In Norway between October and January it becomes the dark time, or dark period. The sun is "up" (at least it's sort of light) at 10 AM and down again by 3:30 PM at the darkest time. I should clarify that this is true in the southern parts, whereas the northern parts are darker even longer. Us International students were told to get plenty of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acid from cod liver oil, fortunately in pill form now. Unfortunately, much of the oil they use comes from fish in Peru, and the factories making the pills are polluting the local people. I don't know what percent of the oil is harvested in Norway, but the general assumption here is that most of it comes from Norway. Peru and Chile produce over 55 percent of all the fish meal and fish oil on the market now, and the fish meal is used primarily in fish farming...and I also eat the delicious farmed salmon that is clearly colored pink with beta carotene...yum.
I have no computer right now because my charger stopped working. It looked like it had been burned or melted, and I blame the cheap converter I bought at Wal Mart and myself for not buying a proper plug for Norway. It's at an Apple service center now in Oslo, but in the meantime I have the fancy computers on campus to use. Surprisingly, the world has not stopped turning because I no longer have my own computer.
I can't put my pictures on the blog this time but I found some good ones online. Here is the oak tree that all the students who live in the student housing area must pass to get to campus, so I think it has become an icon of sorts for us:
There is not yet snow on the ground, so this picture is not accurate to right now but I'm sure we will have snow, or snø, soon. I saw it on the cover of one of the tabloids, so it must be true.
I have a lot of studying left to do before my 4 final tests, which are supposed to take something like 3 hours each and count for between 60 and 100 percent of our grades. I guess that's how they do it here. Not going to succumb to the pressure! I'm feeling good right now because we just finished a huge term paper a day before the deadline, so clearly it is time to blog.
I don't know if this is true broadly in Norway, but I am impressed and a bit humbled by the speed with which cars stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Maybe it's partly due to our particular crosswalks next to the school that a lot of students use, and of course we are all the future.
I am not so impressed with the amount of litter I see daily around campus. It makes me feel like all of these Norwegian kids are spoiled brats, who have had it easy in the high standard of living under socialism. I know that's not true, but I did meet one kid (18 or so?) who introduced himself in Norwegian to my Norwegian roommate as, "the Prince". Let me just spend a couple of sentences on this guy, because it is amazing. He wears a red (possibly velvet) robe and slippers around their place, with his hair slicked back, like a 50s movie star. He and his friends have hired a professional DJ with a club-sized speaker that I can feel the vibrations from in my room, several floors away, almost every weekend since I got here. They may have finally buckled down now, because I haven't heard it the last couple of weekends.
I don't think that a 28 year old masters student should be sharing a building with 18-20 year olds who just want to get their party on, but that is my world this year. Next year I will likely have to move anyway, and I'm looking forward to it even though I know it will likely be more expensive than now, and now is expensive! How did I go from a giant house shared with 2 people for 300 a month to a tiny cubicle with common area shared with 6 for over 500 a month?
My Norwegian is getting better now, I think. I at least understand most of what I need in the store, train station and around town, but unlike with Japanese my written comprehension is much better that my listening conprehension. I'm hoping to improve the situation this January, when I will possibly visit relative/help out on a farm/hang out with Unni and Lill Nora. Plans are still in a nebulous state.
I wish I had a cute cat picture to end with, but instead I'll end with a cute Norwegian moose:
Okay, in finding this picture I saw this ridiculous article:
"Norway's Moose Population in Trouble for Belching
The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey." From: http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,501145,00.html
I ate some moose stew last weekend so I guess I helped avert climate change. Go me!