I’m now coming up to the end of my third month in Norway! I have really been enjoying my time here, even if it’s not as warm as I expected; I knew going into it that it was going to be a little chillier than home here, but I was surprised when the winter weather started coming in October.
At the start of this month, I had a week off school for the fall break, or “høstferie”. I spent the week at a cabin in the mountains with my host mom & my friend Milly, from Australia. It was a very nice week; we went hiking in the mountains a few times, visited Lillehammer (a cute town nearby that also hosted the 1994 winter Olympics), and spent lots of time just relaxing, cooking, and hanging out. The weather was overall really good; we had a few rainy days at the start of the break but we made the most of it, and we made sure to get out to go for walks no matter what the weather- as the Norwegians say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
Some highlights from the trip over høstferie were playing cards with Milly, seeing a beautiful rainbow over the mountains, visiting “bolleland” on the way home from the mountains and bumping into my friend from Canada there, and eating the most delicious banana pancakes I’ve ever had at a café in Lillehammer. During my week away, I also discovered my love for brunost, Norwegian “brown cheese”.
I attended another district conference this month for rotary. We weren’t there very long, but we got to meet a lot of Norwegians who had just finished their exchanges the year before. We ate lunch at the conference, and my friend from Canada and I got to meet the owners of some Tim Horton’s franchises in Canada. I don’t think you’ll ever hear a Canadian exchange student tell you they don’t miss Tim Horton’s.
I’ve been attending lots of rotary meetings here; a few weeks ago I made Canadian butter tarts for a rotary potluck we had (which were a big success), and just last week I visited a Buddhist temple with rotary- something I had never done.
As usual, I’ve explored Oslo lots again this month. I visited the opera house for the first time, and walked on the roof which was really neat. The view is so cool from the top and the whole thing is made of beautiful marble. I also took the ferry around some of the islands in Oslo with one of my friends from Australia- we had a perfect weather day for it, and it was cool to see the city from a different perspective.
One of the highlights this month was having Canadian thanksgiving with my host family. We held it the week after thanksgiving, and my friend Kali, from Canada also, came to join us. We had turkey as well as a few Norwegian sides instead of classic Canadian ones. I made pumpkin pie which was a success even though finding canned pumpkin in Norway was a bit of a struggle. Overall, it turned out to be a perfect fall day & I think one of the best days yet.
Christmas has started to come to Norway! Before Halloween was even over, stores were starting to get rid of the Halloween decorations, pull out the Christmas stock, and crank the Michael Buble. This month, my friend Milly (from Australia) and I went with my host mom and host sister to the Christmas house (Julehuset) in a cute town called Drøbak along the Oslo fjord. We bought lots of cute little Santa’s and Christmas things, and listened to Christmas tunes all the way home.
While in Drøbak, we also went to an island called Oscarsborg. This island houses a fortress best known for the sinking of a German ship on route to Oslo in 1940. Afterwards we went to a cafe to warm up. At the cafe, we enjoyed some killer traditional Norwegian cakes- the one i had was actually named world’s best or “Verden’s Beste”.
The last weekend of the month was also a fun and memorable one for me. Some of my friends who are exchange students came into Oslo for the weekend and we met up to go and watch the Norwegian version of The Voice live. It was cool to see what actually goes on at the set of a TV show.
The next day, some of the girls and I went to TusenFryd, a Norwegian amusement park. We went the weekend before Halloween, and the park was decorated & lots of people were dressed up to celebrate. While we didn’t get to go on so many rides, the atmosphere was great and I conquered my fear of rollercoasters.
On the Sunday, a group of us toured the Freia factory, where they make chocolate. Needless to say, I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten so much chocolate in my life and I don’t plan on eating that much again for a long time.
Next month I have lots to look forward to! During the first weekend in November, I have a trip to Paris planned with my counselor and my host mom and sister. Stay tuned for updates!
.. & now for a little update på norsk for all the norwegians checking this out:
Bye for now! (eller Ha det!)