Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rain, rain go away...

So, I changed my blog background. I bet you've noticed. I find it very fitting considering my 5 days back in Kristiansand have been, well, cold and rainy.

Ah, rainy days. Makes me want to curl up on the couch with a big cup of tea, under a blankie with a good book. Much like what winter makes me want to do. Looks like this fall I will no longer be reading these said good books, but GRE prep books and Norwegian books. (Not to imply that GRE prep books and Norwegian books are not good...) Nothing like hammering out both the English and Norwegian languages at the same time.

Why the change in reading material? I have, hopefully, committed to taking the GRE and the Bergenstest in the near future. I say hopefully because, let's be honest, my plans could change in a week. My hopes are that if I commit to it in a blog post, I will commit to it in real life.

I'll let you know how that turns out.

As for my blog background, I'll change that when the weather starts looking up. Don't hold your breath for that one though.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The art of searching the internet.

Oh man. Within the last month (day wise, not calendar month wise) the number of times I have had more than 10 tabs open on Firefox has probably exceeded what I can count with my hands. Yikes. Oh my parents would be disappointed in me...well only because they used to make me have a cap at 5 open tabs, said any more was out-of-control, which I completely agree with. (They also banned me from WebMD...because I'm a hypochondriac and a self-diagnoser...but that's a different story for a different time :))

I JUST found myself with about 12 open tabs on my web browser, and decided to blog about it. What exactly do I open up in these new tabs, you ask? Well...today, I'm looking up  graduate programs in the States (for a back-up if I don't get into school in Oslo), and GRE information (turns out you CAN take it abroad) and the like. Yesterday, it was every single website possible for cheap flights home during Xmas (there aren't any). Earlier today it was information about Norwegian classes and the Bergenstest and everything connected to that. The other day it was Children's book publishers. The other week it was international jobs/organizations abroad. Sigh.

The problem with my brain is that it obsesses. I latch on to something and I don't let go. Hence the out-of-control searches (that usually turn up nothing). The searches also come out of the fact that I have very little idea (or maybe too much idea) of what I want to do with life. So, again, I think of something...and I go crazy trying to find that "perfect" idea in my head. These ideas usually span the spectrum as well...which is why it's so hard for me to pick a profession/place to live/guy I'd be interesting in dating...I always feel like I will miss out on opportunities by committing to something...for life.

Seriously, I'm a mess. Total headcase. I was a soccer goalie though, so maybe that excuses it a little bit? Or maybe I was a goalie BECAUSE I am a head case...hmmm...maybe I'll google that next.

Class Afloat

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted. No, I haven't finished my roadtrip blog...I know. That will continue, probably, at some point. For now, I have something new to talk about that I think is pretty cool.

So, I was just back in MN for 10 days (posts on that to come later). Sitting at my gate in the Amsterdam airport (leaving for Kristiansand) I noticed quite a few English speaking high schoolers all wearing a shirt which read "Class Afloat". First, because they were talking so loud, I assumed they were American (let's face it, we talk loud!). After further inspection (aka looking at their backpacks), I figured out that they were Canadian. Now, whenever lots of people are wearing the same shirt it always intrigues me (as I'm sure is the goal). I tried to get internet on my computer in the airport so I could look it up, but couldn't figure it out. So...I had to sit there and in the airplane, just thinking about who they possibly could be (okay, I didn't put THAT much thought into it!).

I got home, and then completely forgot about them (typical), until the next day. The mom that I live with/work for is a journalist with NRK, one of the major radio/tv stations in Norway. She had gone on assignment to talk to these "Class Afloat" people and this is what she found out.

  • High schoolers from around the world can apply for this program, based out of Canada, where they spend a school year on a boat, learning school subjects AND how to sail. Pretty cool if you ask me.
  • It costs a hefty 30,000 Canadian Dollars (almost 29,000 American Dollars)
  • Every year they sail a different part of the world. This year, they leave from Kristiansand, Norway, sail down the western coast of Europe and Northern Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean and into the Caribbean, and finally ending up back in Norway next May.
  • The ship that this program usually uses sank last year during a "strange weather phenomenon" off the coast of Brazil, where wind from above sent the ship a turnin' and the crew had to sit in lifeboats for days. Sounds fun. This year the class is using a MUCH smaller boat, which could cause a whole lot of drama from how small it sounds. I hope they all like each other.
  • Not only are they in cramped quarters, where the communal sleeping space during the night is turned into the dining quarters in the daytime, the bathrooms are on deck. I hope no one gets sea sick! 
Those are all the details I got from the mom. Sounds pretty sweet except for the fact that I get really sea sick and would spend most of my time miserable, and my whole bag would be packed with Dramamine. Minor detail, I guess! Anywho, I'm jealous of this adventure these students just embarked on yesterday.

