[random] “Stories” :)

This blog post is all over the place with random stories, so I apologize for that. . 😉

Lately I’ve had a lack of motivation to write my blog. Maybe it’s because I’ve been using all my writing ability on my Business and Professional Ethics term paper? 😉 Anyways, maybe I’ll update you on school. Classes are going okay. I still can’t say I’m use to 3 – 4 hour long classes meeting only once a week. I just can’t get used to it. I would much rather go to class for only an hour or hour and half multiple times a week. I actually really enjoy 3 out of the 4 classes that I am taking here. We had a really cool presentation in my Social Entrepreneurship class about social innovation today. I really enjoyed that.  I can’t say I enjoy my microeconomics course. I cannot understand anything the professor says due to his really thick accent and quiet voice in a big room; I even sit in the front. He doesn’t explain anything he teaches and he just shows us notes that look like they’ve been written years ago in sloppy handwriting. The way the courses here are set up is that there are no assignments during the semester – so the grade for the course is just the final exam so I have no indication of what my grade would be right now. I’m definitely thinking I’m probably going to have to re take this course when I get back to UND.

Okay now on to things that are a bit more happy and exciting. Though I do feel like my portrayal of studying abroad in all my previous blogs has been portrayed as almost “perfect” all fun and no bad experiences so far. (**knock on wood**) 😉  But it has, so far, basically been that way, which is amazing and I am so thankful for how well everything has worked out and for being in such a good place.

A few cool things I’ve done this past week was on Thursday I went to the Opera and saw a ballet with Sara. I had never been to a ballet before so I had no idea what to expect. It was actually very cool! And inside the Opera house is just about as cool looking as the outside. We got a very good deal on the tickets, 100kr for good seats, minus the fact they were “bar stool” seats. Luckily enough it wasn’t sold out and there was no one sitting in the row below us, so we moved down to sit in the comfortable regular seats half way through.

The ballet consisted of three main parts with 2 intermissions. The acts or dances were all very cool and it’s actually amazing to think about how a ballet is essentially a story being portrayed by just dance and music. After the first dance was over, the audience gave a very lengthy round of applause. In fact, I’ve never experienced a situation where people clapped for that long. I am not kidding when I say they clapped for almost 5 minutes after each act. I almost couldn’t take it seriously, because it was just so much clapping!! hahah 😀 The dancers would come back on stage and the audience would clap, then they’d close the curtain (audience still continues to clap), then raise the curtain again and the dancers would bow. This repeated 3 or 4 times after each dance. It ‘s definitely either a big cultural difference or that’s what people always do at ballets? I do not know. 😉

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I don’t think I mentioned this in my previous blog, my friend Sara and I booked a little weekend trip to Bergen for late November. We both said we have to go somewhere else in Norway besides Oslo to see the true beauty of this country. Everyone suggests Bergen as the place to go for a weekend. So I’m looking forward to that trip.

OHHH!! I also booked a flight to Spain in December to visit my friend Amber who is studying abroad there this semester and also one of the girls I’m meeting in Paris. I have a week “off” before my last final and it’s one that I can’t really study for, since it’s a group written exam. So I decided I needed to go somewhere since everyone else here will be busy with either exams or going home already. I’m excited for that trip as well!

Speaking of exams, it’s crazy to think  that I’ve been here for 2 months already and my time here is almost half over… :/ It literally feels like I just arrived last week.  It has gone by so incredibly fast and I truly love it here! I am so glad I chose to come to Oslo. Though I do look forward to going back home and seeing everyone, I’m going to not want to leave Oslo.

Last Friday night, I had dinner with a lovely Norwegian family. They are really distant relatives of one of my moms best friends and I was able to meet Stein and his daughter Helene, who’s my brothers age, earlier this summer when they were in Grand Forks. One of the first days I arrived in Oslo, Stein showed me around Oslo and had said one night we’ll have to have you over for dinner. We finally were able to fit both of our schedules and they picked me up on Friday. Funny side story: I texted Helene and asked her what color car they were in. She replied, “The craziest car you can see! Green one.” So I just expected some maybe weird shade of green car. I go outside and walk to where they said they were picking me up and it’s a green HUMMER! hahah I’ve never ridden in a Hummer before, so that was super cool. Before we went to their house for dinner, he had to stop at work to lock things up for the weekend. I can’t really explain what his job is, but I think he’s a contractor and builds houses on islands in the Oslo fjords or something similar. We took this little boat to one of the islands he was working at. That was neat as well. 😉

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After a bit of a rainy time on the island we went back to main land and headed to their house. Their house was beautiful! I wish I would have taken some more pictures, but didn’t want to awkwardly take pictures of their house. 😉 We had tacos for dinner, which I guess is the “thing” to eat of Friday nights. 😉 They were very good since I can’t remember the last time I had tacos – definitely before I got to Oslo. We had a nice meal and it reminded me of home, which is a nice feeling. 🙂

After dinner and dessert, Helene, Henrik, her brother who’s actually just a few days younger than me, and I hung out the rest of the night. 😀 & They tried to teach me to count to 10 in Norwegian, but I have the hardest time pronouncing anything in Norwegian. I didn’t get past learning “two”. hahah It was a really nice having kind of a “family” night and I definitely thanked them for having me over. They’re all super nice people!

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On Tuesday afternoon I was walking to the train and this older lady stopped me and asked me ‘what time it is’, in Norwegian of course. I politely told her I didn’t speak Norwegian, which I really wish I could speak because it’s such a cool sounding language. Anyways, she couldn’t believe I wasn’t Norwegian. She said, “that’s the reason I asked you because I thought you were Norwegian.” The rest of the way to the metro, it’s about a 10 minute walk, she just kept going on about how I look so Norwegian. I love when that happens and always take it as a compliment! 🙂

I don’t really have anything else to update on that I can think of, so I think I will end this blog here. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

-Hannah 😀

P.S I’m going to PARIS in exactly 2 weeks from today and I’m super excited for that!!

