Natalie: Home!

November 23, 2010

Norway, Norway, Norway. I am back in Norway. Things are the exact same as when I left except for that we have snow and the pressure of finals this week are crushing me.

I’ve started walking again. I really like going after its dark out. There are lights that illuminate a path around the lake. Even at 10 pm there are a lot of people out running or walking. The stars are so clear here. I find it hilarious that the path into the woods goes between an iced over hockey rink and a grassy green soccer field. People playing on both. Only in Norway do they have a machine that dethaws the ground so you can play soccer in the middle of winter.
Here are some pictures from around where I live:

Also the lake:

Some crazies decided to go swimming!

The sun rises at about 7 now… if you can call it that. There is a persistent gray haze that dominates Oslo’s weather. Snow maybe? The sun sets at around 3:30. Way, way too early.

The christmas food has come out at the grocery store! They have lutesfisk in the freezer section! and Marspian chocolates and pepperkaker and julebrus and glogg and CHristmas beer!

Finals! I have 3 finals in the next 2 weeks and it’s only November. Then I am free as a bird for a month and a half. Yipee!

The last 3 days I have spent in the library. I get there before the sun rises and don’t emerge until way after the sun sets. I’ve been meeting Lauren and Britt there. I really adore these girls. Time actually flies by while we’re “studying”. We all have the same course, the North and South divide and we’re all a little nervous for the final. Most of the time we sit in the study rooms conversing transnational corporations (geese Monsanto is the devil), free trade v. fair trade, and the reasons for poverty in the global south. I have never learned more than from talking with these girls. They bring the best out in me. For that very reason I’ve started to feel very, very sad about leaving . . . or maybe I’m homesick. I can’t make up my mind. Why can’t you all just move here!?

This evening I watched ‘Leap Year”… filmed in Ireland. I seriously NEED to go back. I just can’t get Ireland out of my head.

I’ve discovered Google chat. Completely free for calls to the US. I’ve just loved calling people to see how they’ll react. I’ve had a few scream, a few tell me I have the wrong number, a few start crying, and a few just utterly confused and speechless. Haha. My mom was so excited she even held the phone out the door so I could hear my dad snow blowing the driveway.

I also got an email from Kirsten and Lars tonight, Jane and Kierstin’s relatives. I’m going to meet them tomorrow afternoon for dinner with the entire family. Wish me luck. Honestly I’m a bit nervous to be surrounded by Norwegians again. It’s been awhile.
I boarded a train to Knapstad Norway around 2 pm.

The trip was only supposed to take around 33 minutes. I was scheduled to arrive at 2:33. So when that time came around and we pulled into a station called Kråkstad I thought that that was my stop. Sometimes other cities have English-itized names as well as traditional names (for example… Goteburg and Gothenburg are the same city). As soon as the train pulled away I knew this was wrong though. I had gotten off at the wrong station. Due to the fact it was Sunday the next train wouldn’t be arriving for another 2 hours! I really began to panic and the tears began streaming down my face. How was I so stupid? I hadn’t written down their address or phone numbers. I just assumed it would be fine. I began walking from door to door in this tiny village asking if anyone had the internet so that I could get their details. People opened their doors saw a distressed girl speaking English and shut them again. Finally a nice couple out for a walk brought me back to their house and let me use their computer and phone. Bless them! Lars answered the phone right away and told me to stay put and he’d come pick me up.

Lars greeted me with a huge hug. I was so thankful to finally feel like I knew what I was doing again. Upon arriving at their house he showed me the stroller his daughter had decorated with American flags for my arrival and the flag they had hung on their house in my honor. Already I felt at home. Still a little nervous I met Kirsten, their daughter Ingunn, her husband Dag Martin and their 16 month old son (big blue eyed blondie!), Aslak. More hugs. We sat down for dinner right away.

We had lamb and cabbage, Fårikå. When drink time came around they had bought Coca cola and Fanta especially for me. So while everyone else drank water, they made me drink coke, an American drink. Haha. After dinner we had an apple and cream dessert, Tilslorte bondepiker. In English this translates to “farmers daughters dressed in veils”. No one knows why. We also all had a shot of potato whisky made in the area.

After dinner we looked through old photo albums and Kirsten explained the family genealogy to me. I really wish I was a part of something that special and well kept. She also showed me the amazing craftsman ship of her mother and father. Her father had made this beautiful trunk and bench.

Her mother is an amazing sewer. She had made bunads, traditional costumes, for all of her children and their dolls. She also made these beautiful embroidered pillows. That is one amazing lady if I do say so myself.

Around 6 we sat down for coffee and lefse. Kirsten had prepared two kinds especially for me. A very, very thin crispy one and a sweet lefse she said her mother used to serve for dinner. Mmmm!

Aslak was getting a little restless so unfortunately the evening was coming to a close. We took some photos together and I got a quick tour of the rest of their home.

It is a beautiful place. They built it themselves. There was a fire roaring and they had candles lit everywhere. Take a look for yourself:

Ingunn and Martin also live in Oslo so they were nice enough to give me a ride home. It was may first time riding in a car in Oslo. A surreal feeling. On the way back we went through a tunnel I didn’t even know existed. We were under Oslo for at least 10 minutes I swear! Martin also told me about his hunting and how he hoped one day him and Aslak could come hunting in Canada. They showed me where they lived in Oslo and then dropped me off at Kringsja. I can’t thank them enough! Tusen Takk! I hope that I will be able to make it back down for another visit before I leave Norway.

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