Thursday, April 18, 2013

Back in the USA

Sorry for the delay in writing this!  Totally said I was going to do this a day after landing in the states, but now it’s been three days.  Oh well, I hope this post doesn’t disappoint! 

Oh America, my home.  I have returned to the west coast after being in Norway for just about three and a half months.  I’ve said this in so many entries before, but I can’t emphasize enough how quickly time passed.  My departure from Oslo felt a little sudden, like my goodbyes and packing were all in a whirlwind.  Now, the living fantasy of my European semester is over and I’m back in the real world.  I’ve of course missed aspects of America, some of which I’ve cashed in on right away, which aside from seeing my family have been mostly food oriented (Girl Scout cookies!  Steak!  Fast food!).  Other than being lazy on my couch, which only in part is due to jet lag, I’ve had to jump into responsibilities on my to do list including apartment hunting and stuff for my summer job.

All that said, this post is dedicated to reflecting on Norway one more time for this blog!  I started off with this online travel journal with my first impressions, and am now concluding with my final insights.  Here are some things about Norway that make me laugh, caused me anguish, and are all unforgettable:
  • PRICES! They have been mentioned several times in this blog, and were always something to be aware of. I only ate out like four times in Oslo, and obviously went out for every meal when in Bergen.  As one of my other posts pointed out, buying clothes weighed less on my conscience than buying food or beer.
  • Norway’s laws on alcohol, the topic of conversation second to prices.
  • You have to bag your own groceries in Norway even at clerk lines, and pay for bags if you don’t bring them.
  • Most grocery stores are closed on Sundays, primarily for labor law reasons.  Actually almost nothing is open on Sundays.  Except museums surprisingly
  • Public transportation in Oslo is awesome
  • The sun doesn’t really start shinning until late March, and even then the sky can be a tease
  • Norwegian water is delicious (I passed by the town of Voss on the Bergen train!)
  • Gravel removal was just starting as I left earlier this week (the country uses gravel instead of salting roads and sidewalks for snow and ice)
  • The prides of Norway (aka the things that dominate souvenir stores): cheese/cheese related items, moose, polar bears (that don’t even live in the country), trolls, and Vikings.
  • Politics!  Norway has multiple parties!  With youth branches!  And lots of NGOs!
  • Education on the university level: state involvement, “go ahead, get a Master’s”, and not much school swag (no apparel in the bookstore).
For a funny video on these same insights and more, check this out, it’s pretty much Norway in a nutshell for foreigners:

Anyways, studying in Norway for my semester abroad was everything I hoped for and more.  I went extreme sledding, braved the cold, travel around Europe, had great flat mates, was a volunteer bartender, interned for an NGO, wrote a thesis, had classes and field seminars with a cool group of Americans, and made friends that I adore dearly.  But the main thing that Norway gave me was a good look at myself.  Reflection and growth were the two most important things I got from being abroad, and all I can say is, thank you Norway and everyone that was a part of my adventure.  I miss you, and will see you again sometime down the road.  Even the prices won’t keep me away :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ha Det, Tusen Takk Norge

This is my final log post for this travel blog, and tomorrow I will post a “back in America” entry.  I was sitting in Oslo Airport when I started writing this and now I’m in Iceland for my layover.  Today is quite bittersweet.  While I have missing home and am happy to go back to my family and friends, Norway has been some of the best months of my life.  And now it’s time to write about my last week.

Tuesday:  Free Cone Day!  Ben and Jerry’s is wonderfully international.  Anyways, my last day of class meant presenting my ISP to the HECUA group.  That was a little nerve-wracking but I’m glad I got to talk about what I’d been working on all semester.  After that Power Point, we had a final class discussion to finish off my academic time in Norway.  To celebrate the end of term, my professor had us over for a great potluck dinner.

Wednesday:  A shift at Queer Youth that was spent making a blog for my boss and then I had dinner with two of my friends that were going to be gone over the weekend.  Spaghetti with two fellow political science majors made for a good night.

Thursday:  This was a day that was school work oriented for the last time in Oslo since I had to finish up the final draft of my ISP to turn in the next morning.  I also had my last flat mate dinner with very tasty wok. 