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Copenhagen

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A few weeks ago, my friends and I had heard about these cruises to Copenhagen where you are on the cruise ship for 2 nights and spend about 7 hours in Copenhagen. The best part of it all was the company, DFDS Seaways, had a special running this fall for 100 kr per person – that’s $17 usd! This fall was the 100 year anniversary of the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen. We booked it kind of late so the dates were a bit picked over, but it definitely worked out in the end.

We left Oslo around 4:15pm Thursday afternoon. The Norwegians seem to be very trusting because we never once had to show an ID or our passports going to and from Oslo & Copenhagen. Thinking about that just reminded me that when I flew to Stockholm, Sweden I don’t think I had to show my passport either. Back to the story 😉 We got on the boat and found our little cabin. By little, I mean really little. It had 4 beds and a small bathroom with a super small bathroom. For $17 we couldn’t complain and it turned out to be fine, since we really didn’t even spend much time in the cabin anyway.

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To save even more money since we’re all fairly broke college students, we all brought food with to eat for dinner and breakfast the next morning. We walked around the boat, did a bit of duty-free shopping 😉 and then went back to our cabin to have our “dinner.” We spent the rest of the night at one of the “clubs” on the boat. I quoted the word clubs because on a Thursday night, we were the youngest people there by probably all our ages combined (besides the kids who were being entertained by a pirate) … In other words a lot of old people so not much of a party. 😉

It was a good night, we ended up sitting in this lounge area and ate chips and candy and I had to share my obsession of Smash! candy with them since 2 of them had never tried it so we bought a big bag at the duty-free shop. Thanks to Sara for telling me about it one day, so I tried it and yeah it’s my favorite candy now… I’m quit addicted to it. 😀 Hahah

We arrived in Copenhagen, or København in Danish, at about 9:45am. We hurried off the boat and went to wait for the bus to take us into the city center. We only had 7 hours in Copenhagen so we wanted to make the most of our time. Our first stop after the 20 minute bus ride was Joe the Juice shop to get coffee. I had brought an iced coffee with so I didn’t get anything here. With a map in hand (i.e. Sara’s hand ;)) we headed to Nyhavn, which literally translates to New Harbor, a very iconic district in Copenhagen with beautifully color buildings lining the harbor full of restaurants, shops and bars.

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We then headed over to Amalienborg, the winter home of the Danish royal family. It’s located right in Copenhagen. There are 4 identical palaces and a courtyard with cobblestone streets and sidewalks built in 1760. The palaces are guarded day and night by the Den Kongelige Livgarde or Royal Life Guards. They have the changing of guards everyday at noon. We got there at 11:00am so we decided we had enough time to walk to the Little Mermaid statue and come back to see the changing of the guards since we didn’t want to waste any time. 

I had been told about how small the Little Mermaid statue is, so I wasn’t surprised by how small it was when we walked up to it. Though, I’m sure had I not been told, I would maybe have been disappointed a bit about the size of it. It was still very cool and a must-see in Copenhagen. Image


Back at the Amalienborg palaces, we arrived just in time for the changing of the guards. I had no idea what to expect since I’ve never been to anything like it. It was really cool. The changing of the guards ceremony lasted about a half hour with the guards marching on the cobblestone streets up to the palace, followed by a marching band playing traditional Danish military marches. The marching band only following if the royal family is in residence. I always get random bursts of excitement or I don’t know how to describe it, but just being in a place where there is so much history I love it. I guess that’s the part of me who enjoys history coming out. 😉 I become in awe of how the buildings have been preserved, and all of the traditions being carried on from so long ago. I just love it and get excited seeing it. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that the United States is relatively a young country with not much history dating from that far back and we don’t have any royal family or castles. 😉

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After that, it was lunch time and we had planned on eating at this organic vegetarian restaurant we had saw online located in Christiania. So we headed to towards Christiania or “The Greenlight District”. I had never heard of it, until our friend told us about it when he went to Copenhagen a couple weeks ago. Here is a good description of the area http://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/christiania so I don’t have to describe the history behind it.

Being the “anything with peace signs, somewhat of a hippie lover” self I was intrigued and interested in the whole idea and place of Christiania. I had also talked to one of my Norwegian friends and mentioned we were going to Copenhagen, he said we had to go there just to see it. It was about a 15 minute walk from where we were. We could not have had better weather while we were there. It was perfect. The walk was lovely actually, I love old European architecture. The buildings in Copenhagen are beautiful and a lot of them are so colorful.

Walking under the large “Christiania” wooden archway is like walking into a completely different word. Once entered you are not allowed to take pictures and that is clearly stated all in spray paint on the hippie-esque buildings and signs. We walked around for a short time and tried to find this restaurant, but had no luck. We realized how unprepared we were because non of us had exchange Norwegian Krones to Danish Krones so we couldn’t even eat at any of the restaurants or cafes because they don’t take credit cards. So we basically just walked back out. I would have liked to eat lunch there and walked around more. I didn’t really feel uneasy about being there, though I’m not sure the others felt quit the same way. 😉

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We left Christinia and headed back towards the center part of Copenhagen. We stopped at cute little sandwich shop and got panini’s. I had a chicken one and it was delicious. Maybe it was due to the fact I was starving and hadn’t ate chicken in over a month.

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We enjoyed are quick lunch and then headed to the shopping district of Copenhagen. It was again a nice walk. One thing I haven’t mentioned yet at all in this post is how many people ride bikes in Copenhagen. It is crazy! They are everywhere! ImageImage

My goal for shopping was to find this place called the Sweater Market. I really want to buy a Norwegian sweater and I had read online this store has all sorts of Scandinavia sweaters. We walked down the main shopping street and we stopped into this sporting goods store that my friend Sara wanted to go in. She had been wanting a Fjällräven backpack. It’s a Swedish company that has these backpacks. They are actually really cool looking.

We never made it to the Sweater Market because we ran out of time and one lady we asked thought it might not be open anymore. We only had about 4:45 minutes before we needed to get back on the bus that takes us to the ship. We decided to just head back to the bus stop and then find a place to buy food for dinner because it’s cheaper than eating on the ship.

