New friends and new confusions!

Buddy week went great!  The first people I met were three girls from Singapore, who all came from the same University.  After the initial breaking of the ice, the group seemed to hit it off.  A Polish girl named Dorota was very nice, and I think we’ll be great friends. J  A lot of Germans and French were in our group, and after some talking with some other groups, it proved to be the same throughout.  Also, a lot of Spanish people have come to Norway.  Not a lot of Americans, which I suppose is expected- I would think most people go to Italy, Spain, or France.

We all went downtown and listened to the Mayor, the Minister of Education, and some other people speak at a ceremony.  There was a full orchestra and choir as well! It was all very official.  Afterwards, they fed us burgers and fruit- the burgers were quite different than in America.  The meat was much lighter and instead of the usual tomato, onions, cheese, and lettuce, there was simply a small bit of lettuce with some corn.  I’ve noticed that the food here is much simpler than at home- not very many ingredients or spices go into their meals.

We all went home to rest up a bit before heading out again for a party at Chateau Neuf- a student-led place where they have a bar/dance floor at night and various events/activities during the days.  First time buying a drink at a bar! Woo hoo!  I guess I shouldn’t’ be celebrating though, it just means one more reason to spend money here.

The next couple of days were spent touring our campus and around the city as well.  When we were walking around the city, we made a stop at Gronland again where we bought some cheap vegetables and groceries.  I was quite hungry at this point (we had been walking around all day and it was well past my dinner time), so me, a few Iranians, and a Norwegian guy got some delicious Pakistani food and a nearby, decently priced restaurant.  Friday, we were going to participate in some Oslo Hunt activity as a group, but due to confusion in the registration process, we did not.  But, we did get free waffles and coffee at the student parliament building!  Apparently they do this every Friday, so I’ll be sure to mark my weekly planner as not to pass up the opportunity to eat some free food!

That night was our first night out as a group, preparty and all.  We met up at one of the Buddy’s house and then headed to campus for a party.  Apparently they have events like this a lot at school, and every faculty even as their own bar!  No shortage of nightly activities here!  The night went well- our group was the first on the dance floor, trying to motivate others to do the same; which of course worked because our group was full of cute girls!  A Norwegian guy and I danced for a while- I was so excited to have my first Norwegian dance partner!  He of course was blonde, blue-eyed, and quite a babe.

The next morning Maria and I got up bright and early to get a head start for Police Registration Day.  While waiting to get our passports stamped with our magic pass, we met a girl from Connecticut who spent the morning chatting with us about snowboarding, beautiful Norwegians (a hot topic for us foreigners), and some lessons in basic Norwegian.

After some packing/cleaning at home, Maria and I set off for Stockholm!  Just a 6-hour train ride and we arrived around 10pm.  After a bit of a frustrating revelation that my debit card wasn’t working, we made our way to our hotel.  We freshened up a bit then went to reception to ask about some good bars/clubs to go to.  He was very helpful, e and explained to us how to get there.  After sitting at the bus stop for about an hour, we decided that he wasn’t that accurate in his description, given that the “night bus” wasn’t showing up.  So, we called it a night.

The next morning we got an early start with some free breakfast (!!!) and made our way to the Old Town.  We walked around the shops, checking out all the cool souvenirs.  I got a little Swedish troll girl, whom I’m getting a Norwegian boyfriend as soon as I can.

We saw the royal palace, the Nobel Peace Prize museum, and then walked around the city a bit.  We made a stop at a cool place with some rocks to sit on that overlooked the water.  A guy approached us and explained he was shooting some photos for a photo competition coming up and asked us if he could take our picture.  A chance to model a bit, how could we pass it up?  We ate some lunch (courtesy of our hotel’s free breakfast) and headed to see the Vasa museum- the Vasa is the oldest ship still preserved today.  It’s kind of a silly reason though.  The ship was very elaborate, adorned with hundreds of carved sculptures, all brightly colored. When it set sail on its maiden voyage, there wasn’t enough counterweight in the bottom of the ship, so after 1,500 meters, it tipped over and sank.  After 333 years, it was brought back up and preserved.

Afterwards, we got an ice cream from a cute Swedish guy and went to Skansen- the largest open air museum.  It had old time Swedish style farmhouses and animals as well as Scandinavian animals from the region- including reindeer!

After a long day, we took a quick rest at the hotel before making our way out on the town for attempt number two.  After searching and searching, we finally arrived to the bar which we were told was a great place.  Maria had her student card, but they wouldn’t accept it as a valid ID, unlike all the other bars in Europe.  So, we made our way back home.  The next day we spent shopping in the nearby shopping plaza then hopped on the train back home to Oslo.

Today was my first day of classes!  I was quite eager to get a feel for what school would be like here, so I arrived early to walk around the area and get more comfortable with the building.  I sat in the classroom for a while, before realizing all the people around me, including the teacher, were there for an upper-level psychology course- not mine.  The teacher told me the lower level class was held in another auditorium.  So, I made my way to the new classroom.  When I walked in, I saw that all the slides were in Norwegian and had a little heart attack. I asked some girl if I was in the right class, but she informed me the class was yet another psychology class- not mine.  I was already 15 minutes late for my class, wherever it may be.  So I followed signs to the student administration desk, where I found that they had closed a half hour before.  I logged on the student class forum, where I found no messages informing us of a classroom change.

I had to take a few deep breaths to avoid breaking down there and then- how could this happen on my first day of class!  I looked at my watch, it was 2:50.  My class started at 2:15.  I luckily had some notes from the student orientation day, where it was listed a woman was available to answer questions on Tuesdays from 11-3.  So, I booked it over to her office.  I came in right at 3, clearly presenting myself as very flustered to make up for coming in right when they were supposed to be leaving.  I explained my predicament, and the woman showed me the webpage I had been staring at for the last 20 minutes trying to figure out what room the class was supposed to be in.  She pointed to the date of the first class- next week.  A HUGE wave of relief went through my body.  I felt like crying again I was so relieved.  I had not been a complete failure my first day.  After I laughed at myself for being so silly, I got myself a chocolate bar and headed home.  Tomorrow, I checked, I DO have my first class- Norwegian Art history.  Hopefully, it will go smoothly and without confusing schedules.

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