Friday:  Such a full Friday!  I submitted my ISP to my professor (whoohoo!) and then headed to Queer Youth for my last shift.  QY is having their general assembly next week which meant a lot of printing and folder filling for me.  Ashild got a delicious carrot cake for my last day interning and I also got a card and gift.  After saying goodbye to Queer Youth, I went out to dinner with Oliver and then we went to work at Uglebo for my seventh and final shift bartending.  With a great group of coworkers, the hours went by quickly and the after party went until five.  I already greatly miss both my places of work this semester.  Queer Youth and Uglebo were two very cool parts of my experience in Oslo.

Saturday:  Two concluding actions to my time in Norway were what this day was dedicated to: picking up souvenirs and having a farewell party.  Both these things went very well and I am so happy with how great a sendoff I got with lots of people I’m so blessed to call friends on Saturday night.

Sunday:  Last full day in Oslo.  Deeds of the day were packing and socializing with lunch out, a group dinner in, and one final trip to Bla.  Capped off the night with a movie in Erica’s room.

This blog post turned out to be a pretty short one.  I’m finding this entry a little difficult to write, as leaving is still sinking in even though I’ve already taken one of two flights to get back to the states today.  But, as mentioned above, I’ll be writing again tomorrow, so whatever I haven’t thought to add here I’ll put in tomorrow.  Anyways, to finish off this last week log, Norway has a piece of my heart, and here are some last photos of my time there.

Even Oslo isn’t cold enough to say no to free ice cream

Not the best picture of me, but this is the last photo of the HECUA group

Best carrot cake of my life

Wearing a hat means party time

The room I made a home in Norway

Monday, April 8, 2013

There and Back: Bergen Style

Today marks the start of my last full week in Oslo… WOW.  Being abroad in Europe has really flown by, it’s hard to believe.  Anyways, to get to how the first bit of April went for me, I’ll get right to reporting now.  

Between Tuesday and Thursday I was in school mode, especially concerning my ISP.  I had other assignments as well, but writing up the rough draft of my paper was the most time consuming activity of these three days.  I turned in my draft Thursday morning and before then was visited by a pair of care package fairies to cheer me on Wednesday as I sat at my computer.  Red Bull and chocolate sure are good motivators.  Like I said, emailed off the draft Thursday morning, then had some classes.  Thursday night meant relief from my school work of the week so I made my way over to Uglebo for a special band night and socialized the night away in blissful celebration to end a tough week.

Moving onto the weekend, I went to Bergen!  During my time here in Norway, I definitely wanted to see more of the country than Oslo so I made my way over to the west coast for three days.  I hopped on the earliest train Friday morning with my pal Oliver and we made the seven hour trip to Norway’s second largest city.  The Oslo to Bergen line has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, and that reputation did not disappoint! 

After arriving and checking into the Bergen YMCA as our hostel, we wandered around downtown Friday afternoon.  Bergen has quite a lot of character, and many more restaurant options than Oslo.  Eating out is a treat, and since I was on a sort of holiday, I took advantage to have a weekend of food!  After a great dinner, I fell asleep for 12 hours, ha.

As for Saturday, Oliver and I had our only full day in Bergen.  We spent it going to art museums, doing souvenir shopping, and of course spending plenty of money on delicious food.  Then on Sunday in between more great food for breakfast and a late lunch, we went up to the mountainside of Bergen via the Fløibanen Funicular to get a great view of the city.  The harbor is such an awesome sight high up and street level.  All in all, Bergen was wonderful!  So glad I got to see more of beautiful Norway before leaving in a week. 

Ahh, only one or two more blog posts depending on how I decide to write.  Thanks for all you readers that have followed me the whole time, are sporadic skimmers, or are just taking a look at my blog for the first time!  Below are some pics from Bergen.  Til I write again, cheers from Norway!

