When I first moved to Oslo, I met an amazing group of international women who let me into their tight circle right away. Within some months, however, the circle broke up a bit, with one woman moving away, one finding work and getting super busy, and one going back to school, not to mention half the group imploding because of disagreements, hurt feelings and drama.
Soon, I became pregnant and connected with a great group of women who also became mamas around the same time as I did. We were a tight group for a year, while we were all on maternity leave. Starting over a year ago, these women began to go back to work, but I had again found a small circle of women who were my go-to gals. One also had a baby. One was my first friend in Oslo. One was a new girl in town, also from Portland. One was working, so couldn’t join in too often in our lunches and walks in the park, but was happy to reconnect with the Americans on weekends and evenings.
Then, as I knew would happen, this group started to break up, through normal expat circumstances. The Portland woman returned to the US, as she had planned all along. The working gal moved away to have her baby in the US and spend her maternity year there. The other mama put her kiddo in nursery and started looking for a job.
It was, in fact, the slow disintegration of this group and the general malaise I felt about finding a new tribe that made me jump at the idea to travel for half a year. When talking with Hubby about it, we decided it was a natural break in our social life and thus a good time to break away from Oslo.
Now, I feel like a new tribe is just at my fingertips, just when I am leaving. I connected recently with another woman whom I have known for a while but just realized we have lots of common interests. Another woman from Portland and I had a great evening recently. Someone I went to middle school with wound up in Oslo and she seems super nice (our paths never really crossed in middle school). A woman with a young toddler and I bonded over natural birth and extended breastfeeding.
And yet: I am leaving.
On the one hand, it is a good omen, I feel, for connecting with great people when I get back from this trip and start over in a new city. Some of these new people have promised to connect me with people they know in Stavanger. But otherwise, I have gotten a fresh reminder that I can connect with people. I can open up, be social, put myself out there, and find people. So that is nice.
On the other hand, it makes me sad for the deeper relationships that might have developed with these women, had I not been taking this trip.
I will stay focused on the positives, though. There are a lot of amazing people out there. Instead of just Oslo, I might now be about to make connections all over the world! It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I couldn’t be more excited!