Monday, June 18, 2012

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

What I’ve learned this year:

·      How to cook pizza on a stovetop
·      To identify a person’s nationality by appearance, accent, and flirtation style
·      To ski
·      That I need to live near mountains
·      The tension between the beauty of belonging and the cruelty of exclusion
·      When to say “takk for maten, “takk for meg,” and “takk for sist”
·      The glaciers are shrinking
·      Several systems of grading, none of which achieve perfect objectivity
·      How to be Jewish without a community or rabbi
·      How wonderful it is to be Jewish without a community or rabbi
·      Enough Norwegian to be on the cusp of fluency
·      Contentment
·      The rudiments of salsa dancing
·      The pros and cons of an egalitarian education system
·      Rain is relative
·      A new way to express the ugly duckling adage: even willow goblins blossom into lushness
·      Germans are intellectual, Italians playful, Russians depressed, the Irish mischievous, and the Spanish will grab your butt without warning
·      Those birds I thought so beautiful at the start of the year are magpies, and therefore evil
·      “American” is a tricky term, subject to many conditions and emendations
·      To look on each little hindrance as a jest and each great one as the foreshadowing of victory
·      That I never want to stop teaching, and must never stop learning, so that I always have something to teach

A part of me worries that this is it; I’ve just had the best year of my life and nothing will ever beat this. Then I remember that I get to keep going, taking this year with me, and my mood lightens and breaks into elation.

Takk to all who made this year wonderful. Bergen is the most vakkert, nydelig, koselig city in the world, and I already long to come back. Ha det bra, Bergen. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Pictures from last week:

On the ferry
Surveying the terrain
Can you see me up at the top?

Naomi exulting in her first fjord
Chilling on Preikestolen
Picking a good spot to build my farm and live forever
Yoga poses!
On top of the world...
How much do you like Bergen?

Yoga on top of Floyen
My kids can bake! See the WJ? It's for "writing journal." Love.
Me and the bakers
I only cried AFTER this picture

Nordnes at sunset


  1. I cannot wait to give you a massive hug when you get back!!!

  2. Selv takk! This has been a terrific blog, and I'll miss it...but I hope you'll be sharing impressions of Toronto when you get there. And thanks for being such a warm and wonderful representative of the Fulbright program in Bergen!

  3. Takk Petter! It was an amazing year-- thanks for the chance!

  4. I wonder how many times you get potential Norway ETA's commenting or contacting you, but count that number plus one. I'm applying soon for next year, and found your blog as part of my research. If you have the time, and patience, and interest, would you care to share some emails regarding your time there and maybe the application process too? Feel free to contact me anytime. I would love to hear from you!


  5. Hi! Just found your blog and it's a great read. I just finished my Fulbright application and would love to ask you a few questions! My email is

    Thank you!

  6. Hey, I realize that you finished this two years ago, but I am contemplating doing a year in Norway and I would really like to ask you a couple logistical questions.
    Hopefully you will see this comment.

    1. Sure. FB message me or post your email.

    Thanks in advance!

  8. Hi Hannah! I doubt you're going to see this, but I'm considering applying for an ETA to Norway and like you said in your first post, there is barely anything online about what it's really like! I'd love to talk more with you about your experience. My email is and I would appreciate so much if you'd contact me! Thanks!