Exploring Norway: A challenging day hike to Mørkgonga and Gyrihaugen

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun was up, the sky was clear. The temperature was cold and crisp, probably in between 7-14 degrees. 

I slipped into my hiking clothes topped with an off white sweater and a pretty thick coat I usually wear when going out in the cold. I wore my Northface hiking boots and checked if the sandwiches were in the bag. An hour later there I was, joining a group of expats in Norway, to my first Internations event: a challenging hike to Mørkgonga and Gyrihaugen, around 50km away from Oslo. 

They said it's a "norwegian thing" to go for hiking, mountain climbing and all those outdoor activities, you name it. I said, back home in the Philippines, a lot of people are in this kind of adventures too, myself included. I remember I was  only 8 years old when mom and her brother brought me and my siblings to the province to go camping. At a very young age, we knew how to survive in a forest I would say. So I felt, I was trained for this, I can manage. Later did I know, it was tougher to go hiking in countries with a challenging weather like Norway. 

What happened in Yogyakarta and why I want to go back

Before I totally immerse myself in learning Norwegian language course here in Oslo, I thought of sharing a backstory from what happened in my Indonesia trip and why I want to go back to Yogyakarta

It was out of boredom, frustration and monthly mood swing that I decided to finally see Indonesia. I never been there before and I would love to experience myself the good things people are sharing online. So with the help of friends, there I was. Staring at the sunrise at the Borobodur Temple, feeling amazed by the enormous details in Prambanan and braving the caves of Jomblang. 

Jomblang Cave's magnificent light 

Then and Now

A month ago I was in Malaysia, battling with the feeling of being exhausted, tired and self defeated. Like a volunteered prisoner desiring to fly high and free herself from the invisible cell made by her own mind. A rat in a wheel running faster and faster but never going anywhere. Yes, a filipino working abroad like myself can also feel that despite the fact that we seem happy on our Facebook photos, and that we're earning better than we were in the Philippines.

Many OFWs are alone in their battles of loneliness. I had my same share of experiences and I hope to never feel it again. I remember telling myself not to expect anyone to save me, that I am my own heroine. I self talk a lot yes. 

Photo by Japhetonthego

Random thoughts about growing up

It's funny reading an old bucket list and realizing "Wow! I've written a lot of silly items, like getting married underwater. Believe it or not I was serious when I wrote this. But thinking of it now, who's gonna marry me underwater? 😹

I realized it's amazing how life can turn out differently from what you expected it to be. I would never thought I could travel to a number of countries in South East Asia, Middle East and Europe.  I never imagine that some priorities could change. And those "things" you wished before are no longer that important now.

It is true that as you grow up, your priorities in life continue to change. Yes there might be some that are constant but, we experience changes that will change our way of thinking, our perspective and our whole life ahead.

Looking back, I realized that when I was younger, I was more focused on things and places I feel I needed to buy or see. I need this camera badly. I need to have these fancy clothes, shoes and make up. I need to go to this place before I die, yada yada. After some years in adulthood, I feel like they're not really something that matters in the end. Yes it could me make me happy for some period of time. But these wont give me real fulfillment and satisfaction. It's what you make of it. It's what you learn from those experiences.

Why am I writing this?

One, I just turned 29. I feel so old. I feel like the world is getting so much ahead of me. I feel like I'm not so happy with my career and I got to do something about it.

Two, I need a release. We all do. Either tell a friend, partner or someone you are comfortable sharing with. For me, I prefer to write it down so I can also evaluate myself at the same time.

Growing up isn't easy, truth! No one was given a manual on how to live their lives. It's all unique for each of us. We all have to figure out what is appropriate and significant for us. We have no clue what other person is going through. We can't judge why she did this and not the other. We can't demand anyone to do this because it's how we did it. We can only share and be there for them. Let them experience, decide, learn and grow up. Like flowers, we can never force people to bloom. But when they do, it's gonna be beautiful.

How to apply Schengen Visa at Danish Embassy in Malaysia

Are you planning to go to Europe? Here's a quick guide for you who are planning to apply for a Schengen Visa from Malaysia, with Norway, Sweden or Denmark as your main country of destination. 

First things first, set your mind straight and decide your travel dates. Then, book your appointment at Danish embassy in Kuala Lumpur. What I did was email them my preferred date and time. But before your appointment date, make sure to prepare all the requirements needed plus the extras, just in case they require you to.

Okay, now here's my list:

Oslo is the happiest place on Earth!

I still can't believe I'm actually writing this while sitting on this newly bought carpet in an apartment in Oslo, Norway. Yes, you heard me right. Norway, the happiest place on earth according to BBC.

It has been 2 weeks now since I arrived here in Oslo. I was and still am very happy and excited about this country. A little sad because I'm leaving in 4 days. I really wish I could stay and see some more, but duty calls. I need to go back to Malaysia, bringing all these beautiful and fresh memories I had on this trip.