Bryggen, the main historical strip
A burger in Bergen! So tasty

The view from the roof or the Bergen YMCA

Life at the top with Bergen harbor as my backdrop

Monday, April 1, 2013

Living History

Happy April everyone!  I hope all of you that celebrate Easter had a lovely one yesterday, I sure did.  Since my last post, I’ve been to Berlin with my sister and upon returning to Oslo had a visit from a fellow USFer.  Germany was marvelous, as was having two familiar faces around.  Here’s the lowdown of my week:

Tuesday: I had class, so my sister went off on her own to see a good number of museums around the city.  Then she and I met up with a friend to go out to dinner.  Eating out at a restaurant in Oslo took a visit from my sister to happen.  Getting food instead of cooking is not cheap.  Took full advantage of this rare occasion.  After dinner we headed back for tea and then I had to get some sleep to get up early for my flight!

Wednesday: BERLIN!!!  This city has been on my bucket list for years and finally going was the experience of a lifetime.  As the title of this week’s post goes, I felt the history all around me.  We made our way to Plus Berlin Hostel to check in after I managed to take a nice nap on the plane.  Plus Berlin is a frickin’ amazing hostel; it’s so huge and nice!  And the main reason I chose to book it was its location: Plus Berlin is about three blocks away from the largest remaining section of the wall.  And after dropping off our luggage, the wall was the first thing we went to.  Like I said, a check off on the bucket list.  Walking the wall was surreal.

After my stroll along the wall, my sister and I went out to dinner and then tucked in pretty early.

Thursday: Museum day!  We went to six different Berlin sights:

·         The Anne Frank Exhibit
·         The National Gallery
·         The Berliner Dom
·         The German History Museum
·         The Berlin Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie
·         The Jewish Museum

It was a tourism packed day and I loved every minute of it.  

Friday: Shopping day, Good Friday style.  A lot of stores and restaurants were closed on our third and final full day in Germany.  But first we started off our day at the German Parliament.  With an easy online registration, we were able to go up to the glass dome for free, yay!  With this visit, I’ve been to three parliaments while in Europe.  I’m quite a happy Politics major.  Anyways, as for the consumerism part of the day, we luckily went to Alexanderplatz which is a big square right by the Berlin TV Tower.  There were rows of booths filled with artisan crafts, souvenirs, and food.  There were plenty of people milling around as well, they must have had the same idea of shopping on Good Friday as we did.  The best place in Alexanderplatz for me was the beer garden!  Glad I got to one before leaving Germany.  I sipped a glass mug of hot red wine, which was great since the weather the whole time we were in Berlin was stormy and even colder than Oslo.  Apparently this winter is the coldest Germany has experienced since 1891… oh well.  After having wine at the beer garden, ha, and a little shopping at the booths, including a great jewelry one, we headed back to eat at the hostel where I made sure to have a pint of Berliner Pilsner.  We went to bed early for our flights the next morning.

Saturday: Used the shuttle service through Plus Berlin to get to Tegel Airport around 4:30am since my sister’s flight to the states departed around six.  Our stay at Plus Berlin was awesome, if anyone is planning on going to Berlin, I highly recommend this hostel.  Anyways, I got on my flight at 8:20am and got to Oslo at about ten, then stayed in international arrivals to pick up Katherine just around eleven.  She’s my friend from SF who is studying in London this spring (I visited her on my UK trip in February, and now it was her turn to come up to Norway!).
I took Katherine up to Sogn and after settling her in at the student village we headed downtown to do a loop of the city.  We hit up Aker Brygge, Oslo’s main pier, and then Akershus Castle.  Then the Opera House Roof and back down Karl Johans gate to get back on the T Bane.  We had a quick dinner and then headed to my friend Heidi’s place for a house party.
Sunday:  Easter!  We made sure to get some museums in for Katherine so we met up with a friend of mine and the three of us made the holiday an art day with the Munch Museum and National Gallery.  Then we grabbed a late lunch at one of the open coffee shops.  After that, I had to get back to my room to work on a paper but the others went out to Sognsvann, a lake near my student village.  It must have been beautiful on a gorgeous day like this one, I was envious. 

I worked on my essay for a bit and then there was an Easter dinner with a two of my roommates and their friends and after food my pair of friends of the day and I headed out to BLÅ for some Oslo night life.  

