Written sometime in September & posted on 11/17/18
I was delighted to be in Norway for the first time. It's easy to get caught up in the mindset of not wanting to miss a thing; thus, after arriving and walking over to the hotel across from the airport, I met up with my travel mate, showered, did a bit of unpacking, grabbed a sandwich and we headed out. It was Norwegian Constitution Day, a national holiday, and we'd heard that festivities would be happening downtown. We were eager to take it in before we met up with the group for a tour of Oslo.
We boarded the a crowded train to the national Theater. People of all ages in traditional, formal dress were on the same journey. It was delightful to observe the charming and elegant clothing, rooted in culture, history and tradition.
Off the train, there were so many people! It was a celebration of humanity; a celebration of Norwegians!
We were carried by the crowd toward the parade route to see school children singing and playing instruments with such energy, vitality, and joy. We later learned that this day was considered to be a Children's Day (as opposed to a military day, for example) as the reason to celebrate and honor Norway.
We rode the train back and I power napped for 10 minutes before we boarded the bus for the 2pm tour of Oslo. Here are a few facts we learned along the way:
Finally, we spent a lovely, albeit quick, afternoon at the Vigeland Park where we encountered crowds enjoying the warm and bright day. It all was a lovely welcome to Oslo.
As a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, I traveled to Svalbard in May 2018! Thanks to Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic for supporting teachers and encouraging us to be explorers.
Some of the text shared here was written in my journal or through social media posts while I was on expedition.
But much of the writing shared here was written in the months following my return home.
I had this idea that I would embark on my journey and, in real time, reflect and write and create blog posts and videos and online albums and photo books and postcards. I had fantasies of sitting in the ship's library with my pen and notebook, collecting and composing what I'd seen and experienced and manifesting deep, profound thoughts.
Yeah. That didn't happen.
My experience was so intense, so surreal, that I had difficulty finding adequate words to describe it all. Silly, inconsequential, and unsatisfying words were all I had - great, amazing, unbelievable, incredible. At the end of each day I would try. After dinner, somewhere between 10pm and midnight, I'd make my way up to the library to write. But I would get distracted. The large, glorious, gorgeous windows were too inviting and each moment was unique. The clouds were shifting, the water was moving, the ship was in motion, the ice upon the water was drifting. Each and every moment was unique.
My eyes were up and wide open. I was outside on the deck feeling the cold air and the lightly falling snow on my face. Or I was sitting on the bridge, snuggled in warmth, with a pair of binoculars looking looking looking. Oh, I tried to shift my thinking to writing something more than a bulleted list, but I just couldn't pull it off.
To put it simply, I couldn't focus.
I coined my condition Wonder-Induced ADD.
It is a beautiful affliction to have.
This blog is dedicated to my aunt, Tina Chavez, who is always my biggest fan and supporter. When I told her about my expedition to the Arctic, she asked, "So, when do you go on the Polar Bear Express?"
She also told me to run fast from the polar bears, but naming this blog "Run, Jen, Run!" isn't as charming as calling it "The Polar Bear Express."