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Journals from Bø, Norway Spring '12

2012-01-11 And so it begins

Well, I made it!

My parents took me to the airport and I got checked in before we said our tearful goodbyes. Security and getting to my gate all went smoothly. At this point, the fact that I was about to fly to Norway where I would be living for six months hadn't really set in; probably because everything was still in English. As my flight started boarding and the waiting area started to clear out, I looked up and saw none other than Jonas Rankins! Jonas graduated from my highschool (of 400 kids) two years after me. I knew he was going to school in Norway, but it was still shocking to see that we were on the same flight. Being me, I was to shy to go up to him because I didn't know if he would know who I was. It turned out that he was two rows behind me on the plane, but I still didn't say anything to him...
The flight, which was 7 hours long, was fine. My personal screen didn't work, and my seat didn't tilt back, so it was pretty boring and hard to sleep. I spent the beginning of the flight watching other people's screens while listening to my iPod and eating. When I finally decided to try the pillow-and-blanket-on-tray method, I managed to sleep a bit. When we were less than an hour away from Reykjavik, I checked my boarding pass for the next flight to see what the gate was, knowing that I had a short time in between flights, but found that it was not there. Since I assumed that Jonas was catching the same flight, I decided that I should make my presence known to him and ask him if he knew the gate when we were getting ready to leave the plane. So I did. His ticket didn't say the gate either. I was ahead of him when getting off the plane, so I went to a board in the airport to find our flight and gate, but as I was looking I heard "It's number 6" behind me. The two of us set off, rushing through security and passport checks together only to find that our next flight hadn't yet started boarding. We chatted a bit about school and Norway. It was nice to not be alone anymore.

It turned out that we were sitting across the aisle from each other on the next flight! What a small world! This time I was in the emergency exit aisle, so my screen was below my chair. I wasn't able to get it up, but my chair leaned back this time, so I slept. It was on this flight that I really started to panic. Everyone was speaking Norwegian or Icelandic before English. I started thinking "What am I doing?! I don't know the language! How am I supposed to get by? I'm going to be so lost and frustrated!".  Those thoughts still haven't completely gone away, but at least now I know that I'm not alone. Anyway, I made it to the train station where I waited for a couple hours before boarding the train to Bø, which I slept on for a solid two hours. A student took me from the train station to my housing and then I showered and watched a couple episodes of Modern Family (I'm glad I took a friend's advice of bringing dvds) to keep myself from going to sleep too early (as in 6pm as opposed to 5pm).

On Thursday the 5th I woke up at a fairly reasonable time and ate a Trio bar that I had brought with me since I had not yet gone grocery shopping. I had to be at the school at 9:45 for the first day of orientation. I had been told that it was a 20 minute walk, but since I didn't know where I was going, I gave myself an extra ten minutes. I had a very basic map and the directions from the student who picked me up which were "Go down the hill we came up and go left" to base my journey on. I did what he said, but after about 7 minutes of slipping around on the ice in one direction I figured I was lost. Luckily there was a man with a child walking my way. When I told him I was looking for the university he laughed because I was going to wrong way. I got pointed in the right directions and actually ended up going back past my dorm...By this time there were other students walking to the school, so I followed them. Lots of slipping and three legitimate falls later, I made it! And on time!

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