So first the funny part (the embarassing stuff I promised some friends I would not omit…)
Since I arrived here, a French student, who shall remain nameless, almost killed a native with an IKEA bag! Now, I am technically not responsible at all, but I feel like I was participating in this act, which almost required diplomatic negotiations.
We were walking home along the pavement and a girl cycled between us and the street. She somehow got tangled up with the IKEA bag and capsized onto the tarmac. The car behind her stopped just a couple of centimetres from her. We asked her if she was alright and did not even have the time to finish the sentence before she was up on her bike again and left. Since then, as soon as I see a bike, I am scared!
Of course, I thought this would be the most embarassing thing that could happen, but one morning I accidentally knocked over a poor woman’s cup that she was using to collect coins as she was begging in the street! There were coins everywhere and I was standing like an idiot with the shock. My friends told me that I could have given her some compensation, but I only had three Norwegian kroner in my bag and even so, I think that charity only perpetuates poverty. I tell myself that when I think about it and I still don’t feel good. Maybe I would have felt better if I had given her money, but that is all charity is for many people, so I think it was good I was true to my ideals. Hopefully nothing worse will happen!
After all it’s already September. The lessons have started and I feel like I am still doing nothing, since I only have two courses at the moment. On the other hand it leaves me time to experience Norway, which is what Erasmus should be about. I have also met my language tandem partner and we spoke for about three hours, at least half in Norwegian. She actually told me that I was surprisingly good! In a way, what else would you say?! Still, it boosted my confidence.
In the meantime, I have learnt some curious things about Norway and Norwegians in the last weeks. Here is a list:
1) There is a photo of King Harald V and Queen Sonja in our toilet. This is apparently a tradition, my flatmate explained. Since I think I should put a photo of someone as well, to affirm my presence, have you got any funny ideas? I would welcome suggestions.
2) We have a funny object that looks like a squeege (don’t even know what that is) in the bathroom. I think it is used to mop the floor, but apparently other Scandinavians have no idea of what it really is nor how to use it.
3) Norwegians have an extremely sweet accent when they speak English. Their speech has the following particularities:
a) They confuse the letters V and W. So they sometimes say ‘vi love wikings wery much’.
b) They pronounce the sound CK in English words such as BACK and PACK as they do in Norwegian words such as FINNMARK. Hear an example of Norwegian accent here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euJUs2Ubiak. (It is a nice story as well. So enjoy!)
It’s sweet, if you can imagine a cute panda or a teddy bear speaking, that’s how they sound!
c) They love long vowels and double consonants. So GREAT becomes GREATTTTT!
4) Now I know why Norwegians always beat Italian cross-country skiers. Nobody can avoid sport here.
5) Election time is absolutely greatttt here! That is aside from the fact that I got freebies from Arbeiderpartiet (the Labour Party), such as a t-shirt which says ‘alle skal med’ (everybody should take part), a pencil case, a red rose and a toothbrush, and a lovely bracelet from Sosialistisk Venstre (the Socialist Left). The atmosphere is colourful and of fair-play. Politicians debate on television almost every day and meet people in the street. I wish we had more of both in Italy. I wish we had an Einar Gerhardsen and a Jens Stoltenberg and I wish all young Norwegians realised what a great land their grandparents gave them. Thankfully some of them do, there have been many teenagers spending their afternoons at the electoral stands for Rødt (Reds) over the last few weeks.
As for social life, I can say that I have taken part in many different creative activities, that we should adopt in Edinburgh for all tudents. The scavenger hunt around the city was fun! The only problem is that going out is very expensive in Oslo, especially eating and drinking. So I understand the character in Knut Hamsun’s Sult (Hunger), when he said ‘It was during the time I wandered about and starved in Christiania’.
Last piece of news is that I’m going to Rome for New Year’s and I’ll meet at least some of my friends from the Summer School. I’m so happy about this because I still miss them enormously! I’m pretty sure I will miss Oslo and everything that came with it when I go, as much as I miss Edinburgh, Italy and all my loved ones there now.