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

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More pictures

This is the guest house at Kine's parents.

Aug 13, 2010

First Day in Bø, Norway

Well, here is my first day in Norway. In the past two days, I have crossed 7 time zones, 2 continents, and have been in 4 countries. Wow! I am currently writing this from my apartment situated on a hill in Bø, Norway. After I flew into the airport in Sandefjord, Norway, I was extremely relieved when I saw Fay and Kine waiting for me there. I took some pictures on the ride from the airport to Kine's house where I stayed my first night in a little guest house that they had in the back. They are currently up on my facebook profile and if mom or I get some time, we'll try to put some more on here too. I was fortunate to be able to practice my Norwegian with Kine and her parents who were extremely kind and generous to me. I know I still have a long way to go with my Norwegian, but where else can I practice it all the time. It is still very difficult for me to understand the native speakers and it is getting spoken all around me, but they have said that the few answers I have given in Norwegian have been pretty good. It was an interesting experience at the grocery store today with trying to understand all the food labels and see all the new brands and types of food. Tomorrow is my first scheduled event. I have a meeting with all the other international students here on campus. Hopefully I will get to meet some Americans (or any native English speaker) there and they will be in the same boat as I am with my Norwegian so we can struggle together. :) Maybe I will write some more tomorrow, but I am still trying to let everything sink in.

On the Fjord near the Atlantic Ocean in Stathelle (where Kine and Fay are from)

On a dock in the Stathelle Fjord

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Time to get this Blog Started!

Well, here is my first post before I start on my journey to Norway. It is kinda scary to think that in a little over a week, I will be leaving the US until December. I am most nervous about my flight because I have never flown before and once I get on that plane, I will not be getting off until I land in Sweden over 8 hours later. I am hoping that once I get on the plane, I will be able to relax more and just fall asleep.

From Sweden I go to Denmark and then from Denmark I finally take my flight to Norway. I cannot wait to see Kine and Fay waiting for me at the airport. Once I get there, I will know that I have made it through what I think is the toughest part of my whole trip. I am not really worried about school or speaking Norwegian, it is just these connecting flights that I have to endure before I can relax. (I am actually really looking forward to working on my Norwegian!)

I feel like I am pretty much packed at this point. I have two suitcases that are fairly full and I hope they meet the size and weight requirements. I am glad that I am taking two because it doesn't take long to fill one when you have shoes and a winter coat to take along.

I only have 3 more nights left at Milprint and I cannot wait until 7am on Wednesday morning when I can turn in my ID and leave. Working there has been okay but after 3 summers spent in that factory, I have had more than enough of that place.

I think I am going to miss being a short distance away from home the most. It will be weird to not come home for the Mean Machine Concert and Thanksgiving this year but maybe I can make an appearance through Skype. :)I will miss my family a lot. Especially mom and dad. It sucks that I won't be able to come home and bake up a storm for a while. I am also gonna miss all the people at Luther, but I can't wait to see you all in the fall again. I hope that all you Luther people will go to the SAC Spotlight stuff thought. Karla, Theo, and I have worked pretty hard to get a line up for you!

Well, that's a good start I guess. 10 more days in the US!