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Natalie: Update

September 4, 2010

Sunday:
SUN!!!
All I can say is that it is very obvious that Norwegians enjoy being out in Nature. Today the lake was swarming with people. Trying to run was very difficult as I had to zig zag through families with strollers and leashed dogs. So today I only did one lap around the lake. The rest of the day I spent reading. Currently I’m reading ‘The Great Gatsby” and some other short pieces by Emerson. That evening I decided to be adventurous and actually cook. I made stuffed eggplant, which sounds like it could be stomach churning, but was actually quite delicious. Even the Singaporeans were impressed.
Here is how I prepared it:

Monday:
Today I had a full day of classes, 9 ‘til 6. American Literature went by without a hitch, except for that again not a single person said anything to me. The seminar for that class was different though. Almost immediately a girl approached me and started chattering in Norwegian. Every time this happens I’m almost embarrassed to reply, “sorry I can only speak English.” As soon as she learned I was an international student she asked if I had met many people yet. Sheepishly, I looked down and shook my head. I’ve seemed to have hit a wall in this. It’s not easy making friends for me. Every time I’m surrounded by new people it’s almost painful to force myself to be in good spirits and willing to open up. I can’t understand why I can’t get over it. It’s been getting me down a lot lately and as a result I’ve spent a little bit too much time in my room on the internet. As soon as she heard that she quickly introduced herself as Ava. Later she passed me a note that read…”Norwegians are pretty skeptical when it comes to international students. Shy as well. But you’ll get used to it!” This almost came as a relief. Woof! It’s not completely my fault. This seems very true though. I feel like as soon as people hear me speak they turn away and try to avoid me. UGH! Later in our group discussion about America I was really struck by a few thoughts that were brought up.

1. They felt that America was very religious compared to Europe.
a. I thought maybe it had to do with the crazy ways we celebrate Easter and Christmas, but all that really is commercialization, not religious celebration. I asked my German roommate what she thought, and she said she had thought that America was strictly religious because of American movies she had seen. I guess there are a lot of church scenes in movies, but still usually they involve Christmas or weddings, the one time a year most Americans attend church.
2. They felt that Americans were being scared by their government.
3. They felt that Americans banded together in times of war.
a. This is definitely not true. There is more than one American I know who doesn’t support the war. If anything the war has split the nation. Just yesterday I read an online story about how a flight of troops arrived at an airport and they were booed.

I was actually excited for my Norwegian Life and Society class until the professor started. He droned on for full 2 hours from a pre-written sheet of paper. He had no slides of pictures and struggled with his English. I couldn’t even take notes his lecture was so disorganized and he was using so many Norwegian words I had no idea how to spell. I have never had such a bad teacher. I learned absolutely nothing!

Tuesday:
Only intending to go for a quick walk around the lake, I guess you could say I got a little distracted. I ended up hiking through the wilderness for nearly 3 hours. The trails just keep going and going! And while I was walking these paths I was struck by something… I saw not a single animal! No birds were even singing. I’m not sure if this is because I’m still near Oslo, or what but it was weird. No squirrels, no birds, no deer. Haha. I’ll say that today and then tomorrow be eaten by a bear! In the afternoon I worked on planning my travels. I booked a flight in early November to London and Dublin for round trip $70! Jamie and I are also planning a trip in December to Rome and Paris! I cannot wait, especially for Paris. Finally I’ll be able to practice my French on an unexpecting waitress! Haha.

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