We made it back just in time for departure and then spent the rest of the night mainly in our cabin. We were all extremely tired from the walking and all the we did. We got back into Oslo around 10:00am Saturday morning.

I enjoyed the trip a lot, but for sure would love to have spent more time in Copenhagen. I definitely would recommend it as a place to visit! 🙂

15 Things & Packing Tips!

Long time, no blog! I haven’t written in over a week mainly because I haven’t done anything too cool or out of the ordinary here in Oslo. I’ve basically went to my classes, did school work i.e. reading, and hung out with friends. Ooooohh! I’m officially going to PARIS! 🙂 I booked my flight and rented an apartment for the time we will be there. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to go to a specific city as much as I have always wanted to go to Paris! I’m meeting up with my friend Amber, who is studying abroad in Spain this semester. We actually met in my French class last year at UND. A friend of Amber’s is also coming with and then Kailey, who I graduated high school with,  lives in Germany and is meeting us in Paris as well. We were in French class together all 4 years of high school. Our tip is planned for the end of October and I cannot wait! 🙂

I’ve decided to do something a bit different with this blog because like I said I haven’t done anything too out of the ordinary this past week. So I thought I shall do a sort of “15 things” post. I have three categories: “Things I’m Glad I brought”,”Things I shouldn’t have Brought”,”Things I Wish I Would’ve Brought”

THINGS I’M GLAD I BROUGHT:

Glad I brought

1. My Nike running shoes! The only comfortable pair of shoes I brought with me and so glad I did. I would tell anyone who’s studying abroad make sure you have a good pair of shoes for all the trips/touristy stuff you do – they usually require a lot of walking!

2. My backpack! It’s a good dual purpose item that all study abroaders should have. The obvious use is for school, but it’s good for just weekend trips when you don’t need to pack for more than a few days. It’s so much easier than lugging around a big suitcase.

3. My water bottle! Good in so many ways. Buying bottled water in Norway is freaking expensive and you basically are getting the same water from the tap as you do in the bottle, so you save a ton of money. Plus it keeps you hydrated 😉

4. My makeup and enough to last me while I’m here! Okay so of course this one only pertains to girls and girls who love makeup. Most people would say to just buy it in your country abroad. If it’s going to cost you the same price as back home than definitely save the room in your suitcase, but check that out before you leave. I was looking at makeup at a store the other day, for a basic Maybelline concealer it was like $16. An Essie nail polish purchased at H&M was $18. You could get both the concealer and nail polish in the US for the price of just the concealer here.

5. Adapters/Converters! Buy a good converter for your laptop and then a few converters before you leave. It will save you money and the hassle of trying to find one abroad.

THINGS I SHOULD NOT HAVE BROUGHT:Should not have brought

1. So many sandals! My advice to you, think about the weather for the whole time you’ll be there, not just the first month.  You can’t wear flipflops in the winter 😉

2. My Columbia fleece! This is just a personal preference, but whenever I wear mine (I’ve only done it twice) I feel like such a foreigner… I don’t know why. People don’t really wear them here.

3. PINK yoga pants/capris! In the United States, for the most part, it’s acceptable to wear yogas as basically pants. Here, that is not a thing. Yoga pants are strictly for the gym. I’m glad I have a couple pairs, but I definitely brought too many.

4. My ‘big’ camera! Again, this one will be probably just my personal preference, but truly ask yourself, will you really use that camera if it’s so big. I haven’t used this camera once and I’ve been on a couple little trips where I could have taken pictures with it. It’s just too bulky to carry around in it’s case and honestly my little point and shoot camera is just fine for me. If it was an actual DSLR camera, I’d probably have a different opinion.

5. Bootcut/Straightleg jeans! This is probably the biggest thing I regret bringing. All my jeans I have with me, would be considered “in style” back home. Here? Definitely not. NO ONE WEARS THEM! 😛 All they wear are skinny jeans…at least I brought one pair of those 😉

THINGS I WISH I WOULD HAVE BROUGHT:

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1. Slippers! For wearing around my room and my floor. I have flip flops for the shower, but in my room my feet get cold.

2. Rainboots! Again like I mentioned with the sandals above, research the climate/weather of where you’re study abroad at to see what’s the best footwear. It rains here a lot and when it snows it’s the wet kind of snow, so Uggs would not be a good choice.

3. Fall jacket! I didn’t pack a decent “fall” type jacket, all I brought was my Columbia fleece that I talked about above and my winter coat. So I ended up having to buy one while I was in Sweden.

4. Skinny jeans! I’ve again mentioned this above, I should have packed only skinny jeans! 😉

5. A duffel bag! I wish I had brought a bag that was bigger than my backpack, but smaller then my suitcases to bring for longer trips.

I hope some of these things were helpful to those who are going to be studying abroad. A lot of the things somewhat correlated with each other, so I’m sorry if it was a bit repetitive. I don’t have anything else to update you with, except to look for a more entertaining blog next week. I’m going to Copenhagen, Denmark on Thursday with a few of my friends so look out for that blog sometime late next weekend! 🙂

Stockholm!

It’s been a while since my last post on here and I apologize for that. 🙂 I won’t waste anytime, I’ll just jump right into what I’ve been doing.

Last Thursday, I had my first movie theater experience abroad. I went with my friend Simon, his friend Niko, Niko’s girlfriend, Simon’s friend Max, and then 2 of my Norwegian friends. We planned on going to see The Conjuring at 9:00pm, but that did not happen. When we arrived to the ticket counter at the theater, we were told that they only had 10 seats left, but none of them together. Which was actually weird to me, that the seats are reserved. So we decided not to go to that one because who wants to sit alone at a scary movie? None of the other movies playing at that theater were English, so we decided to walk across the street to the other theater to see if there was any decent movies playing there.

