Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rainy Pre-Departure Questioning

   As I sit, pondering the rain amid a Wednesday morning, the thought that my surroundings will soon change keeps distracting me. What a wonderful blessing and undeserved opportunity this summer will be! While being gone from family and friends for two months will be challenging, I fully anticipate this summer to shape my philosophy and alter my life. Additionally, several, probing questions continue to pester me:

·         Am I ready to experience this?

·         Being an individual, a lowly college student at that, how can I best affect peace?

·         What new adventures will I find there?

·         Was is this Norwegian obsession with fish?

·         Can a person die from eating Lutefisk?

·         What meaning can a Dutch Reformed man, coming out of a Norwegian Lutheran school, find in the homeland of many of his friends?

·         What does "being Norwegian" truly encompass?

   While I ponder some of these in jest, the meaning is still firmly there. I cannot simply and blithely travel to another land without first questing myself. I am not Norwegian; many, including my traveling companion, are. I've received a wonderful opportunity to travel to their homeland, and I feel I must be prepared. Yet, what does this preparation look like? While wonderful, the trip promises to contain an exhausting amount of course-work and research, as well socializing and friendship-building. Should I be reading, researching, praying? I believe all of the above will help me as I begin this journey. And truth be told, I am incredibly excited!

  Even so, the reality of this journey has not fully set in yet. Last year, I again received an enormous blessing in being able to travel to Greece. While we had learned that we would be traveling to Greece a year in advance, the reality of the trip only truly set in as we entered the snowy airport (a true Midwestern March) and boarded the plane. That feeling of disjointed reality is again upon me.

   Realistically, I know that I will be traveling with a good friend to another continent in less than a month (Gracious, that soon?). Yet, I am even now struggling to fully comprehend this. As I research Norway, purchase my Norwegian phrase book (I have studied English, Latin, French, and Spanish. Handy that I didn't glance at or even consider studying Norwegian, isn't it?), and pray for God's guidance as we embark, I trust that my questions will be resolved and I'll be prepared for this life-altering journey.


Dear Friends,
    Welcome! This blog was established specifically to inform and inspire others by a wonderful opportunity I received late in February this year. During that month, I applied and was interview for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Scholars' Program. The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is a truly wonderful and inspiring event that brings the five Lutheran, Norwegian, Midwestern colleges (Augustana, Augsburg, Concordia in Moorhead, Luther, and St. Olaf) together for a weekend forum advocating, discussing, and preparing for peace around the world. The Scholars' Program of this Forum selects two students from each of the five colleges and sends them to study at the University of Oslo and the Nobel Institute over the summer.
    I was wonderfully excited to receive this fantastic opportunity. Along with my fellow Augustana Viking and good friend, Thad Titze, I will be spending seven weeks in Norway. Together, we will have our minds and hearts stretched as we dive into researching peace advocacy. Additionally, as a student of history, I will be exploring Norwegian history through as course at the University of Oslo. While I will be journaling extensively for my own, personal enjoyment, this blog will allow you to keep track of my journeys, experiences, and thoughts about my travel experience.
    So my friends, welcome to the fjords!
Michael Seeley