Saturday, January 16, 2010

When In Doubt...Wander

It feels like it has been a while since I last posted, but in reality it has been less than a week. However, it has been a jam packed week, and my experience and perception of Oslo has definitely changed since Sunday. Needless to say, it has been for the better as I feel infinitely more comfortable here, and starting to figure out how Oslo functions.

The week started with the "welcome ceremony", which was interesting. I sat in a row with the people I had invited over the night before, and we were all a little worse for wear. This was due to the evening before which turned into a sweet little kitchen party. In this picture are just a few of the people at the party who were from Holland, Australia and of course Canada. It seems as if everyone I have met so far have been great people, and as exchange students we all have a sense of adventure, but also a curiosity about each others cultures. At the ceremony I was quite surprised that they had hired a Norwegian group to sing for us. It was definitely something I hadn't experienced before, but it was still intriguing on some level. If you want to check out the group go to www.myspace.com/eplemyasonglag.

In this general curiosity about culture I have noticed a few things about being a Canadian abroad;
  1. Most people assume because we are fairly loud and competent in English that we are American. However, I have heard that once they hear our accent it is noticeably different than an American accent. Apparently, we say "like" and "eh?" a lot, and people love to hear words like "out" and "about" from our lips.
  2. People know surprisingly little about Canada and Canadian culture, but seem to like us by default which is always good.
  3. People love the fact that I play hockey thus fulfilling the Canadian stereotype. They also think it is hilarious that I have left Canada and come to Oslo to study English. The general response is something like, "But you already speak English."
  4. Canadians seem to have a gravitational pull towards each other. Canadians will find other Canadians abroad if they within a 15 km radius somehow.
  5. Compared to European countries we are an absolute baby. Today on a tour they were talking about a dark period in Norway that lasted around 400 years. Their dark period supersedes the whole period in which we have been a sovereign nation.
Wandering around Oslo has been an amazing experience. The great transit system enables you to pretty much explore and experience any area without ever feeling lost. You can get close to anywhere in the city. Sometimes even if your lost you will find a random gem like a random map on a building. This is exactly what happened when I was walking through the Gronland area with Arlinda (Canada), Thevishka (Canada), and Jon (USA) (Pictured to the Right). There are random statues, paintings, and gems like this all over the city waiting to be found. I'm not sure I would find something like this in any other city. I don't want to ramble on for too much longer, but there a few events that occurred in the last five days that I just have too share. One of these events I stumbled upon with my friend Grant(USA) while walking to his residence. We saw a Red Bull car outside a school in Oslo called "BI". We found out that we had to compete in a sledging competition to get free red bull. Needless to say, We decided to compete. This is me getting ready for the race. The other team was getting ready behind us. Annnnnddddddd we won! It was a huge win for us, and we ended up each getting a 4 pack of Red Bull, and an invitation to compete in the "Sparkstotting Supercross" on January 30th, which we are going to do for sure.

Today was a great day as well. We ended up going to Vigeland Park, Old Christinia and a handful of other places. Vigeland park consists of about a thousand naked statues, and is supposed to resemble the cycle of life in someway or another. We continued on our trip and went up to a peak where we were able to look over all of Oslo and witnessed this breathtaking sight. This is one of those sights that is hard to really just show because it is more of a feeling while you are up there. I guess that is why I am writing the blog to share my experience the best I can through pictures and words.

3 comments:

  1. It's so true about the Canadian stereotype. People actually just associate you with Maple Syrup and Hockey (two very awesome things might I add)and the fact that we are the "chapeau" of the U.S. (absolutely not). But it's true everywhere you go the minute you tell someone you are Canadian they always have some sort of anecdote either a relative, a visit, etc. When I went to the South of France in the fall I had a conversation with a museum curator in Aix-en-Provence for 30 mins about the Muskokas because that was the only place she'd visited haha. Pretty random but I think those are the best conversations especially since we can be so proud of where we come from, how about it EH?

    -Alix

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  2. im following youuu lol. this blog is great! such a good idea and now we get to live vicariously through you! glad you're having fun!!!! xo

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  3. PS the above was effie love yous!

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