Thursday, December 23, 2010

Made it Home

Hello all,

Just putting up a quick post to let you know I made it home all safe and sound. None of my flights were canceled or delayed so that was good. And I didn't get searched when I get through customs so that was a relief. Hopefully I will remember to put up some pictures of my last few days here soon, but with Christmas and stuff, finding time is harder.

Moving back to Luther on January 2nd too.

Hope to see some of you over my break!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesdays in December?!

Hello all!
Well, this past couple of days has been more stressful for me because I had all of my classes finishing up. This means finals and presentations happening left and right! I have made it through all of them but one. Yesterday was my written Norwegian final. I know that some parts were not very good, but others seemed to go well. I just hope that my grade comes out alright. On Thursday this week, I have my oral part for my Norwegian. I wish that I could talk in front of my friends instead of the teacher and sensor. I always start to get really nervous and make mistakes all the time. Fail. But I can just imagine it is just casual conversation with my classmates again. But once I get done with this, I am officially done with everything related to classes here. All that is left is to wait and see with what I wind up with.

This Saturday I will be hopping on the earliest train from Bø and head to Oslo. In Oslo, I have to purchase my tickets to get to Stockholm to see a family friend. They will not be there until Sunday, so I will be staying on my own the first night. This will truly be my first experience alone. All my other travels have been meeting up with someone I knew. But at least it is only one night and I'm sure everything will go smoothly.

Saturday is also the day that a couple Americans will be flying out. Some of the other international students have already left and headed for home. It is still crazy to think that a whole semester has already flown by. But I am glad that I am making one final trip in Scandinavia before I head back. Hopefully Stockholm this time is more fun than my first time there spending it in the airport.

I don't have any new pictures to put up, but I will take my camera to Stockholm and hopefully get some good ones there. Hope you all have a great rest of the week and I look forward to seeing a lot of you in the next couple weeks!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coldest November in 222 years?

Hello Readers! As you can tell by the title, it has been one of the coldest Novembers on record here in Norway and Europe in general. I was watching the news this morning and they are talking about the snow that they are getting in Spain and Portugal. It looks like it is shutting down traffic pretty much all over. I still think this is normal, but it helps that I am from Wisconsin. :)
The Thanksgiving meal went well at the school and there was a lot of mashed potatoes and turkey left over. And now that it is the last day of November, it is hard to believe that I will be going home this month! 20 more days here. I am hoping to get to Sweden sometime after I finish my exam and visit Aunt Julie's friend there. Since tomorrow is the first of December, I will finally get to open the first window of my Advent Calendar. I hope that the chocolate is good. :) It was the cheapest one at the store though. :D Yesterday I started tracking all of my money expenses for Student Support Services at Luther. I think it will be neat to see what I come up with, especially since it is in a different currency. I asked one of the lead people there if there would be a prize for spending the most money since my rent is due soon.
I have been trying to study for Norwegian off and on, but I feel like I am losing it all when I don't get to use it. I try to watch more TV and stuff like that, but I still need a lot more practice. The written exam is in less than a week now. I also have an 8-10 page paper due for Friluftsliv on Monday and a group presentation on Thursday. Hopefully it will all go smoothly. It is nice to think that these are the last things that I have to do for these classes.
O yea, last Friday, we went to Morgedal on a field trip. Morgedal is called "The cradle of modern skiing" because Sondre Norheim grew up there and he was the first to revamp this form of skiing. They actually the style "Telemark Skiing" which is named after the 'county' that I am in. Pretty cool if you ask me. We also went to a museum that had Østbye ski wax section. The tour guide pronounced it like Ostby though. Maybe there is some relation?

Østbye ski wax.

View of the valley from Sondre Norheim's house.

Sondre Norheim

The snow-covered mountains from my window this morning.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Week

Hello readers! How have you all been doing? I hear that snow has finally started to reach the midwest. :) I am currently getting flurries here now. This week has some ups and downs in it since it is Thanksgiving at home. It sucks that I am missing the festivities at home and getting to see family again, but the international office here has planned a Thanksgiving dinner here. It should be a lot of fun and I hope that people really enjoy it. I wish that we could celebrate other culture's holidays, but I don't know of them and one of the coordinators here is from the states so that helps. :) The temperature isn't too bad yet, but some people have really started to bundle up which surprises me. I am still in my light jacket and I don't feel like a hat is needed most of the time.

I tried to find a simple thank you note to send the people who gave me a scholarship, but nothing could be found like I wanted. I settled for a polar bear card thing. The others had cute kittens and flowers on them, but I don't think that would work quite as well. They have a lot of birthday cards here though. While at the shop where I got my card, I stumbled across some movies again. I think this has to be the final ones that I buy because they soon won't fit when I come back. I bought Mulan and a Harry Potter movie today. I already purchased Pocahontas, The Prince of Egypt and Toy Story. They are actually not that expensive. And since I am here, I thought I might as well get therm while they were on sale and I didn't have to pay to ship them to the states. I don't even know if you can do that. Anyway, my limit is five, so hopefully I will be able to hold back all temptations.

I bought an Advent Calendar at the store the other day so I am looking forward to the first of December when I can start to open up the windows. :) I didn't spend much on it so I hope the chocolate is good. I have been trying to eat down my food supply still. It is going well for the most part. I have only purchased four things this week and one was milk so that is kinda hard to make last. The milk here expires so fast too! I have had unopened milk that went sour even before its sell by date. I was pretty upset dumping that down the drain.

I am officially finished with my Telemark Regional Identity class so that is exciting for me. I have two more Norwegian classes before my exams and only one more class of both Friluftsliv and Ecophilosophy. Now if only would have know that I would be done this early when I bought my tickets! But hopefully I will be able to travel a bit. London is still a possibility, but so is Sweden. Norway would be the easiest I think, but I don't know.

