I was an overwhelmed freshman with ultra blonde hair and a Scandinavian accent when we first met. Quite frankly, I had more than enough with just keeping my head above the water as a foreign student in South Dakota, and I should have known we weren’t ready for each other yet.
You were so exotic, foreign, and yet so familiar. I liked you, but I was unable to see what you had to offer at the time. I felt so small, so lost and so out-of-place. I know you did your best to make me feel welcome by introducing me to warm pretzels and pizzas so big I had to fold each slice in half to even have a chance at taking a bite, but I still found myself longing for the comfort of not having to jump into something new.
You showed me diversity, eccentricity and what it really means to be free. You acquainted me with people who were on a mission, people with a deeper sense of purpose than I was used to seeing, people with dreams that had to be fulfilled, people with songs that had to be written and stories that had to be told.
Still, that first time, I wanted to leave after just a few days with you. I was overwhelmed. But that was okay, because I knew we’d see each other again. That last glimpse of you at the airport told me that our story wouldn’t end there. We had many more chapters to write, but the circumstances had to be different; I would have to mature, figure out where I was going and get more comfortable with myself, but I knew I would see you again.
Our week in October was amazing, but I must say, you’re just as handsome in February.
New York, I love you.
It took me three years, but I’m ready for you now.
I’m not the intimidated freshman girl straight from Norway anymore. I’m a woman now, a woman looking to tell stories, and, New York, I think you may be able to help me on my mission.
My freshman-self vs. my senior-self in the City of Dreams.
Hopefully, you caught the fact I wrote the love letter to New York City, and not some strange mesmerizing guy with exotic looks. I wouldn’t want any of my relatives to get their hopes up about a potential new family member just yet — I can assure you that my actual love life is still non-existent, so don’t worry.
I was in New York for the second time in a few months for some errands that I’ll tell you more about later. But before I wrap up this post I want to share a funny incident:
A week before I left, Elisa Stokka, a traveling Norwegian student priest, was at Augustana to make waffles and talk with us. I’d never met her before, but we started talking and I told her I’d be heading to New York the following week. She then invited me to join a student dinner at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church on Manhattan that just happened to be the Monday I was going to be there! Funny coincidence? Well, it gets better! As soon as I get there, the first guy I meet is from my hometown in Norway. A couple of minutes later I stumble upon another lady with an accent I recognized, and guess what?! She was from Haugesund as well! Yup, that little village-like town in the tiny Nordic country called Norway. It’s a small world!
The Seamen’s Church’s mission is to create “a home away from home” for traveling Norwegians, and they certainly did that for me. It was an amazing night with lots of Norwegian New Yorkers and traditional Norwegian tacos.
God is good.