Ever since Peder and I met in Gold’s Gym Kyoto back in 2007, we’ve been great friends. We’ve traveled to the far corners of the globe together, partied across three different continents, and exchanged more e-mails than I can count. Yet neither of us has uttered even a single word to the other’s family – nor paid a visit to the other’s home.
Now, three years later, that’s finally going to change. I’m currently descending over the Oslo fjord and into Peder’s homeland. I’m about to land in Norway.
It’s almost a strange feeling. Although I’d been here once as a young child, I have no memory of it besides what I’ve seen in a few blurry family videos. It’s as foreign as any country I’ve ever visited. Yet I already know so much about it – its people, its schools, its economy, its language, and its nature – that it almost feels as familiar as a second home. A second home that I can’t remember having ever seen with my own two eyes.
Norway. One more new foreign country…only…not.
As I look out the airplane window, greenery sprawls out in all directions – speckled with lakes and little clusters of houses, separated by long winding rivers. I can really see what Peder meant when he described how small Oslo is; viewed from above, Los Angeles seems to expand endlessly in all directions; concrete and glass as far as the eye can see. Oslo by comparison is but a small cluster of buildings at the edge of a long, winding fjord – a cluster that can be crossed by bike in 10 to 15 minutes. Around it is nothing but pure, undisturbed nature.
Touchdown. I am in Oslo.