After I was done at school yesterday, I went on a search through town for the bunad shop. For those of you who don't know what that is, a bunad is the name for Norway's national costume. In short, bunads vary in design, embroidery and color depending on which county or area the person with the bunad is from. I decided that while I'm living in Norway I would like to have a bunad made for myself. Since part of my dad's family is from Telemark, I've chosen to get one of the Telemark styles. After some wrongs turns I finally found the shop. Down a hallway and up some stairs I found the open workshop with many ladies sitting at tables and sewing machine behind the front counter. A woman finally saw me and came to help. She greeted me in Norwegian, to which I responded with English. At this point Norwegians usually switch over to English, but she didn't. Turns out that no one in the shop spoke English. I instantly wished I had my dad with me, but I was determined to get some bunad info. This was the first time that I was pretty much forced to use Norwegian. When the lady found out I could speak a huge look of relief came across her face. I surprised myself at how well I communicated under pressure. I was able to ask about different styles and such. After ten minutes I asked if she had a book with designs in it. Once again, the lady helping me smiled and took me back to a room where she pulled out 3 binders, one for each of the 3 styles I am considering. The book made it much easier. They didn't have a show room or anything at this shop, but I got to go back where the women were working and browse through some that were partially or mostly completed.
I went back to the books again and took a couple pictures of some embroidery designs that I liked. I am leaning towards getting a beltestakk bunad. So PLEASE feel free to leave a comment putting in a vote for which designs/bunads you like the best. The lady said I didn't have to go with the traditional colors and could pick what ever I wanted as well.
Not much interesting happened yesterday. More orientation stuff, lots of rain. All the international students met up in a room and got introduced to some staff. When they called out the name of your program you were supposed to stand up and each say your name and what country you come from. There are around 100 international students, and for ech program at least 15 stood up. When they called out for Business, only 3 of us stood up. After introductions they served traditional Norwegian heart waffles for everyone, followed by another, "in depth" tour of the campus and city. Just as our group was going outside to continue the tour the rain began to pour. We waited inside thinking it would let up, but it continued for quite a while. Eventually we ventured out, but when we came to the part that was beside the hill up to my place I chose to go home. I was not wearing a jacket and made the poor decision of wearing sandals that had given me another blister on the side of my foot. Bleeding and soaked I returned to my room and took a shower and then promptly burrowed into my bed. There was free pizza down at the school, but at that point my foot still hurt, no stores were open so that I could by band-aids, and I frankly just wanted to lie down. Later that evening I got to skype with my folks, and see my Dad for the first time since I left. I miss my parents a lot, so I feel truly blessed to have access to skype while I am here. That was basically the end of that day.
I woke up this morning feeling my first bit of homesickness. I had no desire to get out of bed, go to school or do anything. At some point I opened up my copy of Our Daily Bread, and the devotional for today was titled, "Believing In Advance." After readying the devotional, along with the scripture, I felt much more optimistic. I got ready and headed down for the opening ceremony. One of our student guides was outside waiting for a ride, so I was able to snag a ride to the school also! The ceremony was mostly in Norwegian, and I understood about 68% of it. The most entertaining part was when one of the student groups released a confetti bomb. After the main program was done, the international students gathered for a lecture from a very funny old professor. I've decided to share a couple of the slides from his presentation that I thought you would potentially find humorous (especially those of you familiar with Scandinavian culture).
Sorry it has taken me so long to post.
On Saturday we met at the school for a tour of the town. From the school, through Bø, and back took altogether about 30minutes. Bø is a very, very small place. When we returned to the school one of the guides showed a few of us the closet where they have kitchen wares that were left by previous students. We all crammed in there, searching for what we wanted. Things I got include: mixing bowl, whisk, cutting board, chopping knife, bread knife, fork/knife/spoon, plate, bowl and a can opener. Pleased with my findings, I walked back my room to drop those things off and headed with Hanna down into the city center. On Friday we had seen where the foreign food store was and were eager to get there while it was open. It was so nice finding familiar food. I bought a few of my staple items, sweet chili sauce, curry, tofu, Siracha's, etc... We wandered around a bit more, getting more shopping done, attempting to stock up on the basics. The one unfortunate thing about needing to buy "the basics" is that these things tend to weigh a lot. On our way back Hannah was a very clever navigator and found a couple short-cuts to the main road where we cross to head up the hill to Breisås. By time we reached the top I was SO ready to collapse. Walking around all day, not eating much and carrying those heavy bags took it out of me. I regained my strength enough to make myself some curry soup for dinner.
I got to chat on skype with my mom and David that day. Familiar faces are always nice to have. I fell asleep shortly after talking to them, but was soon woken up by a knocking at my door. It was my housemate and his girlfriend. He had seen or heard my guitar and was wondering if I wanted to play with him (he had his keyboard in his room). Though I was too tired to make music, I got to chat with them for quite a bit. It was definitely worth waking up to make new friends. I even got to practice my Norwegian a bit. I am slowly becoming more confident with it.