Today (Monday):  With today being Katherine’s last day in Oslo, we got in two more plans.  First we went to the Opera House for a free concert with a group of friends.  Something free… in Oslo… best thing ever!  The pianist and violinist were both great, and it’s cool that I’ve now been on the roof of the Opera House as well as inside of it.  After some wonderful live music, the group of us headed back for a fun belated Easter brunch at one of my friend’s kitchen in Sogn, concluding Katherine’s time in Oslo.  She got great three days of weather, it was so sunny!

To wrap up this week, below are pictures from Berlin and a couple from Oslo!  Bergen will be the highlight of my next post!

A great new memory

Inside the Berliner Dom

Checkpoint Charlie

The glass dome

 A chilly day outside Parliament

Hot red wine, yum

Akershus Castle

Concert at the Opera House

Monday, March 25, 2013

The City of Bikes, Buffets, and a Brewery

Hey everyone!  Between this post and the last I’ve been to Copenhagen and back, along with my sister arriving for a visit yesterday!  It’s been a full week, so here’s an overview with today coming last as opposed to the usual first:

Tuesday: A full day in Oslo before my trip with HECUA.  I started out at Queer Youth in the morning but had to leave early due to an unfortunate headache.  I took a nap to make sure I was going to feel a bit better in the evening for my shift at Uglebo’s swing night.  The bar closed around one and as always there’s the claiming of the beer after party.  I had to be at central station at 7:20am on Wednesday so I just stayed up through the night socializing at the bar and at home, and was up and out the door half past six.  No sleep for me, first all-nighter here!

Wednesday: With the sun just coming up, I headed to meet up with HECUA at Oslo S for our flight at 9:20am.  I was surprising fine sleep wise, took a nap on the short hour long flight, and was still at a good level of awake when we landed.  We checked into our hotel very close to the Copenhagen central station.  I plopped my bags down to room with the lovely Lauren for the next few days and after settling in we went across to street to eat at a Turkish buffet restaurant.  Copenhagen is filled with buffets, it’s awesome.  I’ve never seen one offered in Oslo, in fact I’ve never had a sit down meal out in Oslo because of the prices so eating out in Copenhagen was pure luxury.  After lunch we went to the National Museum of Denmark, the met with two girls from Avalak (A Greenlandic student organization) and then spend our free night at the student bar downtown and went up the Round Tower, the oldest observatory in the world.  Then I got some very nice Z’s.

Thursday: I’m resorting to bullet points for the remaining days!
  • Started off the morning with a visit to SFU, the Socialist People’s Party’s youth branch
  • Ate Asian take out for the first time in forever!  Thank you walk up Chinese place, three dishes for like six bucks in a to go box, mmmm
  • Hit up Nordatlantes Brygge (the Artic Art and Cultural Museum for Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands
  • Took a stroll through self-governing Christiania
  • Got two pairs of boots for 200 Danish kroner, love the prices!!! That’s less than $40
  • Then we all went out with the Greenlanders from the day before for a night of beers and pool ( and I actually won a game, woot woot!)
Friday: A packed day!
  • Met with the other side of the youth political spectrum with the Danish People’s Party (the growing, most right party in Denmark) and got a tour of Parliament
  • Wandered around a bunch of Copenhagen’s thrift stores
  • Had a meeting with Modkraft (a leftist online news outlet)
  • Grabbed food for a microwave dinner from the grocery store, which was by a supposed American brand (chicken tenders from the Netherlands as it turned out)
  • Finished off the night going to Larsen’s Plaz again (the same bar as the night before) and Barbar Bar (Bar times three lol)
Saturday: Free day to explore!
  • Found a great bike rental shop to go biking around this city of cyclists.  There are bike lanes on almost all streets and more people pedal than drive
  • Sped over to Carlsberg Brewery for a great time and two beers included in the ticket price
  • Returned the bike and then headed over to the Turkish buffet to end the trip full circle
  • Flew back to Oslo and landed in the evening
  • Picked up my sister from the airport!  (That place and I couldn’t stay apart for more than 14 or so hours ha)
  • She was barely feeling jet lagged so we dropped her stuff of and then made our way to Vigeland’s Park, Oslo’s collection of outdoor sculptures that I hadn’t been to before
  • Went back to my flat for an early dinner, a ping pong tournament hosted by my roommate and a good night sleep for both my sister and me.
Today (Monday):
  • My sister and I were planning on having today be a museum day… BUT BARELY ANY WERE OPEN.  I didn’t think Monday would be an issue for hours, but yep, the majority were closed.  I felt so bad, not looking up any very closely before since I thought Monday was a safe assumptions since I’m used to Sunday being the days places are closed.  Anyways, we were able to hit up the Norwegian Resistance Museum, thank God.  It was a good one too at that, dedicated to the five years of German occupation in Norway during WWII
  • Mini cruise around the Oslo fjord!
  • And then, since no other museums close to downtown were open, we shopped the rest of the day along with a stop by the beautiful Oslo Opera House.
Wow, that sums up my week; Denmark and a familiar face from home.  Next up is Berlin!  My sister and I are leaving Wednesday and then when I return to Oslo on Saturday.  I’ll be picking my friend Katherine (the one from London who also goes to USF) about an hour after I land, ha.  This week I have a bunch of pictures to share as well!  Stay tuned for next week!

