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  • Writer's pictureMark Robinson

Stavanger, Norway: My New Year Story

Updated: Mar 21, 2018

Some thoughts for the new year while in Stavanger, Norway

“Stavanger is always evolving as a city. You can walk around town and in the span of an hour, you can see that the city is pushing past its history while trying to cling to it at the same time.”

A few weeks ago, I woke up in Norway, within the city of Stavanger. It is a beautiful city with a long, rich history but is still vibrant enough to allow itself to grow and evolve. It is a city that has been in the process of rebuilding itself after oil, its principle industry has fallen out of economic favor.

Throughout the city, there are construction projects. Some focus on the refurbishment and modernization of old, 100+ year old wooden homes, others on more progressive undertakings such as the construction of the longest underwater tunnel in the world.

It’s funny how the site of homes being rebuilt or new buildings going up or new tunnels going down create this sense of progress; of looking to the future at what could be rather than be mired in what “it” is. Whatever “it” is.

Seeing all this construction brought back memories of my childhood, when my father and his business partners were building homes in San Diego. San Diego was not always the built up place it is today. I grew up with open fields, where I enjoyed shooting model rockets off and having what seemed like miles of ground to cover to get them back.

But I’m reminded of the construction sites when I’m in Stavanger. When I was a boy, I used to visit construction sites with my father. This was a big event for me because he would let my brother and I run through the open walls and jump off large mounds of earth pushed by excavation equipment. To a young boy, this was freedom. It was probably also a bit dangerous given all of the equipment and power tools, but when you feel young and invulnerable, you are never concerned with these things.

The best visits to the construction sites was always over the holidays. My brother Gary and I were off from school and because so many people were on vacation, we always had this incredible, indescribable feeling that we were alone to do as we pleased…and ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.

It was hope. That incredible realization that our experiences and our future were ours to shape.  And we did. We played our favorite characters from Star Wars, Heroes, Good Guys, Bad Guys...and kids.

It’s what I always think about when I see construction sites or find myself remodeling our house and why I enjoy designing products for people to use. Its that terrific feeling that with a bit of hard work and a little optimism, you can hit any goal; achieve anything.

It comes back for me every holiday season when I think about what the year has been and have hope for what the year could be.

Happy New Year.

Mark Robinson

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