The last weekend has been filled with wonderful people, cold weather and a ski trip! This last weekend we attended the AFS Mid-Year Stay Camp (Midtårsopphold) and met with all of the other exchange students in Region One again. This camp marks the halfway point of the year, so essentially it is a camp of mixed feelings. You begin to think about thinks like "I'll be back in my home country in like 5 months." and depending on the person, that can be a good or bad thing. Maybe even both?
I miss the United States a lot, but realizing that I only have five months of my life in Norway can be depressing at times and for those exchange students who are reading this, just make the most out of those five months. The next AFS camp is the end of the year camp in June, which I'm sure will be full of mixed emotions.
Now on to Midtårsopphold!
-Fredag 30. Januar-
I went to school today, but only for a few hours. Thankfully my host mother came to my school to pick me up and brought my luggage and ski's along with. Then I met Time at the train station before our train left from Halden to Oslo.
When we arrived in Oslo, after the train picked up the other students in my local chapter (AFS Østfold #Represent) I of course had to get my Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks, duhhh. At Oslo Sentralstasjon, we met the other students that needed to take the train from Oslo to Hamar, and then we took the train from Oslo to Hamar... selvføgelig :P
[#Mexico and #USA]
Arriving in Hamar, we took a three hour bus trip to the Leirskole we would be staying at for the next two nights.
When we arrived at Gudbrandsdal Leirskole, it was dark out, and really cold. We went inside, did some stuff, ate some food and hung out with each other for the night. It was great to see everyone together again.
I'm also happy that they had electricity and working showers. :)
- Lørdag 31. Januar -
Waking up at 8am wasn't my original plan, but I guess it had to be. Take a hot shower, get ready and breakfast at 9... (The staff came around about every 15-20 minutes to re-wake us up after 8:00 haha)
Finally coming out of the rooms and seeing how beautiful our surroundings were was awesome. We had a full day ahead of us!
There were these, well, interesting 'energizer' games we played and around noon I believe is when we started our ski trip. We could choose between a shorter trip or a longer trip, the short trip being a few kilometers and the longer one supposedly being between 5 and 10 kilometers. The AFS volunteers suggested that the ones who have gone Cross Country Skiing at least twice before should take the long trip, otherwise should take the short trip. But, if you know me, you know I was thinking YOLO. (I haven't been twice before, oops!).
Needless to say, I fell down in a few different ways. Namely the one time where I was going too fast downhill (saying Wohoo!), seeing the other AFS students on the road to the left of me and realizing, "Oh, I didn't think this turning part out... crap." and ended up going on the road straight ahead, trying to stop and failing miserably ending up in a, what felt to me like a face plant, haha. Yolo right?
Anyway, the trip turned out to be somewhere between 16 and 20 kilometers (Between 10 and 12 miles), because we were led onto a path that took quite a bit longer than expected... but I don't and will never regret taking it. The view was breathtaking and we did it together.
We ended up getting back to the leirskole quite later than expected, and we received our mini Kvikk Lunsj chocolates (of course) to regain some calories. I put my ski's away and took an warm and refreshing shower after.
We then had group time and some free time. They even have a disco ball! The evening was full of sitting around tables and talking, listening to music and occasionally getting up and some fun and funny :) dancing!
Sadly, this was the last night of the camp though.
- Søndag 1. Februar -
We woke up. (8:00 again) and went through the morning ritual. After breakfast we spent the rest of the time we had together cleaning the rooms, in our small groups, doing some energizers and spent about an hour of free time together before we left on the bus.
[And instantly becoming a model.]
After packing everything and finding our seats on the bus (and me forgetting my camera and ski shoes, luckily as I'm going out of the bus to run inside and get them, someone is bringing them out!), we took about 2.5 hours to go down the mountain to Hamar train station. The bus ride was mainly listening to good music, playing cards, eating candy, enjoying the view and just spending time with each other. (Also searching for any moose that might be near the road!)
Well, we arrived safely in Hamar and got on our train. The train was full with people though, so most of us ended standing for the two hours from Hamar to Oslo Sentralstasjon. Again, I got Starbucks :P and after spending time with a friend, made it to my Oslo-Halden train with about 5 minutes before it left, yep!
All in all, I think it was a nice camp, definitely could have been longer but I appreciated the time I did get to spend with my sometimes/most-of-the-time crazy, fun, intercultural family of AFS students.
I'm a changed person because of these wonderful people and I can't imagine not knowing everyone I've come to know throughout this entire roller-coaster of an exchange year.
"The travel impulse is a mental and physical curiosity. It's a passion and I can't understand people who don't want to travel." -Paul Theroux