I became a hiking enthusiast without even realizing it. There are a few hiking highlights. The first one isn’t a real hike but the hill behind my student housing happened to be one of my favourite places in whole North Norway. My roommates could tell you more about my little obsession with that hill…

At some point I managed to climb up the highest mountain around Tromsø and I’m still not done showing off my insane hiking skills by telling everyone that I climbed Tromsdalstinden. You know, it’s 1238m above sea level!

The unfiltered truth: View from the hill behind my student housing during the polar night.

But how does it feel to leave a place which you call second home after almost five months? How is it to come home and live in a completely different world again? It’s hard to describe the feeling you have when you are coming home. It feels like you have never left, nothing has changed. Your room is the same and your window view is the same. After the first nights in my own bed I still opened the blinds with excitement to see the mountains in front of me and the crazy sky that was waiting for me to discover its bright orange, yellow, blue and red. I ran up the hill behind my house only to find out that the scenery is completely different and I’m still looking up the sky as soon as it’s getting dark to see the Northern Lights dancing above my head, but I guess the stars have to do it for now.

Being so far from everyone kept me at a certain distance from everything. I could look at things that happened at home from distance and think about them differently. This was one reason to go away for one semester. To be away, to deal with myself and to get to know myself from another perspective than usual. To get more self-confident and to know what I can achieve by my own. These were my expectations and I got much more than expected. I found new friends from all over the world, I found myself living alone for the first time and handling stressful situations on my own. And I got to see the freaking crazy landscape of North Norway EVERY. DAY. out of my bedroom.

Going to a place like Tromsø which is away from everything was the best decision I could have made and I’m sure that I’m going to visit my Arctic home again soon!


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