"The good. The bad. The ugly. The truth and reality of what it's really like living abroad."
I remember days spent as the high school teenage day dreamer that I was, and know that many of us can be, dreaming of a life full of travels and what it would be like to live abroad in Europe one day. I'll be the first to admit that much of my time was spent more on day dreaming of a fantasy world of rainbows and butterflies rather than my algebra homework that was due the very next day. Although this isn't my proudest confession, it's an honest one. I truthfully never found school to be difficult or strenuous at any point, it just appears that my attention span seems to be that of a goldfish. Yikes! I found that daydreaming seemed to be my own source of meditation and a place where I could collect my sometimes very scrambled, yet passionate and desired dreams or thoughts....which is what got me to where I am at today....Living abroad in Europe!
Let me be very clear by saying that I am a perfect example of how your very exact thoughts are the blue prints to your future, and only "YOU" control your own destiny. Very Important to remember this, always! Let me also be clear by saying that although I do have my own regrets about not being the top pupil in my school( But hey, it's never too late), I also wouldn't ever change my day dreams for the world. Everyone takes their own path in life, it's what you think, how you act on it, and the steps you take to get there that really create and mold your future, along with taking the life lessons learned along the way. How cool is that? Anything you really want in life is achievable, you just have to go out there and get it!
I often hear by so many people whether back home in America, or here living abroad..."wow, I really admire you for just picking up and moving to a whole different country" or "you are so lucky Taryn, you have the perfect life." Although I greatly appreciate and I am most definitely humbled by these comments from others, I so often want to stop them right there, and sometimes do. Living abroad has definitely been one of my greatest achievements, not because I did anything extremely admirable. I didn'tfind the cure to cancer, I didn't find the ecological solution to global warming, but I DID achieve one of my greatest dreams, and that to me is something that makes me proud. Who would have thought that the very same teenage girl thinking to herself in a small country town high school classroom surrounded by her peers and a chalk board full of algebraic equations would one day be living her exact day dream.
For the most part, life is Europe has really been a dream come true. As such a curious person of all things in life, getting to experience different cultures, lifestyles, and learning about the ways of the world have really been more than I ever could have dreamt about in any day dream possible. Some things in life are just meant to be explored yourself, and words could never bring to light the full experience and all the intense emotions that tag along with it. I have really gotten the chance this past year to know what it's like to experience life as a European. From the European vacation destinations, the styles, the culture of the holidays, right down to the Aioli so commonly served with bread (rather than the butter that we Americans are so used to. ha). I've made the greatest international friends, I have gained perspective on the world outside of an American view, and I have after one year, memories that will last a lifetime, and always stand as a reminder of the simplicity, but extremely powerful meaning of happiness. However, life isn't always rainbows and butterflies, and let me be a reminder that with all great things in life, there are sacrifices and struggles to be made. Not everything is always as perfect on the inside as it may appear on the outside.
During my last year here in Norway, I would be lying if I told you that there were not moments of breakdowns. I remember when I first moved to Oslo, at first it's a feeling of an exotic adventure that is an opportunity of a lifetime, and is going to be so perfect in each and every way. Yeah..was I wrong!? After a few months of living here, the newness wore off, and the whole.."But I'm American" card I so frequently loved to use wasn't going to cut it anymore. Vacation mode wore off and the thought of me getting back to the life I knew was seeming harder and harder. Some girls like to say to me, "are you crazy, you completely live the life" but for a girl like me so used to working, having and loving her independence, or just feeling like I was serving a purpose with my life was slowly slipping away from me. In the states, I had always been actively involved in so much. I was constantly working, if not working, attending college, if not at school, then traveling for a modelling/acting audition or shoot of some sort. I was always busy, feeling like I never had a minute to myself, and if I did, was always meeting up with friends and fulfilling my social butterfly needs with nights out for a dinner or drinks. I moved to Oslo, and that's when it all changed.
I now found myself in a position where, although I found the man of my dreams, I also couldn't work, I couldn't attend school, I couldn't even have the basic necessities in life such as a bank account. Ahhh! A girl as independent as I was, and still intend to be, you could imagine what a slap in the face this was. All the stuff I never thought too much about until I was here, and didn't realize how hard mentally it could be all came to a head. I was stripped of not just my independence, but of my close knit friends and family. OUCH, that one hurt! When you move to a different country on the basis of love, it's exciting, it's amazing to be with your loved one, but it's also a process. A process of waiting. Waiting for your residency paperwork to go through, in hopes that it gets approved, that way you can have grown up things again. You know... like a bank card, a job, even a google translator attached at your hip at all times for weekly trips to the grocery store when trying to determine where the heck to find the right meat for homemade Beef stew would be nice! Ahh, the great struggles. The process of waiting to meet a good group of friends outside of your boyfriend's social circle. The process of waiting to get a job that way you can possibly meet that group of friends, because who else is going to help maintain your sanity at times?! The process of waiting for your paperwork to go through that way you can travel back home to the states again, and no longer be bound to just Norway while the papers are being processed. The process of just trying to figure out the language enough to work your way through the local food mart, or clothing stores. (in the infamous words of myself.."the dressing rooms are where?!") Going from being an adult to feeling like a four year old child having to be explained the basics of life again, can sometimes be a bit challenging. And although, I'm actually being a bit of a drama queen, I find myself to be extremely lucky. Despite the hardships of living abroad, I live in a country where everyone speaks fluent english, lots of signs, public places and menus are in english, I have a boyfriend that has been amazing at fully supporting me and helping me along the way with a family that has made me their own, and you'll be happy to know...I can now officially make my way around the grocery store and FINALLY find that perfect chuck roast for a nice pot of homemade beef stew! Ha! (It just took a few terribly failed attempts.)
This far, I have completely endured my fair share of struggles. Home sickness still sets in, and I still at times, experience my roller coaster of emotions and out of the blue breakdowns. It's just now, we laugh at them. These are natural feelings, and to be expected when starting all over in a foreign country. I know that if there is a will, there is a way. Any time I feel negativity is setting in, I find a way to turn it into a positive. This is why I started this exact blog. I wanted to write and share with you my experiences, and be honest about everything that goes on from behind the scenes, not just the projected picture. I found a way for me to turn my sometimes negative feelings and emotions led on by sometimes feeling a bit lost in a different country and homesick, to documenting the feelings in a blog post and laughing with you about it. I like waking up with a purpose everyday, and if there is no purpose, I will create one. I am definitely now finding my way around this foreign country of vikings, but want to share with you the journey along the way, and the honesty of it all. I think it's important for people to hear all sides of the story. To grow, laugh and learn from each others journey's and life experiences. Nothing in life is always going to be rainbows and butterflies, but it's always going to be worth the journey and the bigger picture!
Now, feel free to sympathise with me and send over as much American Peanut butter as possible until I can freely travel back home again. The Norwegians try, and they put up a good fight, but no Norwegian peanut butter even comes close to JIFFY! Just saying.....
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