Today was my first day in Oslo, Norway. The European journey started with a stop in Reykjavik, Iceland- the airport was modestly sized despite it being a pretty substantial international hub. Sitting in the cafeteria area, eating my pear and drinking my fruit juice, I realized the world is quite small. I travelled not even half a day to reach a destination so full of different cultures; you could practically see every country in front of you.
After a quick two and a half hour flight to Oslo, my study abroad semester has started. My bags came in no problem, and I was on the airport express train in less than 10 minutes after that. When I was buying my ticket for the train, it read 75,000. So naturally, in my mind I read it as seventy-five thousand Norwegian Kroner- which would be roughly 14,700 USD. I had a mini panic attack that the train ride would cost me a new car- but alas, I remembered that the comma is indeed a place holder in Europe, so I did not have to worry about spending my live savings on a shuttle train. Hence, confusion #1. I arrived at Oslo Central Station- a little mall of sorts with all kinds of shops and cafes for all your shopping needs. After a bit of a confusing cab ride (the driver didn’t quite know where we were going), I got to campus and began the scavenger hunt for my keys. After some help from a very cute Austrian boy, I found the spot. I got my keys and started my long haul to the student village where I’m staying. About 40 grueling minutes later (probably would take me 20 without hauling 130 lbs. worth of stuff around) of schlepping all my crap uphill, I found my humble abode. I share a decent sized kitchen, small toilet room, and a small shower room with three other people- we each get our own rooms.
There’s Maria, a Russian girl and two boys from Norway, Jonas and Thomas. Maria fixed me some tea and gave me some granola when I met her; she was eating dinner and felt sorry for the poor little girl who didn’t have anything yet. She showed me where the supermarket is (a stones throw away as it turns out- the student village has it’s own little grocery store) and suffered through the Norwegian-only food labels with me as we shopped (confusion #2: buying chocolate milk when I thought it was regular).
I made a toasted cheese sandwich with my new food after a nice hot shower to wash the airplanes and trains and uphill lugging off. As I was cooking, I noticed the butter (which was an odd brown color) wasn’t melting properly and was just flaking off the bread. I nixed the butter and just used some olive oil instead. The next day, I asked a woman at the supermarket what kind of butter I had got, and afte
r I pointed to her which one, she told me it was yeast for baking bread. Confusion #3. I guess I have a bit of learning to do…