Yesterday morning didn't go as smoothly as planned. The person who was to give me a ride slept in, but luckily his brother was very kind and took time to take me to the station. Once I was dropped off and alone, I realized that handling my luggage was more difficult than I had anticipated. For the year I brought a backpacking pack, a large duffel, a large suit case, and my guitar. I used the duffel strap to tie my guitar to one of my bags which worked good enough. I had no idea where the train terminals were, but after searching I finally found mine. To continue is the series of unfortunate events, when I arrived on the platform I found out my car was the very last one. After struggling to get first bag on the train, a kind man offered to help with my second. I gladly took his help and thanked him. The ride went smoothly and rather fast. Before I knew it I was in Bø, being greeted by student guides from the school. We were all given bedding bundles and driven to our dorms. Shortly after I went down to register so I could get internet access.
After getting that all arranged and meeting some other international students, I walked back up to my room. I live in Breisås 3, its a cluster of 2 story houses which have 4 rooms (with their own bathrooms) and a kitchen on each floor. While setting up my room I opened up my bedding and found it rather unattractive, so I proceeded to spend quite a while doodling on my comforter. Is this something you need to know? Probably not. But it happened. I hadn't eaten all the day so I figured I'd go to the store. To my pleasant surprise I walked down the hill just in time to glance over at the train station and see Hannah, another student from PLU, who had arrived and was waiting to be driven up to her accommodations. Since she lives in the same complex as me, I rode back up with her to drop off her things in her room so we could walk down to the store together. We explored a little bit more of the town, but our hunger took us over so we bought our food and walked back up. This was my 3rd time up the hill already. The hill isn't too bad, but it is not the best. It takes about 15-20minutes to get to the top from the bottom (and 30mins from the school), and when it is warm outside, your wearing a jacket and carrying heavy bags, it can result in a very damp forehead.
Later that evening all the international students gathered for a meeting/party at Kroa. Kroa is the student building at TUC. They host concerts, open mic nights, have a bar, and provide lots of opportunities for students to volunteer. After giving the informative presentation we were free to mingle. For the most part the international students kinda interacted with each other. There seem to be a lot of students here from Spain and Eastern Europe. I think there are about 90 international students altogether? I am not quite sure. At one point some of the Norwegians asked if anyone wanted to join in a game of Flip Cup. Hannah and I joined in, with our cups filled with water haha. I won the 1st round for our team, but then lost horribly on the 2nd, thus retiring myself from the game for the evening. I was tired, so around 11:30pm I decided to walk back to my room and hit the hay.
After a cold, turbulence filled flight from Iceland, I arrived at Gardemoen Airport in Norway. It took a while to find my guitar, but eventually I located it and met up with my friend Joakim who helped with all my bags and is hosting me at his parent's house my first two days here. After a short drive from the airport I settled in, ate some Norwegian bread with brown cheese (YUM) and got to take a nap before dinner.
When I woke from my 2 hour slumber we drove to dinner. The place where we ate was located near Holmenkollen. Joakim's father treated us to dinner at Frognerseteren. I tried Mackerel for the first time and it was very good! For dessert I ate some sort of Danish that also tasted amazing. Along with good food the restaurant also has an amazing view that looks out over Oslo.
This morning Joakim's brother, Nicolai, dropped Joakim and me off at Aker Brygger, in Oslo (near the water). Since I arrived it has been raining a lot and continued to do so while we walked through the city. We strolled through main roads of Oslo, passing by many shops &cafes, past the royal palace, and ultimately ending at Joakim's grandmother's home. On the way I got to see Oslo's first and only Starbucks, a recent addition. It is strange to think of something that I am used to seeing on every street corner in the states as being rare. It is all perspective, I guess. Eventualy the rain started to let up and we reunited with Nicolai at their grandmother's apartment. She had prepared a beautiful spread of sandwiches and treats for us. I got to try Napoleon cake and Jordbær Gelo (strawberry jello in a box) for the first time. It all tasted great. Norway is not the best place for a lactose intolerant person; I find it hard to deny the delicious treats and creamy cheeses. Anyways, his grandmother was very sweet and interesting to talk to. I got to hear a bit about life in Norway when the Germans took over during WW2. Talking to someone who experienced it was much better than anything the History Channel could offer.
As they all spoke in Norwegian I listened intently, trying to see how much I could understand. I have surprised myself by how much I have been able to understand, but alas, there are so many words I still need to learn (or at least recognize when spoken in a sentence). I think hearing it regularly is going to continually help me get better at speaking and understanding Norwegian.
I do not know if I am writing too much or too little. This is my first time blogging and I am sure my entries will have grammatical mistakes, so please bear with me. Any feedback, comments or questions are welcome!
In 5 days I will depart for Norway. Over the last few weeks I have been rushing around trying to get everything ready for my departure. There have been a few hiccups along the way, like losing my wallet with my ID and credit cards, but other than that I feel prepared. I am nervous that I will get to Norway and realize that I have forgotten a necessary item or forgotten to take care of some school requirement, but I have a good feeling that everything will be just fine. That being said, I am going to go start packing my bags, taking care of my last few errands, and getting ready for my going away party tonight.
My name is Bonney, and I am a student at Pacific Lutheran University. This year I will be studying abroad in Bø i Telemark, Norway.