Oslo, now a familiar city

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EXPATRIATE MUSINGS

An occasional column by foreigners living and working in Oslo, this one by new college graduate Martina Scapin, the daughter of an Italian diplomat who was born in Oslo but didn’t return until last summer. She’s been back this summer, too.

And so we meet again, Oslo.

At the beginning of this year, I shared my experiences working at a souvenir shop during the summer of 2009. Now I am back, interning at a foreign policy research institute, where I am assisting on an exciting project in the international politics department.  As a recent politics graduate from the UK, this is exactly the sort of thing I need to experience in order to see what the real world of international relations is all about.

Norway has always been heavily involved in international affairs, and the people I have met here are no exception. Most have travelled far and wide, living in the most conflict-stricken countries in our world, implementing strategies that help secure those most vulnerable to attack. When they eventually come back north, they continue to build on their expertise, so as to then venture off again, to do their little bit of good in this world.

I can definitely say that I like this place. I feel quite at home in this little alcove filled with political scientists. Everyone is different and interesting, the projects they work on are complex and multi-faceted, and the fact that I have the opportunity to lend my share during these two months is both intimidating and exciting. After almost a month here, I look forward to diving deeper into this world of research, to keep learning how this crazy world of ours works, and to hopefully come out of it all unscarred.

Oslo's city bike program continues to grow in popularity. PHOTO: Views and News

When I am not in the office doing my research, I bike. As soon as I arrived in Oslo in late July I knew I would want to try out those new city bikes my parents were always gushing about. So after I received my card, the bike became my feet.

On one of those rare but beautiful sunny days, there is nothing better to do than to take your Oslo city bike for a ride. One of my favourite routes, which coincidentally brings me right to where I work, is biking down Bygdøy allé towards Solli Plass, and then through Slottsparken towards the city. It’s a comfortable route because it’s mostly straight lines, or downhill. The way back requires a bit more effort, but you feel like you’ve had a good workout by the end of it. If you are new to the city, I would highly recommend purchasing one of these cards. They only cost 80 kroner and last up to sixmonths, so it’s an investment worth making.

Bicycling and jogging through the Frogner Park are favorite pasttimes for this expatriate, and many others as well. PHOTO: Views and News

I’ve also taken up jogging while here. Well, actually my previous vacation spent in the land of blissfully good food, Italy of to be precise, made that decision for me, but I am in fact starting to enjoy it. I usually jog in the Frogner Park, because I find if you have to suffer, you might as well suffer in a beautiful place, and also because lots of people jog there, so you don’t feel alone. Also, Gustav Vigeland’s famous statues in the park are always there to keep you company.

As for my former souvenir shop colleagues, they’ve become good friends, and I still see them quite often when I’m here.  They are still the crazy bunch they were a year ago, god bless!

And as for me, I can now confidently say that this city is starting to grow on me, and I must admit, I love the feeling of familiarity.

Views and News from Norway/Martina Scapin
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