I think that that is all I have for now. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving and I will be eager to catch all the good online deals with Black Friday. This is where my time zone will really work to my advantage. :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Not too much is new

So it has been one week since I have written anything up her and unfortunately, nothing is too new. I have a presentation on Friday for my Telemark class that counts for 60% of my final grade so I hope it goes well. I also have another paper due for Ecophilosophy on Monday. I am writing about the Emission Trading Scheme in Europe. It is kind of interesting, but I still would have liked to write about something that I had more interest in. But as long as it fulfills the requirement, I will be happy.
Yesterday I got to talk to some of the people at the Helpdesk. Kalsow, Aung, Matt B and Thandeka. I wound up talking to Thandeka for like 40 minutes. It was good to catch up with them again and I can't wait to get back and be able to see them all the time again. I really miss working at the helpdesk and working with all my other organizations at Luther. I also got to talk to my advisor person for Student Activities Council (SAC). We are trying to figure out if we can squeeze in an extra act next semester. I hope we will be able to. :)
Other than that, I don't have much. We have about 3 inches of snow on the ground and it doesn't look like it will be melting any time soon. The sidewalks are really slippery in the morning and I have slid around a lot, but never fallen down. Next week we are gonna be celebrating Thanksgiving here too. They are making turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy for us at the school and we are doing a pot luck thing for the rest of the food.
Please leave me some comments and remember your name. :D

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flurries in the Forecast.

Well, the weather is becoming more and more winter-like as the days fly by. I keep blogging about how fast time is flying, but it is true. Also, it is now dark out and it isn't even 5pm yet. This getting dark so late is throwing me off because I am getting hungry way before supper and feel like I should be eating since I has been dark for a while.
I received my third care package from mom today. It is great to have a little taste of America and to see packaging in English! Nah, I do like to read the Norwegian packaging. I wanted to send a care package home until I realized how much they actually cost to just ship. Pretty much double what mom pays to send things to me. Crazy!
I have a presentation in Norwegian on Thursday and I am not looking forward to it. It is about a political party here in Norway. They actually have a lot for being a smaller country. We are not supposed to use any type of notes when we present and it is supposed to be ten minutes long! Oh, and did I mention that it is all in Norwegian? Well, at least we are not graded on it and my class is pretty small, but it still makes me nervous to get up and present like that. But having Mr. Davis back in seventh grade helped me to become a better speaker. I would hate to see where I would be now without that class. Thanks Mr. Davis! But yea, other classes are not too bad. I have to give two presentations and write two more papers to finish up with my other classes. And for my Norwegian finals, we have a written section on one day and then two days later, we have an oral section. I hope they both go well. Just try to practice when I can I guess. It will all be over soon. :)
I have started to reread the books that we read for my Film and Fiction class here in Norwegian. I read them in English the first time, but since I am getting credit for my Norwegian degree at Luther, I feel that I should get through them in Norwegian too. My goal is to finish the first one tomorrow. Only 30 more pages!
I am trying to decide what I want to do once I finish exams here. I will have almost two weeks with no class and no tests before I fly back to the states. Any suggestions? If you really want to make me happy, you are welcome to find the cheapest flight and hotels for me too. :D
Sorry I don't have any new and exciting pictures to put up, I haven't done anything too special except to go to class. Hope you all have a great week!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy November!

I can't believe that it is already November! I have finished reading my Norwegian grammar book and now I only have 1.5 chapters to do in the work book and 2 more chapters to read in our regular textbook. It is weird to see things winding do this much and so quickly too. I guess it helps that I am done with regular classes by the end of November and then my last scheduled exam is December 8th. I hope that they go smoothly. Then I will have 12 days all to my self. I might try to go and track down my family in over by Bergen, but I am not 100% sure yet. I am also considering going to visit another country too. But I don't know where. 
Halloween was pretty good for me. I dressed up as a skier and when I told some Norwegians what I was, they said I should be Bjørn Dæhlie instead. He the a cross country skier from Norway and is an eight-time Olympic medalist. 
I have also met the minimum requirement in length for my Norwegian paper about "Family Life in Norway." Six pages is a lot to be typing in Norwegian. :) But I was glad to have chosen this topic and I learned a lot about Norway and learned some good Norwegian words along the way too. I just hope that the teacher likes it too. 
Last night I was also able to talk to my Norwegian classmates from home via Skype. I even got to talk to my professor for a bit. The time difference was not much fun, but I think I might see if I can listen in for the first hour just so I can practice my Norwegian as much as I can. 
Not too many other things have been going on here though. The weather is rainy again, but it is somewhat warm too. Hope you are all having a good time where ever you are. :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last Thursday in October?

Wow, it is hard to believe how fast this past month has flown by! It helps to have thing to keep you busy. The most exciting thing for me this week was trying the canned liver. Yea, I tried the stuff that I blogged about before. The yellow can with the happy children. It actually wasn't too bad! It tasted almost like a ham spread and was somewhat pink in color. I am guessing it is a lot better for me than the things that look like burgers from McDonald's. :D I think I might even bring home a can of it so you all can try. LOL. I came to Norway with an open mind about trying things and I plan to continue that. I knew that this would be the only opportunity for a while and the worst that could happen would be not liking it. Thank you Kine and Fay for letting me try some!
Today I also had a Norwegian test. I was so nervous for this one. It counts for 20% of my final grade so that makes it even scarier for me. After taking it, I didn't feel too bad about it. This however doesn't mean much because I can feel really good about a test and completely blow it. Hopefully my good feeling will continue past the day that I get it back. :D
I also sent an e-mail to the US Embassy here in Norway asking if I could come and meet someone there and find more out about embassy work. Unfortunately, they said no because they were so busy and didn't have the time to meet we everyone. Ok, I guess I tried, but it is a turn off from your own embassy. Hmm, there was something else too. This weekend is Halloween and I still don't have a costume, but that is not too exciting.