I know, I know, you are probably saying "jealous? You can't be jealous, you're in Norway!" It's true, but somebody should have informed me of this opportunity when I was in high school (not that I would have had money to go...).

So...now you know. Go tell your friends, and your friends' kids. Maybe they can go on this adventure of a lifetime. I'm sure there are some pretty hefty liability forms to sign though!

Oh and here's the link to their website. I found it very cluttered and hard to read, but information none the less. :)

Class Afloat

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Road trip--day 5

Wednesday started EARLY. After a few hours of sleep, we woke up to tackle Preikestolen....at 4:50 AM. Crazy, I know.
After only about 10 minutes of strait uphill---looking down from where we came from

Mom's favorite part of the hike...wetlands!

Could the path be steeper and with bigger boulders?

"Eyes on task, mind on task." -mom (afraid that we would fall off the cliff)
Finally at the top!

Where's Popsy? NOT funny!
3 hours and 45 minutes from when we started, we were back at the bottom. I have to say, I felt pretty intense coming back down the mountain at 7 AM when everyone else was just starting!! How many people can say they saw a Romanian woman playing death metal on Preikestolen?! Yep, that's right...she lugged a guitar AND an amp up the mountain....I'm just glad we got there before her! Weird.

Oh, and only ONE injury on the hike, which was of course me. Clumsy me. Good thing I didn't break my femur, that would have put a damper on the trip! (I'd put the picture of me and my HUGE bruise...but it may be too inappropriate for what I want on the internet! Sorry, Alex!)

So the reason we got up so early to do the hike was because we had an 8 hour car ride to our next hytte (cabin) in Luster (on the Sognefjord).

10 hours in the car....
3 ferry rides...

a few road-side cherry stops (and a pear ice cream stop)...
many coffee stops at weird (and hot!) places...
many waterfalls....
and 1 (unsuccessful) history hunt (my mom's side of the family was supposedly from this place) later....
we arrived in Luster (and our hytte)!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Road trip-- day 4

Tuesday started with some coffee, breakfast and a little exploring around Veslebu (our "little red cabin") near Preikestolen/Stavanger. This cabin was AMAZING. We were secluded, in the forest, and had our own private beach on the water! If you ever are planning on hiking Preikestolen...I would definitely recommend staying here.
Stavanger was on the agenda for today, so we made our way to the car (about a 10 minute walk from the cabin) to drive to the ferry in Tau, that would eventually get us to Stavanger. (It was a little windy and cold...don't you think, Diane?!)
Once in Stavanger, we visited the Oil museum--where Alex and I decided to pretend we were part of the oil rig crew and got many stares...

Gave our opinion about climate change and drilling for oil...

and played on the emergency escape slide, and other fun oil-related toys!

After making our way through some cute gågater, visiting some stores, eating lunch and checking out the fish market...
...we made our way towards Old Stavanger and the Sardine Canning Museum (really cool!)
This place also sold sardines, and my dad was in sardine heaven!
 A few other things we found in Stavanger included....

Escher inspired cobblestone (or so we thought), that freaked out your eyes...
The place were immigrants waited before boarding their boat to America...

And probably one of the cutest/funkiest gågater of all time.
After finally making our way back to our cabin via ferry and car, we ate a very Norwegian meal of fiskekaker (fish cakes) and pølser i lompe (hot dogs in a tortilla...I guess) and øl (beer). We also used Engangsgrill (one time grill) to cook our food, which is VERY popular in Norway. Probably because it only costs about 15 Kroner.

 That's all for Tuesday...Wednesday is going to be an early one!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Road trip-- day 3

We set off on the open (Norwegian) road!

Kristiansand-Preikestolen Fjellstue
About a 6 hour car ride, without stops. However, we stopped. We were on the road from about 10am to 7pm.
                                             Map courtesy of homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Our first stop was Mandal. Our stop in Mandal consisted of our first (of many) troll sighting, bunad sightings, cute Norwegian baby clothes for V, beaches, playing with dead fish, the ocean, woods and a cute gågate

Back on the road.

Tunnels, tunnels and more tunnels!
 Arrived at Fjekkefjord!

After back on the road for some time...we started getting hungry. We decided to pull over at the next place to eat...which ended up to be not the most relaxing and quiet place to eat...
 ...unless you enjoy eating next to the highway! Oh, and my dad discovered (and loves!) Nugatti!
Pit stop at one of the most beautiful towns in Norway (so says the guide book), however, it probably doesn't even warrant any pictures! Not the prettiest in our book. 

Here are some nice pictures of Norwegian scenery though.
 And, our first Norwegian car ferry ride! (fem voksne!)

Finally! We made it to our "Little Red Cabin". Relaxation was in order--food and cards!
 So long, day 3!