Friday, April 27, 2012

What's the Opposite of Lazy?

Sunday was so beautiful, I felt inspired when I woke up and went for a jog around Tveitvannet. Then it was still so beautiful, I went for a hike up Ulriken. Then it was still so beautiful, I stayed up there. 
The rest of Bergen also hiking Ulriken

Priceless moment: Ruth asked if she could bring anything to dinner. Nope, I told her, I’m not making anything big deal-ish anyways, I’m not being... what’s the opposite of lazy? She shrugged. Then we looked at each other and laughed. Proud moment for Fulbright.

At the review session for the seminar on American itineraries in literature, Lene asked me to give an impromptu sum-up of the course. Because who doesn’t like expatiating at great length on short notice? Bare tull, I loved it. Finally got to tell all those Norwegians that America isn’t that bad. Got a few laughs, too, and maybe a bit of thought on starting their own Norwegian identity complication project—one of the students promised she’d be writing the next Tripmaster Monkey—so hopefully it wasn’t all babble to them. Sometimes I just want to take them by their quiet Norwegian throats and shake them into discussion. You’d think insulting Norwegian ability to integrate would do it, but nope.

Rachel and Ruth over-enthusiastic
For the past week, we’ve been building a paper mache unicorn for Ruth’s birthday/goodbye party. I insisted on a paper mache bat as well, because nothing’s so meta as killing a paper mache unicorn with a paper mache bat. Plus, this way you get candy no matter what. And more exposure time to flour glue.

Yom HaAtzmaut evening, the Israeli community organized karaoke and an Israeli dinner for everyone. Racheli, the BA shlicha, and Revital, the Israeli consulate, flew in from Oslo with falafel. The karaoke was hilarious—Odelia and Na’ama got really into it, and mostly it was a mass of us singing together, taking turns on the mike and belching out all our favorites. Na’ama kept shouting, “afilu Chana makirah hashir hazeh!” when she was trying to get wallflowers to join in. Because, you see, I am the Americani. Anyhow it was lots of fun, and as Revital pointed out, the kind of crazy that takes Norwegians five drinks to achieve, Israelis can do sober. And these Israelis were not sober.
Kyle, the paper mache master, showing how

My adult class got into a great argument about youth crime, which allowed some of them to talk about the gangs they’d been in as teens, and why they’d joined. Some fascinating personal stuff came out, though mostly I was awash in wonderment at how tame Norwegian gangs are compared to the messes we get up to in the States. Interestingly, Norway has an incredibly high weapon-to-person ratio, and yet one of the lowest weapon-related crime rates. So much for gun control.

Now we're pros
While explaining how to write a thesis to my high schoolers, I repeated the Norwegian word Anita gave me for talking without evidence, something that sounded like “synsing” (Elise? Jonas? What was it?). The whole class laughed, and humorously fed up with the way they always mock my pronunciation, I finally stuck it to them. I told them to repeat after me: “We were very wary when the things were very scary ‘cause we worried they were varied when they were really very wearied.” It’s about the meanest thing you can do to Norwegians, who have trouble differentiating v from w when they talk, and also don’t have a natural ‘th’ in their language. The class attempted it valiantly, in a rumble of laughter, but couldn’t do it. I told them when they had it down they could go back to laughing at my Norwegian. Delicious moment. 

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