[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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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. (: