Timst’s Happy Place

5 Years

by timst on August 20, 2017

In 10 days, it will be 5 years since I left my home and moved to Scandinavia. Now seems like a good time to do a little retrospective. What did I do in these five years? In reverse chronological order, I:

Played squash
Drank a 1L can of 10% beer bought for next to nothing in a metro station
Camped alone in the snow
Attended a ski shooting championship
Bought skis
Drank a coconut
Traveled on the Yangon circle train
Drove a moped
Exchanged opłatki
Petted kittens
Ran a half marathon
Hiked a mountain
Pre-purchased No Man’s Sky like an idiot
Threw glowsticks
Saw Kygo live
Slept in a bubble
Fought and defeated a lighthouse
Listened to vaporwave
Had a harrytur
Bought a roomba
Partied in the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw
Saw a rocket return to earth
Wrote about how to have a good meeting
Skied for the first time
Got my first real job
Showed a friend the royal palace
Made fun of people
Drank too much
Moved to a new country with all my earthly possessions
Climbed on an Ankara roof
Arranged a meeting
Made a chart
Took a night train
Worked at a local library
Fell in love
Had a november christmas party
Made a giraffe metaphor
Talked in public
Voted for a center-right party (???)
Made a YouTube channel with friends
Directed a thing
Shown a friend around my old city
Guided people
Danced to Skrillex’s Recess
Made a fake tv show
Rewrote statutes
Showed a friend fireworks
Dated a baker
Lost my childhood cat
Bought a 4kr cup of chocolate
Partied in a bunker
Fell in friendship
Made an ad campaign
Went to Kaffe de Luxe
Gambled in Warsaw
Swam in the arctic sea
Joined an association
Ran through the snowy streets of Copenhagen
Climbed Gotland rocks

In the meanwhile, I learned a lot. I learned about myself, about what is right, about life. My political conscience went from very limited to closely following the elections in three different countries, and thinking about getting involved. I went (am going) through a complete relationship cycle; I learned about love, and that it sometimes is not enough. I failed at some things, succeeded at others; I progressed in some ways, stalled in others. I met a lot of people. I laughed, and I cried. Not bad for a day in the life of a dog food company.

What’s next? Well folks, I think the time has come for a new reboot, since it’s clear now that the last one was immensely beneficial to my life (of course it’s impossible to say how things would have worked out had I stayed in France, but I’m going to guess they wouldn’t have been as exciting). I won’t leave Norway, in which I’ve invested so much already, and whose language I’m so close to becoming fluent in (also I have like 1000€ stuck in a housing savings account and there is no way I’m leaving that behind). But the future might not be in Oslo. I’ve been eyeing Tromsø, in my continued quest of going ever more north. I also have a few friends here and there (notably in Bergen) that I could reunite with. We’ll see how things go.

Technically this blog is public, so if you’re here because you googled “exchange student sweden” and somehow landed up here (unlikely since I don’t recall doing any SEO, but who knows), and you wonder if going abroad is worth it: yes. Absolutely. I mean you don’t have to do the full monty like I did and stay there forever, but even a semester or a year abroad will change your life (a warning though: a lot of people are only there for one semester, so if you stay longer, you’re liable to lose a few friends. You get used to it.) Take a look at my FB friends over time (technically, my friends who wished me happy birthday on my timeline. Yes, I collect stats on weird stuff, it’s kind of my thing) to see what I mean.

Most likely though, you’re one of my friends. Even more likely, you’re someone I met during those 5 years, because let’s be real, I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of people I knew in high school and that I’m still even remotely in touch with. I guess that’s true of a lot of people in their late twenties, but man, moving out the country (and being an asocial nerd when I was in it) really didn’t help. But anyway: this is as good a time as any to say that whatever we did, you were a part of my story, and I hope I was part of yours. I’m trying to stay away from grand emotional statements so that I won’t have to get super embarrassed when I read this in 5 years (unlike the stuff I wrote to all@esn.org when I resigned. Jesus man), but it’s fair to say that I lived an interesting life and that if you were in my life, even for only a few months, and even if you weren’t involved in any of the events listed above, you contributed.