We ended up seeing Kick Ass 2 for the price of roughly $17.00 USD for just the movie ticket. Sometimes, you just have to get over the prices of things here and just live. 😉  I’ve never seen the first one and had no idea what it was even about to be honest. It actually wasn’t that bad. The movie itself was in English and just had Norwegian subtitles. It was a cool experience and I think where ever you study abroad it’s something you should do! 🙂

Friday morning I woke up and finished packing for my weekend in Stockholm with my aunt and uncle. I took the airport express train from the central station in Oslo to the airport. My flight left Oslo around 1:00pm and arrived in Stockholm right around 2:00pm. I got off the plane and walked to the baggage claim and met up with my aunt and uncle. They arrived in Stockholm from Copenhagen about an hour before me.

We checked in to the hotel at like 3:00pm and then headed out on a boat tour of Stockholm. We stayed at the Nobis Hotel, which was very nice. I would definitely recommend it, if you’re not on a budget. It’s located right in Old Town and by the main shopping area. An interesting fact about the building the hotel is in, is that the term “Stockholm Syndrome” originated in this building as it was home to the famous bank robbery in the ’70’s.

The boat tour we took was beautiful. I never realized that the city was made out of 14 islands. I was surprised by the beauty of the city. The buildings are beautiful and we had the best weather. It’s been unusually warm here in Oslo and Stockholm the past few weeks. I’ve been loving the weather, but is it bad that I’m secretly wanting winter? 😉

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After the boat tour we had a lovely dinner at a restaurant that served traditional Swedish food. Of course I had to go with Swedish meatballs because how can you not order those in Sweden? They were quite good! It reminded me of home with mashed potatoes and salad.

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The next morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. I was in LOVE with European breakfasts. I could not believe the array and quality of food to choose from. Breakfast was amazing and after filling myself up with Swedish pancakes and fruit, we took a cab to a couple museums. We first went to the Vasa Museum which, according to Wikipedia, displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged and sank in 1628 on it’s maiden voyage. The other museum we went to was Nordic Museum, which is basically a museum about Swedish and Scandinavian cultural history. I really enjoyed both museums and had fun at them.

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After the museums, we went back to the hotel and then my uncle and I headed out to go shopping. I was on a mission to buy a “fall”ish jacket. I didn’t have a nice jacket with me. All I brought was a Columbia fleece, which I felt soooo American in, when I wore it. After a bunch of shops, I finally found one at a store called Bik Bok. Funny thing is, that it’s actually a Norwegian store. I paid around $90 usd for a fall jacket, which is’t too terrible and it looks Norwegian. It  was a little cheaper to buy in Sweden so I’m glad I bought it. (:

The shopping excursion lasted about 3 hours in that  time we picked out a few shirts for my aunt, I bought my jacket and a shirt, and we experience a Swedish outdoor food market. Oh and got lost. 😉 We left the hotel with no map, thinking we would be fine. We somehow got all turned around and gave up trying to get back to the hotel after 20 mins so we opted for a cab ride back to the hotel because our feet hurt. We then relaxed at the hotel until dinner. I ate at the cutest little French cafe and enjoyed a three hour dinner with my aunt and uncle. I really can’t thank them enough for how well they treated me on this trip and all the most delicious meals I ate. (:

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We left Stockholm Sunday afternoon and checked into the hotel in Oslo with my aunt and uncle who stayed two more days in Oslo! Monday we once again had a delicious European breakfast and  then went to Frogner Park where all the statues are. It’s quite an amazing place. We spent a couple hours there and then I brought them up to Holmenkollen ski jump and took them to this restaurant called Frognerseteren to eat their “famous” apple pie cake, which is pretty much heaven. Check out their website here >>> http://www.frognerseteren.no/index.aspx The building is beautiful and has an amazing view of the city.

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Monday night my amazing aunt and uncle took me out to dinner with my friend Sara. I really enjoyed having them visit and am thankful for them taking me to Stockholm! (:

Visitors in Oslo

My contract for my blog for UND only requires me to blog once every two weeks, but that doesn’t seem like enough. A lot can happen in two weeks, especially abroad. My goal is to blog at least once a week, sometimes maybe more. My last blog was exactly a week ago. Maybe Monday’s will be my blog day? 🙂 [when I started typing this, it was Monday…now it’s Tuesday] ;/

Anyway, last week I had class on Tuesday and Thursday. My Wednesday microeconomics class was canceled, so I had the day off. I was still a sick with a cold, that today I’m still getting over. I washed all my bedding and seriously cleaned my room. I swept and mopped the floor and wiped off all my shelves and desk. It felt so good to have a clean room.

Thursday night I went with Sara to the Amatøren, the student run pub here at Sogn. Every Thursday they have quiz night and one of her roommates runs the quizzes. It was fun, though we did not win. Haha the questions were actually really hard and pretty random.

Friday morning my two aunts and two uncles arrived in Oslo. I planned on meeting them at their hotel around 11:30am, but somehow got “lost” with my directions I had wrote down and it took me a lot longer. I also didn’t end up leaving my place until 12:00pm. I did feel bad because they were ready to go do sight seeing and I was late. Oh well, that can you do.

When I arrived, we walked a block to this cute restaurant cafe and had lunch. I had the Norwegian Shrimp Sandwich. I should have taken a picture of it, but I was turned off my the random orange colored caviar sprinkled on top. It was really good, after picking the caviar off. 😉

After lunch, we walked to the Opera. It was my second time being there, so I didn’t take any pictures of myself there. We spent about a half hour there and then walked to Karl Johans gate, the main street of Oslo. There is a lot of shopping, sightseeing, and people watching to do on this street. We walked around for a while, but it of course started to rain. The weather has been absolutely beautiful all week and then when they arrived, it rained for the first time all week. We had ice cream for dessert at Deli de Luca. I kind of love Deli de Luca, they are pretty much on every block in Oslo and have like everything. It reminds me of a cross between a convenience store and Panera Bread.

