Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ho hum

I leave for the States in less than a week. I am excited to see all of my family and friends. But I feel a little sad about leaving Oslo as well. Time went by so quickly. I did find a job here at a local bakery. The place is called "Utsinkt" and it means The View. The place is top the Fjord and it has all outdoor seating that overlooks the city and water. Very beautiful. And I love the job, even though I don't speak Norwegian fluently, most people have been okay with it. A few get irritated that I don't speak Norwegian---understandable. But they won't let me speak Norwegian!!! I mean, seriously people, in American, can you even imagine going to a coffee shop and ordering cake and coffee and the clerk speaks NO English! Americans would go crazy, probably postal! But, you have to understand that ALL Norwegians speak English and very well. I know the basics, "to vaffel og to kopper kaffe" (Two waffels and two cups of coffee). But then they want to talk....and blah, blah, blah, blah. I then say "Jeg snakker lit Norsk". (I speak little Norwegian). I have to say, I get very embarrased saying this, working in their country and not speaking their language fluently. Most of the time, they laugh hearing this and then will start to speak in English. Whew...

And most of the time, when I try to speak Norwegian, they just start to speak English, like it is painful for them to listen to me. So, it isn't like I haven't tried! The only problem with this job is that if it is raining or it is cold, I don't work. So needless to say, I have been scheduled to work about 8 days and have only worked 3. Today is another rain day, not good for the pocket book! I make 120 Kroner an hour, which is about $17 USD. You got it, at a place that is like "Sandy's Doughnuts". But they have to pay this much, it is so expensive here. My plan was to save my Norwegian cash and trade it in the States...get more for it! But the weather isn't cooperating with my plan. I am very thankful, however, that they have allowed me work in their country!

A few things I want to comment about my experience in Norway. Althought it is extremely expensive, (I think they should be fined for how much they charge for things)the beauty of Norway does put you in a trance of almost forgetting the prices. Not only is the landscape beautiful but so are the people, I would say some of the most beautiful people I have seen--and many of them. Yes, most are blonde and blue-eyed. They are very introverted, quite shy, quiet and they exude a sort of sweet innocence about them that is quite beautiful. When talking about their culture they use more "we" rather than "I". For instance, "we" eat bread and cheese for lunch, a cold lunch they call it. They asked what Americans ate for lunch. My answer wasn't "We", because I said everybody is different, there isn't a traditional "lunch meal" for Americans. Some eat salads, some eat out at McyDee's, some eat leftovers from the night before. It depends on the person, I guess.

Another thing that I have noticed is when someone here obviously looks like they are from another country and not Norway, I was perplexed by how to handle these situations. Because of my American manners, I do not ask them where they are from. I asked, one time...have you lived in Norway all your life to a person that looked Asian. They were extremely perplexed by this question and said, "Do I look like I am from Norway?". I thought immediately, is this a trick question? How do I respond without offending anyone. My point is this, in America if someone looks Asian and you ask them "Where they are from?" and if they are from America...they are HIGHLY offended that you asked such a question, because they are FROM AMERICA. I mean what does the typical American look like? Exactly...we are a diversified culture. So I found, here in Norway, it is okay to ask people where they are from without offending anybody.

I would say that the most difficult for me to adapt to has been the food. When I first got here, grocery shopping was painful. I couldn't read anything and being a vegetarian, wasn't easy. I am much better now, and know my way around the store. But their selection of food is minimal. I say minimal because obviously I am from American and didn't realize what "consumerism" truly means. Now, I understand it. For instance in Norway, there is only two types of frozen pizza (I mean brands) okay, maybe three...unlike in America where this is about 20 different brands of frozen pizza...probably more. Where is the low, sugar peanut butter, where are the low carb tortilla wraps, where are the Weight Watcher's ice cream sandwiches, or what about Lean Cuisines, or light Pringles (I don't care for the regular Pringles, they are too greasy and taste funny) or the $12.00 container of whey protein supplement, and most importantly what about the chedder cheese preferably; Kraft, sharp chedder, and of course lowfat? Ho hum.

I didn't think that I would miss a Meijer--but yes folks, I do. There is something about taking a stroll on a Sunday morning, stopping at the Starbucks kiosk, getting a latte, and a cart and strolling down every ethnic aisle on the planet; the Asian aisle, the Polish aisle, the Hispanic aisle, the Itialian aisle and thinking---hmmmm...what fun new stuff can I try? Then strolling over to the wine selection. And then strolling over to the magazine section where there is a magazine for anybody's interest. Then strolling over to the electronic selection, wondering what new CD's might be on sale, and then of course, I need a new tank top---a black one to go underneath a red top, and I only want to pay $8.99. Of course, after a few hours of strolling in Meijer, I am at the checkout lane and notice that my cart is filled with stuff that I didn't need and was really there for bread and milk and ended up spending $100.....hmmmm, those crazy greedy Americans!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Clubbing it!

I am not a clubber. But do very much enjoy dancing. My friends have asked me many times over the past six months if I would go to the club, I declined. It was their last night in Oslo, so I decided...I will go and shake my butt for four hours! was fun, I felt like I was 23 again, not such a bad thing. It is all about experience.

May 17, 2009 National Day in Oslo

Norwegians take pride in their National Day as you can see. It was a beautiful day.