I guess I could say that the weather here is very ''fall" like because it has rained the past two days and the forecast says rain for tomorrow too. I just wish it would drop 10 degrees so it could be snow instead. The side walks were awful this morning on my way to class. I was slipping and sliding everywhere! Since it has been raining and still getting below freezing every night, they were bad. I don't like walking down a hill when it is a sheet of ice. Hopefully they will get better as the season goes on and they can put down something so I can get some traction.

O yes, the other thing I was going to talk about was signing up for classes next Spring and Jterm. I think I will be taking my Paideia Capstone class for Jterm. For all of you non-Luther folk, Paideia is the English/History/Writing/Death class that all freshmen are required to take their first two semesters and also for upperclassmen to do another round of it as Juniors or Seniors. I will be glad to get it out of the way and I hope that taking one called "Cyber Ethics" will be easier for me to follow because of the technology. For Spring semester, I am planning on taking the next Scandinavian Studies class as well as another Computer Science one. I am also filling my science gen. ed. with Science 111. Now doesn't that just sound like triple the fun? For my final class, I am looking at taking a Management of Information Systems (MIS) class just for the fun of it. I have also been looking to see if I can squeeze other type of degree in a year and a half. I am just three classes away from an Economics minor and three away from completing the International Management Studies special course. I don't know what to about these. I know for sure that I will get my major in Computer Science and at least a minor in Scandinavian Studies. (Possible double major depending on how classes transfer back.) The rest is up in the air.

Phew. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Mountains that are near me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

More of Oslo for Sharon

Alright. So when I posted about my trip to Oslo a few weeks ago, I neglected to put up more pictures. So here you go. And when you see "gate" all around it can be translated to "street" in English. Karl Johans Gate is the most famous street in Oslo and it is mostly just a walking street too.

Karl Johans Gate leading up to the Palace
My favorite fountain in Eidsvoll Square

The King's Palace

The Ski Jump from the Olympics.

Another shot of Vigeland's Park

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Snow in Norway

This is more what Norway should look like. At least in my mind. I took all these pictures on my way to class the morning after it snowed, Oct. 22nd.

This is my school.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Hello Everyone! I hope that you are all having some great fall weather and starting to get some of the cold weather like I am getting. This morning was really cold for my walk to class. It was about 26 when I got up this morning. I am still waiting on the snow though. It has been in the forecast, but I have yet to see a flake. The Norwegians are as bad, if not worse, at predicting weather as the Americans. :) Also, today was the first time I had class in almost two weeks! It was nice to have a long break even though I didn't accomplish anything besides homework. But that is good too.
I have been drinking a lot of hot chocolate already this year, but I have yet to drink any of my Nestle Butterfinger Hot Chocolate that I brought from home. Saving that for those really cold and dreary days. One of my friends also convinced me to try tea again. So today I went to the store, smelled a lot of the boxes, and decided on an apple, cinnamon, and raisin flavored type. Got home, heated up some water in the awesome kettle that I got from Kine and Fay then made some tea. It sounds so British, right? Anyway, I still don't care for it. Meh. The smell is really good, but I would much rather drink my hot chocolate and have a cookie with apples, cinnamon, and raisins. :D
A couple days ago, a group of us got together and watched Pocahontas in Norwegian. It was amazing! And I could actually understand it rather well. Listening to the radio and watching TV seems to be paying off more than I thought. I still can't wait until I can see Toy Story and The Price of Egypt. However, I am not looking forward to my next Norwegian exam in a week. Just do my best, that's all I can ask from myself.
Oh, and another thing that is really cool is that I can call any phone in the US for free through my Gmail account. Did I already blog about this? But if you get a call, and no one says anything for a bit, it might be me. Also, if you have caller ID, the area code that comes up in 760 I think. (760 is from California.) This makes it also good for prank calling.
I guess that is good for now. Please leave me some comments so I know what is going on in the states, just don't forget to leave your name so I know who you are too!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Half way done

Today is officially the half way point for my visit to Norway. It is strange to think how fast time has flown by! This past week has been my fall break and it was well needed. I just so happened to catch a cold during this time. I guess it is better to be sick now than during classes. But it is really weird, here when it comes to medications. They do not have a single medication that I can buy over-the-counter that will help to relieve my symptoms. The pharmacist didn't know what I was talking about when I went in and asked for some cold medicine. The only way I can get anything is if I go to the doctor and get a prescription. Not really something I feel like paying for when it is just a common cold. I did bring some allergy pills from home and they seem to be helping a little bit, but it is still annoying to be blowing my nose all the time.
The weather is starting to switch into fall because the trees are losing all their leaves and there is usually a thick frost every morning. I don't mind the cold too much, just not when I am sick. So i have been staying in my room doing homework and drinking a lot of hot chocolate. It is nice to have a good amount of food up here too.
Next Thursday, I have to give a presentation in Norwegian about Knut Hamsun. He was a author from the early 1900's. He is kinda interesting, so I hope I can find enough information to present on him. Other than that, not too much is going on here.
O yea, and I stumbled upon a new feature in Gmail that allows me to call land line phones in the US for free! So I called home and I also called my grandparents. I haven't talked to my grandparents since the week before I came. It was nice to catch up with them. I love technology!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Back from Oslo

Happy Monday all! I made it back from Oslo last evening smoothly. Traveling seems like it takes so much out of you! I got almost 12 hours of sleep last night after the short train ride. I never realized how close I actually was to the capital city. I might wind up going up there again some time and seeing more things. In Oslo, we saw the Royal Family's Palace, the Viking Ship Museum, Edvard Munch's Art Museum, Vigeland's Park, the ski jump, as well as many other sigh seeing things to go along with them. I also got to see the US Embassy and took a picture of it and walked away quickly. :) It was probably the most secured building in Norway and was located really close to the Palace. The weather was pretty nice for our whole stay there, but it was got to be pretty chilly during the evenings. The bus system is really good in Oslo too. We all bought 24 hour tickets so we just hopped on them anytime we were going very far.
Over all, I think I liked Bergen more than Oslo because the city seemed like it was more compact and I never had to walk very far to get to see what I wanted. Both cities were really clean though and there were never that people on the streets. For food, we just went to a grocery store and got some things and made them at the hostile/hotel. It was not too expensive to do this, but I kinda wish we would have went out to eat at a restaurant once, but maybe next time.
This week is pretty much my fall break. I had one class today and my teachers canceled my other ones. So I am hoping to be able to make good progress on my Norwegian paper as well as the paper that I have to write for my Ecophilosophy class. I also have to remember to prepare for a presentation in Norwegian on Knut Hammsun. Hopefully I will soon find out how I did on my Film and Fiction final too. I hope it went well and that they post the grades online.

Fall colors from my window

One of the three ships in the Viking Ship Museum

Vigeland's Park

Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finally Time for a Break

Well, it has been a rough last two weeks, but I have finally made it through them. In the past week I have completed two exams, got a good start to my Norwegian paper, read a novel in 3 days and accomplished a lot more too. And now it is defiantly a good time to have a break. :) Next week is like fall break for us. It is not technically put on by the college, but the area middle and high school have the time off and it just so happens that the teachers like to have time off now too. I wasn't going to say no. :D
But today I had my first official exam/final for my Modern Film and Fiction class. It went alright and I ended up writing four pages about the book that I read in three days. I hope that I do alright and it helps that my first language is English too. This class was only a seven week one so that is why we are done already. I am glad to have that off my plate now. But getting back to the exam. It had to have been the most strict thing I have ever done. Even more so than doing the state testing in middle school! It was crazy! We had to turn off our cell phones and they had to be left in our bags. (I don't have one, so this didn't affect me.) Then we had to leave our book bags, coats and all that other stuff at the front of the room. We also had to leave our student IDs on the desk the whole time. Plus we had two "guards" as she called them, watching us the whole time and accompanying us to the bathroom if we needed. This is really weird coming from Luther since we go by an honor policy and the teachers are not even allowed in the room when we are taking an exam. I personally thing that they go way to far with this. I like the Luther way more because they put the trust in the students. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I think cheaters are just cheating themselves by not knowing the information that they need to know. What ever, it is just a different cultural thing.
On a more exciting note, I will be traveling to Oslo this weekend with some friends. One from the Untied States and the other two from Canada, eh? :D It should be a lot of fun, but I just have to blend in the best I can since Europe is now under a travel advisory. Not much fun, but now I just won't be able to go see the embassy. Also, my study abroad advisor at Luther said to stay away from links to America such as McDonalds and Starbucks. Who would have thought, but it does make sense. But we will still have fun going to museums and stuff. I will have to let you know how it goes after I get back here Sunday night. We are taking the train again. I like the train system here and I wish that we had one between Decorah and home. :)
The fall colors are starting to arrive and I will have to get some good pictures for you guys. The trees here are mostly pine or birch, so there are not as many colors as in the Midwest, but it still looks neat. I am guessing the train ride to Oslo will reveal a lot of nice scenery too. I guess that is it for now, what else should I talk about?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last day of September

Well, it looks like I have pretty much made it through this past week. I have no idea how I did on my Norwegian exam, but I am hoping for the best. My class is trying to pull something together this weekend so we can practice some more speaking. I think it will be a lot of fun. :D This next week will be tough too. I have an exam in my Film and Fiction class on Thursday. I am not too nervous for it because I have been to ever class and have done all the readings. The only difficult part left is writing an exam for three hours. Ugh. I am ready for my hand to fall off already just thinking about it. It takes me back to my freshman year at Luther when I had to write my two exams for Paideia. Ugh Paideia!

Other than Film and Fiction, which is in English by the way, I have to write two pages for Norwegian by Tuesday on a topic of my choice. I think I will write about the family live in Norway because I have an okay start on it so far and I am betting that Kine, Fay, and Nana will be willing to help me out and have a lot to add. Especially since it has to be 6 - 8 pages! Oy! Did you know that the paper in Norway is a different size than in the US? Who would have guessed. I guess it makes sense that they don't use 8.5 X 11 inch paper, but it never dawned on me. Instead, they use the A4 standard which means more for me to write to fill up a page. In addition to the paper, I have to give a presentation about the author Knut Hamsun. We just finished reading one of his books in Film and Fiction, so I hope I can find some interesting things about him. And did I mention that I am not allowed to use any notes and that this must be 100% in Norwegian. Double trouble there. But the problem with this is that the class in which we are giving the presentations is over lapping with our exam period for Film and Fiction. I'm not sure what will happen with this then. Scheduling here is rather crazy!

Let's see here, what else is happening in Bø? Umm, I guess the weather is getting colder. We have had a good frost the last two mornings and it hasn't been getting much above the mid 50's during the days. It is now officially sweatshirt weather and wearing my lighter jacket when I have classes in the morning. Brr! But I do like the cooler weather and I am looking forward to seeing how much snow we will get here. I am just not looking forward to trekking up the hill with a back pack full of eggs and other groceries.

