Posts Tagged ‘Snow’


Alex: Snow

August 16, 2011

On August 15th, 2011 in Auckland New Zealand a strange and wonderful thing happened. It snowed.

I am told it doesn’t snow it Auckland. It is simply unheard of. According to a China Daily article, the last time it snowed in the city center was in 1930s. The last time it snowed here, Hitler had yet to invade Poland. To say that people were excited would come nowhere near capturing the feeling in the air.

The snow began as cold rain, which transitioned to sleet, hail and eventually actual honest-to-God snow. It is, of course, far too warm here for the snow to even consider the possibility of staying on the ground for more than the briefest of moments, but snow it did.

In the courtyard of my apartment building there were people dancing and screaming, furiously shooting pictures to mark this historic event. My facebook feed exploded with observations about the snow that was trying its damnedest to fall on Auckland central.

It has been honestly, objectively cold this week. Not just Auckland cold, but real cold, although probably not deserving of the down-filled coats I have seen so many Kiwis sporting. They are saying it may snow again this week. My favorite part of this story is that city officials are warning people to prepare for the possibility that they could be trapped in their houses without amenities. By snow that is barely even cold enough to call itself that.

If nothing else, I can say that I was here to witness this historic day, and that I was outside in a t-shirt at the time.


Miles: Vigelandsparken

January 19, 2011

A sculpture on the bridge

Because I only have classes on Mondays and Wednesdays, yesterday was a day for an adventure. I hopped on the T-bane and rode towards Vigeland Sculpture park.

The entire park is called Frogner park, and is fairly massive for an Oslo park. The sculptures are all sort of concentrated in the middle of the park. The weather was cold and foggy, so it took me a while to find where I was going. The river is frozen over, so I had no guidance there.

The first set of sculptures I saw was the bridge. Lining the sides of this walking bridge are clusters of people, children included, all in various positions. Some are embracing, some are almost leaping off of each other. There are families, couples, and the famous “grumpy boy.” (A tiny child clearly in the middle of a temper tantrum.)

At the end of the bridge there’s a giant fountain being held up by groups of men. Past the fountain is the centerpiece of the entire park—the Monolith. This giant (phallic) statue is literally tons of people piled onto each other. Because of the fog, as I walked towards it, it seemed to appear out of the abyss—super creepy and awesome. It was so tall I couldn’t clearly see to the top of it. (This also may have had something to do with the fog.)

I’ve never been a huge sculpture fan. I’m the sort of tourist who often takes pictures of important looking statues just to prove I saw them. I usually run past the ceramics area of a museum towards the “better” art. However, I felt oddly moved by these sculptures. The characters presented such a feeling of unity, of togetherness, of shared burden. Even if the people weren’t directly looking at each other, often they were touching in a way that said “I’m here” and showed intense amounts of family and community. Some were playful, some were clearly more serious. I didn’t examine closely enough to really be able to claim to understand what the motive of the work is, but I enjoyed it. Simplified, the pieces seemed to say “We are all together. We will share the weight.” Works for me.
Things I have learned:

SNOW IS NATURE. Okay, let me explain this one. I found myself thinking or mentioning to multiple people that I have way more tolerance for Oslo snow than I do for Minnesota snow. During my first North American Environmentalism class (The whole title is Renewing the Earth/Restoring Culture: Critical Evaluations of the American Green Tradition), the professor mentioned Norway’s lack of shoveling laws. “You know what we do with snow on the streets in the US? We get rid of it!” And then it hit me—I expect snow as a part of the Norwegian landscape. I know its coming, and I adapt. Why can’t I do the same in Minnesota? Maybe we are all meant to slow down in the Winter and just appreciate the nature of it all.

JEG HETER MILES. JEG KOMMER FRA USA. I started Norwegian class.


Claudia: Scotland Snow

November 29, 2010

Hey, wait a second… I thought it wasn’t supposed to snow in Scotland! Apparently, this is the first time in 17 years that there has been snow in December… So, while Minneapolis experienced its first snowfall-free March on records, Edinburgh gets a massive snowfall. The prediction is snow every day for the next week. WOOOO! I hope everything gets cleared out by the time Chelsea and I are meant to fly to London.

After a morning of steel-grey skies, the sun is beginning to peek out, and the sky has become powder blue. It may just be the fact that I’ve spent the better part of the last three days reading Märchen (international folktales), but I feel like we’ve been dropped into fairy-world. The library looks out over the Meadows, and all of the trees are covered in snow and birds and squirrels are running around inside. The way the light is coming through the trees is just lovely. I’m sure all of this sentimental blithering is brought on by the fact that I’m in an essay crunch (okay, I have to write a conclusion, but I have 4 hours til I need to turn it in, so not that bad… but begs the question, “why are you blogging when you need to finish an essay?”), and I just want to go play in the snow.

My archaeology lecturer didn’t show this morning, so we all decided to leave after waiting around for 10 minutes. Good times. I think as soon as I finish this essay, I’m going to take a break before I start on the archaeology papers. Ahhhh procrastination, why do I constantly fall prey to your wiles?


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. Read the rest of this entry ?


Natalie: Let it snow

October 22, 2010

My senses were right when they told me it was going to snow soon. I was quietly ironing my clothes when Jamie burst into the room exclaiming that it was snowing. We rushed to the balcony along with practically everyone else in the entire building.

Oh yes! It was snowing! I ran into Kennedy, one of the Singaporians, in the hall and told him about it. He stuck his head out and informed that it was just rain. I suppose that’s what you’d think if you’d never seen it before. Soon huge flakes of snow were falling from the sky and the ground was blanketed with snow. Everyone, I mean everyone was outside with their parkas, mittens, and cameras. I’ve never seen so many happy people at once in my life.

This morning when I woke up the snow is still on the ground. Even at lunch time it’s still here. Hopefully it’s here to stay! Someone didn’t get the hint that it’s time to hang laundry inside now. There is a full line of freshly hung clothes hanging outside. Someone will be in for a nasty surprise this evening when their sheets are frozen solid.


Trystan: A random week

January 14, 2010

IMG_3784The last couple days have been filled with random activities, mostly. I generally haven’t had anything planned, but I end up being busy most of the day anyway. Last night there was an International Dinner on the 15th floor – everyone brought something from their own country. Now. America, whether you want to believe it or not, pretty much stole food from all over the world. When I asked people what American food was to them, a pretty consistent answer was “Uh… hotdogs?” Sad day.

But I did make deviled eggs (it was either that or apple pie, and apples are kinda expensive). I don’t have any pictures, but NOBODY had heard of them! And they turned out really well. It was so cool to try all these different foods, too, and to know that each person had probably had this “exotic” dish dozens of times.

IMG_3789Today I went downtown with Sam and got our resident permits, and wandered around a bit (we also went to Fretex, which is like Goodwill). After that we visited a church right next to Fantoft. It’s a beautiful wooden church. The original was built in the 12th century, but I guess a lot of “Black Metal” groups have burnt quite a few down. Really sad. I mean, I honestly don’t care what religion you are(n’t). But amazing historical sites? C’mon. At any rate, this was an exact replica that was rebuilt something like 20 years ago, I think…

Tomorrow, I think I’ll hike up Mt. Fløyen

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