The Round Tower (during the day, I went at night)

The other side of the sign says “You are now entering the EU”

With the HECUA gang at Parliament

A gorgeous day in Copenhagen

Cheers to Carlsberg!

The largest collection of unopened beer bottles in the world

Had to ride a bike in this city, so glad I did

Vigeland’s Park

Cruising (mini style, aka 90 minutes)

I do what I want sign!

Ha, take that flimsy piece of paper! (But really, everyone goes over the chain)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Crunch Time

Four weeks from today is my flight back to the states, holy cow!  Not too much to report for today since I only had a few classes on campus, but in general Norway sure is going by quickly.  My past week felt like a speedy one as well, here’s what happened:

Tuesday:  I had an afternoon class with a guest speaker from Vepsen, an online news outlet that covers extremism in Norway.  Our visitor, Tor Bach (one of Vepsen’s part time journalists) presented a great lecture about extremism as a complex topic and the role it has played in Norway, most famously with the attacks on July 22nd 2011 by ABB.  After class I had a nice Skype with a friend back home and that concluded the events of my Tuesday.

Wednesday:  Another shift at Queer Youth, this time with a trip to IKEA!  I’ve been working on decorating the office and spiffing up the place meant heading to IKEA to pick up some things, mainly frames.  Having posters and pictures up on the wall has given QY a great look in my opinion and the social space is coming together nicely.  Eirik and I picked up lunch at IKEA, where hotdogs are only 5 NOK.  That’s the best deal in town I’ve come across for food and Norwegians love hotdogs.  The ones I ate at IKEA were the first I had in Norway, kind of a surprise it took this long.  After QY I meet up with my professor for a check in on papers, wrapping up my time downtown.

Thursday:  Class, an unfortunately cancelled interview for my ISP, and a taco dinner was my Thursday pretty much.  But I did get some good errands in as well.

Friday:  Pub shift at Uglebo!  Before Erica and I headed over we feasted on an American delicacy I happened upon on my last trip to the grocery store: mac and cheese.  Delicious!  Uglebo is always a good time and this shift counted as the pub’s ode to St. Patrick’s Day since it’s only open every Friday and every other Wednesday for quiz night.  So, the pub was all done up with green decorations like clovers and owls wearing leprechaun hats.  Grabbed my compensation of two beers after closing up and cleaning and got home around four in the morning.

Saturday:  Another night at Uglebo after doing homework during the afternoon!  This was the second intern party of the semester and I had a great time.  Mixed drinks for 40 NOK and good company made for a quality night.  Left at closing and then hosted a couple friends in my kitchen for tea in the early morning hours.  Saturday was my favorite night of this past week.

Sunday:  St. Patrick’s Day!  I went into my day wanting to get a lot done on my ISP, but that didn’t happen… I’ll be making up for that lack of progress tonight, ha.  (Shout out to the post title)  Anyways, my evening was fun!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I really am so happy about who I live with.  We had another roomie dinner and this time around we had fondue, cognac, and brownies.  So, not a very Irish meal!  But very tasty nonetheless with Switzerland, Russia (Nini’s contribution, she’s from neighboring Georia), and America (yay baking!).  After dinner we headed to Amatøren to have a pint while wearing green.  Sunday was a close second to Saturday on good nights.

