This month has, in many ways, helped me ease out of my life as an Augustana student and into what feels like a layover while I wait for my next flight. Don’t misunderstand; I love my family and my country, but shifting between continents has a tendency to make me want to stand with one foot on each side of the Atlantic Ocean. It works for a few days, but for every hour that passes, I can feel the pieces of land sliding further and further apart and before I know it, I’m in splits.
Unless you’re a gymnast or ballet dancer, I hope you can relate when I say that sitting in splits can get rather uncomfortable for prolonged periods. I can only free myself from the discomfort by placing both feet next to each other, but that means I first have to pick one. Choosing one in front of the other is hard when you love them both so dearly, but this is the price to pay.
I have to understand that parts of my identity now belongs to America and that certain traces of it don’t always make it through customs when I go to Norway.
When I’m in the US, I’m a student, a classmate, a filmmaker, a public speaker, a foreigner, an activist and an artist.
When I’m in Norway, I’m a daughter, a sister, a native, a former track athlete, a former bodybuilder, a former-a-lot-of-things and a girl who goes to school somewhere far away.
It can be frustrating, draining and confusing.
But even if it may seem a little cynical, I would not have traded it for anything, because I found a place where I can spread my wings and be myself—my whole self—and I know that I’m loved despite my shifting geographical coordinates.
This year, however, the transition felt smoother than before and I didn’t even have to try to sit in splits; I got to bring a piece of America with me instead. My family got to meet with some of the people who have influenced me greatly over these past three years at Augustana, and I realized that a few of the things I thought I’d left behind weren’t gone after all.
Even if it was just for a moment, my two worlds united.