Friday, July 20, 2007

Managing time poorly

Sorry that I have not been up-to-date with the blog, but I'm posting several entries that will be post-dated, so the will appear below this one. (But I still need to write about the Stavanger trip! Soon, soon I promise, but I have to go to sleep now so that I can wake up at 6AM tomorrow to go on a whitewater-rafting trip led by the school.)

Here are some pictures that I recently posted on my picture website

To the west coast!

Tubing in Sandefjord

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The worst night of my life in Norway! (so far)

After lunch I went to the Natural History Museum where they had an exhibit on animal homosexuality. It caused some controversy when it opened, but it really didn’t seem that controversial of an exhibit and there were more children there than adults. The most disgusting/interesting thing on display were two dried sperm whale penises that were about 3 meters/yards long. They also had a picture of two male sperm whales surfacing with their penises wrapped around each other.

I got back to my apartment around 7 PM, and put my stuff down and got ready to go out to see a movie with a guy who’s the cousin of a Norwegian girl I met on the first day I was here. I had just locked the bedroom door to my apartment when I decided I wanted to change my shoes because it had started raining. I tried to open the door, but the lock seemed to be broken. I tried harder, and then the door handle stopped working all together. I was late for the movie, so I just ran out the door and didn’t think about it until I was on my way home. When I got back home, it was about 1:30 in the morning, and the door still wouldn’t open no matter what I did. (I live in a four bedroom apartment that has a separate lock for the front door and all of the bedrooms, and all of my stuff was locked inside the bedroom.)

I decided to call a directory assistance service that advertises that they can fix all of your problems. I asked if they could find me the emergency phone number to the manager of the building who could help me get into my room. Unfortunately they just transferred me to a woman who was obviously asleep and who didn’t speak any English. I tried to call them back to get another listing, but my cell phone told me that I needed to buy more credit.

AHHH!!!! Not many places are open 24 hours in Norway, but I had seen a gas station on the way back home that was open. I walked back there to buy more minutes on my phone, and started talking to the guy behind the counter about the lock on my door. He called a few people for me and he said that I needed to contact the security company that watches the building. Luckily I had saved the number into my phone when I first moved in, so I called them from the gas station. He told me that I needed to try harder to open the door and really force the key into the lock, and to call him back only if I really couldn't get the door open. When I got back to the apartment, I tried for the third time to open the door, and it still didn’t work.

Now it was 1:45AM, and I was really tired. I called him again and he told me that he would come out to fix the door, but he wouldn’t be there for one hour. I went to sleep on the couch in the living room waiting for him to call. When he called, I was asleep, but woke up when he tried to call me a second time. He came up to the apartment, but when he got there, he only had the same key that I had to open the door, not the master key which opens all the doors in the complex. (The rooms have hotel-like keys so that they can be reprogrammed when someone new moves in, but there is a regular lock on all of the doors also so that all the doors in the complex can be opened with one key.)

He tried and tried to open the door, and broke the door more if it wasn’t already broken, then said that he would go and look for a master key in the office. When he got back, he said that he couldn’t find the key, but he couldn’t let me stay in the apartment because my name was not on the lease. I told him that was ridiculous, and I would walk downstairs with him, but then I would just walk back up when he left. (He didn't have a gun--this isn't this United States.) He left me in the apartment, and I went to sleep on the couch at about 4:30AM. I set my alarm for 10AM because that’s when the office opened up downstairs.

Well guess who came into the apartment at 9:45AM??? Painters! They had come to finish painting the living room. They had a master key. They finally let me into my room, and I slept until noon. At noon they knocked on my door and said that they would try to fix the lock, so I got up to take a shower. When I got out of the shower, the lock was in a million pieces on the floor, and he said that they didn't have any spare parts that they could fix the lock. Since everyone who lives in the apartment is home for the summer, I just left the door open.

But when I got back home that night, the lock was fixed! Thank you painters workers!

Monday, July 16, 2007

To Songsvann

School started back again after a long weekend, and I showed up late to class because I took the train from Sandefjord that morning. After class, a bunch of students went up to Songsvann, a nice lake only a short T-Bane (subway) ride from campus. While on the subway, there were people checking for tickets. I had a ticket, but I just hadn’t stamped it correctly so she tried to fine me 900 Kroners. That’s about $150 US. I say “tried” because I don’t know my address in Norway, and I only had my Louisiana driver’s license with me. Honestly, I don’t think that there is too much they can do with only my name.