I only have one photo this time around, but I will have plenty for my next post!  I’m leaving for Copenhagen on Wednesday with the HECUA gang so I’ll be snapping a ton of pictures!  Until next Monday, have a good week everyone!

Cheers to Ireland from Norway!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Putting the Study in Studying Abroad

Wow, this blog has reached double digits for posts!  Ten weeks, [insert whistle sound here].  I have exactly a month left of classes, which applies greatly to the title of this week’s blog addition.  I definitely have to be work mode the rest of my time here, mainly because of my ISP (Independent Study Project).  I’ve mentioned my ISP in earlier blogs I think and I am getting into the heavy research and delivery points of my project.  I’m studying the paradox/relationship between Norway’s reputation of gender equality and domestic violence, with the overarching theme being the past, present, and future status of gender in the perspectives of Norwegians.  Sounds like fun stuff huh?  Well it is for me!  Fun, hard work that is.  Title explained, now onto another packed week here in Oslo.  As usual I’ll start with today.

I went to Stortinget which is the name of Parliament for the second time (I also went on Thursday, details on that trip below).  After having class on campus, my HECUA group and I headed over to meet the FpU, which is the youth branch of the FrP aka the Progess Party.  The Progress Party is the second largest party in Parliament currently after Labor, is polling at third for the upcoming election in September, and is the party farthest to the right in Norway.  To compare the party to the US, in my opinion it is libertarian on a good day but can act like the Tea Party.  That said, the three guys we met with, Erik, Tristian, and Chris, are all youth members and advisors to the mother party and since they’re all involved in politics, they know how to sell themselves.  While the Progress Party isn’t one I’d likely ever vote for if able to cast a ballot in Norway, the visit was educational and definitely helped my understanding of the party more than only reading about it.  Then we got a short tour of Parliament including the main chambers that we missed on Thursday. 

After Stortinget, I went over to the complete other side of the Norwegian political spectrum for an interview at the Socialist Left’s youth branch.  I sat down with Ida, the feminism leader of SU (Sosialistisk Ungdom aka Socialist Youth), to ask her questions for my ISP.  She was great to talk to, and it was ironic to bounce from all the way right to almost all the way left (Norway has a Red Party as well but they have no seats in Parliament presently).
I had a pretty eventful Monday today, but now on to last week!

Tuesday:  This was an on campus day.  I went to class in the morning then to Uglebo during café hours for waffles with some classmates.  Waffle Tuesday is turning into a tradition; I’m going tomorrow (the 12th) as well.  For 10 NOK each waffle (just under two dollars), plus free tea and coffee for being a volunteer at Uglebo’s night version (bar), it’s the best deal on campus I know of.  After fluffy, jam covered goodness, I met up with my professor to talk about my ISP.  And that’s when the already covered title came to be.  March is a school work heavy month and this month felt like it crept up on me.  “What, March?  Already?!” was pretty much my thought process after realizing (as opposed to having it in the back of my mind) that the rough draft of my ISP is due at the end of the month.  After I got home, work was still on my mind as it needed to be because I had a paper to work on that was due on Friday.  Sitting at my computer and going to sleep wrapped up my Tuesday.

Wednesday:  My sixth full shift at Queer Youth marked evaluation day.  Mostly what Eirik, Ashild and I talked about was what I’d be doing with my remaining days at QY.  My main focus for the rest of my shifts will be the office itself, launching the social space.  I spent my day on Wednesday framing posters and putting them on the wall, which took way more effort than it sounds.  After QY I went home and wrote more of my essay.

