Monday, September 5, 2011

Daily Living: Pictureful

The bridge to Fantoft
Everything's been a blur since I returned from Oslo. Lots of catching up to do. And that includes hiking and meeting new friends, of course.
I went on a hike with a bunch of the foreigners at Fantoft. Occasionally, Norwegians in spandex ran past us. Norwegians are always wearing spandex. I'm not sure if it's because the amount of time they spend not running up mountains is just so much less than the time they do, that it makes sense to never change, or if they just think it looks good.

We couldn't see the top of the mountain from the bottom, and once we hit the peak, looking over the side of the cliff yielded only white fog. I kept thinking that beneath us, Someone was shuffling around the town of Bergen, and when we went back down, everything would be in a different place. Lucky that God lacks my sense of humor (though probably everyone who was in the earthquake last week would beg to differ). Anyhow, the pine trees and lichen-y rocks outlined against the swirling mist (you could see it move!) made the mud in my boots more than worth it.

These are pictures of my two favorite walks: Tveitvannet lake, and Fantoft church. Usually end up at one or the other in the evenings, or for my morning jog. 

Fantoft Cemetery

The lake is my favorite place to watch the sun set.

Pizza in a pan! Was thinking about buying a small
 toaster oven, but now that I can do this, no need.
Soup preparations. So my mom
doesn't think all I eat is pizza.

I got my college students back for comparing Benjamin Franklin to Hugh Hefner. They were going on and on about pushy Americans, and one of them said, “yeah, Americans love the spotlight, and being on TV, and Norwegians are more quiet, more laidback.” Ah, I responded, is that why Norwegians all watch American TV? Took a minute, and then they all laughed ruefully. If you won’t go on TV yourself, people, stop blaming Americans for hogging the spotlight!

On living alone: I’ve had some of the best roommates anyone could ever wish for (love you Jord, Julia, Sara, EllenTalia and AbbyRena (two of them came in pairs)), but having my own apartment rocks. I can fill up every available bit of wall space with scraps of Tennyson, wash the counters every day without feeling neurotic, and buy eggs without worrying they’ll end up with little faces on them. I have been nattering to myself more than normal, but I see that as an upside—occasionally I say interesting things.

Eva, Naomi and I on the Fløibannen
The downside of my apartment: my window faces straight into the gym. Which at first I saw as an advantage—I wake up to the view of athletic Norwegian men lifting weights. But today, as I wound down from a little impromptu dance-off with myself (I was listening to the Glee soundtrack. Oh, the shame!), I saw two fit descendants of Norse gods pressed against the window of the gym, cheering me on. It’s not the first time I’ve been caught dancing when I thought nobody was watching, but this is worse—they know where I live. Eeek.

People say Norwegians are shy, but so far I haven’t seen any of it. That, or my being an American breaks all the rules. At the bus stop, I asked a guy where the bus schedule was. He showed me, and we both sat down with our books. Thirty seconds later, he tentatively asked, “where are you from?” The States, I said, and he was off. He was from Moss, and para glides (I must come down to Moss and para glide), and learned English from TV, and thinks British accents are stuffy, and is he pronouncing “better” right, and he’s been to California, and… fortunately my bus drove up then and I could escape from the excessive friendliness of Norwegians.
We found a troll in the mountains

Speaking of Norwegian guys, I finally figured out why my neighbor Nikolai keeps backing away from my door into the hallway. And it isn’t yichud, as my unreasonable mind keeps whispering. Crazily enough, it’s simple politeness. Finally, today, he knocked and my hands were so messy with the dough I was kneading that I just yelled, “come in” and kicked the door open with my foot. Slowly, his head peered around the doorway. “Come in?” he asked. “Yep,” I said—I could not go out into the hallway with my dough, even if it would make him more comfortable. Five seconds later he was twirling around on my swivel chair in his socks, grinning. I’m starting to think of Norwegian guys as huge puppies—Golden Retrievers that run up mountains every day and just need a bit of petting before they begin to shower affection on you.

The official pictures of the Norwegian Fulbright contingent (contingent, not contingency) for 2011-2012 are up on facebook. Here’s what we look like:
 There are some amazing people buried in that pile of prestige!

Adorable Norwegian Cars!
I keep going on long walks here. Every time I head off in a new direction, I discover a new lake, or creek, or mountain path. Even the streets here are so quaint that I relish each new bit of mental map that I’ve filled in. There's one cobblestone road near the university that has basketball hoops in the middle of it. You know, in case the urge to play basketball on a cobblestone court suddenly takes you.

Chilling in the park

Had an amazing lesson with my adult class today. We were explaining the differences between American and British English, and Anita and I went through words until we were almost in an accent face-off. Finally I put on a British accent and said, “yah, I know, we British think we’re so posh, and sound so clever with our accents, that we don't actually have to say anything intelligent at all. Bloody brilliant, innit?” America won hands down. 

Bergen at sunset
P.S. The “today”s mentioned in this post are all from different days. When I wrote each, it was "today". 

1 comment:

  1. "So my mom doesn't think all I eat is pizza" - smirk. Your mom was having a great time in Canada last weekend when I spoke with her.

    We (3 kids + I) loved the troll. The eldest here tells tales about a troll on vacation, so I said to the youngest, "look, a Troll on Vacation!"