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^^ My ice cream! 🙂

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^^ The Opera

Saturday morning, I got up early to make sure I wasn’t late getting to their hotel. I arrived around 10:30am and they were just waking up! I totally knew how they felt thought. The morning after I arrived in Oslo, I slept in until about 1:30pm. It was of course raining pretty heavy again, so umbrellas were a must. We went down to the harbor to catch the water taxi/ferry to go see the Viking Ship Museum. We got off the boat and expected the museum to be right there, but it wasn’t. It was about a 20 minute rainy walk up a hilly residential area.

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^^ View as we were leaving on the ferry. Such a rainy and cloudy morning.

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^^ Boat on the pier that had fresh shrimp and other fish for sale!

The museum was really cool. It’s so crazy how those viking ships are still preserved from so many years ago. We spent about 45 minutes inside the museum and then walked to the Kon Tiki Museum. I had heard of Kon Tiki before, but had no clue what it was. We then went back onto the ferry and headed to the Akershus Fortress. We walked around inside it, which I thought was so cool. I had never been to any sort of castle before. Inside by this pond area, there was a wedding going on and the bridal party was dressed in their tradition Norwegian costumes. That was really cool to see.

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^^ One of the viking ships inside the museum

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^^ Viking ship! It’s so crazy how these are still preserved from soooooo long ago

http://www.khm.uio.no/besok-oss/vikingskipshuset/  Website with more information on the Viking ships in the museum. 🙂

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^^ One of the Kon Tiki boats at the museum

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^^ Outside by the Kon Tiki muesum.

After spending an hour or so at the fortress, we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a while after sooo much walking. We ate dinner at this restaurant down the block from the hotel called ‘Gamle Raadhus Restaurant.’ It’s inside the original town hall building of Oslo. I shared a meal of scallops (my favorite) and arctic char & seafood risotto. I’m normally not a ‘fillet’ fish person (not sure how to describe that) hahah, I like crustacean type fish. 😉 But I did really like arctic char, so maybe I will start to like that kind of fish. For dessert, I had probably the best crème brûlée I’ve ever had. Oh my god, it was so good! 🙂

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Sunday morning around 7:00am we left the hotel. I ended up staying at their hotel Saturday night because I didn’t want to go back to my place after dinner when it was dark and it takes like 40 minutes to get back there. I walked, while they took a taxi to the Oslo S Central Train station. I said goodbye to them and they went to find their train to go to Bergen for a couple days and then I went to the subway to go back to my residence.

The hotel had given my aunts and uncles 4 tickets to Taste of Oslo, but they never got around to using them. So I took them and went with my friends Sara and Simon, and his friend Niko. I had no idea what the Taste of Oslo would be, but hoped for free food. It turned out to be kind of lame, but we got a few free little samples and a free drink!

This week I have class of course and then Friday I am flying to Stockholm for the weekend with my aunt and uncle. 😀 I’m excited to finally start traveling while I’m here.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

This past Friday marked my two weeks of being here in Oslo and it was the last night of “Fadderullan.” The time had really flown by and it seems like just yesterday I got here. The quote, “Time flies when you’re having fun” is so true. I really love it here!

Friday afternoon, I went to the Oslo Opera with a couple other exchange students and then we walked around the city center a lot. The weather here this past week has been absolutely beautiful. I’ve been told that this weather is usually warm for this time of the year. I’ve definitely been trying to take advantage of the gorgeous weather.

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Outside somewhat on top of the Opera ^^

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The view from on top of the Opera looking toward the city! ^^

I arrived back to Sogn at around 3:30pm and did a little grocery shopping at the Rema 1000 right near my residence before going up to my room. I then relaxed and tried to cool down because I was so hot from the afternoon outside and I knew that later on we’d be going to the last “fadderullan” party. The party theme for that night was called “Suit Up” so it was a somewhat formal event. We planned on going to the pre-party for sure, but didn’t really plan on going to the actually party because the pre-parties had always been a lot more fun anyways. Plus we didn’t want to have to pay 200kr just to get in. We still decided to dress up anyway and I was glad I did, because all our new Norwegian friends looked so good! Hahaha

I don’t think I can say it enough or describe how cool it is to have the opportunity to get to know Norwegians. Before I arrived, everyone who had either been to Norway or had a connection to Norway told me that Norwegians are so hard to get to know. I can see where they are coming from in certain ways, but as a foreigner to get to know the people of Norway you have to really put yourself into a position that allows you to get to know them. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful and welcoming buddy group. After the first day of our buddy group, before we met the Norwegians, our leaders told us to come back and meet them at 11:00am the next day to go to the park with them. The first day we had like 25 people in this group, the following day only three of us came back and I am so glad I made that choice to come back. Those other 22 people definitely lost out on the opportunity to get to know the people of Oslo and their fellow Norwegian students. It wasn’t only our buddy group where the exchange students didn’t come back the next day, a lot of them didn’t decide to go back. I feel like that was such a lost opportunity for them. During the 10 days of “fadderullan” I got to somewhat know a lot of the Norwegians in my buddy group, some more than others. I really do hope that I will be able to continue to get to know them because I have really enjoyed the last week with them all. (:

While getting to know our buddy group, I probably can say that I may have missed out on getting to know my fellow exchange students. My whole view on this, is that all my classes will be with them and I can get to know them in class with discussions or group projects. The opportunity to get to know them is still there, while getting to know the Norwegians is there, but at a farther distance.

I really hope this post doesn’t come across rude in anyway, I am just glad of the decisions I have made so far while I am here and that everyone has their own views and opinions on why they are here and what they want to do. (:

Anyways back to Friday night, the party was very fun and probably one of my favorite nights of “fadderullan” even though I didn’t go to the actually party. My friend Sara, didn’t want to go to the actually party, but everyone else wanted us to go. I really didn’t care if we went or not, so I went back home with Sara when the others went to the actually party. Like I said before, the pre-parties are always more fun! (: & I wasn’t going to leave her, because all the other nights when I wasn’t able to get in because of being 19, she didn’t leave me. Anyways, I was starting to get a cold and it was probably a good thing so I could go to bed at a somewhat of an earlier time than the nights before.

