When I was in my very early 20s, I lived in Wichita Falls, Texas and had the time of my life. After making the most of my time in Wichita Falls, a city many people I was with loathed, I often boasted to people, “I can live anywhere in this world and have a good time.”
I like to think of places I have lived as people I have dated. Some of the cities have been boring (Dayton, Ohio and Biloxi, Mississippi), some have been spicy and saucy (San Antonio, Texas), and some have been just downright irresistible (Richmond, Virginia). And some cities, like Wichita Falls, may not really fit into any categorization but simply were just the ‘right city at the right time’.
Bergen was one of those cities. Bergen is beautiful. Bergen is charming. Bergen was a great place for me to get to know the country of Norway better. But at the end of the day, Bergen wasn’t the right guy for me. But Bergen was the right guy at the right time.
Had it not been for that city in western Norway, I would never in a million years have thought I was capable of going outside when it was raining. I also would never have picked up that crazy Bergensk dialect as opposed to the Oslo one (not sure how engrained the Bergensk dialect is in me and it will probably change quickly living in Oslo again). If I hadn’t lived in Bergen I probably would not have had the opportunity to try, and enjoy, pinnekjøtt as a Christmas meal. I made friends in that city that are so near and dear to my heart and I wouldn’t trade those friendships for the world. But Bergen and I weren’t in it for the long haul. It was kind of a mutual separation I like to think.
Since moving (back) to Oslo, I get daily reminders from people living in Bergen pointing out “Bergen’s prettier” or “Look! It’s raining in Oslo today…doesn’t that suck?” and all I can say is “Yes, it is raining and yes, Bergen is prettier”. But at the end of the day, it is about what feels right to a person and Oslo doesn’t just feel right for me. It feels perfect.