Thursday, August 2, 2012

"Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet."

- Bob Marley said that. I don't think he knew what it was like to live in Bergen, but this statement might just define those who have learned to live with the rain in this Norwegian city, and those who haven't.

On one of the rare sunny days here in Bergen, I was practicing driving when something unexpected came out of my mouth:

"I think I really love it here."

I never really gave it much thought one way or the other, so the words actually surprised me. Thinking about it more, I realized how much I liked the mountains that surround the city I live in, and I've only been on top of two so far.

The two biggest mountains in Bergen are on the left: Fløien first, then Ulriken.
This is the view of Bryggen from the Rosencrantz Tower.

A few months ago, probably during my bought of winter blues, I read an article in a series called "city smackdowns," which compares rival cities to decide which one is better (this particular one was New York vs. Los Angeles). There was a quote in the article that struck me as I was a new soul to Bergen. I'm paraphrasing, but basically it said you can't (or shouldn't, rather) come to a conclusion about a place before you've lived there for at least a year. Suspend your judgement.

Personally, I believe there is a lot of truth to that statement. I felt so indifferent about this city, that is, until I suddenly felt love for it (and how strange that was almost exactly a year after I arrived!). After this epiphany of mine, this city has become even more charming than I thought possible. Perhaps it's because I've been playing tour guide (and not a very good one as I'm learning as I go), but I'm finding more and more interesting things and thinking: there's another thing I love about this place.

I love the rich history Bergen has to offer, especially Bryggen. I'm actually fascinated by Bergen's place in European trading and it's contribution to the story of Norway.

Spring in Bergen is a treat, and it was only then that I started to really explore this place. Once my glorious summer vacation started, I was spending my days going into the city center and wandering around, in and out of shops, attractions, and taking in the general happy atmosphere around me.

I finally started to pay attention to the city I live in. Warm, fair weather is a big help. I can hold my head up high and see the architecture, statues, parks, fountains, and buildings (as opposed to keeping my head down with my hood/umbrella pulled over my face in an attempt to shield myself from the horizontal rain that happens so often here). In colder months the object of the game is to get from A to B as quickly and efficiently as possible, and not linger to "enjoy the scenery."

Thankfully, I've been lingering lately. And that lingering has led to love.

I was pretty sure I was in the right city....and then I saw this out my living room window late one evening:

10:15 at night!!

Double rainbow in a city I just discovered I might actually love?

Well, if that's not a sign of love, happiness, and good fortune, I don't know what is.

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