Monday, August 25, 2014

A Busy Week (Pictures)

     Well, to start this rather extensive blog post off, I must tell you that I made it to Norway and it is beautiful. I am living in Halden, Norway which is near the Swedish border south of Oslo, and I will post pictures of my city when I hit the town one day after getting settled in. My story starts long before arriving in Halden, way back in good ole' Minot, North Dakota, USA.

August 17, 2014 - It was an extremely vigorous day, packing everything for Norway and our very long drive to Alexandria, MN the next day. Also, it involved saying Ha Det Bra (goodbye) to the last couple of my friends before I am off. I went to sleep early so I would be well rested for the long road ahead.

August 18, 2014 - We left around 2pm to go to Bismarck, ND and pick up my father from work. We then headed east, towards Alexandria to spend the night before driving to Minneapolis in the morning. It was a long drive, but when we got to the hotel I felt better. Some more driving in the morning.

August 19, 2014 - 8am. 8am is roughly the time we began our drive from Alexandria to Minneapolis. We arrived in Minneapolis roughly 2 hours later and immediately went across the street from our hotel to Mall of America where we spent the day going on amusement park rides, eating both Johnny Rockets as well as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The women of the family continued to shop as my father and I took the tram to downtown Minneapolis. There we walked around a bit and looked at the skyscrapers. We needed to sleep though, for I had to depart on my journey at 5am the next morning.

August 20, 2014 - 5am is when the shuttle left for the airport, 7am is when my flight left. I said Ha Det Bra to my mor og søster (Mother and Sister) and went through the gate with my far (father). I then had to get on the plane without my father, and head to New York City for AFS gateway orientation before departing to Norge (Norway).

     I arrived in New York City and landed at JFK, which by the way is a HUGE airport. Thankfully, I found another AFS student on the same flight as me and we figured it out together. We were met by AFS staff who are VOLUNTEERING their time to help us, so if any AFS staff are reading this post, it is literally impossible to thank you enough for helping us through this exchange. Tusen takk! (Thousand Thanks).

August 21, 2014 - We had a full day of orientation on the 20th, and quite a bit of orientation before our flight at 5:30 that evening. There were 10 of us from the American orientation that went to Norway.

August 22, 2014 - We flew AirBerlin to Tagel Airport in Berlin, Germany. The service on AirBerlin was very good, and flying 8 hours over the ocean isn't all that exciting, but they had an entire season of Vikings and Game of Thrones, so that was good! I also watched the first 20 minutes of The Blind Side in German. We got to Tagel early in the morning, and we had roughly 10-15 minutes to board the next flight (including customs and the airport security checkpoints), so we got on just as they were going to leave basically.

The plane arrived in Oslo Gardermoen Airport after only about an hour and a half of flying, then we found our AFS Norge Internasjonal Utveksling staff at the airport and we played children's games for an hour or two in front of the entire airport and all of its customers... After what I believe was the French, Italians, Turkish, Venezuelans and us, the Americans arrived we took a couple buses to the hotel about a half hour to an hour from the city. There we had orientation and whatnot.

August 22, 23, and 24, 2014 - I kind of got these days blended together, it was very very busy. All I know is that I met a huge amount of amazing people, very nice people, and I soon realized that AFS Students love to clap... at EVERYTHING. We played Cards Against Humanity, had a talent show with other members of our home country, we learned some Norwegian, ate Norwegian lunches/dinners and very American style breakfasts. We played activities, and separated into regions and local AFS chapters to discuss the dialects of that region as well as what is expected of us in Norwegian society and how we can conform to it. I also know that the water here is Veldig God (VERY GOOD)! So clear and non-polluted. The air is the same way. Oh, and I ate reindeer meat!

August 24, 2014 - After meeting all these amazing people and it is the last day of host country orientation and before meeting our host families, we took a short hike to Oslo-fjord about a 20 or 30 minute walk from the hotel through the Norwegian woods. Below are the many pictures of the hike, enjoy!

Well we walked back to the hotel and met the families we will be staying with. My family is awesome and I am so grateful for them allowing me to reside in their home. I hope you enjoyed my post, and I will be posting more throughout my year. Takk! Ha Det!

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