Hello everyone! I’ve been living in Norway for a little over a week now. I can’t believe it! The first week has basically just been me settling into my living situation and also college orientation. I’ve met TONS of people, Norwegians and other international students alike. I’ve even made some new friends.
I’ve taken some pictures but I haven’t really been the active photographer that I should be. But worry not family and friends! I do have plenty of time to get good pictures, I’m here for four months after all.
Here are the pictures I did take so that you can see the most important parts of my life here in Norway so far.
When I arrived in Norway after my flight, I took the train from big city Oslo to small town Bø. It was about a two hour ride but exactly what I needed after two flights and a lot of running around Oslo Sentralstasjon. I had my own window to look out of, where I could dreamily watch the cityscape change to countryside (literally dreamily because I was so sleepy). This picture is of Bø Stasjon, the only train station in town and located near the base of Breisås hill. Myself and two other PLU students who I had traveled with were transported by car from the train station, up the hill, and into the studentboliger (student housing) of Breisås. Every other time since then we’ve had to walk up and down the hill to go into town and come back home.
I took this picture when I was walking up the hill from town. It’s a little sign letting you know that you’re headed to the right place: Breisås! I’ve probably walked up and down that hill more than 20 times and I’ve only been here a week. Bø is so small that you can walk to wherever you need to go. Whether I’m heading to the college or to a shop in town I’ll always have to walk back up that darn hill to get home. At least I won’t have to worry about getting enough exercise while I’m here!
Finally at the top of the hill, this is what you see. I always feel a bit triumphant once I’ve reached the top and my room is only steps away. I live in Breisås 3, Elgfaret 33. There are four different Breisås areas (1-4), as well as another student housing building (called Gullbring) that is closer to the college. Elgfaret 33 happens to be one of the first buildings that you meet once you’ve conquered the hill (thank goodness for me!). It has two floors while many of the other houses have only one. Elgfaret 33 is also lucky to have it’s own porch and picnic table. I live with seven other people, four living on the second floor and three living on the first floor with me. I’ve met them all and thankfully they seem like very nice, easy to live with people! The four boys upstairs are all Norwegian. Downstairs I’m the only one from the US, but there’s a girl from Spain, a girl from Norway, and a boy from Norway as well. So mostly we’re a house of Norwegians. Imagine that!
I’m spoiled with the view from my room. I love how it slightly overlooks the town. At night the lights from the houses nestled in the hills twinkle in the dark. It’s very beautiful, day or night. I have my own room and bathroom in the house. It’s kind of like a small cabin; very cozy with wood walls and flannel curtains. The four of us downstairs share a kitchen and dining area but all eight of us have one laundry machine to share. I’ve been trying not to be in anyone’s way when I need to do my laundry or make food in the kitchen and so far it has gone smoothly.
Speaking of making food, this is where I buy all of my groceries. Rema 1000! It’s located at the very base of Breisås hill so it only takes about five minutes to walk there. I’ve probably been to Rema 1000 about as many times as I’ve walked up and down the hill (so a lot). The first few days of settling into Bø I spent a lot of time shopping. Shopping shopping shopping until my room was a comfortable living space and the refrigerator and cupboards in the kitchen actually had food and cooking utensils in them for me. After being here a week, I can say with confidence that I know the town and its stores very well. There are three other grocery stores in town, plus another Rema 1000 that’s farther away. Bø is a small and quiet town but by no means boring. It’s full of shops, restaurants, cafes, a whole college, parks, and places to hike around any corner it seems. I really like it here so far.
And here’s the whole reason I’m here! This is Høgskolen i Sørøst-Norge, A.K.A. the University College of Southeast Norway. This is where I’ll be going to school and where I’ve spent a lot of time during orientation this past week. I’m studying in the Scandinavian Studies program while I’m here and taking three classes. My first class is on Tuesday and I’m looking forward to it. I want classes to start so that I have more on my mind than missing home and my loved ones. Okay that’s not all that’s been on my mind, but you know how homesickness goes.
Moving further into my stay in Bø I’m going to try to capture more of those picture worthy moments and maybe write more on here. Maybe I’ll write regularly or perhaps sporadically, we’ll see how busy I am. I have some loose goals for myself while I’m living in Norway for four months. Besides studying for my classes, I’d like to travel around, meet relatives, go hiking, cook with friends, and be a part of the town. If those activities happen then I would definitely have material to write about.
I hope that painted some kind of pleasant and not-dangerous picture of where I’m living to my family (I’m safe, I promise!). I’m having a good time so far and hopefully there will be more good times that I can share with you all.