UPDATE: Holy crap, you guys are fast. I'm closing the comments because I think I've spent my whole afternoon writing this thing and...replying to comments. I'll sum up the rest here. But first, why I'm updating...
I've come to the conclusion that it's too much hassle to go. At least, there's no reasonable way without someone getting angry at me, or afraid for my well being. What I thought was a fairly simple trip has turned into something that, in my opinion, has been blown way out of proportion and shouldn't be worth 50% of my brain power. I haven't accomplished anything worthwhile today after thinking about this trip and how there's less than no chance of me going on it. No vacation should be this stressful, as in no vacation should make people worried that I'm going to be stranded in Norway or raped or god knows what else. Because that's what would happen. Naturally.
Thanks for your input. Maybe next year will be better.
I'm sorry I can't reply to everyone's comments, as you surely spent a large amount of time writing them, but I hope this response is good enough. The idea to bring a friend makes sense, but besides that finding another good friend to come along with me isn't the easiest thing in the world (unless we're all rolling in moolah...er, I'm not self sufficient, unfortunately), the last thing I'd want to do is "force" a friend to come with me. Not that it's really forcing...I mean, it'd be an enjoyable experience. But...ye know. (Just nod.)
If anyone's wondering, Morten offered to talk to my mum, but my mum refused, saying she didn't know how that would help. Swell mum, just avoid him. He also offered to let me stay in his girlfriend's apartment, but that seems a bit ...extreme, or unecessary. Obviously she must be a cool person, but then I become her burden, and that's kind of odd.
I have to admit that risk taking is not in my nature. I don't see going to Norway as taking a risk, but going to Norway against the wishes of everyone I know is a risk. I only take risks when it gets to the point that I really can't handle NOT taking the risk, but in this case I can. Norway will still be there next year.
Thanks again for your comments. Original post follows.
I ate a piece of baklava the other day due to a random food craving. I'm smooshing it in your face just to get your attention.
Yes, I'm afraid I've got another non-food post to make. A bunch of random crappy things have been going on lately that bother me enough to disrupt the foodie-ness of this blog in order to take advantage of the reasonably sized readership I have. Give me your brainmeats. Seriously, if you don't want to stick around for the rest of this post, I totally understand. Otherwise, your opinion may be appreciated...
Since last year, I had been thinking of going on a trip to Europe with Diana. She's graduating this year (I have another year to go) and she's never been to London (although she's wanted to for ages), so we thought it'd be a fun time to do something "out there" before she has to enter the real world of graphic design. However, plans didn't earily materialize and...frankly, we still don't know what we're doing.
I went to London two summers ago and really liked it, so I wouldn't mind going again. However, the place I've wanted to go for years is Norway, that ginormous country with not a lot of humans. Some of my friends think I have a bit of an obsession wtih Norway. Well...no, that's more with musicians from Norway. ..WAIT WAIT, no no, obsession is the wrong word! It's just that Bergen happens to be a hotbed of awesome musicians. Surely there are people who visit musical birthplaces.
But besides that, many parts of Norway are jaw droppingly beautiful. I've seen the photos; they can't hide those mountains and seas of snow from me. When I told Morten that I wanted to visit, he offered his apartment to me (and any friends that may come with me) along with taking us places (perhaps going on a multi-country road trip), feeding us, etc. While it's not necessary, it's certainly beneficial to know a local.
After not planning much for months, I felt like what I would rather do is just go to Norway. A few weeks to...um, roam around and eat stuff while visiting one of my best Internet friends would make a nice vacation. After more discussion, Morten came up with another idea: how about if we take on a 2-3 week food writing project? Eat around Bergen and other cities, talk about Norwegian food, other kinds of food in Norway, and possibly compile our musings into something printed on dead tree pulp. Morten is a great writer, I can beef up my skillzzz, and it would be interesting to get the concurrent perspectives of a food-loving native and a clueless American food studies major.
Yay, it's a plan! Kinda! Wait. Yeah. Okay, this is where the problems and subsequent ranting come in.
