I was a part of the UA in Norway: Adventures in Literature class. The Class textbook and study subject is about reading, discussing, and often living through the experiences shared in The Hobbit. This was my first time reading the book and I’ve never seen the movies, so as I read I got to make deep connections with the events of the story.

When Gandalf says “You are not the Hobbit that you were” I have to agree. 

As Bilbo’s story runs from Spring through June of the following year, I can’t help but reflect on my own life, where I was last April, and where I am now. Last April I was a senior in high school, unsure of what the summer or college would bring, I was gearing up for prom with a person I no longer talk to and my priorities and interests were almost entirely different to what they are today. I didn’t yet know some of the people that would become most important to me. I hadn’t signed up for a single class and I was only just signed onto the speech and debate team. Now, it is the June after and like Bilbo, I am on my way home. I am not the Hobbit I once was.

Throughout The Hobbit, Bilbo frequently brings back one sentiment, he wishes to be back in his Hobbit hole, where it is dry or warm or where the kettle sings. In times of peril, frustration, or discomfort he returns to this idea. In a way, I somewhat relate to the longing he has, but not in pain, in joy. I think often of my friends back home and what they might think of this place. As I pass second-hand stores I think about my friend who could spend entire weekends just thrifting. Where the flowers grow I am reminded of my very best friend Elaine and how excited she was for me when I told her about this opportunity. Whenever I say ‘Takk’ or understand something written in Norwegian I think of my friend who is currently studying Danish and could probably easily manage Norway country because the languages are so similar. I passed by a notebook that said ‘for Fox sake’ which reminded me of a friend who just went to a Fleet Foxes concert last week. When something good or fun happens to me, I text Casey as they got to witness many good things with me in the past year. As I cooked with the others, I am reminded of the spring weekend when a group of my friends and I got a lake Airbnb and I cooked for them. My family friend and I went kayaking last summer as her way of seeing me off before I started college, as I kayaked in the Fjords I thought of her. Every globe I pass reminds me of my brother, and when a prince song came on in a store, I texted my dad. I also think of the new friends and memories I’ve made, in pocket knives, pear cider, song lyrics, and little things that fill the streets of Oslo, peak through the mountains of Flam, and pour in the wharf of Bergen.

I think of these things not with pain or sorrow, but more in a way that grieves all the joy I can’t share because of the distance. Either the distance I am now from those stateside or the distance I will soon be from this beautiful country and the people I’ve known in its borders. Still, I am not the Hobbit I once was before this trip, this year or this memory started, and I am not yet the Hobbit that I will be in a few weeks, next year, and if I am ever back in this country. The road goes on and on and so will I.