Hello readers! I’ve made it to Norway! I will recap the last few days for you all as I am finally up and able to function.
My family dropped me off in Lincoln for my flight to Minneapolis. It was very nice that everyone was able to see me off although Ciara was mad I was going to Europe before her. My mom wanted to get a selfie before I left (she’s so hip and with it). Connor, my brother, ended up having to take it because he has longer arms. Before we left town to get to the airport, Katie (the other girl flying to ACN with me) texted me saying she left her passport in Grand Forks. This is a special note for any travelers in the future: don’t be Katie. Don’t leave your passport at home! She successfully got it in time, thank goodness, but it was quite stressful.
When I got into the Minneapolis airport I realized I had to get to Terminal Two, which meant I had to basically leave the airport, take the light rail, and go back through security. Thank goodness my layover was four hours. I got there in plenty of time, after Katie had gone through security actually, and we ate and waited to board. The next flight was the long one, five and a half hours to Iceland! I sat in the middle, which was okay, except that the two girls sitting in front of Katie and I decided to move their seats back all the way. Then it became a bit more cramped. When we took off, the lights above the overhead baggage turned into the colors of the Northern Lights. It was amazing and they stayed that way the whole flight. I watched movies to pass the time and attempted to sleep, but it didn’t really work. When we finally got to Iceland, we had to exit the plane the way famous people do, by walking down the stairs and onto the tarmac. It would have been cool except for the fact that it was dark and raining.
The Iceland airport was crowded. There were a lot of people with connecting flights all over Europe, so a line had appeared to board for Oslo. It was nice to be able to stand for a bit, but our bags were heavy. You really don’t realize how much stuff you need in your life until you decide to leave the country for five months. Eventually we got to board the plane for Oslo, Norway! I had a window seat, which made me very excited. This flight was only about two and a half hours so I decided to stay up to see Norway as we flew over. I was able to watch the sun rise as well. Words cannot describe the type of beauty above the clouds. To be able to watch the sun rise and color all of the clouds…it is something magical. After a while I started seeing the landforms that made up Norway: mountains, fjords, and so on. It is quite different than what I’ve been used to in the Midwest! It took my breath away.
Katie and I were really excited that we had made it to Norway. It settles in quite a bit more when you actually are in the country you’ll be living. We made our way through the airport but had to stop in the duty free area. Norway is expensive so being able to purchase things duty free is kind of smart. What I bought, though, may not be the smartest! My first purchase in Europe (mom and dad you will be so proud) was a big bottle of rum. It felt so, so weird to be able to buy alcohol. I seriously thought I was going to get in trouble for a few seconds. Katie and I laughed and laughed about our first purchases as we carried them to baggage. We waited to see our bags, but my purple one did not surface. I wondered if this was going to happen, so I was not completely surprised by it. I was able to put in a lost baggage report and they realized my bag was aboard the Amsterdam to Oslo flight instead of the Iceland to Oslo flight. I guess my bag really wanted to see Amsterdam before me. The helpful man at the desk informed me that my bag would get to Moss, Norway, the next day, so I wasn’t too worried. Katie and I waited for the next bus to come and then headed to ACN.
I was actually able to sleep on the bus for about half an hour. I think at that point I had been up for over twenty-four hours. When we got to Moss, some of the staff at ACN picked us up and took us to our apartments. I love mine! We have a small bathroom and kitchen and share with one other person. I am on the top floor (ugh, stairs) so I have a beautiful skylight in my room, along with a tiny little window on the floor. After I unpacked what I had, Katie and I hung out for a while and then decided to get groceries. We needed a few things to get us by. The store had been pointed out for us on our drive there so we walked the ten minutes there. A tip about Norway: bring your own bags to stores or you will have to pay for the plastic ones. It was quite funny how everything was in Norwegian. I wish I knew the language. We ended up grabbing a frozen pizza and having that for dinner and after that went to bed. I felt proud of myself that I was able to stay up until nine pm. It is important to get on schedule with local time as soon as possible.
The next day the American students went on a walking tour of Moss. It is a very cute town! We are on the coast, which I always forget, so depending on where you are, you can see glimpses of the ocean. The walk was kind of chilly so I did not get many pictures. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of time to get cool pictures in the future. We were able to see the mall and train station. Spencer, an American that was here last semester, pointed out all of the stores that were either less or more expensive. After our tour, we had some time to relax and then we all decided to make dinner together. Tacos are apparently big in Norway, so we had the seasoning, but needed to buy the meat. We braved the outdoors again in search of the grocery store. Instead of getting beef, we opted for chicken. It was less expensive (a common trend here, buying whatever costs less). I invited everyone to my apartment for dinner so we all crowded in. There were five of us. Later in the evening, my roommate Therese, made it to ACN! She and another Norwegian student joined in on our get together. We stayed up later than the night before, this time until ten, and then everyone headed off to bed.
So far Norway has treated me well! Next up, planning trips!