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Back at Hald

I am walking up the hill from Mandal town. I’ve been travelling by plane from Bergen, by bus from Kristiansand, and now I’m here. Time has passed. The tree that once stood blooming red as blood has now turned to a dull brown. Spring has turned to summer, has turned to autumn. Hald has been emptied of all the people who used to belong there, and now it has been filled with new ones.

It feels weird coming back. But it’s nice as well. I have so many good memories attached to this place. I drop by the sitting room. It is filled with unfamiliar faces. But some familiar ones appear as well. My sister is there. Teachers, a couple of very good friends from last year, and some people I only met this summer. And some people I have just heard a lot about.

And then there were all the new people. Very nice to hang out with all of you. I talked with a couple of the people going to Uganda, trying to prepare them for what to expect. But of course, there is nothing I can do to really prepare you. This is something that has to be experienced.

After supper, we went to town, to Jonas B. for coffee and ice cream. (Sitting outside taking ice cream in a t-shirt in the end of September! Crazy!) And I try catching up on life on Hald this year. Apparently, the most popular words among the international students are “kirkekaffe” and “bedehuset”. Then back to Hald – playing Ligretto till late at night. Discussing whether or not Leandro really is a spy for the staff at Hald, writing detailed reports about everything that happens.

It is strange to be back. In a way, nothing has changed, and yet nothing is the same. I am just a visitor here this time. But I have also felt very much at home.

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