Anna, outbound to Norway

My Rotary meetings are every Monday at 7 PM. We usually have the meetings at a church. My counselor has been so kind as to pick me up every week to take me to the meetings. I have been invited to dinner with her family a couple of times. This Rotary club has about 12 members. Sometimes we have the meetings at other sites, like a “field trip”. We have been to a hiding spot from the Nazis in WW2 and a 1700 mansion on a golf course. Here the Rotarians were taught to play golf; golf is not a common sport here in Norway. The meetings are in Norwegian, of course, so most of the time I'm not sure what they are talking about. My councelor tries to translate some but she is usually too involved With the conversation. I can tell when they talk about me because I hear my name and everyone stairs at me. I get really nervous but I have just learned to just smile and nod.

My typical school day goes like this:
-I wake up at 6.45-get dress, ready, etc…
-I eat breakfast and make my matpakke. (A plastic container that my lunch is stored in.)
-My host Dad Drives Liv Nenny (sister) and I to school because he is a teacher at our school.
-School starts at 7:55 and that is usually when I slide into my seat.
-My school day usually ends around 2 and by the time we get home we have dinner waiting on us.
-Then we pass the rest of the night with family time. My host dad will play some guitar and my host sister will play the piano. There is a great deal of time where there is music playing in the house. Eventually, most nights we end up in the family room all watching TV together.

At my house in America, recycling was sorting the trash into 2 bins. One was cardboard, bottle, cans, and paper. The rest of the trash went into the other bin. Here in Norway there are 5 different places to throw your trash away/recycle. There is a bin only for food. There is a bin only for paper. There is a bin only for plastic, but we separate the plastic bottles. Then anything that cannot be put into those four bins goes into “restafall” (the rest). Even though I have been here for almost two months, I still have to stop and think before I throw anything away. They can take the plastic bottles to the grocery store and turn them in to this machine, which will give them money toward their next purchase on bottles products. They get paid to recycle!

Before I left people kept telling me about how cold and isolated Norwegians could be. They kept telling me it would be months before I could make friends with them. I must have gotten lucky because my class is very nice to me. They ask the other exchange student and I to events after school to get to know us better. It is so great to have a nice class. We are not already best friends like Americans would be but I think we are on a good track to being great friends. They make me feel so welcomed and not so much like an outcast.

These past few weeks I have been signed up to take a dance class. It is a hip-hop dance class and I take it with two of my host sisters. It is a great way to spend time with them outside of the house. The class is so much fun! They play, of course, music in English but it is a great way for me to just be myself and blend in. This class is great because there are some girls from my school taking the class also. They like to see if i can understand what the teacher is saying, if not, they help me to understand. Sometimes it is not that hard to understand because it is a dance class and I can just follow along.

I can already tell that the days are slightly shorter than when I arrived. The sun rises later and sets earlier. The air is becoming chiller by the days. All of the fields and trees were green when I arrived but now they are changing color. They are becoming this beautiful mix of orange, yellow, and red. One of my favorite things to do right now is to take a walk into the fields/woods around my house. I have already fallen in love with the Norwegian nature. It is just so beautiful. I have to take plenty of walks now before it gets too cold later to go for walks.

I have been hiking again. This time I went to Mørkganga, which was not far from where I lived. I went with the other exchange student at my school. We went with her host mother and some of her friends. It was a very steep climb towards the top. You could hold onto a rope at the top. At the top of the mountain, there was a river. You could not see so much of the view climbing up because of all the trees but when you go to the top, there was a big, beautiful view, and a lot to look at. There was clear blue skies and a huge lake below us. I could of sit on the top of hours. You could see for miles! A Norwegian tradition is to bring chocolate with you so when you get to the very top you can stop and celebrate by having chocolate. The most common to bring on hikes is Kvikk Lunsj. It is like the American Kit Kat.

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