Friday, August 18, 2006

Great End to a Very Long Week

I guess I am not doing as great a job of keeping this blog updated and keeping everyone informed as I hoped. You’ll have to forgive me, of course, with the whole fiasco of not having bags arrive on time and the reflections that come with it. Some of these reflections include but are not limited to:

• Maybe I should have stayed in Detroit for the night. I could have gotten full nights sleep and had all of my stuff when I arrived in Oslo. However, that is not entirely a guarantee considering the horror stories I have heard about Amsterdam and people’s luggage going missing.
• Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea going through one of the airports in London. Well at least it wasn’t Hethro, which was the worst to be flying out of. Plus, it made the trip more of an adventure and in a way prepared me for all of the pitfalls someone in the Amazing Race would face.
• It is too bad that I wasn’t able to make my connection in Prague and then onto Oslo. Oh well, I’ll have to see “The Golden City” some other time in my travels.

Eventually all my bags arrived and I was semi settled in my room H0407 in building 28 in Sogn Studentby. The first bag arrived Saturday evening, even though it was the bag with winter clothes and such, I was still happy to finally have a bag and fresh clothes after being in the same shirt and jeans for close to 48 hours! Happy that the first bag had arrived, I and the other members of my program went on a night on the town lead by a local Norwegian named Ketile living in the same building as Andrea Larson. He took us to an older part of Oslo along the river and we did a major bar crawl. Having pre-partied before hand with red whine and whiskey, I got drunk pretty quickly and was ready to go home around 2:30 AM when a big local Norwegian guy asked me if I wanted to fight!!!! After that, I ran into the bar and grabbed my friends and we found a taxi back to Sogn.

Sunday August 13, 2006, was productive. That morning I ventured into the heart of Oslo once again and purchased my student public transport pass that is good until the end of August when I must purchase another. From downtown I took the T-Bane or the Metro from the Jernbanetorget station to the Blindern station that is down the hill from the University of Oslo campus. I toured around in the rain until finally locating the building in which the International Summer School or ISS has its office and where our group would be meeting Monday through Thursday. I was a little upset that I couldn’t hang out with the other members of the SUST program, however, I had to wait by the phone for information about my final piece of luggage that arrived and was later delivered around 8:30 PM. Immediately I unpacked everything and found my toiletries bag and took a well-needed hot Shower.
Oslo T-BANE

Monday, our Scandinavian Urban Studies Term SUST had its first class, which was more of an orientation of sorts and another round of getting to knows. We also discussed the guidelines that members of the program should all adhere to. The contract ends with the words “Be Pumped. Totally”, or as our program director Tim phrases it “Be Pumped Full stop (meaning period), Totally” which was of high comedy for all of us. For lunch, all of us in the cafeteria of the student Union which has a daily special for 39 Kroner. I think the rest of that day, we spent shopping in downtown Oslo going to a variety of shops with Mark and I just looking while the girls did most of the buying. I think potentially over the weekend I will make another trip in to maybe pick up a "hoody" or a warmer zippy as the cold weather is rapidly approaching.

Tuesday, Tim got the majority of us registered with the University of Oslo and the other members of the group took their placement exams for the Norwegian Language class. That afternoon, all of us participated in a large welcoming ceremony for international students from students and faculty from the University of Oslo. We were all broken up into “buddy groups” who then toured us around the campus and had scheduled other activities throughout the week. However, since SUST started early, most other students start class this coming Tuesday or Monday, we have missed out on those other activities.

Wednesday, I had my meeting with Tim. We discussed my Independent Study Project ISP that will focus on the Public Transport systems in Norway and how they are planned, funded, operated, maintained, and how they relate to the overall development patterns in Oslo. We also had to discuss our first readings from the SUST Compendium or reading packet, which we all purchased on Monday. In the afternoon, we had a meeting with the International Student Advisor for SUST Ted Essebaggers, who also informed us of the special events that were available to international students during their stay in Norway including guided tours, film nights, coffee hours, and hiking tours, which I attended this evening. Also, I finally signed my housing contract and got a laundry card plus got a NEW FREAKING ROOM!!! I had applied for a room transfer earlier in the week, and finally something opened up. However, this room is on a building on the top of the hill, but on the plus side is very large and has Internet!! On top of all that, Heather and I made our run to IKEA and bought some things to better our lives here at Sogn, with most of the things I plan on donating to the SUST students that come next time, kind of like a small subsidy and leaving my mark, although I may have to take the Duvet cover back with me even if it is Twin Size, we could use it at the Lake :-D

Finally today, we had a great guest lecturer from the Folk High school program in Scandinavia who gave us a brief history of the origins and the importance of the Folk High schools and their roles as centers of enlightenment. To top things off the weather cleared and it was a warm beautiful day in Oslo and around campus. The nice weather, inspired me to whip out my camera and do some mad photography, which hopefully will be posted on both my flickr page and my Facebook page tomorrow at the earliest. A bunch of my group members talked about going to the lake, however, ran out of time when I had to attend a meeting on one of the special events: Hiking in Norway. Hopefully there are still some spaces available because from the descriptions this would be an opportunity of a lifetime.

This evening, I took it easy and relaxed around the new room. I called my girly Kristen back in the states (in fact just got off the phone with her) and caught up with the folks who are getting set to leave for the Lake and my cousin Monica’s wedding this weekend in Bemidji.
Tomorrow, I plan on catching up on some much-needed ZZZ’s and doing some well needed laundry. Hopefully I can figure out how to set up the Internet connection in my room, the student office only gave us directions for PC’s the Bastards.

So, thus ends the longest week, and we’ve only been here for 5 days!!! I am just glad that all of us made it here, with all of our stuff, especially after Tim told us today that over 20,000 bags are lost at Hethro airport every year.

Until next time, let’s hope the weather holds until Monday and that I have no problems setting up the internet :-D

Andrew

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Your duvet cover is so cool and pretty! I love the blues! Guess what? Right now I am eating some Ben and Jerry's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and it's weird not having you here to enjoy it with me :( I can't wait to finally talk to you without any other disruptions (i.e. Amy and Emily) and get a real conversation in. I love you sweetie