I'm 20. It's not that old. It's not that young. American deems me "not legal", because...America sucks. Morten is 29. And the opposite gender. Problem? If you have a twisted mind, perhaps.
...Okay, if you have a caring mind who wants to cover all the bases, then you could find a problem with a 20 year old female college student travelling to another country for a few weeks to stay with a 29 year old male grad student in his apartment. My mum does. My mum has many problems with it.
I know some people reading this are parents. Obviously, I'm not a parent, nor do I really see myself becoming one in my future, but I do realize where you're coming from. Gotta protect your kids! I understand! Yes! Okay! You may let your daughter go to Norway with friends (my mum would), but to stay with an Internet friend almost a decade older than her sounds sketchy. I get it. [nod]
But I'm angry. Quite angry. Blood-kinda-boiling angry. If you know me semi-well, you know that I don't get angry much. I mean, not at other people; yesterday I was uber-pissed at myself for getting on a 1 train whose doors closed as soon as a 2 train (which is express) pulled in across the platform, thus lengthening my train ride by...probably just a few minutes, but at the time I was really pissed at myself.
Back to my mum. She's against the idea. Basically forbidding it. If I were more disobedient and spoiled, I could just buy the ticket, get a cab, and leave the house (I keep my passport on me). But that would be insane, and in my opinion (which is usually self-loathing), I'm a pretty good kid. When I think about it, I can't think of anything really bad I've done. Seriously. I know my brother has lied to my mum about where he's been, but I've never, ever had to do that. (I don't think he lied because my mum would otherwise not let him do the things he wants to do, but because he doesn't want her to bother him about them.) My life has little defiance. If I go to London, what's stopping me from buying a ticket to Norway and just going there? My mum can't stop me by that point.
What's really bothering me about my mum is that she keeps referring to Morten as a stranger (yes, a stranger that I've known for five years) while stressing that he's single (despite that I keep telling her that he has a girlfriend...WHO LIVES 10 MINUTES FROM HIM). It boggles the mind. Her impression is that he has ulterior motives, an idea that sickens me since there is absolutely nothing of a non-platonic sense going on. Her judgement is offensive to him for assuming that he would betray his girlfriend (seriously mum, what the FUCK) and me for thinking that I wouldn't know how to pick good friends. Also, it gives me the sense that I shouldn't make friends with guys (a "rule" that I unintentionally followed for most of my life anyway) unless I want my mum to go insane.
[sigh] Of course, my mum has never met Morten, nor have I, but you get to know people after a while. I've made really good friends with people after a few weeks of emailing back and forth. Today I got in a not-so-good argument with her and found that in her mind, you can't ever know what people on the Internet are like. Simply emailing people doesn't tell you what they're like. (If I may back myself up some more, I've had some lengthy conversations with Morten where actually...like, spoke and used our vocal chords.) I would say that in fact, you can get to some people better through email than in real life. Take me for instance. You really wouldn't get much from me just from real life encounters, and even through email it can take a while to get to know me.
There are fakes on the Internet, but there are fakes in real life too. Luckily, or perhaps because I actually have good judgement in this field, I haven't met any bad people online. (Don't get me wrong; I know it's possible, but I don't assume that everyone's a criminal.) I don't meet people through random means; there's some common spark that causes people to contact me and for us to exchange correspondence for long enough that we'd feel comfortable meeting in real life. As I said in my other entry, I've met plenty of amazing people through the Internet who were no different in real life than I thought they would be from their Internet personalities (and it's usually more exciting to meet these people in the flesh). There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Morten is a great guy who is offering a few weeks of his life to hang out with me (and our friends) because we're friends, we're friends, JUST FRIENDS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.
