Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You've got mail...or in this case, a text.

Just a quick note about how absolutely amazing Norway is today.

I went to the bank, they sent me a text message with my password. I went to the book store, they sent me a text message when my books that I ordered came in. I went to the library and signed up for text messages to remind me when my books are due (okay I actually didn't do this, but you can!). I went to class and found out the teachers notify you by text message. I went to the gym and they sent me a text message when my member card was ready. You can even get texts about doctors appointments!

Who needs to talk to people anyways? Text messages are short, to the point and most of all, convenient. Talking is overrated.

On a side note, I also love online chat with companies. Today I chatted with a representative from the Ugg company...and got all the information I needed without saying a word. Amazing. :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

How to heat a Norwegian house

This is for you "anonymous relative"--whose initials, I'm assuming, are G.P.D. Jr? :) (If I'm right, you have your sisters to blame for naming you!)

I'm answering your second question first, because I want to get a little more input from Norwegians on the first.

Norwegians don't have central heating like we do in the States (of course, I am generalizing...maybe some do?). The family that I live with have a few different things they use to heat the house. First of all, the first story has heated floors. I believe it's only the first floor, since the heat will rise and warm the second level.

These are the two types of floors they have on the first level. The hallway/tv room and entryway are all heated from underneath. I'm guessing this is electric, but I'm not sure. The floors of the bathrooms are also heated.

The heat is controlled by a temperature gauge on the bathroom wall, and on and off switch. 

 Next, they have two ovens or fireplaces. These are the main source of heat in the house. One upstairs and one downstairs. You have to build a fire with wood and things to get them started. This one is upstairs:

 And this one is downstairs:

 Lastly, they have small heaters--two in the new part of the house that is not done--including my bedroom.

These are just plugged into the wall.

That's it. I asked the mom how much their heating bill was for the month...and she didn't know what it was just for heating--but for all electricity purposes (lights, heat, hot water, laundry, etc.) it is 1500 kroner per month, which is about $250.

For the most part, it always feels warm in the house. I guess the time when it might be a little cold is in the morning when everyone first wakes up. We usually eat breakfast sitting by the fire! (Meaning the kitchen table is right next to the upstairs fireplace/oven.) I also don't have heat in my bathroom yet, so it gets pretty chilly in there!! (I do have hot water though.)

I hope this answers all your questions! Let me know if you have more!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

Norweski or Norwesko

Just a random title for this blog...the words for Norwegian in Polish! Don't ask me why there are two...

I'm struggling these days to find something to write about (have you noticed?). Things are beginning to seem, well, normal! I guess that is something in itself to write about. I am starting to get antsy for winter to go away, so that I can explore the nature around Kristiansand. There are limited things you can do in nature during winter when you don't own skies, snow shoes or a snowmobile (which I haven't even seen here). I just want to go for a hike!

On a side note, I taught the little girl to give fist "bumps"-- now only if I could teach her how to use the potty... :) I attempted a picture of her giving me a "bump", here it is.


It took me many photos to get one that turned out. So cute. OH! She's walking now! She  falls every once in a while..but she is getting pretty good. She is also taking longer naps because of the energy she expends by walking..which is nice for me! :)

On another side note, I realized that taking the bus makes me sick. Motion sickness, that is. Not that I can avoid taking the bus, so I try to ignore it. I blame my car sickness on India. You couldn't go anywhere in a car without feeling really car sick, from the windy roads AND the crazy drivers. Once, on a road trip in India, there were about 6 of us in the car...and all of use were sick. ugh. :)

A couple weeks ago, there were people on the gågate (walking street) collecting money for Haiti. It reminded me a little bit of bell ringers during Xmas time in MN..there were so many. Love both of their efforts to raise money, but it makes you feel bad if you don't give some money to EVERY bucket! I ended up giving 2 Kroner, in the form of 4 øre (1/2 Kroner) pieces, to four different guys-- not very much you say? True, but just think if everyone in Norway gave 2 Kroner... (5 million people in Norway x 2 kroner each = 10 million kroner = 1.68 million US dollars)...that would be a lot of money! (Sorry, just had to add in some math) Norway has found a way to help, even from across the Atlantic. Rejuvenates your faith in humanity, doesn't it?

Thanks for the postcard Grandma and Grandpa! Mail is always nice. I'll get around to sending postcards at some point...

Thanks for the package Mom and Popsy! Yum Redvines!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

If only they knew...

Have you ever been asked, "What is unique about you?" I'm sure you have. How do you answer that question, when that which was unique is no longer unique?

Let's say that you knit. Now a lot of people don't knit, so that would make you unique. Now, let's say you go to a knitting convention where everyone knits. You can no longer claim that knitting makes you unique.

That is my problem. In Minnesota, it is unique to speak Norwegian, know about the Norwegian culture, etc. What makes me unique? I speak Norwegian. Here, obviously, that is not so unique. Not that I have been asked that question, but I would like to find a new answer to the question anyhow. Just one of the many ways I am trying to figure myself out here in Norway.

I have found that nearly every Norwegian who finds out that I am from the US and speak Norwegian, their initial reaction is "why?" It was cute for a while, but I started thinking...do these Norwegians realize that back in Minnesota (and probably other places) there are people who dedicate part of their life to, for instance, work at Skogfjorden (Norwegian language camp), build a Scandinavian Ice Shanty, go to Scandinavian happy hour, teach/learn Norwegian at Mindekirken and host a Scandinavian Film Festival? That there are people who TRY to do things Norwegian and have fun doing it?

If only Norwegians knew how big of a Norwegian community there is in Minnesota, maybe they wouldn't be so shocked that there are, in fact, Americans who choose Norway and Norwegian for a reason.

Monday, February 1, 2010