Just yesterday I arrived home from spending a week in the mountains with all the exchange students with RYE (Rotary Youth Exchange) staying in Norway. It was a super fun week and I had a great time being together with so many other exchange students.
After spending a week in cabins with 22 other exchange students, most of which I really don’t know that well, I can honestly say there’s no bonding quite like the bonding of living in cold cabins without WiFi and nothing to really do after 5 o’clock for a week. All in all I can definitely say it was a week I’ll always remember and I grew so much closer with everybody because of the trip.
L Ø R D A G
We all arrived on Saturday afternoon to Nesbyen, where our cabins were for the week. Most of us took the train together, and it made the travel a lot more enjoyable. The trip was super nice, especially since I don’t come from a mountainous area in Canada and don’t live in one in Norway. Once we arrived we settled into (freezing cold!) cabins and met the six new Australians who have just recently arrived in Norway. The girls in my cabin and I ended up turning on the sauna and not putting water in, and just going to sit in there to be warm because it was so cold!!
S Ø N D A G
Our first day of skiing! Today we went out for a little ski trip in the morning, and then another one in the afternoon. We made packed lunches to have with us and we all learned how to wrap a sandwich in paper like pros. There’s no longer reason to fear the matpacket. (Fun fact about Norway: they’re super eco friendly so it’s like not normal at all to use plastic bags to wrap sandwiches. Therefore you must learn to wrap them like a pro. Expert tip wrap it like a present and just tuck the ends in)
Something that is important to note about this day is that, while it was sunny, it was still about -30 degrees. By far the coldest day of the week (all of our hair was turning white from the temperature). After our little ski trip, we came back and a lot of us went in the sauna to warm up, and also took a little jump in the snow just to make some memories. That night we all hung out and traded our pins from our countries for our rotary blazers. This tradition seems really silly and I think it’s kind of hard to understand for people who aren’t familiar with it, but I personally think it’s really fun and a great souvenir that I’ll have from this year.
M A N D A G
Monday was a bit of a different day. We started with another cross county ski trip, but then in the afternoon we went to an animal zoo/farm thing. It was super cold there but was actually really dun- I got to kiss a moose, feed reindeer, pet cows, and see the most adorable little arctic foxes.
That night after dinner, we went to rotary in Nesbyen where we all worked together to put on a performance for the rotarians (who were actually outnumbered by us) that was nothing short of absolutely incredible. Afterwards we took a much needed trip to the grocery store to stock up on more snacks for the week.
Once we got back, it was only 9pm so we still had lots of time and not a lot to do. One of the australians and I took a sled from the main building and started sliding down the trails. It was really fun and I’m glad we decided to go out even though it was cold to make the most of our time.
T I R S D A G
Tuesday was the first day on the slopes! Not gonna lie, I didn’t enjoy the first day of alpine skiing as much as I hoped- I was a little scared the whole time and was a bit tired from skiing earlier in the week. Nevertheless, I put in a good effort and only had one wipeout.
When we came back from the slopes we were all exhausted and took it easy the rest of the day. A lot of us went in the sauna again, and again into the snow haha. That night we all just hung out and we whipped up some pancakes in the cabin.
O N S D A G
Today the other half of our group went alpine skiing, and the rest of us stayed and went for a short cross country ski trip. I stayed together with a girl from Canada and another from USA, and we tried to do an 11 km loop but then got lost and went back, only to take another route on which we also got lost. We made it back eventually though, and we weren’t to late.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and then once we had regenerated a bit of energy, we went outside again and tried skiing at a little hill in the area where our cabins were. The hill wasn’t so good for skiing and the lift was just this kind of t-bar that was really low to the ground, so we actually ended up letting the t-bar drag us up the hill while we laid on the ground and then sledded down on these super small sleds meant for five year olds.
That night, we changed and had a little photoshoot while the sun was setting. For dinner we ate bangers and mash for dinner in this fire hut sort of thing. It was actually probably my favorite dinner of the week.
T O R S D A G
Slopes again today! Was more confident and feeling better today, but i started to get a cold and being in the snow all day didn’t help! In the morning i did a few runs but one of my best friends had a little accident so we went inside for a break until the afternoon. In the afternoon, we did more runs and I was somehow persuaded to go down the black diamond runs. I did it, and i did it before i gave myself the chance to back out. If I’m honest it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be and I’m really proud of myself for progressing that much from the first day of skiing.
Once we got back, we didn’t really do so much- we just hung out that night, and I went early to bed for once. My friend who had the ski accident was up in the night because she was in a bit of pain, so we got up and made noodles at 5am.
F R E D A G
Our last full day together! We went cross country skiing today, and even though i felt sick, I made myself go anyways. The weather was super bad and really really windy but we stuck it out!
Once we got back, we got ready and had a little goodbye party. We had cake and took some pictures with our flags, and my cabin won for being the most tidy (thank goodness i spent the morning vacuuming up the cheese puffs).
L Ø R D A G
The last day! We pretty much just spent the morning writing in the cabin journal (every norwegian cabin has one- it’s a lot of fun to go to cabins that get rented out because then you get to see all the different entries from the different groups who’ve been there) and cleaning and packing up. I think I speak for the whole group when i say i was absolutely exhausted- it was so nice to come home and unpack and relax, even if I did come home with a cold.
Some other things worth mentioning about this week:
- While we were in Nesbyen, the Olympics started! It was really nice to see all the different countries coming in at the opening ceremony, and after doing something like world exchange, I think things like the Olympics that bring the world together have a different impact on you.
- reached my six months mark during this trip! It’s incredible how fast time flies.
- I can speak Norwegian now! I’m not sure when or how it happened but it has finally clicked for me, thank goodness.
Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed seeing and hearing a little bit about my trip! talk soon ♥