Some pictures from the party on Thursday night and Friday night:

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The attempt to get the whole “Fadderullan Entøk” group picture after a night of drinking… = a tough task 🙂 Looking so classy!

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My favorite Canadian, Sara

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William , one of my more favorite Norwegians, but they all are my favorite!

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His pants matched my dress, so of course we had to take a picture!

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Thursday night at the superhero themed party…not many dressed up!

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Sara, Leivi and I

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He told me he had read my blog, so I said we needed a picture for my next one. So here’s the picture, Wilson! 🙂

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Saturday, I kind of took it easy and didn’t do much, I’ve been sick with a sore throat and somewhat of a cough. I went and bought two of the books for my classes, I still need 2 more, but the store doesn’t have the on in yet. The prices for the two I bought were not that bad at all. I paid around $130usd for the two books. Back home I paid almost $200usd for just one. I didn’t do anything Saturday night except attempt to study and read my text books, but I ended up falling asleep reading them instead. Hahah

Sunday morning, I slept in and made a good breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. It was delicious and the first time I’ve had true breakfast food since I’ve been here. I met Sara at 1:00pm to head to the museum. We both had registered for this free tour to BI students of the Munch exhibit at the National Gallery in Oslo. The tour was good, for the most part that I paid attention too. About halfway through I almost passed out. It was extremely hot in there and we were in a smaller room with a lot of people and then all of a sudden my vision started blurring and my hearing was going out. I had no idea what was going on and I could barely walk. All I could say was “I need to sit down.” I managed to find a bench and then I was super hot so I took out this brochure for the exhibit from my purse and sat there and fanned myself trying to cool off because my forehead was dripping sweat. I really don’t know why that happened, but I think it was the combination of it being super hot outside and in the museum, too many people in the small room, being sick, and not drinking enough water the last couple of days. I did get to see ‘The Scream’ which was exciting since that’s one of the most known/well recognized paintings in the world and I remember elementary art class learning about that painting. 🙂  I was completely fine after I cooled off, but I still have a sore throat and am a little congested. The rest of the day, I just stayed in my room and studied.

Today is Monday and I haven’t done too much. I don’t have any classes on Mondays, which I love. I have been doing some studying and I did laundry today. Tonight, I’m going over to Sara’s to have dinner. She’s making Thai food, my favorite, so I am excited about that! 🙂

Sorry this post is kind of long, but sometimes I just get into the swing of writing and can’t really stop. (:

Sail Challenge & First Days of Class

Monday, August 19th:

The sail challenge was one of the “Fadderullan” activities that everyone said to go to and that it was one of the most fun. I bought my ticket for it right away, but unsure of what it actually consisted of. I had heard different things about it. What it actually was, was 3 of each of the buddy group’s leaders were on a sail boat and I believe had to do certain challenges on the sail boats. The rest of us were put on 3 different boats and basically had a party on these boats watching the sail boats. It was a good night, except they separated the international students from their buddy groups, so they put all exchange students on their own boat, which kind of sucked. We made the most of it even though many people just sat at the tables in groups of nationalities and don’t branch out. That’s why we love our Norwegian buddies!

Top left: Sara & I on the boat; Top right: Kim, Simon, Kim, and Sara on the boat

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Bottom left & right: Shrimp we got on the boat! 🙂 It was delicious! & I was excited to eat it!

Tuesday, August 20th: 

I had my first day of class. I have soooo not been focused on school at all. The whole last week and a half, school really hasn’t been a thought on my mind. It’s been so much fun getting to know everyone and specially the Norwegians and our buddy group. My first class was at 2:00pm and it was Business and Professional Ethics. I think the class will be interesting and the good thing is that the final exam, is just a group term paper and that is all you’re graded on through the whole course. The bad thing is, the course each day is almost 4 hours long. We do get a 10 minute break every hour, but I am not used to going to class just once a week for a longer period of time.

Wednesday, August 21st:

I slept in a little bit and then had Microeconomics at 2:00pm. That course is only 2 hours and 45 minutes instead of almost 4, which is better. After class Sara, Simon, and I met a few of the buddies at the park for a little bit. Then Sara and I went back to her place and we ate some of her left over Mediterranean chick pea stew, that she had made the day before. It was delicious, btw. (:

Thursday, August 22nd:

I had my first 8:00am class. I’m not used to getting up at 8:00am at all since I’ve been in Norway. I met Simon at the train stop then we road the train and then went to class. For me it’s about a little over a 10 minute walk to the train stop, or T-Banen and then just the next stop is my school. In all it takes like 16 minutes to get from my room to school, which isn’t really that bad. That class I had was Organization and Change and I think I will like it. The teacher seemed interesting and wasn’t boring like the first 2 classes.  That is where I will end her for this blog, I might do a separate blog for Thursday night, or just combine it with the whole weekend ! (:

Here are a couple random photos from this past couple days! (:

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At the ice cream place at the lake! ^^

(you can click on the picture to make them bigger if you like)

Fadderullan!

(pictures at the end :D)

“Buddy group” is the translation of fadderullan which is where my time, this past 5 days, has been consumed by. The first day of the group was just international students and the buddy leaders. They gave us a little tour of the school and showed us around a little bit. The next day we were told to meet at the school at 11:00am because we would be going to a park. I met Sara, my now friend, in our buddy group that day. We found out that we both live at Sogn so we took the train back together. We planned to meet the next day to meet with our group.

Wednesday morning Sara and I took the train to BI to meet our group. We got there a little early and didn’t see any of our buddy leaders so we went back in to see if they were in side. On our way in we met Simon, who’s from Germany. He completes the “3 amigos” of the international students in our buddy group because no one else showed up, which in the end I’m kind of glad because I really like getting to know actual Norwegian students. We found our group and today the first year Norwegian students joined us. I met so many people that day, I had a hard time remember all their names!

After introducing ourselves to each other we got on a bus to go to a park in Oslo. On the bus we sat with the Norwegians and talked. Somehow we got on to the top of driver’s licenses and they couldn’t believe you can be 15 and have your driver’s license. I learned that it’s really expensive to get your license in Norway. One of the guys I was talking to on the bus, who I can’t remember his name, spent a year in the United States and studied in California.

