The grass is always greener. And currently, I have the privilege of living smack in the middle of fertile pastures. Despite the fantasy, living abroad is not always a fairy tale. Life  far away from friends and family can make some days tough. The winter season in Norway brings countless hours of darkness. And the amount of rain during the spring, fall, and summer is quite depressing for a Florida girl. There is a longing for creature comforts, the familiar, and a constant emptiness tugs at heartstrings. Just once I would love for a stranger to smile and say hello on the street.

However, I have learned many wonderful things from living in Norway. One lesson in particular, is a phrase my mother-in-law has painted on the inside of her door. Ut på tur, aldri sur! Directly translated, out for a tour (walk), never sour (mood). And the saying is true. Anytime I need a pick me up, I go for a walk.

This week I took a two hour stroll up Mesna Elv, a small river that runs from the mountains through the center of Lillehammer and ends at Mjøsa, the largest lake in Norway. The woods are carpeted with wildflowers now and the sheep are out of the barns.

Squirrels cross the path within a yard of my feet, and the now thawed canal is filled with mallards courting. There are covered bridges and many waterfalls along this route. The sound of the crashing water is exhilarating, and the view from the top is fantastic.

The beauty of nature is calming, and fresh air quickly brings reason to something that  moments before seem senseless. And before returning home, I find myself glad it has rained every single day for the past three weeks because I am trying to grow grass in my yard. I think about the upcoming weekend which forecasters have predicted sunny days, and nights. As we approach mid-summer night, our days are quickly stretching towards 24 hours of sunlight. And I smile as I begin to bubble over with happiness.

Then I said hello to a lady biking by on the opposite side of the street. She damn near fell off her bike as she stared at me trying to figure out how she knows me. She stopped, got off her bike and stood there for a bit before she decided to continue walking in silence.

Ut på tur, aldri sur!

( I giggled to myself the rest of the way home.)