Saturday, May 15, 2010


One summer while I was living in the States, I was home in Oslo for a few weeks. After some drinks in town with friends one night, I decided to walk for a while instead of getting right on the subway home.

It was one of those magical Norwegian summer nights, where, even though the sun has disappeared, you know it's never going to get really dark, one where, even though the nights are warm, a hint of a chill starts settling, reminding you that regardless of how much the sun does to warm it up, Norway is actually a really cold place.

I started walking through the city, and as I did, I was overtaken with memories with every building, with every corner I passed, bringing me back to years before. The park we would go to after school, equipped with a bin of ice cream and plastic spoons, where we would just sit around, sharing chocolate goodness on lazy spring afternoons. The streets outside the bars we went to the first times we were old enough, and the feeling that we were finally a part of it. The time I saw a naked guy run down the hill in Slottsparken, three or four cops close in pursuit. Corners where kisses were shared with boyfriends to be. The fast food place I would sit with friends in my early teens, drinking milkshakes and blowing bits of straw wrappers at one another. The Chinese restaurant I threw up in around the same age after a bad sandwich earlier that day. The library my mom took me to when we first moved to Norway. The hill up to the University where I first went to college, which I would walk up every Friday after my philosophy class. The street I would turn down on my beloved scooter (RIP!) on the way to school or to town. So many little things, some significant, some insignificant that were completely intertwined with this city, and also with me.

I've had similar experiences with Boston, where I studied for two years. Arriving there on a Chinatown bus one weekend from the hustle of NYC, memories overtook me there, too. Walking from the bus station past Copley to Hynes Convention Center, I passed places I hadn't thought about for months, but it all came rushing back. Corners I sped around on my rollerblades, places I passed on walks with friends, restaurants where we sat outside on warm nights. Every little detail of the city brought something back, made me feel the way I felt when I had just arrived in Boston, when I was exploring and comprehending what it meant to be that far away from home, relearning a culture I had only known as a child. I remember describing to a friend of mine that that first night back there made me feel like Boston was the city that got away. Here too, the city, the buildings were a part of me, a part of my own personal history. They helped shape me.

This past weekend, I took a trip up to Trondheim, where I also went to school for two years. Getting off the train and walking through the sleepy college town to get to my friends' place where I was staying for the weekend, I had a yet another experience like this. Every corner, every building, every piece of sidewalk brought back a memory. As I passed through Bakklandet, this gorgeous old cobblestone area with colorful wooden houses right by the river, a window was open. Through it, music was blasting and I could hear several guys singing passionately along at the top of their lungs. I remembered parties like those, the absolute freedom of living away from home for the first time ever, and being in a town filled with like-minded students.

Ghosts of the past don't haunt me when I walk the streets of Oslo these days, and after I had been in Boston a day or two, buildings turned back into plain buildings again, not just reminders of what had been. After being in Trondheim for a while this past weekend, it too turned back into just a city I knew really well. I guess it's those first hours that feels like coming home, a mix of nostalgia and happy reminders of the moments that made you who you are. Those are the moments that get to you.

Another thing that feels like coming home is seeing old friends again. Unlike cities that overwhelm you when you're first reunited, there are certain people who, even though you don't see them for months, or years even, when you get together with them, you fall right back into where you left off. I spent the weekend in Trondheim with that kind of friends and it was fantastic.


I brought them cookies, which we munched on all weekend. It was a new recipe, but it's real easy to make and they turned out yum! A chocolatey-chocolate chewy cookie, the recipe for which I found here.

Chocolatey Cookies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar. Then add eggs and vanilla, blend until combined. Add flour mixture, mix. Drop tablespoons of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit until puffy, about 12 minutes.

1 comment:

melissajane said...

I know exactly how you feel. I have that same nostalgia almost everywhere I go...Boston, London, and someday when I finally leave again, Bryn Athyn...memories can be overwhelming but so much fun to remember who you were and what you did back then. Can't wait to try these cookies! Love you!