Speaking of groceries, I just bought a little over 12 pounds of potatoes. There are a lot in that bag! So if you have any good recipes that use potatoes and not many other ingredients, let me know. Currently my spice cabinet contains salt, pepper, and sugar. :D Not much variety, I know. But on a lighter side, I will only be here for 80 more days and then I can raid mom's spices. Wow, only 80 more days, that's crazy! Time seems to fly sometimes and I hope that my Norwegian learning will start to get kicked into high gear soon. It is rather frustrating, but I am glad that we have started to meet as a group outside of class. That should help a lot!
Well, this is good for now. And Sharron, when I was in Bergen, I didn't go to any of the art museums there, but they did have a couple and even one that went on for more than a city block and wrapped around the park with the fountain which you can see in one of the pictures I posted. The museum included all those buildings on the top side of the water. Also, thanks for reading and commenting too! :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tough week coming up

Well, this next week will probable be the toughest one that I have had so far. I have classes every day and a Norwegian exam on Tuesday. I am pretty nervous for the exam since it counts as 20% of my final grade. I just hope that it goes well. Not too much has been going on here. The weather is starting to really cool off and I can see snow up in the mountains in the mornings, but it melts of by midday. The rain has not been as frequent and I hope that it stays that way. It is hard to believe that September is almost over already. Time is sure flying, but I still can't wait to get back to Luther. I really miss the people there and it has been hard to make new friends here, but I think it is getting better. It is still really hard to get to know Norwegians, but everyone just says that it is their culture.
There are a couple things that I remembered to blog about this past week that I had to write down so I would remember them. The first would have to be that canned liver that I talked about before. I found out the brand and googled a picture so you all can see what the packaging looks like. Doesn't it make you just want to eat it all day, every day?

The next thing that I found strange here was the advertisements on the internet that come up. Since they know that I am accessing the page from Norway, they have adapted the ads to be more appealing to foreigners. I like seeing all the ads in Norwegian, but I found it surprising how many ads were telling me about how I could get an American Green Card. I understand that they must be a valuable commodity, but I never would have expected ads to try to give them away.

The next one would have to be the cats in this country! They are all so fuzzy. I guess it makes sense since it gets so cold here during the winters, but still. I haven't seen any cats with the shorter hair like the ones at home. All of them have fur that is at least as long as Chester's is. It's just another thing that I never would have though to be so different. :)

O yea, I guess this past weekend we went on a tour of the two churches in Bø. The "Old Church" was built around 1180 and is still standing. This is because it was built of stone and has walls that are a few feet thick. The "New Church" was built in 1875 and lies just a few yards from the old one. This still feels old to me, but apparently not in this area. :)

The "New" Church
The "Old" Church

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bergen was wonderful!

Sorry that it has been a week since I have posted, but I was waiting to have something more exciting to talk about after my trip to Bergen. So to fill you all in completely, I left for Bergen around 9am from Bø and had my first train layover about an hour later in Hokksund. It was okay because I only had about an hour to kill at the train station and the weather was nice. Then I boarded my train for Bergen around 11:30. I took a ton of pictures on the way. The train ride through the mountains was wonderful! All of my pictures are on facebook, but I will put some on here too. The train ride to Bergen lasted a little over six hours from Hokksund so overall, it took me just over 8 hours to get to Bergen.

Once I got there, I met Nana in the train station. We didn't do too much more that night, but she cooked up a great supper. Yummy! The next morning, we went to the fish market, took the Fløibanen to the top of one of the mountains to get a good view over Bergen. One of those pictures is below. After I had some camera issues, I raided the souvenir shop that they had up there. I was really glad to have gotten some things there. After we rode the Fløibanen back down, we went to McDonald's. It was by far my most expensive trip there in my life! You would think that it would be cheap everywhere you go, but that is not the case in Norway. I got a chicken nugget meal and it ended up costing me more than $13! I am glad that I don't have one close to me, otherwise it would be tempting to go there more often. Then I went and got some new batteries for my camera and didn't really have any more issues. :) After this, we went to Akvariet i Bergen (the aquarium). It was pretty neat and it wasn't too busy so we could get some good pictures. Unfortunately, the souvenir shop there was not very good so I didn't get anything.

On Monday, Nana had to go to work, so I had some time to kill around Bergen. So I went to the tourist center there and didn't really find out much. So then I went down and shopped around the fish market and when to most of the shops down by the dock. It was a lot of fun looking around in them all, but I didn't buy anything this day. For lunch, I went to Burger King and got a "cheap" cheeseburger. Then I came back to meet Nana, and we went out looking into more shops. I still didn't find anything that I wanted to buy, but I was glad to be able to see more of the town. After we came back, Nana cooked up another wonderful supper. :D

On my last day there, Nana had to work again so I went down to the center of town again. This time I had figured out what I wanted to buy from the shops and where to go. I was a real tourist on this day by raiding all the shops and finding stuff for myself as well as gift for others. I still have yet to get anything for mom. She is really hard to shop for! After this, I went back to meet Nana and say good bye. There were not very many people on the train ride back. I think it was because it was so late. I didn't leave Bergen until 4:10pm and then got to Drammen,where I had to change trains, until 11:00pm. My train there was running late and had another 40 minutes or so to kill there. Once my train came, I hopped on and felt relieved because I knew that I only had another hour and a half until I was back in Bø. It was not fun having to walk up the hill so late at night, but I feel it went by pretty fast. I got back to my room and just crashed. What a great weekend! Glad that I was able to make it over there and only miss one class. I think that is about it. If I remember anything else, I can add it later.
Train ride to Bergen.
The view of Bergen after taking the Fløibanen.

Bryggen in Bergen. (This is what I think of when someone says Bergen.)
My friend Nana and me right before I leave.

