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Being moved

The 16-year-old Aizhea Jhean Tuason writes about her journey to Trondheim and what it's like discovering a new city in a previously unknown country.

(Illustration: Astri Riedl / Midjourney)

Growing up in Manila, I always wondered how my life would turn out if I would move to a foreign country. At first, it was genuinely just a what-if, but when I turned 15, fate took the reins and sent me to Trondheim.

It’s been a year since I packed my bags with tears in my eyes to reunite with my family whom I hadn’t seen in 3 years. Although I was excited to be with my family again, I was hesitant. My friends had become the people I turned to first as I spent my childhood living with my extended family. Thus, leaving my country also meant abandoning my comfort zone. It wasn't easy to bid goodbye to them and the memories I would miss out on.

A nearly 24-hour flight was enough for me to grieve and weep for the things I cherished. Both exhaustion and homesickness pushed me to the point of letting my feelings pour out. The clarity that followed let me understand why I had to do this in the first place. I knew I had to be strong for myself and for the people that would count on me back home.

Spring was the first season I experienced in Trondheim. I thought it was terrible but looking back, my thoughts of the season resonated with how I was feeling back then. Both gloomy and happy with a slight hint of hope of brighter days.

I wanted to get mad at my parents for impulsively deciding to fly me here. My first thought was that this place was too small. I was used to seeing tall buildings and cramming my way through tight urban spaces. But when I arrived in Trondheim, it was like a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t crowded or chaotic like back home and a gentle breeze flowed through the city. The breeze and nature are honestly what made me want to stay. There’s nothing like being able to see both urban spaces and green nature at the same time!

I’m a big homebody and walking around didn’t interest me. But it all changed when I finally had the time to explore. I thought going out alone here was uncommon, but I was comforted to learn that there are a lot of people here who enjoy their own company. The quietness and the serene feeling of being accompanied by no one gave me great joy. There’s also a lot to do here! Like walking around museums and public parks, and even riding the tram to Lian alone!

The Norwegian local fairs were also the perfect opportunity for me to get to know Trondheim more. From food to clothes, everything looked so simple yet so captivating. There are also plenty of activities that are interactive. And the best part? Most of it is free!

Migrating didn’t seem like a good idea at first, but Trondheim and Norwegians have this specific comfort and peace that gives us foreign people enough reasons to fall in love with this place. They never make you feel like you’re different and they treat you equally.

We sometimes just have to take the leap of faith and trust the process. I’ve been moved by my experiences in Trondheim and it's indeed the place I’m more than willing to explore again and again.

This article originally appeared in The List Summer issue 2023.


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