[A little sidestory: The most awkward meeting I've ever had with anyone was with a guy I DIDN'T meet on the Internet. Yes. A guy who came to my booth at the MoCCA Festival last summer was apparently the only person who used one of my gazillion free business cards to contact me and hang out. I had a feeling that our personalities didn't mesh, especially since I HAD actually met him in real life and had an idea of his characteristics, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. "Ohh, maybe he's cool." What happened? Most awkward meal ever. In. History. Just. Seriously, get it out of my head. At least I ate a waffle, which was the highlight of the meeting. I don't mean to imply that everyone in real life is weird, but...well...I'm just going to end there.]
My mum asked me if I'd hesistate to go if I had a boyfriend. It took me less than a split second (a split-split second) to say, "Of course not!" How would that make a difference? Didn't I say we were friends about five gajillion times?
"This guy is a stranger, and--"
Apparently, I didn't say it enough times.
Here's a snippet of her email (which she'd surely hate me for sharing, but heey, I don't care) that really bothered me:
You are not like Jennifer Iino [one of my best friends that my mum knows well] who is built strong and aggressive naturally, who will probably be all right in most places in the world alone, you are just not like that. you are too good natured, accommodating and obliging, it is just not the right time yet to travel by yourself for such an adventure. Sure it can be great fun, but it can also be regrettable.
Oh, sure, it can be fun...or it'll suck a lot. Nice. I'd bet a lot of money on it being fun and productive. My mum thinks I'm obsessed with Morten because I keep pushing the issue of this trip and she not letting me go on it. Hell, if anyone's obsessed with Morten, wouldn't that be her? That's all she talks about. I have no qualms about staying with him. What I'm excited about is meeting a long-time Internet friend (because believe it or not, two people as seemingly different as us can become good friends), traveling around a country I've never been to before, eating a cuisine I've never been exposed to (don't tell me that all Norwegian food is bad; I'm sure it's not!) and writing about it with someone else who I know loves food as much as I do (or more) and is a better writer. We shall share the food of Norway with the world! YES?
When I read, "it is just not the right time yet to travel by yourself," I thought, "...When is the right time?" I think for my mum it'll never be the right time. I know I'm not very old. I'm not very young. I know I'm immature, but I haven't really been in situations where I'm pushed to do things that would contribute to my...growth (mental, not physical, ahem ahem). Did I ever go on an "adventure" in high school? No. College? No. Do I have the rest of my life to do this stuff? I guess...but there are some things you'd rather do when you're younger.
I'm not going to Norway to do anything wrong. I wouldn't even say that Norway is the place of adventure (to compare, my friend Jen that my mum referenced studied abroad in London last year and for winter break went to Thailand by herself...also, Jen is a few months younger than I am, although she looks older and, yes, is more mature). It's just a trip. To see a new country and have the good fortune of having a friend who will take me around this new country. The Internet breaks down these barriers of distance, but when you have to get on an airplane and cross country lines, it seems insane.
[sigh] So. Whatever's going on in my head sounds much angrier than what I wrote here, I think. My mum would rather that I not ask others for advice because in her opinion (which I see a point in), other people can say whatever they want and they don't have to take any responsibility for it. The only people who are responsible for my well being are my parents. All my friends? Oh, they don't give a crap. She implied that any friend who tells me that this Norway trip is a good idea is "not my real friend". Behold, fake friends galore! That's swell. I have no friends and no one truly cares for me except for my family. (I know it's good to have a family who cares. But. Ye know. Um. My friends aren't telling me to jump off a bridge.)
None of you has to say anything that pleases me. So. Yeah. If you want to call me a naive moron for thinking it's okay to go to another country to meet "a stranger", then you're free to say that. Not that I'd agree with you. Lurkers, feel free to come out. [If you want to tell me something that you'd rather not leave in public, feel free to email me.]
...Yeah, I'm done now. If you read this whole thing, you're kind of insane. Congratulations! I should also mention that I have a good relationship with my mum because she's a good mother and I love her. But I think in this instance she's driving me insane and truly isn't listening to anything I have to say. Now I understand why so many other people have turbulent relationships with their parents who don't listen to what they say.
[Lastly, if you haven't seen this before, check out CouchSurfing.]