Coming back from Bergen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day Five without classes

As you can guess by the title, it has been another week where I don't have any classes for five days. Luckily, today is my last day with having nothing to do besides homework because I have two classes tomorrow. Also, between my two classes, the school sponsors a waffle coffee hour where they have free waffles. :) Free food is always good with me. It is a major hot spot for the international students too. I took used up a little time today to go get groceries. I go across town just to buy some eggs because you can buy 18 eggs there for less than you can buy 12 at the store that is closer. It felt kinda strange going in there and just buying eggs, but since everything else there is a little more than the closer store I don't bother buying my other stuff there. It was not fun walking back up the hill to my apartment after I got all my groceries. I was trying to plan ahead so I bout a lot of the heavy stuff today. Including, milk, juice, sugar, corn syrup, canned corn, and pineapple. I know that I will use it all and since it doesn't go bad, might as well buy a bunch at a time.

This Saturday is when I will be hopping on a train to Bergen. I am really excited to be heading to a bigger city! The train ride is 9+ hours one way so I decided to go this weekend so I could stay more than just the weekend. I will be staying there until Tuesday with my friend who just graduated from Luther, Nana. I am really excited to see her and she is being so nice and letting me stay with her while I am there.

I finally finished the chocolate cake that I bought at the fair this past weekend. Chocolate is so yummy! I also discovered all the ingredients that I need to make those peanut butter corn flake bars. (Did I already talk about this? If so, you can tell that I am really excited about them!) Corn syrup rather cheap here and I think I might be the only one who buys it because when I went back to the store to get some more today, the only open spot was from where I took mine from before. I also was happy that I could read and understand the back of my Corn Flakes box too.

Hmm, what else is going on here? Since I have been in my room so much, I know that my Norwegian is not getting any better. UGH! Hopefully I can practice a bit with Nana this weekend. It is just really hard to try since everyone here speaks such great English and it is easier for them to just say it in English instead of me trying to understand. This is why I wish that we would have Norwegian class more than just once a week too. I might go talk to someone about this, otherwise, Dr. Stokker will be upset that ,my Norwegian still sucks when I get back to Luther.

I guess that's all I know for now. Hopefully after Bergen, I will be able to have something more exciting to talk about.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Rain has Returned

As you can tell by my status, the rainy days have arrived again here in Telemark. Fortunately, it didn't rain on us yesterday for our hike up Lifjell. It was a nice hike in the mountains, but I failed to prepare properly for the cold weather. Luckily, my professor lent me a hat which helped a lot. I got a few pictures, but I haven't downloaded them from my camera yet. When we were up on the mountain, my professor (Tone is her name) asked me where I learned such great English. So naturally I said the United States, not really thinking about it. So she asked if I studied there. I said yep and told her that that is where I actually was from. She was rather surprised because she though I was from the Czech Republic or something. I though that was kind funny. I must not act like the average American because I have had a lot of people ask me where I was from. Even at Luther! I have had a few people think I am Russian. :)

Today we went to a fair in Seljord called Dyrsku'n. It was pretty fun, but we did get rained on the whole time. I bought some orange-flavored chocolate that was pretty orange in color. I took a picture of it but it is still on my camera. I also bought some chocolate cake to help sooth my sweet tooth since I can't bake here like I can at home. It was a little expensive, but I though that I saved time by just buying it there and then I didn't have to get all the ingredients either.

On my way to the fair, I sat by the bus driver's wife. She was nice enough to tell me about the fair and thought that it was neat that I was from Wisconsin. She said that she had been there before to visit family. (There are a lot of Norwegians that have family in Wisconsin because most that I talk to have been there.) She also told me a little about the sea monster that apparently lives in the lake near Seljord. It is similar to the Lochness Monster right here in Norway!

I am really excited for this next weekend to come too because I am finally getting to go to Bergen! The train tickets were not too expensive which was nice. I am looking so forward to being a tourist there. And I hope that I can pick up some souvenirs too. Well, that's all I can think of at the moment now. I think I might download those pictures quick so you can see a little more of what I see. :)

Hiking Lifjell
A mountain farm

My chocolate cake and orange-flavored chocolate

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 27

Wow, it is hard to believe that it has been almost a month since my arrival in Norway. Things have still been going pretty well for me, I guess. Since thing are in full swing again at Luther, I have been getting a lot of e-mails of events that are going on. If I only was there, I would be going to pretty much all of them. I forgot how many things I actually was involved in. Since I have only had one class since my last post, I can't think of anything to say along those lines. I have a lot of free time currently so I have been listening to the radio and playing cards. Not too thrilling, but it passes the time. I am really excited for this weekend because we are going to a county fair type event  for one of my classes. I hope it is a lot of fun and maybe I can pick up some souvenir. Also, a week from Saturday, I will be heading over to Bergen to see Nana. I can't wait to go to a bigger city and just be a tourist in all aspects. I will be spending about three days there so I am hoping that I will be able to take in most all of the attractions. I guess another thing that is happening this weekend is that we are hiking Lifjell. Lifjell is the highest mountain in Telemark, the county that I am in. So that should be exciting and I will be able to get some more pictures. :)
I am still not having very good luck with the variety of foods that I have been able to make. I did see some canned liver in the store the other day. Not quite my style, but the kid on the packaging sure looked happy to be eating it. My newest mission is to find some corn syrup so I can make those peanut butter corn flake bars. The desert selection here is almost nonexistent. There are like two different kinds of brownies and waffles and I think a chocolate cake that didn't look good on the package. I think I might try to go food shopping while in Bergen since they might have a little more of a selection.
Another thing that I found kinda interesting today was that I received a coupon for Burger King. It was for a Jr. Wopper with fries and a pop. Only 49.- kroner! That is still about $10 USD so I am not seeing the real deals yet. Fast food here is probably the most expensive thing. Subs at Subway also started around $10, too. Ugh. I think I will be sticking to my pasta for now. And I just finished using up my 2.2 lbs of cheese that I bought three weeks ago for $13. I have eaten a lot of cheese! I guess that has to do with my roots as the son of a dairy farmer. :) But I am missing the beef that was alway in our freezer. I was told today that the hamburger here is nothing like the states so I am a little hesitant to spend a lot of money on it. I think I might break down and buy some chicken soon. At least then I could make chicken salad. :) But I have yet to try the hot dogs here. People have said they are better than the states. Okay, enough about food.
Yep, only 103 more days until I am back in the states. Seems like a long time now, but I think it will go fast and I am still enjoying my time here. So don't think that just because I am counting down, it is a bad sign. Have a great week!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Living more like a Norwegian

