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Journals from Telemark University, Bø, Norway

2013-03-03 Ice, International Day, and a Dog Show to Boot!

February 28th, 2013


I’ve now been in Norway for almost two months, and it seems like time has just flown by. I have enjoyed my time her immensely. The snow is still beautiful, though now it is deceivingly dangerous. The temperatures recently have been above freezing and sunny during the day, so the snow and ice on the pathways have partially melted, but then it all refreezes overnight. This makes it treacherous walking to school and to town. Twice this week I’ve fallen. The first time was painful as I landed on my elbow. It made me very cautious from that point forward. The second fall was more fun, though. My friend Trina and I were carrying groceries up our hill to her apartment and we came across a patch of pure ice that was probably 15-20ft long. I had her take the bag I was carrying because she always had more traction on the ice than I do (I have zero traction). I ended up slipping and falling about 5 seconds after she took the bag. I was expecting it, though, and landed so I didn’t hurt anything. I couldn’t stop laughing because it was so funny, and I had a hard time getting up because it was so slippery. With Trina’s help I was able to get up, though my jeans were soaked with water. The moral of the story is, buy the Yak Tracks before you come to Norway in the winter. The boots I own are great for walking on snow, but ice is an entirely different beast.

On February 20th, the international students held an International Day as a part of VIKO. VIKO is the student week here and it's ten days of different activities and entertainment for students. I didn’t go to any of the events, mostly because they were all expensive. However, the International Day was a part of the week. Each country had their own booth (we, the Americans, had two tables, though, with ours because there were eight of us). Each country had pictures and artifacts from home as well as traditional or national food and entertainment. Some of the booths were pretty elaborate and included dances or songs. Others had a lot of traditional food, and it was quite delicious to try food from all over the world. For our booth, we had family and friends send postcards from different places so we could have real pictures, not just ones printed from the internet. We also had flags and different facts. For food we had some American candy, banana bread, and a spinach and artichoke dip. Overall, the event was really fun and we all had a good time sharing our culture with others.

I haven’t really had too much homesickness, mostly just little things like familiar foods. But one of the biggest issues I’ve had is the lack of animals in the area. I am a dog lover at heart and work with them at home. In order to address my need, I spoke with Lisa, my international advisor here, and she started looking into the dog scene here in Bø. She found out that there was going to be a dog show held here the last weekend of February and helped me get in contact with the event coordinators. They let me volunteer to be a writer who helps the judges out. The dog show itself was mostly for show dogs, though there were agility and obedience competitions. The judge I worked with was from Great Britain and his name was Frank Kane. Apparently, he is a world-renowned dog show judge, so it was neat to work with him. My job was to write down everything that he said about each dog (around 150 dogs over the course of two days), and help the ring secretary deal with the paperwork. I’d never been to a dog show before, so it’s extraordinary that my first time is here in Norway. I learned a lot and had the chance to see hundreds of dogs and breeds of all types. There is a specific Norwegian breed that I saw and thought it was unique; it’s called a Norwegian Lundehund. They have six toes on each paw and their heads can bend backwards and touch their spine. They’re cute as well.

These two events made for a great week with lots of excitement. Another sort of random event took place mid-February. Two friends and I were walking to the store when we were stopped by a reporter for the local paper. He told us that each day he finds three people to ask to take a picture of. So we agreed to answer his question and have our picture taken for the next day’s paper. He asked us whether we have tried skiing. Luckily, the three of us had different answers to give. The next day I found the article, and I thought it was interesting that he translated our answers from English into Norwegian.

As March is coming upon us, I’m looking forward to the ice melting and seeing grass again. Although the snow is incredibly beautiful (especially on the mountains), I’m ready for spring!

Ha det bra!

Amber Hay

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