Homesickness

A funny thing happened today in Gran Canaria…. it rained. I know this sounds like I’m mocking everyone who lives with rain throughout the year, but I am actually serious. I’ve seen rain three times since we moved here last October, so it is indeed a rare thing to behold.

Funny enough, the rain makes me homesick for Oslo. I always enjoyed curling up under a blanket and sipping coffee in the mornings, but such a thing is more unusual here. “Koselig” (the Norwegian word for “cozy”) is used in all kinds of situations – an evening with friends around the table, a gathering of children happily playing together, a weekend getaway to your cabin in the mountains. But most often, I think of koselig as snuggled under a blanket with either rain, snow or grey skies outside my window.

Norway is in the news a lot these days because of the Breivik trial. My family was traveling back from Crete on the day of the attacks, so we only heard the news through frantic text messages and patchy media coverage. We were in Oslo for much of the aftermath though, including the street closures caused not by the attacks themselves, but rather by the heavy outpouring of roses and flowers around Oslo’s main cathedral.

Never once did I hear that Breivik’s message against multiculturalism had taken root and would continue to grow. Instead, I heard the Prime Minister say that the attacks would make Norway stronger in its resolve to be an open, democratic country. In typical stoic Norwegian fashion, crowds gathered to mourn silently, yet proudly, and to illustrate that this tragedy would not be their undoing.

So when I read about yesterday’s gathering of more than 40,000 people to – once again – stand together against the hateful messages coming out of Breivik’s trial, I am filled with awe at the Norwegian people’s resolve.

I miss my dear town of Oslo. Even though I was only there two years, it does feel like home to me. Maybe because it’s where so many of our friends live, or maybe because it’s where my son was born. Or maybe because it’s where I spent so many koselig days and nights. Even more likely, it’s because I can identify with the Norwegian people gathering together to sing in the face of ugliness.

The world is watching you, dear Norway, and you are setting a sublime example for us all.

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