Published: August 19th 2009August 18th 2009
Hilsen fra Bodo!
Well it has been about five days since I've been in this new little city and it has been very up and down. It's hard to be excited about a new place when you constantly think of what's going on back home, but things here have not been all bad. Yesterday was my birthday -- my 22nd actually and it started with getting my new student I.D. from Hogskolen i Bodo. Then it was off to explore the downtown area of my new little city. The downtown expedition began with a walk inside the Glass Husset -- aka the Glass House (mall) where we were surprised to see a Burger King and the fact that Norwegians can smoke inside it. After finding SpargeBank, we went to cash our checks and learned the ins and outs of cashing foreign checks in a country where the primary language is not English. It took a little bit of guess work, but we got it down.
Then after lunch, it was just by chance that we stumbled upon a film store where we got our passport photos taken. The man there was really nice and even joked with us a
bit as he told us about how Norwegians are generally very shy and come across as very closed off. They all have good intentions though even if they are shy. Then we snapped some pictures and headed over to the bookstore to get some little things for our friends back home. The bookstore clerk was a really young blond girl and she told us that she was heading off to York, England to study and had learned fluent English to prepare. She was really nice and very excited when she heard we were Americans. Maybe she wanted someone to speak English to, but she pointed us in the way of the Post Office and said she hoped to see us again.
After mailing some stuff back to the states, we snapped some more pictures (including a random one of me in a phone booth) before heading back to the bus and taking a ride to City Nord. Once there, we stopped at Europris, the cheaper general store where I got some hangers, a rain jacket, and a tupperware container. Then after my roommate got a pillow, we caught the bus back and were bums for the rest of the
afternoon. Yesterday night though, we went down to the student pub, Samfunnet, and met some awesome Norwegians. Once we initiated contact, they were very social and friendly and loved hearing about the states. It went a little different than I thought it would and I met some really nice people. However, it was a little sad as we walked back to our Norwegian home around 1am and talked about how it was nice being out, but that we were missing our people back home. The night sky was gorgeous but it's getting really cold at night already...much colder than Juneau is in August at night. And I was a little relieved to hear that I was not the only one feeling sad.
It's true that my homesickness has not ended and I still spend way too much time on facebook just to catch people from back home. But I guess the goal to keep your mind off of home is to stay busy and active and enjoy your time in Europe. And for the most part, I am. I think the fact that my classes don't start for almost 2 weeks is a little daunting though. And I miss
that "returning to classes" feeling with my friends and moving back into housing at UAS. But, there have been little things here that have made me feel better. I started feeling more excited about Bodo on Monday when I saw a shark poster of species from Denmark and signed up for a fishing trip on August 30th with the Studentprest (or student chaplain). That same night, I had dinner with the other Americans (we made vegetable pizza and blueberry crumble) and heard about how excited they were to be in Norway also, but how the price of transportation made them have to prioritize where they wanted to go. On Monday, we had also met Morton, our Norwegian "buddy" that was to help show us around on campus for a bit and it's nice to actually see some people and know their names now and have them recognize you too when you pass by.
I know things will only get better as I meet more people, but I'm still not ready to let go of my interactions with all of my people from home. So even though I may still be on facebook too much, I am starting to enjoy
Norway and will probably wean myself off of it eventually. And there are little things every day that make me smile. Talking to my best friend at 2a.m. and hearing her simply say "i miss you" on my birthday was enough to make me smile. And hearing a Norwegian ice cream truck outside the window also brought a smile to my face. Yes, things will be better...eventually. After all, I am in a city called Bodo (pronounced Buddha which could be a metaphor for "healing"). But for now, goodnight from Bodo, Norway!
There are more photos below