Monday, January 21, 2013

The Happiest Place on Earth (Aside from Disneyland)

My friend Kenny sent me this link recently:  The news of Norway topping the list came as no surprise to me.  I’ve now entered my third week in this beautiful country and I’ve been happy quite a lot.  Though, since my last post, there have been a few bumps in the Norwegian road for me.

After activating my cell number here for only about a week, I lost my phone.  Yep, slipped out of my pocket somewhere in Oslo.  The phone I brought with me from the states, which was the perfect plan.  I have (excuse me, “had”, sob) an Android phone that used a SIM card, so I brought said phone with me across the Atlantic to use with a Norwegian SIM card.  Easy, swapping out a little piece of plastic with data instead of having to buy a (very expensive) phone to use while here.  Well, it was the perfect plan to say again.  I checked two police stations and the transit office for their lost and found sections, and sent a letter to the caretaker of my student village, but no luck.  I’ll be picking up a phone tomorrow afternoon and a new one once I get back home too.  Fortunately I held on to the American SIM card so I can maintain my number, and I’m due for an upgrade as well.

My second trial of the week was laundry.  I won’t elaborate as much on this one, I’ll leave it to a few choice words: never assume with technology, 40 NOK to wash and dry (about $8 total), and walking farther than I need to for clean clothes.

Anyways, on to the positive!  I am in the happiest country right?  My fun by day as follows:

Tuesday: Went to the National Gallery which has some great art.  You’ll recognize some famous ones below.

Wednesday: Lots of socializing after my phone debacle!  I had coffee at one of the many cafes on campus with a group of friends and then went to Gronland (a diverse neighborhood in eastern Oslo) with them for some shopping.  I picked up the exciting purchases of laundry detergent (an omen) and a spatula.  There’s a great grocery store and thrift store in Gronland, which I didn’t buy anything from this day but returned to both today (Monday). 

Next, when I returned home, my roomie Luca said he was having some friends over for dinner and I joined in on some lovely conversations with future lawyers, and Molly, the lone chemist at the table.   Right around when dinner ended, my final flat mate arrived to move back in after vacationing.  Her name is Nini and she’s from Georgia, the country not state.  She shared wisdom of the magical attic upstairs where residents drop off things they don’t need or want anymore.  We went up as a united roomie group, all six of us, and raided through this haven of stuff.  Free swag was gathered by each of us, and I walked away with a drape, rug, and duvet cover.  Quality night.

Thursday:  The highlight of this day was bowling with the HECUA group (my professor, student assistant, and classmates).  Bowling proved to be the most expensive thing in Norway I’ve heard of… $300 for two lanes for 90 minutes.  That’s the equivalent of really good therapy!  Fun didn’t come cheap this time especially, at least I got a strike!

Friday:  MY FIRST SHIFT BARTENDING!!!  It was so great.  I alternated working up front to check IDs and served behind the bar from 10:30pm to 2:30am at the student pub in the Humanities building on campus called Uglebo, which means “owl stay” in English.  The pub is very cool, and owls of course are featured all over.  It’s got a laid back, rock vibe to it with board games, and has lots of beers, wine, and other drinks on the menu (no hard alcohol, that’s for the non-school bars and is highly managed by the government).  Since it was opening night, the place was packed full when I got there and people stayed til closing.  My shift was positively hectic and awesome.  All my fellow volunteers were welcoming and friendly, and we had a bar staff after party in Uglebo to ourselves for hours.  I didn’t get home til around six in the morning.  Night well worth everything.

Saturday:  I’ve been typing a lot, so I’m going to start condensing.  Woke up at noon after the great shift and fun that followed at Uglebo.  Had another big dinner with Luca’s friends.  Hosted a pre-party to go to a party at the student pub in my village.  Got to party too late to get in.  Group still wanted to have fun, acted quickly since the metro (train system) stops running at 12:30am.  Heidi recommended “Fridays” which meant TGI Fridays… and it was such a good time.  Over here in Norway TGI Fridays turns into a poppin’ (yes, poppin’) club after dinner service ends and is open til 3am.  We got there and had a blast.  Good mix of music, fun atmosphere, and a great group of people.  Stayed til closing, got on the last night buses we needed and I fell asleep at 4:30am.  Norway is turning me into a night owl (pun intended shout out to Uglebo).

Sunday:  Was in need of a lazy day, so I watched Sherlock most of the afternoon.  Had my friend Maggie over for dinner and after she left, the super six (my flat mates and I) had a cleaning party.  Scrubbed down our flat together with some wine and tunes and now the place looks great.  It wasn’t too dirty to begin with, but its current state is marvelous.

This concludes my very packed week in Oslo.  Special acknowledgement goes to all the people I Skyped as well, most notably Cora who is in Hong Kong!  I have dear friends at home, studying abroad themselves, and those I’ve made here.  Three more months to make more and keep in touch with those listed, on to more adventures!

Emulating van Gogh

Woe is him, and me 

Edvard Munch room, can you spot The Scream?
Art of ages ago

The Royal Palace in the distance

Latte made with love

My kind of therapy

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