Out of all the international students I’ve met or people in Oslo in general, the Norwegians speak THE BEST English our of everyone (besides native English speakers). It’s really easy to carry on a conversation with the Norwegians because they don’t need to pause and search for the right words like some others do. The French, for example, a lot of them that I’ve met are not good at English and have a hard time. The Norwegian’s are really good at English. One of the main reasons they said it’s because all their TV they watch is American or English with just Norwegian subtitles, so they don’t dub over voices like other countries do and they take English really early on.

On our way to the park, after getting of the bus, we had to stop at this little grocery store to buy some ‘beverages’ to drink at the park. In Norway it’s not really legal to drink in the park or public, but in Oslo the police don’t really follow that law too well. We also got hot dogs and these really cool disposable grills that they have at like every grocery store. The Norwegian’s eat hot dogs with lefse and potato salad. It’s actually really good! At the park we cooked hot dogs, drank, and played games. We spent all afternoon at the park getting to know the Norwegians. At about 6:00pm or so we left the park and took the tram and the train to get to Morten’s apartment. He’s one of the buddy leaders, which just means he’s an upperclassman at BI who’s been in the same position as us all and volunteered to help us get to know one another. For the exchange students it’s a really good opportunity to get to know Norwegian people, which can be tough. I’m really glad we’ve been sticking with our buddy group for the past 5 days, because it’s not everyday you get the opportunity to get to know Norwegians.

We were at the pre-party until probably about 10:00pm and then we went to the concert. The artist was Erik & Kriss, they’re a well known Norwegian rap group. When we got to the club, I had to go wait into a different line because I was not 20. There were sooooo many people around and everyone was pushing and shoving to get in. I didn’t recognize anyone in line, so I just hoped I would see people I knew when I got in side. Once inside, found Helene, one of the buddy leaders, and she told me to follow her to find the rest of the group. I ended up losing Helene after we both ran to the bathroom. I didn’t see anyone I knew, so I went to the floor where the concert was to try to find someone I recognized at least. I didn’t want to have to spend the whole night a lone. lol I then found 2 people that had been in my buddy group that I remembered, but hadn’t really talked to. We then spent the next 20 minutes trying to find the rest of our group. Somehow, I got split up from those 2, and ended up with a few international students I had met my first night here in Oslo. The night ended up okay, but I never ended up finding my buddy group of Norwegians, which I later found out, was because they stayed in the basement area which was 20+ only. I really love my buddy group and  all the Norwegians in it. Everyone is so nice and really genuinely interested in you. It actually really sucks being 19 in Oslo, because there is really only one club you can go in, if you are under 20.

The next day, Thursday, was basically the same preparty in the park listening to music, playing games, etc. The only that was different was Sara and I didn’t have tickets to the concert for that night. We were okay with that because we both hadn’t ever heard of the artists, so why waste money in Oslo when everything else is already sooooo expensive.

Friday ended up being really crappy weather and we had a “Study Smarter” workshop at the school in the afternoon. Friday night we met up with our buddies once again and tonight’s activity was a “pub crawl”. My friend Sara said it was not like a normal pub crawl she had ever been on before, so this was not a typical one. We were split up into teams, thankfully Sara and I were put on the same team, but the rest of our team wasn’t good. We were stuck with like the 3 Norwegians who we hadn’t really talked to before and the one was super quiet and never talked or just talked in Norwegian. Basically the first task was to find the buddy leader somewhere in the park. This would have actually been a pretty fun night if it hadn’t been raining. After about 20 minutes of no luck, we went back to the starting place and told them we couldn’t find them. It turned out that they had thought everyone had came through so they just went onto the next place and didn’t wait for us. So we ended up on the wrong foot. At each stop there were different challenges to do in order to get more points. The first stop was to take a picture with at least 2 random strangers. Also along the way, we started out with really small items and our goal was to trade for items worth more value. My team definitely lacked in that department, I think due to the rain, we were just focused on getting to the next spot. Friday night was an okay night, but would have been a lot better if it hadn’t rained or we had had a better team.   😉

Saturday, was nice weather and I had my appointment with the foreign police at 2:00pm and there was also a scavenger hunt with our buddy group at the same time as well. I left for my appointment at around 1:00pm thinking I would have plenty of time to find the police station…turned out it was not and I ended up being about 45 minutes late to it and Norwegians are NEVER late. It all worked out and the lady was super nice to me and didn’t give me a hard time about being late at all. I was told to take the train to the city center and get off and just ask someone where it was. I did that, and they then told me to go to Grønland, an area of Oslo that I’ve been told don’t go alone or at night. It’s a lot of immigrants and to just be careful there. So I get off the train and ask people where the police station is. They told me to go just down the street and it’s on the left. I walked and found the building, but it looked closed. I went up to the door and it was locked, so I buzzed the button and some guy answered in Norwegian. I told him what I was doing and he said this isn’t the correct police station and attempted to give me directions. I could go on and on about how I was lost and then eventually found the correct police building, but it could get quit boring and I really just need to summarize this and say that I made it there eventually and I will be receiving my residence card in the mail within the next 10-14 days. 🙂

After my appointment, I met back up at the school with Sara and Simon and I went with them back to the scavenger hunt even though it was basically over. I honestly love spending time with my buddy group and they are so much fun to be with. We went to Marcus’s apartment first. He’s another buddy leader and we’ve come to the conclusion that there really are more buddy leaders than “students” and they really enjoy being buddy leaders. Marcus’s apartment was really nice as well. All of the apartments we’ve been to have been extremely nice! I will leave that at that and say I had a ton of fun on Saturday night with all of them. 😀

Sunday was extremely crappy weather and I was really tired from the night before. Sara and I ended up going out for late lunch,/early dinner, my first time at a sit down restaurant in Oslo, at a Thai food place called Rice Bowl. It was delicious and I had a pad thai of course. 😉 After eating I came back to my room and just relaxed. I also did laundry for the first time here. I surprisingly had no problems, thanks to Sara for showing me how!

