Life was never supposed to bring me to this place. I had a pretty good start and a focused plan to become a successful photo-journalist after college. Then armed with a camera and a pretty good eye I headed out in the world. First stop, Norway. I followed the tall slim, handsome dark-haired Norwegian student that I had met in my home town across the ocean and back to the country he loved — hopelessly starstruck and in love. The Nowegians have such appealing accents…enough so to lure a naive college girl from the safety of her bland midwestern existence to exotic and wild faraway places with the promise of sea and sand and beautiful scenery. And what exactly did I know about Norway except that the men were attractive and fond of having fun and making partying a little bit too hard on the weekends? Absolutely nothing. Yet, I let my fear be overshadowed by my braveness, quite proud of myself for leaving my small, hick midwestern town to venture out in the world to a foreign country. Piece of cake I thought! Oh right, a different language, well a slight problem, but I can figure that out, right.
I remember that I thought shopping was tough…what the hell was in these cans in the grocery stuff with labels I could not read and no one who could tell me what suspicious food type was encased within. I bought several cans of varying sizes and semi-familiar pictures on the label hoping for beans…beans I could deal with. Little did I know that beans were not a normal staple in Norwegian households…so I ended up with several useful cans of food that I couldn’t identify.
It was a good start for this brave young South Dakota girl, as lost in the fjord country of Western Norway as the young wives who traveled to my South Dakota in the 1800’s and felt as lost and alone as I did in the cities they left behind. It was almost as if we had switched places and times. Each struggling to get past our own misery and hopeful to make a good life in our new country.