Once I got to the lake, it took me a little while to find the others, but students from the summer school are pretty loud and it didn’t take me very long to find them. I was exhausted from the weekend, so I just lay down in the grass and watched everyone play volleyball. I tried to study a little bit, but it just made me more tired, and I fell asleep.

I'm looking forward to a "real" warm day when I can go swimming comfortably.

Friday, July 13, 2007

First sunny day in three weeks!

After a fun night out in Sandefjord on Thursday, we woke up on Friday to sunshine for the first time in more than three weeks! His cousin and her boyfriend from Germany were in town, and we really didn't want to waste the sunny day--we wanted to go out on a boat! (Espen’s dad’s boat capsized at the beginning of the summer, and was still being repaired, but we were able to go out on his friend’s Peter’s boat.)

The plan was to go wakeboarding and tubing for a couple of hours and then go back to Espen’s dad’s house for a BBQ. Espen went out wakeboarding first, and it looked pretty fun, but I didn’t feel like trying it today because the water was so cold. It was only 17 degrees Celsius or about 63 degrees Fahrenheit. We wore wetsuits because it was more comfortable and because of the many jellyfish in the water.

Jodi (Espen’s cousin’s boyfriend) and I went out on tubes next. It started out slow, but we were soon flying on the water and it was much more difficult to stay on than I thought. Jodi was the first to fly off the tube, but I was next with an impressive back flip when the tube hit a big wave. It felt really cool, and everyone said it looked awesome, too. We then got back on and only went for about five more minutes before I purposely jumped off again. I was so tired of holding on, that I didn’t really feel like doing it any more.

After we got back to the dock I really started to appreciate Norway’s “real” summer weather. Next up was Peter and Jana, and I rode on the front of the boat while Espen drove. At one point, Jana went over a bump and landed right on top of Peter. It was really funny looking, and on the next bump she bounced off. After about 15 or 20 minutes of pulling them behind we went back to the dock and called it a day.

We made it to Espen’s dad’s house in time for the barbecue and played a funny game of throwing wooden blocks around the yard trying to knock them over. The boy’s team won the most times! After that we had a great meal prepared by his dad and his dad’s girlfriend. On short notice—Espen told them we were coming over before we went out on the boat.

Here are the pictures:

Saturday, July 7, 2007

In Stavanger!

We made it to Stavanger late Thursday night, set up the tent, ate pizza, and went to sleep. That night it rained. A lot. Fortunately, the tent was a good one and we didn't get very wet at all. The next morning it was hard to wake up because it was still raining, but we did get up and then rain eventually stopped. We went to a really, really cool rock that hangs over the fjord that's a 600-700 meter drop straight down. There are some good pictures of Espen and I, but you will have to wait until Monday when my computer comes in.

I have to go now, but I'll write more later! Ha det!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A journey to the west coast

Espen and I are off today on a road trip to the west coast. It's a pretty random trip since we have no plans of what we want to see or exactly where we want to go. I'm skipping the next couple days of class, but bringing my Norwegian homework with me. We have a tent, some air mattresses, sleeping bags, some clothes, and a sense of adventure!

Time to hit the road!
Ha det!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

More rain in Oslo

Honestly, we have had only one sunny day since school started. The rest have either been rainy or cloudy, and pretty cold. I'm told that it's not usually this wet, and that soon it will be summer; we'll see.

Anyway, today I went for a walk down the Aker river in central Oslo in the rain with about ten other brave souls. It was interesting because the water was very high, and looked close to spilling over the banks into the low-lying former factory buildings now converted into apartments or offices. It was neat to see so many old houses and factories were still standing, and that until electricity came along, the river was the primary source of the factories' power.

I also learned that since Oslo was covered up by heavy glaciers for thousands of years, the land was compressed. Once the ice melted, the land started to rise and even continues to rise today. In fact, most of the central downtown area was under water just 300 years ago--opposite of Louisiana's sinking land problem.

As we continued down the river we game to a huge waterfall that was now gushing and looked really amazing. I managed to snap some pictures with my cell phone camera, but unfortunately I still don't have the right cable or software to hook it into the computer.

We ended the tour a little bit early because everyone was soaking wet, and the guide explained that there wasn't much else to see. On Thursday and Friday I'm skipping school and I'm going to drive to the west coast of Norway with Espen. We'll stay there through the weekend and I'll go back to class on Friday. Next week we have midterms already! The summer's going by fast, let's hope there's some nice weather coming soon! Ha det!