Hello again readers!
The past week or so has flown by with both ups and downs, and, if the title of this post isn’t obvious, it’s been filled with a bit of stress as I’ve settled in.
The first thing I’m going to tell you about is the most important part of visiting any new place: food! I’ve been introduced to some new variations of American food while here and for the most part I’m liking it!
I would like to preface this with a quick paragraph about grocery stores. Norway does not have large containers of anything. If you wanted an economy size can of beans, for instance, you could not find it. So far, that’s been the most different thing for me while in the stores. Now on to the actual food!
The first food (they aren’t actually Norwegian, but they have them readily available in grocery stores) are cronuts. CROISSANT DONUTS! Holy goodness they are delicious. They’re made in the shape of a donut, but with wonderful layers like a croissant, and then there’s cream in the middle, and sugar covering them. Just writing about them makes me want to go to Coop (the store that has them, for any of you future Norway travelers) and get some.
The second food is pizza. Here’s the interesting thing about Norwegian pizza…they put corn on it. Almost all types of pizza involved corn as a topping. When I saw this for the first time, I had two thoughts. 1. I’m never going to escape Nebraska and 2. Wow, why don’t we do this in Nebraska? It was pretty good, but just kind of amusing that they add it as a topping.
The third food are hotdogs. Now, you may be wrinkling your nose thinking of those mystery meat hotdogs available in most American grocery stores, but let me tell you, not only do Norwegians like hot dogs, but they actually have real meat in them. And they’re delicious! Most convenience stores have them. You can also put extra toppings on them, like potato salad, shrimp salad, or crunchy onions. I didn’t try any of those options this time around. Next time I’ll get the shrimp one, just for you Dad.
The last food, and probably most important to me, is ice cream. Dairy is expensive here, which makes me quite sad, but I was able to get a big tub of ice cream. There were only two options, vanilla, and ‘krokan.’ I decided to go with the latter for fun. I asked the cashier if he knew what the word was in English, but he couldn’t quite think of it. He tried looking it up on google translate, but it only translated the word to ‘hooking’ which I don’t think is an ice cream flavor. When I got back to the apartment, I asked Tess and she said it was kind of like toffee, but the only people that eat it is old people. I guess me and all the old folks in Norway like the same things. So far there have not been any extremely different foods. I am sure that I will come across some, whether it is here in Norway or while I’m traveling around the rest of Europe.
Welcome Weekend here at ACN went by quickly. We went ice skating and I learned that Norwegians are just as bad as I am at it. We attempted to play tag with terrible results. The same evening, I learned that Norwegians love American music. They know more than me in some cases! They also really, really like High School Musical and they know all of the lyrics. Some of them can dance the Hoedown Throwdown by Hannah Montana as well. Apparently it is a typical school dance song, like the Cupid Shuffle here in the States. The next day we went bowling. Five of us formed a team that wanted to use bumpers (not only does it help us not suck, but we have more fun when it doesn’t go in the gutter), but because we are older, the desk attendant said we might break the bumpers, so we had to bowl without them. Our final score, for the team, was over 100, but I won’t tell you what it was exactly. I don’t want to make you too jealous of our skill.
Going for walks is a big thing in Norway. On Sundays most stores are closed, so people go on walks. Katie and I went on a run last Sunday, but it ended up being a walk. We heard that there was a forest area that was good for walking, so we set our sights on that. It took us a bit to find it, but once we did, we found something else to be excited about: the ocean! It blows me away that I live on the coast now. All my life I have lived landlocked, but now there’s water just ten minutes from me. Tess and I went on another walk a few days later. She knows her way around quite well, so we went to another part of town that lead directly to the ocean. We were able to walk on a long dock and we saw the ferry. It looked like a cruise ship to me. Semi trucks and cars were loading up as we got there, and to our surprise, we were able to watch the ferry take off!
And now for what you have all been waiting for, the reason why the title of this post is ‘STRess.’ Traveling is extremely fun and worthwhile, but it also sucks. It sucks real bad. When you start trying to plan the details, whether it is just by yourself or you’re with a group, it can get very stressful very quickly. I learned that this past week. A group of us are planning on going to Spain and Morocco, but trying to find plane tickets and hostels is overwhelming. You want to keep the cost down, you want to make sure everyone is happy, and you want it to be fun, but before it can be great, it has to be messy. Word of advice: book your plane tickets through the airline. Don’t go with third parties, and if you are, look at the reviews first, please. Otherwise, you might not be able to get your $100 ticket refunded (this didn’t happen to me, but it made the whole group stressed out). Also, another piece of advice when planning travels with other study abroad students, or just in general: be open about what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. It is better to know what peoples’ goals are for traveling before making big decisions. Otherwise there will be tension and so much stress. Everything is worked out now for our group, and we will be going to southern Europe and northern Africa before we know it, but the process of getting here was more than I thought I would have to deal with. I guess I’ve learned my first lesson about studying abroad!
To end on a happier note, here are a few pictures from a solo walk I took. I am trying to get more acquainted with Norway, and to do so, I must venture outside by myself (scary). The forest here is beautiful and I absolutely love getting fresh air.