Sunday, March 4, 2012

BF's Forever

Some of my favorite people in the world, at my favorite city in the world.
 Amanda, the Ås ETA, came in for the weekend to play with Ruth and me. A weekend with Amanda and Ruth is always a fun mix of hilarious and thought-provoking moments.  Amanda had a new year’s resolution which involves dancing at least once a day for the entire month of March, so we kicked off Thursday night by going to the weekly salsa dancing down at the United Sardines Factory. It was inspiring just to watch, but we were lucky enough to each find guys willing to teach us, and danced bravely though ineptly. Over the weekend we also had a dance party which Kyle, the Fulbrighter studying Ibsen, was kind enough to record on camera, and a blissfully Disney dance-off.   

Friday dawned gorgeous, so we headed up Fløyen with the rest of Bergen. On the way down we sorted out the issues of education pretty well: between Amanda's work as a Teach-for-American last year, Ruth's heading into next year, and my desire to apply, we had a goodly amount of benevolent commitment to swing the conversation into highly idealistic lines. That evening I had Ruth, Amanda, Kyle, and our French friend Perle over for Shabbat dinner. I explained what was happening beforehand, but still nearly blew bread out through my nose in laughter when, in the silence after making kiddush and hamotzi, Perle said ‘’what the hell was that?’’ It’s a mark of my comfort with them that I could do this—Shabbat restrictions make me weird enough without sharing the ritual and exposing even more of the crazy.
The barnehage kids aren't the only ones
who can play on Fløyen!

Talks with Amanda plus my upcoming sessions on multiculturalism with my high schoolers have had me thinking a lot about race lately. Also, a recent article in the Bergen Tidende (Bergen Times) discussed how some nurseries in Bergen are 70% immigrant, and so Norwegian parents are worried that their children aren’t learning to speak proper Norwegian and now they want to 'desegregate the nurseries'. Reminds me of segregation and bussing. The delicate issues surrounding ethnicity and what it means to truly be Norwegian or American have made me hum over identity. I keep thinking how important my own ethnicity is to me, and after reading Under the Feet of Jesus over shabbat I was able to say with confidence that it means a lot to many other groups as well. But how to define what it means when one’s own race is important, and so one also notices others’ race and attaches characteristics to it, without using the word ‘racist’? Color-blindness is just another kind of racism, but there doesn’t seem any sort of word to adequately represent race-consciousness. Ethnic awareness? Well, I’ll keep working on figuring out a good term, and let you know when I find one.
In the afternoon, the Bergen Fulbrighters came down to Fantoft so we could walk around the Stavkirk and Gamlehaugen. It was a beautiful day, and BF’s (Bergen Fulbrighters) are consummate photographers, so I’m going to give it to you in pictures instead of words.
Telling Oskar about the gnomes that live in the church and run out to tickle you if you knock on the door

How many people can you be this exuberant and silly with?

What animal do YOU think Kong Haakon looked like?

Knocking on the vault and listening to see if anyone knocks back

We are thiiiiiis awesome
This is happiness.

BF's forever!

Ridiculous what-the-heck-am-I-doing-in-Norway moment: invitation to a reindeer roast up at Evenstadt from Andrea, the veterinarian Fulbrighter. They’re eating it, not making fun of it—I asked. Sadly, I can’t make it.
 I spent today working with the cheider kids, practicing the play they’re putting on for the community’s purim carnival this Thursday. One kid broke his leg, so I had to take a part. It’s my debut in Norwegian drama. Perhaps by the end I’ll be acting Ibsen at the national theater.

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