Sydney, Outbound to Norway

I’ve been in Norway for more than two months now, but it's gone by so fast. I guess they do say that time flies when you’re having fun. The exchange has been amazing so far. Although I’m having a little trouble getting used to the cold (especially during outdoor gym class), I really enjoy seeing this country and its beautiful nature. I’ve gone berry picking twice, and I walk my host family’s dog every day. I love seeing the leaves change. In Florida, we really do miss out on the whole “seasons” thing. I also really like my class. I feel like I’ve moved past just being “the American” and my classmates are getting to know me and become friends because of my personality, not my country. I still eat lunch with the same group, but I spend breaks with lots of different people.

I was able to meet the rest of the Rotary exchange students in Norway during introcamp, which was on the west coast in Sola. We learned some basic language and culture (okay, mostly trolls), and got to know each other. We took the bus one day into Sandnes, and we went to a children’s museum and walked around downtown. Some friends and I got ice cream and walked to the marina, and a few stores. I was also one of the few students brave enough to swim in the ice cold ocean at introcamp- it was fun but freezing.

Last week was fall break (called høstferie) and my third host family took me with them to Stord, a small island on the west coast where my host dad grew up. The drive was eight hours of breathtaking scenery (we went across mountains and along fjords) and sharing a bag of Norwegian candy with my future host sister Sigrid. We stayed in a house that has been in the family for generations. It was really fun, and I was able to get to know my future host family better. Sigrid and I made tacos one night, and another night we ate fish we’d caught ourselves. Going out fishing was great. We had coffee and skoleboller on the boat, and I was able to catch two fish. On the last day before I flew back, we took the ferry into Bergen. We went to the top of a mountain overlooking the city and its harbor, and then came back down to walk around the cute old houses and shops downtown. Unfortunately, Bergen ended up living up to its reputation of the rainiest city in Europe, and we spent most of the late afternoon looking for cover from the downpours.

Last night, I went with the president of my host club, his wife, and another exchange student to see the Barber of Seville in Oslo, Although the show was in Italian and I couldn’t understand much of the plot, it was super enjoyable. Plus, the opera house in Oslo has really nice architecture. Tonight, I’m seeing Annie in Jessheim with my host parent’s granddaughters, so I have more live play experiences to look forward to.

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