Saturday, June 25, 2011

To Oslo!

The Entrance Arch

   Welcome to Blindern campus!

   As we wander through the yellow painted arch (the same color as all of Norway's nationally important buildings), the ever-present rain trickles through the trees. We have finally come to our trip's final destination: Oslo. The spreading capital holds almost a fifth of the country's population, and while small by American standards, it is still quite large to this Iowan! Walking through the grey gravel towards the dorms, it is easy to see the history of the place. The buildings are many decades old, and the neo-classical facades facing us are magnificent! Between the dorms, a sunken courtyard reveals a fountain and multiple baths leading to other far-off corners of the campus; it is beautiful.

   Dozens of country's representatives mill around as the rain continues to fall. Our group from Lillehammer smiles and greets the others as we slowly make our way to collect keys, information, and directions for our new life for the next six weeks.

   Truth be told, it is a little disconcerting and unwelcome to switch locations. Lillehammer seemed a wonderful place full of country hospitalities and little corners of excitement. The people welcomed us with a smile and boundless generosity. Steiner, his family, and the staff of the Nansen Academy provided such warmth that it is difficult to leave that place. Oslo, the booming capital will likely be less friendly as any city tends to be.
Steinar, the Wonderful Bearded Peacemaker

   As we entered the doors, the change in location was especially stark. The Nansen Academy provided for small, yet clean and homey, single rooms. Here, the decades-old dorm is cramped; my room is meant for one and now houses two. I will even sleep on a cot for the duration of my stay at Blindern. Oh well, it is simply an inconvenience. I am in Norway, free of charge, for seven weeks. Nothing is really worth complaining about.

   Since our rain-clouded arrival, we have registered for classes. Additionally, we have begun to become oriented to our new surroundings. Classes start the day after tomorrow, and I am excited to begin studying the history of Norway in depth. Also, I have selected the weekend excursion that I wish to partake of. The school offers several different excursions out into Norway, including rafting, hiking, and other fun activities. Mine will be a tour of one of Oslo's major fjords. Additionally, we will tour a massive fortress, garnering the history of that defensible place. Furthermore, we will take a ferry out into the fjord, stop in Sweden, and stay in a fancy hotel. All told, it promises to be a very fun event.

   And there are so many more adventures to come! Although the transition has been difficult, we will adjust eventually, and Norway has so much to offer. The next few weeks will truly provide for an epic saga.
My Cramped yet Workable Dorm Room

1 comment:

  1. Michael - I've been enjoying your writings and can "almost" imagine what your early days in Norway are like. Sounds certain that the Nansen visit proved memorable - it will be fun to see how those memories weave into your thoughts of the coming days. Glad you are well. Am keeping an eye on you! ENJOY!