Chad and I arrived in Norway this week. The flights (we had a layover in Munich) went well for the most part, even felt fast for coming all the way to Europe. We made it successfully to the hotel to unload our giant bag and rest. Carrying around our luggage is one of my least favorite parts of traveling. But we packed well this time, only checking one big bag, which Chad has taken responsibility for. We have three smaller bags between us too, so while he carries the big bag, I carry his backpack, our camera bag, and my shoulder bag. It’s not too bad actually.
And in many ways I can see how we’ve improved our travel habits. Traveling can be stressful, especially in another country where you don’t speak the language. Figuring out public transportation, maps, cultural customs, etc. is a constant negotiation. But I’ve learned over years of traveling with Chad which things stress him out the most and how to manage that. Some situations call for me just allowing him space to feel upset, since he tends to recover pretty quickly on his own most of the time. Other times, he needs me to take control, figure out how to pay for subway tickets and lead the way. I’m sure it goes the same way for him as he learns more and more how best to navigate my triggers and his responses to them. It’s some of the important work you do as a married couple. It’s just sometimes magnified by traveling the world.
In addition to learning more about each other, we continue to learn more about ourselves too. I know for instance that I don’t like being cold, and yet, we decided to travel to Norway, in November. When we arrived, it was probably ten degrees colder than I was expecting and it was snowing. I knew it was going to be cold here though and that I don’t always handle that well, so I had made a conscious decision before we began our vacation to not complain about the cold. I packed warm layers and mentally prepared myself for whatever weather might happen, and I can already see how this bit of self-awareness has helped. We walked through a sculpture garden our first day here and it snowed and I was cold, but I was content knowing that I could manage and that my not complaining would be so much better for our travels and our relationship.
Our focus for this trip is peace. We talked a little bit about that over a drink at a little local brewery. What does peace mean? How do we accomplish it, in large scale like world peace and human rights, and in small ways like reconciling relationships? Is there a best path to peace? And what effort does God want us to make to reach peace?
I’m excited to explore these questions, even if I don’t find answers to them. More from Norway soon.
P.S. God is good in Norway. Literally, the word god means good in Norwegian. I like that.