Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tha last of the nice days...?

It has been raining here a lot. In Ås, nearby Oslo, further north, and probably other areas of Norway. A few people, mainly professors, have told us students that the last two or three summers were among the wettest summers on record. So I have taken to spending time outside as much as I can when it's sunny out.

It was nice today, and so my German neighbor Sophie and I decided to go to Oslo on the bus, which has cheaper tickets for students and takes the same amount of time. We didn't do a lot--mostly walked around in the sun. We passed this river in the morning:

Clearly not overflowing at all. The ducks at least seemed happy about it.

Sophie wanted to find an Asian market, and it took a bit of wandering but after the iffy directions from a tipsy Norwegian guy we found it:

A bit disappointing for me because there were no drinks like coconut or mango juice, and not a lot of selection. I'd say it's passable for Norway. Asian markets are probably a newer thing for them. The name is not a typo--that is actually "supermarket" in Norwegian.

We took our treats to the nearby botanical/natural history museum park, with a pretty good view.

On the top in the distance is the newly built ski jump. Why would someone want to ski down a structure you can see from this far away. I guess the answer might be, why not?

I really like Sophie. She is nothing like the German stereotype I've been given through television and other media, proving once again that basing your worldview off of TV is at best mistaken, and at worse problematic. Is catastrophic too strong? Anyway, Sophie is laid back, vegetarian, really friendly and laughs a whole lot. She doesn't even mind that my idiot self wants her to say "There's a bat in my pants" in German because I think it is so funny and cute. There's a backstory to that but it's not very interesting. She laughed along but I won't stretch my luck with that.

We walked towards the main station and I wanted to climb to the top of the opera house, which it built slanted on the sides so that you can easily walk up.

At the top. At this point the sky had already clouded over getting ready for the rain that is falling late tonight.

The last thing we did was have a coffee at a really old looking brick cafe called the Carousel near the main station. You can drink coffee and watch all the weirdos go by. I mean, tourists and Norwegians. Observe them in their natural habitat, following their keen instincts towards a good deal in an expensive market.

I've been studying Norwegian when I can, and using it on people in stores and my Norwegian roommates with some success. The pronunciation is very hard, mostly because of the vowels and the rolled "r". I asked for a quick lesson with my roommate Ingrid,which will hopefully become a semi-regular thing. She is so selfless at 18 years old I can't believe it sometimes. I learned that people with different dialects in Norway are often (if not all the time) spoken to each other, and they understand just fine. It seems to me anyway--most of the time I listen and and it's just loopy gibberish to me and one word in 500 I understand. Anyway, Ingrid told me there are three different sounding "r's" in Norway, and each of my three roommates has a different one. Lucky! Maybe...seems like a lot for me to tackle this early, but it's good to get my ear attuned to at least some of the differences.

And then I spend a lot of time with French students. Someone actually said "bonjour" to me in passing, because they thought I was French because I am always with the French groups. So in listening to French a lot, that language memory from being in French class many years in grade school and Jr. High wants to come out too. My French roommate and I took another "walk to zee lake" the other day and though I mostly helped him with English we spoke in French a bit too. I am going to be so confused! I can't wait.


  1. So, I looked up the phrase "there's a bat in my pants" on google translate. "Es gibt eine Fledermaus in meiner Hose" it opined. You can get google to audible it, too. It is pretty cute.

    I love your adventures with the variety of students of other nationalities. Your writing entertains my funny bone.

  2. Excellent post!

    It was good to talk to you today -- you sound quite settled in and comfortable in this new chapter of your life. I loved the comment about the white winter and the gray winter. Two winters per year sound daunting, though.

    We found the photo of the opera house from your earlier post, too. We are apparently bad blog readers. (Love you.)