I'm fortunate that I'll be on sabbatical in the fall. As a result, I've taken two drastic actions.

1) I died my hair blue. Well, technically, just a swath of my hair is blue, but it was still something I probably wouldn't do during the regular school year.

Kathee with Blue Hair
Kathee with Sabbatical Hair

2) I've moved back to Oslo. I'll be here on and off for a few months, escaping the heat, enjoying an urban environment, reconnecting with friends, studying Norwegian, and working on my project with very few distractions.

Although I've been back in Norway several times since living here, it feels different this time around. I suppose one of the differences is that most of my friends are on holiday for the month of July which means that I've been left to my own devices, to some extent. I've been reading a lot and started creating my sabbatical website today (I'll be working on a digital humanities project)--but every day, I make sure to take long walks, exploring both the immediate neighborhood and other parts of the city.

Today, my walk was incredible. I worked most of the day, so this evening, I decided to retrace my favorite walk from when I lived here: down Drammensveien and then along the fjord. However, when I got to the part of my walk where I usually turn back towards Aker Brygge, I decided instead to keep walking on Bygdøy peninsula, taking a path along the shore, then venturing into the more rural landscape complete with cow pastures. It was incredibly beautiful and I felt some regret that I hadn't taken these paths before.

Drammensveien and Bygdøy
Drammensveien and Bygdøy

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Sight: colorful homes, sparkling water in the fjord, electric cars getting charged, overcast skies.

Sound: ducks quacking, cars zooming, clicking of ski poles for skaters getting ready for the winter.

Smell: damp air, burnt coffee close to the coffee factory, sewage smell in a couple of spots.

Touch: cool air, light mist of rain.

Taste: bread and cheese at the end of my walk.

My last week in Norway was filled with socializing, goodbyes, packing, and cleaning. It went by quickly.

I was able to explore more of Oslo with my friends--I enjoyed seeing new parts of the city and experienced some melancholy as I said goodbye to places that had meant so much to me over the last 10 months.

Blå, "the coolest bar in Europe," was one of the places I visited with Lixian and Jeff. We hung out on the patio by the river and enjoyed the band. After awhile, we walked through the city streets into Gronland and Jeff told us a little bit about the history of this neighborhood currently occupied predominantly by Oslo's immigrant population.

Blå
Blå

I also met Stine and Cathrine for dinner one evening--and then we saw "The Comedy of Errors" performed at Akershus Festning, the courtyard in a medieval fort. The production was funny and we all had such a good time. It was incredible to go look at the fjord during the intermission and to look up at the walls in the courtyard during the performance.

Shakespeare at Akershus Festning
Shakespeare at Akershus Festning

Another night I revisited Rust with Hilde and Renate. We enjoyed sitting on the patio, chatting, and eating yummy tapas. Rust has been a great Sunday afternoon destination for reading and relaxing.

Tapas at Rust
Tapas at Rust

I drank one last cortado at Le Rustique with Abbey, a former Roving Scholar who has moved back to Oslo. I love this cafe's owners who are from South American (Argentina, I think). They are always so friendly--and fun to chat with. Another neighborhood haunt was Apent Bakeri, not the big one by Literaturhuset, but the small one nearer to my apartment. Lixian and I met there to eat one last kanelboller together.

Friday night was dinner in Majorstuen at Curry and Ketchup. I had envied Tom his pea dish last time I was there, so this time I ordered this scrumptious combination of peas and paneer. Divine. After dinner, LaReesa, Susie and I walked in Frognerparken in the light rain. It was a relaxing way to say goodbye to this beautiful park.

Susie and LaReesa
Susie and LaReesa

I also really enjoyed parties at Tove's and Ann's, although I didn't take pictures.

Two last pictures. First, scenery by the fjord at Aker Brygge. After my last (amazing meal) at Ann and Henning's, I took the long way home and said goodbye to this bustling area.

Aker Brygge
Aker Brygge

I also took some photos of a quiet street that was part of my morning walk. I'm not really even sure what the name of the street is, but I always loved when I arrived at this part:

Near Aker Brygge
Near Aker Brygge

These are places in Oslo that I will miss--and people that I will miss, too.

Now that I'm back in Fresno, my 10 months seem so mystical. It feels so normal to be home that it's hard to believe that I was away so long. I find myself wanting to revisit these places--and I have yet to find such pleasant and inviting spaces in the Fresno heat.