It’s crazy how fast time goes by when there’s a big event looming on the horizon. I’ve been so busy trying to make the most of my summer and get things done that I almost didn’t realize I only have a week and a half left in the States!

In two days, I’ll be headed to Mythcon, an academic conference focused on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and other fantasy writers, where a handful of classmates and I will present Tolkien research we did at the beginning of the summer in Birmingham, England. After that, I’m headed to Los Angeles to visit my sister and relax on the beach with a friend who lives there before heading off to Bergen, Norway! (As a side note, this is making packing a pickle since I have to pack for three totally different trips in one suitcase! Maybe I could leave my summer clothes with my sister for safekeeping…)

This close to leaving, my feelings are mixed. I am very excited to be starting my stay in a new country, but it is setting in that I won’t be able to see anyone from home for months. Yesterday was my last day at work, and today my old roommates and I are going to the movies and hanging out for the last time before the new semester. Also, I’m a little frazzled by trying to make sure that all of the necessary details here at home are taken care of before I leave. Did I get enough passport photos for my ID’s and visas? Have I printed my flight itinerary? Wait, I have to pack school supplies!? I’m in a whirlwind of planning and final checks. However, I know that some things just won’t fall into place until I reach Norway, so I’ll just have to roll with it. I’m already making a list of things I want to do once my arrival is settled, like visit Ikea (which is so big and so far it has its own bus from the city center), go hiking, try brown cheese (Google it, it looks better than the name makes it sound!) and take some pictures of Bergen’s famous rainbow houses on the harbor. Farvel, United States, and I’ll see you all in Bergen!