Winning a peace prize
I have not felt at home or at peace since I have gotten back to Rome. There are a whole series of reasons why; the biggest are that my kitty died and that the apartment that we moved into has had an endless stream of ridiculous problems. This combined with a lot of smaller issues, like my old-reliable computer crashing, getting backed into in our new car and being investigated by the Quebec tax commission, has just made it feel like, despite my best attempts, I haven’t been able to make Rome feel like home again.
And probably because of the stress of it all, I keep getting sick and being sick makes everything worse because you can’t run around and ignore your problems. You have to sit still and face them, which means that I have been forced to stay inside, in this seemingly cursed apartment, living in the absence of Matteo and staring at my broken computer screen.
So of course, I booked a flight out of retribution. The cheapest flight to a place I hadn’t been was to Oslo, so that was the one I booked. It was self-inflicted banishment. If I was without a home, "home-less" if you will, I wanted to act that way.
|View from Royal Palace|
Oslo was beautiful, serene, grand and inviting. We could walk everywhere on boulevards that seemed made for royalty and really were. New cafes and restaurants spotted the city amidst its old elegance. The theatres, palace, parliament and museums were a distinct placeholder for an elegant past, but modernity was very much alive. The new Opera House and construction cranes reflected Oslo’s march forward.
|Construction plans for a new business district. Opera House featured on right.|
People always spoke Norwegian first, but switched to English without disdain or hesitation. We were not treated as anything special, not foreigners to gawk or scoff at, not as anyone outside of the ordinary. No one asked where we were from; it didn't matter. Everyone was treated like a local: equal, normal. We were just there and that was what mattered.
Maybe that idea of equality, that no one is great no one is terrible, is what lead the Nobel peace prize museum to be subdued. Housing the stories of some of the most amazing people who ever lived, I was let down to see that each incredible person had only one small screen with about a paragraph of text assigned to him, her or it. No story. No extravagance. No drama.
|Room featuring Nobel Peace Prize winners|
|Yummy Stockfleths cappuccino. Worth the 4 euro.|
We bought nothing but we were amused by the variety of trolls on sale and marveled at the beautiful wool of Dale of Norway. The train ran perfectly. The grocery stores were organised. All the machines we used worked. The bathrooms were clean. It was a nice break from Italy’s "charm".
|Families strolling in Grunnerløkka neighborhood|
I am not on track to win a Nobel peace prize, but out of this trip, I did win some peace.