Wow, I can't believe that it has almost been a whole week since I have posted to this. I hope that I haven't freaked anyone out too much since I have been out of contact for a little while. I have just been busy with other things here, which is good. This past Friday, my class ended up going on a day hike to Gygrestolen. It was pretty fun and I am glad that I went and it didn't rain. The class is called 'Friluftsliv' and has to do with the strong connection between Norwegians and nature. I like it so far, mostly because we have very little homework and we go on field trips every week!
Another Norwegian experience for me this weekend was going out on a fjord with Kine and Fay's family. It was a lot of fun. Being out on the ocean is a lot like going out in a lake on a boat, but the water is a lot choppier in the ocean even when there is no wind. When I go home with Kine or Fay, they usually feed me common Norwegian dishes. :) So far, I am four for four with liking them. On Friday night, we had potatoes with cheese, corn, and meat. Yummy! Then for lunch on Saturday, we had crabs that were just caught. This was my first crab-eating experience. I think it went rather well and I like the meat in the claws the most. Then we went out on the boat and then also in a row boat. Glad they convinced me to do this. When we got back, we ate potatoes and fårikål which is lamb in cabbage. It was actually pretty good. They thought it was kinda odd that I didn't peel the skins off my potatoes. I just ate them like usual.
I am also planning a trip to Bergen soon to see Nana. Nana just graduated from Luther this past year and was actually my Norwegian tutor my freshman year. It is strange to think how far I have come. I am really looking forward to getting to a bigger city and taking the train through the mountains. It is a nine hour ride, but it will be well worth it.
Also, I set it up now so that my blog allows anonymous comments so anyone can write. Please remember your name though!

The lake that we at lunch at for our hike.
Out on the boat in the fjord.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Insert a Good Title Here!

Well, today was not very exciting. I was glad that it didn't rain today, but I never went outside so I guess that doesn't matter. I am pretty much done with my homework for the next week. All I have to do is pick up a reading tomorrow. (I hope my prof is in his office when I go.) I guess I also have to interview some Norwegians about a topic that I have to give a presentation on in Norsk a week from tomorrow. I hope that will go alright. I have been listening to the radio a lot here still and starting to watch some TV during the day too. This afternoon, I watched the Norwegian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." I actually knew a lot of the answers. For some reason though, a lot of them were about America. Such as "In what city is the Empire State Building?" Maybe I should try to go on it and see if I can win some kroner!

I am kinda missing Luther at the moment because tonight is the first Student Activities Council (SAC) Spotlight event. For any of you that don't know about SAC Spotlight, it is the group that brings bands, comedians, magicians, and things like that to the Luther Campus. And I am one of the co-chairs this year. Fortunately, we have all of our events this year booked already so we don't have to try to do that, but I still wish that I could see the events themselves. This year, we are planning on putting on about seven shows. I miss the first four. :( But I am really looking forward to getting back and being able to participate again in this, the technology helpdesk, and also the Black Student Union (BSU), and hopefully International Student's Association and Allies (ISAA). 

Well, I guess that is about all I have for now. I enjoy reading all the comments too! (Ok, so I guess I like it when Mom or Dad writes comments once in a while. :D )

Friday, August 27, 2010

Another Week

So, today was another rainy day in Bø. Fortunately for me, I only got rained on a little when walking back from class. I took my camera with me today and got a couple pictures from our trip and some more of the hill that I have to walk up everyday to get back home. (See below.) My Norwegian class yesterday went a lot better than the first. I know that taking the advanced level here will be a lot more of a challenge and I might not get as high of a grade as I want in the end, but I know it will be worth the struggle once I am done. I feel like I have already some-what gotten back into the swing of speaking and hearing Norwegian. I switched to a Norwegian radio station and there still is a lot that I don't know, but I think just hearing it helps. Kine pointed out to me a little while ago that children listen for years before they even start to say simple words and phrases. This gave me a little boost in confidence.

There is a TV in the kitchen so I usually turn that on when I am making food and doing my dishes. Sometimes I just listen and don't understand a word. (This is usually cooking shows, the news, or talk shows.) However, sometimes I catch something a little easier for me. Like this morning, I was watching some cartoons. One was in Nynorsk, which is the dialect on the other side of the country that I can hardly understand. The other one was Franklin, a cartoon that I remember watching at home about a turtle and his other animal friends. There was still a lot that I didn't get, but I could pick out some common phrases. And for supper tonight, when I was making some pasta, I found Everybody Loves Raymond. It was in English, but had Norwegian subtitles. So I muted it and understood pretty much all of the subtitles. Reading is not the issue for me at the moment, it is listening to the natives speak. But I think the longer I am here and the more I just listen, I will start to catch on.

I also have decide to pick up another class about Ecophilosophy here. It sounds like fun and gives me a couple more credits. This means that I will now have class on some Mondays, instead of having five days off like I do now.

