I am here! I have finally arrived in the land of the Midnight Sun (which I missed by a few days) with another approx 300 international students and, my goodness, it´s a different experience here. Firstly, I´m already wearing my coat everyday and one day I´ve worn my snowboots. Secondly, I go to bed at midnight in the light and I wake up around 3am and it´s light. Not this ´a little but blue´ light, but proper, sun is up, get outside light. My sleep pattern has gone to poo but I´m making the most of it now before the sun goes away completely and I grumble about the dark.
My flight from the UK was good, London to Oslo had no remarkable event, but Oslo to Tromso was a little bumpy with the best looking flight attendant I have ever seen! We flew over mountains and fjords and I saw every type of blue you could possibly imagine. There were gun-metal lakes next to flowing turquoise rivers interspersed with snow-capped mountains. This country is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen, truly. The people here are also lovely, and the landscape is fantastic. Just yesterday I commented to a friend that the view from the harbour looks like someone has unrolled a canvas and we´re looking at a picture. When I eventually get my own laptop back I´ll put the pictures online to be seen.
So far the week has been really good. The first two days we started at 8am which meant waking up at 6, but because we´re all getting to know each other, no-one is going to bed until really late. One night practically everyone fell asleep at about 8 after having one too many late nights, but last night there was a party at the student union, driv. It was just like being at home music and dancefloor-wise which was nice, but the beer is approx 6 pound for just under a pint, so no international students were getting drunk! Most things are a lot more expensive but I have noticed some stuff is cheaper, like olive oil and rice and some vegetables. I´m surviving but still feeling like I´m dealing with monopoly money. When everything tends to be in multiples of 100 kroner it doesn´t feel right to spend so much!
We´ve been really well informed by the uni this week, with them telling us about everything from residence permits to internet to course registration to free lunch everyday and two coffee breaks and sightseeing and second-hand markets etc, and all the volunteers and staff are so approachable its no problem to ask any questions. My accommodation is also really good. It looks out over the sea and the mountains (again, I´ll add pictures when I have my laptop) and I have so much space to put my stuff in my room that I feel I should´ve brought everything over from Edinburgh! I am sleeping on a sofabed which I originally wasn´t looking forward to, but now I like it – it feels a bit like being in a cot which is quite nice! I want to say a huge thank you to Ruth who was here last year as she has been a massive help (the stuff in the laundry room was still there meaning I had a duvet!) and I´ve met some people that you knew when you were here and they all say hi 🙂 My flatmates are lovely too – we are me, a norwegian, a hungarian, an italian, a german and a french girl. Very multicultural. However, I´ve been feeling a fair bit of what I call ´colonial guilt´ this week, as although I know it isn´t my fault that English is the world lingua franca, there are over 60 nationalities represented here and I can´t speak to any of them except in English (luckily they all have to speak English so I have no problems communicarting). I haven´t had any embarrassing language mishaps yet but one of the other British students here accidentally mispronouced ´reise´ and said ´I spank the train to Oslo´ instead of ´I travel on the train to Oslo´. I´m glad I didn´t do that. Also, chatting to a German friend showed that they have the translation of ´don´t throw stones in glasshouses´, but the French don´t, and instead of saying ´It´s raining cats and dogs´, the French say, ´Il pleut comme vache qui pisse´, which translates to ´It´s like a cow pissing´. Being here is definitely opening my eyes to interesting parts of other languages!