It has been almost a month since I have arrived in Lunner, Norway! I have no scary airport stories to tell. My flights were smooth besides almost missing my last flight because of a late flight. I made the flight but my luggage did not. When I arrived in Oslo (with no bags) I heard many "Anna"s and "Hallo"s. I was rushed with many hugs by my first host family. My third host mom was there along with her daughter who was flying to Orlando in a couple of hours. My Rotary counselor was also there to greet me. My little host sister made me a sign that said "Velkommen Anna" After I explained that we had to wait for my bags we sat down and had lunch. This gave me a chance to talk to everyone.
The ride home was very quiet except for my host dad pointing out stuff. We stopped by a shop so I could meet my other host sister Liv Nenny who went to Brazil last year. I had arrived around 2am Florida time so I was very tired. I managed to stay awake all day. That day I meet I all the grandparents and they brought over fruit and ice cream. That night (like may to come) we sat down like a family and watched Modern Family with Norwegian subtitles.
Breakfast consist of bread, butter and your choice of cheese. But of you don't want cheese there is plenty to choose from- jam, ham, salami, and spreadable meat. We sit down as a family to eat breakfast together.
I learned very quickly that Nowegians love nature. I have already been on many walks through the forest. I have been with family, dogs, and horses. Everywhere you go there are trees and flowers. Any house that you go in is covered in plants and flowers.
My school is called Hadeland Videregående Skole. They rent out computers to the students for their studies. My classes include Sicology, Math, Gym, Marketing, English, Spanish, Norwegian, and History. The English teacher likes to compare my accent to hers because English is my first language and not hers. I am in a general studies "line". A line in school can determine what extra classes you have like music, art, mechanics, and cooking (there are many more). The school schedule is different everyday and you could have a lot of time between classes. Some of my days end earlier than others. If you have time you are allowed to go across the street to a mall. The kids in my class are very nice and the like to help me in all my classes.
I was told I was going to be the only exchange student at my school, and that worried me a little. The first day there I met a girl from Switzerland named Maren. We are they only exchange students and it's great that we have each other.
My second week in Norway my host family took me on a trip to the mountains. We went to Galdhøpiggen. It is the highest mountain in Norway and northern Europe. I was told we were going to climb a mountain. I was not sure what to expect, which was probably a good thing. We hiked/climbed 10 miles in 7 hours. We had to cross a glacier- Styggebreen. It means ugly glacier because it has cracks in it that people could fall in. We had to tie ourselves to each other on a long rope in case someone fell in, the person would be caught by the rope. It was my first time on that much snow. Everyone took turns helping me walk on the snow. They said it was a good bonding time.
They have also taken me to Hunderfossen which is an amusement park in Lillehammer. It's theme is trolls and Norwegian fairytales. The Swiss exchange student came with us. It was so much fun to hear about the Norwegian fairytales.
The first month of settling in has been full of English AND Norwegian. But my host parents are "forgetting" how to speak English. This will be helpful with my language skills because in Norway everybody speaks Englsih.
I live in the countryside. It is hills and farms everywhere. There are sheep in the street and cows are walking freely.
I have been so happy to be here. This has already been such a great experience. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you Rotary!
To see my page and some photos click HERE