O yea, I guess I should also note that I received an e-mail from a Luther alumni through LinkedIn. (LinkedIn is a website like facebook that is more aimed at making business connections and such.) I made a post about me studying abroad in Norway and she said that she studied here too. We sent a couple messages back and forth and I soon found out that she studied in a town that is just up the road from me. I also found out that she was a Computer Science and Scandinavian Studies double major just like me. How cool is that!

Start of the hill up to Breisås

A gloomy day from my apartment. I did like how the clouds
were in front of the mountains with the blue sky in the back.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Rainy Day in Bø

Let's see here. It has been four days since I have had class and I still have tomorrow off. My schedule in Norway seems like the opposite that I had at Luther since I only have classes on Thursdays and Fridays (plus the occasional Tuesday). I like having all this free time, but hopefully I will be able to find something to do next week because I don't know how long I will be able to have nothing to do. Hopefully in a couple weeks, I will be able to take the train to Bergen and see Nana (my Norwegian tutor from freshman year) and some sites too. I also want to get to go site seeing in Oslo too.

I talked to home today and mom seemed pretty good. She had surgery yesterday to help her wrist and I hope that this helps and heals fast. She just has something that looks like a cast which isn't too bad in my opinion. However, I am not the one who has to wear it 27/7. Another thing that is going on at home is the students are starting to move back to Luther. I kinda wish that I was in the same boat as them, but I am glad that I am taking this opportunity to see what it is like to study in another country while I still can. The training at the Technology Helpdesk started today too. I think that might be one of the things that I will be missing the most for the next four months.

My grocery shelf is finally getting some stock in it. I went to the store again today and got some more milk, pasta, peanuts, peanut butter, and bread. I made pasta topped with cheese again for supper and also had some extremely tasty corn. Yum! O yea, I almost forgot that I bought another jumbo sized Firkløver chocolate bar (200grams). Dr. Stokker, my Norwegian professor at Luther, brought us some of these to try last year. They are really good and who doesn't like chocolate with hazelnuts anyway? I was glad that I made it back between breaks in the rain. It has been raining pretty much every day for the past five, maybe? Nobody ever told me that Norway had a rainy season!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

One Week in Telemark

Let's see here. It has been one week since I have arrived in Bø and I am getting pretty used to the town. I know where the things that I will need are and how to find my way back. I have had one class period in three out of the four classes I am planning on taking. I still don't know if I will take the Computer Science one or not. I have a schedule conflict on Fridays with my other classes so I won't be able to make it to class then. I was hoping to take it all independently, but I don't think the professor will be willing to do that. I guess I will find out this week. My Norwegian class is extremely difficult so far. The class is all in Norwegian, as I had expected, but there is still so much that I don't know. Hopefully it will get better as time goes on. :) My last two classes seem like they will be a lot of fun. I am taking a class that has to do with Telemark (the county that I am going to school in) and how people live and react in society and nature. It seems like it will be an interesting class because it talks about lifestyle changes and why Norwegians act and think like they do. My other class is called The Individual Environs and Society. It goes along with my Telemark class but focuses more on the nature aspect. In this class, we go on four hikes during the semester and pretty much be as Norwegian as we can be. :)

Other than that, there isn't too much that is new here. I am starting to get a wider variety of food, but I still am relying on eggs and bread as a major food source. The peanuts here are really good too and not that expensive. I am sure they will be the thing that I buy the most. :) I have also been eating raisins a lot for snacks.

Another thing that I find different about Norway is my class schedule. I don't have any classes on Mondays or Wednesdays which is very nice. My Telemark and Environs class alternate on Fridays. My film class (the one that I haven't been to yet) is only on Thursdays. And Norwegian is on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Therefor, I have a lot of free time which is nice and lets me practice more Norwegian and be able to get to know the area better. I am glad that I don't have to walk to school every day since it is so far. Even in nice weather, I don't much care to walk up that big hill to get back to my apartment. O yea, and when a Norwegian says that there it will be an easy walk without any big hills, they are lying! The concept of a hill to me and to them varies greatly.

Well, that's about it for now. Time to get back to some more reading for my classes.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A tribute to the Three Billy Goats Gruff in Stathelle.

 I found this to be especially neat because for Norwegian classes at Luther, we had to read "The Three Billy Goat's Gruff" many times. We read it in the two dialects in Norway and I think in Danish too. Also, I remember reading it with the old style of writing that was really tough for us.

This was the river that we walked along when all the international students went on a really long walk today.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Starting to get used to it all

Well, I have now been in Norway for 4 days and I am finally starting to get a better feeling for this place. I haven't had any classes yet, but I have had a few meetings with the other international students. Most are of the internationals are coming to programs in English so that is what I have ended up speaking at school. I am still unsure about how strong my understanding of Norwegian is, but I have a class tomorrow that is in Norwegian so we will see how it goes. I need to get used to spending a lot of time at the school because far from where I live. I am already sick of walking that far to get anywhere and it hasn't even been a week. When they said that you would have to come up a big hill, they really meant it. I am dreading walking this much when the weather starts to get bad. I just hope that since I am leaving in December, I will miss the worst of it.

There are several Americans here, mostly from the midwest or Washington. Some are nice and some are not helping to give the Americans a good reputation. There are a lot of people here from Spain too. They are very friendly and I am hoping to get to know them more. The Germans are pretty friendly too. I was surprised that pretty much everyone is from Europe. I guess I know that this a European country, but I still find it hard to believe that there are only a couple of Asians and a couple Africans and I am not aware of anyone from South America.

I like having my own apartment. Having your own bathroom is the best! I have to share a kitchen with 3 other people, but I doubt that will be an issue since I have not even seen any of them in the kitchen yet. The view from my window is pretty good (see below to see what I see) and I am glad that I am not looking into the lounge like I was at Luther last year.Well, hopefully things will just keep smoothing themselves out on the way.

The view from my apartment