Thursday:  As mentioned above, this day marked my first time seeing Stortinget!  The Politics major in me was super excited for this class visit.  We met with Peter Skovholt Gitmark of the Conservative Party (Høyre, which literally translates to “Right”), who was elected in 2005 at the age of 28.  Entering Parliament that young isn’t abnormal in Norway, whereas in the US it’s very rare to get into Congress that early in life.  It’s possible for the House of Representatives, but even less likely for the Senate.  Peter is on the committees of the Interior, Finance, and Environment.  And if the election goes how the polls are looking, his party will be the largest and he may be a minister.  Peter gave us a tour, mostly showing off the artwork on the walls of Parliament and of his office.  The man has swag from all over the world and from being on the radio a ton of times; a mug each time he was on air, which totals about 120 mugs… Not all of them are in his office, but wow (I think I saw 20 or so).  And the main things I noticed were two pictures he had on his wall, one with David Cameron, and the other with Margaret Thatcher.  After his office, Peter sat down with us for a Q&A.  Then I headed back home to finish off my essay to turn in the next day.

Friday:  International Women’s Day!  One of the fullest days I’ve had in Oslo means bullet points:
  • Had the first interview for my ISP at noon at the police academy with Geir Aas, a researcher of police conduct who did his PhD on family violence.  A surprisingly pleasant hour talking about “tragedy” to borrow his word.
  • Went home to put the finishing touches on my essay then sent it off/
  • Popped some very quick tags at UFF, a thrift store right across from Oslo Central Station.  I’ll definitely be making another, longer trip there in the near future.
  • Then the most awesome series of events:  My friend Cassie has mentioned an event at the Norwegian Peace Council earlier in the day and I’m so glad I went.  At the organization’s location downtown, they held a screening of “The Whistleblower” starring Rachel Weisz.  The film is about the true story of an American police officer who goes to post-war Bosnia as a UN peacekeeper and discovers a scandal of human trafficking with international police, UN, and diplomatic involvement as clientele.  Kathryn Bolkovac, the real life woman of the movie is based on, was present at the event as well for Q&A after the screening which was really cool.  Then there was a band to finish off the line up.  The entire event was free including food, beer, and wine.  Like I said, pretty much the most awesome thing I’ve attended, thanks Cassie!  I bought a signed copy of Kathryn’s book and made a donation to the NPC but like I said, otherwise the event was essentially free.
  • After the NPC, Erica and I went to Uglebo.  It was a nice change to be a customer rather than a bartender.  Apparently it’s a tradition at the pub that no girls can work on Women’s Day, so, when you can’t volunteer, go for fun!  The pub was great: got some drinks, the boys made sandwiches at the entry (see what they did there), and Erica and I stayed until about closing.  Afterwards we went to our friend Alex’s place with Silje for a kick back.
  • All in all a good day.  And lastly, happy 100 years of female suffrage in Norway!
Saturday:  Erica and I kept up the free peace theme by going to one of the very few days of free entry, which I luckily happened upon when looking up its hours, at the Nobel Peace Center.  A new exhibit had just opened up the day before: European Identity through Photography.  It was a good visit, and for what we didn’t pay at the door we spent at the gift shop, ha.  After the Peace Center we had a taco night with a couple other friends and then headed out to Amatøren for “Western” Night.  I put that in quotes because there was no country music at all.  A few people dressed up, I was clad in plaid for the occasion, but that was all that matched the advertised event.  The music that was played was mostly American and Latin pop.  So I guess western night turned into “any songs produced west of Norway” instead of a cowboy kind of night.

Sunday:  Sunday Funday?  Not quite, I holed myself up in my apartment for the day with the intention of getting a lot of work done.  The blog title mindset was the plan, but didn’t come to be.  I occupied my time by being productive on things other than my ISP: sleeping, Skyping, and the assigned readings for class the next day (today).  So, at least I did the work that demanded my immediate attention right?  Anyways, this is my first time being out of America for daylight savings, so I got to see all over Facebook how people were feeling about springing forward and also made sure I was online an hour early than planned for Skyping because of the now eight hour difference instead of nine.

Long entry, wow!  I’ll pass on a conclusion, here are photos!

Posing with Peter (he’s in the suit to the left)

Outside Stortinget

Proud new book owners: Erica and me

Kathryn Bolkovac

Peace for free!

Pretty day on the waterfront with city hall in the background

The lush voting chamber I saw today