Monday, today, we had a Fadderullan activity as well, but I am going to end this post here since I took quite a few pictures today so that will be it’s own post. 🙂 

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^^ Most of our buddy group on the first night!

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^^^Erik & Kriss concert, the first day of Fadderullan

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Our group chanting to the other school groups of Fadderullan in Norwegian. This was one of the days at the park.

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Sara with Jim and Jespar. Funny story, Jim was planning on going to UND this fall, but something happened with his visa so he has to wait until next year.

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One of the buddies randomly found these tables that had a note that said “Free take them” so he just brought them over to where we were sitting in the grass.

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William and I ! 😀 I couldn’t have a post without a picture of myself in it. Hahahaha so I stole this one from my German friend Simon. 😉 & I had no idea that we both had the same facial expression when he was taking the picture, Kind of funny.

Busy Busy Busy!

I’ve been trying to find myself time to get another blog post written the last couple days, but I’ve been extremely busy! It has been a lot of getting to know everyone! I’m still amazed as to how different countries are represented with all of the BI exchange students or other students study at other universities in Oslo. I have many stories I could write about but the one I’ll tell you now is about attempting to make it to Grønland, an area of Oslo known for it’s cheaper produce and being their melting pot of cultures. I was walking to the metro stop with 3 others and it was raining, not too bad, but I didn’t have an umbrella. Half way to the train stop it started hailing… I haven’t seen hail in a long time and I had never been stuck walking in a hail storm. I had flip flops on and I was soaked by the time we stopped at this shop because one of the girls I was with had to buy her metro pass. We waited for about 20 minutes and just decided to skip Grønland and just head to BI to get our student ID cards. On our way to the train stop, we hadn’t gotten their yet since we had stopped, we walked past a Burger King and they were handing out free disposable plastic rain ponchos with a big Burger King logo on the back. I think since BK has those, it’s safe to assume that it rains a lot her in Oslo. We finally got to the train station and rode the train to BI. I’m a little worried about how my student id photo will turn out, as I took it right after getting soaking wet from the storm… It’ll be an unfortunate photo because I’ve heard that every time you log into the student website your picture shows up! 

I’ll leave you with a few pictures I’ve taken the last couple days here! Image

This was my first time in the grocery store. This one is called Rema 1000 and is located just a block down from me. There are 3 grocery stores within easy walking distance from my residence. 

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I haven’t done too much sight seeing of Oslo yet, but this is the view from the area where the giant ski slope in Oslo is. 

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This is what was called like ‘apple pie cake’ I am not sure of the actual Norwegian name for it, but it was delicious! 

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Last here is a picture of the inside of my school. It’s really amazing! 

 

Ed Belfour – The World Can Be So Small

Yesterday was my first day waking up in Oslo. Like I mentioned in my previous post I slept in and wasn’t kind of relaxed in my room during the afternoon. Later on I took the T-Bane to BI(Norwegian Business School) to get my photo taken for my ID card. My school is just down one train stop from where I get off for my dorm. Including all the walking and the train ride, it takes about 15 mins to get from my dorm to my school. When I arrived, there were a bunch of students registering. These were all of the Norwegian students who are enrolled full time, not the exchange students. I went to find the student center to take my picture, but they were closed when I got there. I then took the train back and came back to my room.

Later on that night the group of exchange students for the fall got together on the rooftop of BSN, the other, more convenient (it’s literally across the street from BI), but more expensive residence place for the BI students. This is the view from that rooftop.

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I talked with many students from all over the world. To name all the countries people were from would take way too long, but to name some, there were people from France, Switzerland, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Mexico, Holland, Netherlands, and Germany. I was talking to a guy from Sweden and we got on the topic of hockey, of course! (: We had been talking about American Accents and the Texas accent. He then mentioned that his favorite goalie to watch growing up played for the Dallas Stars before he came over and played for a Swedish professional team towards the end of his career. He said he had played goalie as a kid and just idolized him when he played for the Chicago Blackhawks.  I told him I followed hockey quite a bit so he was like you might know him. It just so happened to be Ed Belfour! 😀 That moment I realized that depending on who you’re talking to, the world can be so small. I told him, “You’re not going to believe this, but Ed Belfour played college hockey for a year at my school back home and won a national championship with them.” He could not believe that I knew who he was or let alone I go to the same school he did. What a crazy world.

We left the rooftop to go to Hard Rock Cafe because they were having some student welcoming party. It’s right downtown the city center of Oslo. So the group of us hopped on the T-Bane and walked to it. It was super busy so we went to try and find a different club to go to. We get to this one club and they say the age limit is 20… So I had a short panic moment and thought oh God, I’m going to be the only one who can’t go in and will have to take the train back to my room alone at like 12:30am. Luckily there were 5 other people who were 19 and 4 of them live at the same residence, so we went back together. Three of them were French and one guy from Poland. Whenever the French would talk to each other, I could somewhat pick out every like few words when they talked. When we were walking back one of them said to the other, ” Elle est de Dakota du Nord ” It was funny because I immediately said ” I understood that!!” 🙂

I’ve also had 2 people think I was from Norway. One guy on the bus I took to Ikea started talking to me in Norwegian and then these two girls, who both looked Scandinavian, asked me if I knew where this club was. I said I didn’t know and that I wasn’t from here, they looked at me shocked and said where are you from? I said the United States. They we’re wondering what the heck I was doing in Oslo and said I looked soooo Scandinavian. I took that as a compliment! 🙂

So far I’m the only one I’ve met who is from the United States, and most people I’ve talked to has said the same. I’m hoping to change their view on Americans by not being what they say the “stupid American.” I think I have a start to that because I acutaly know the difference between Sweden and Switzerland. 😛

It’s so interesting meeting people from all over the world and especially when you have 2 people that both speak the same language and I just sit there having no clue what they are saying at all. I don’t know if they’re actually talking about me or what. I just assume they’re not… hahaha lol