Orientation Week

Trip Start Aug 14, 2006
Trip End Dec 11, 2006

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hello Again!
Here is my last catch up blog! I might as well talk about the fun part of orientation week and not just the academic part. So before I start, I am going to say one thing. Orientation in Norway is different then in the States. I really had a lot of fun this week, but the Norwegians tend to incorporate lots of beer into all the activities. But we really got to know a lot of Norwegians because it helped them open up and talk to us. (Norwegians are "introvert" people, according to Inger)
The Student Program for the entire week was as follows:
Monday we had a guided tour of the Campus and we met the faculty. This is where we met Kaja and saw Inger and Knut for a second meeting. The only other events was a barbeque or "grilling" as they say at 1800 and a concert by the band called "The Ark" which was apparently a very popular Swedish band, but I opted out with everyone because we 1. Had never heard of them and 2. It was 175 Kr. We ended up just going grocery shopping for the week at a few different shops. We discovered Rema 1000 (Tusen) as the cheapest grocery in Hamar and it was actually a good selection on top of it. Which was really nice. I really don't want to eat unhealthy if that is the only way to eat cheaply. I figure all the Matpakke I've been having for lunch is enough to be able to splurge for dinner. Matpakke is the Norwegian term for lunch. A few pieces of bread with meat and cheese on top with fresh fruit or vegetables make this a very cheap, but really tasty lunch.
Tuesday we met at Hedmark at 1530 to go to the Red Cross for a short presentation. We had to go because the Red Cross was actually the main contributor to the Orientation week. The only bad thing was that the two girls speaking had prepared their speech in Norwegian and didn't' want to translate it to English, so we had fun just listening to Norwegian and a few of our leaders helped translate for us. After that, we met Claudia for coffee and desserts at a caf since she would be leaving on Thursday. It was really nice to see her and tell her about the last two days and how our impressions had changed since arriving on Saturday. We stayed with Claudia for about an hour and when she had to leave we went to Pizzanina again for a 50 Kroner All You Can Eat Pizza dinner. It was tasty, of course. The last planned event was at the Viktoria Karaoke Bar for you guessed it Karaoke! We were so exhausted by the time 8 pm rolled around that we had no energy to be social, so we opted for staying in and going to bed early. It was actually a lot of fun to just hang out in our rooms for a few hours and it was just the girls!
Wednesday was the big day! After class we had a few hours before heading out to the farm called Bloestad for grilling, rebus competition and Bodega. Bloestad is the "main campus" for all the agricultural students. Interesting fact: Only 3% of Norway is arable and used for agriculture. It was pouring when we left, I wasn't too thrilled to be spending almost 8 hours outside in the rain, but it cleared up by the time we arrived. I'll tell you now, when it rains in Hamar, it really rains and I love it! Basically, at this farm, we hung out and grilled hot dogs or burgers and ate together in large groups. After we ate and those who drank drank, we were broken off into teams and prepared ourselves to participate in various activities such as the tractor pull where we pulled a huge tractor about 50 feet, a burlap sack race, karaoke, a milk jug toss, we had to go through a ropes course without touching the ropes, take a quiz on agriculture but it was really easy and bizarre. The last competition we had was actually really scary. A teammate had to be strapped into a harness and the idea was to pass boxes up to that person and have them stack the boxes as high as they could before they tipped over. But right before our turn, we saw the group in front of us stack 21 boxes and when they fell, the girl on top totally fell with them, but she was okay because of the harness. It just really scared us, but we had the only guy on our team do it and we stacked 6 boxes before we gave up and just sang them "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" in Norwegian. It was great. We got quite a few suck up points as well. But we didn't win the entire competition. After they wrapped up the competition, the student pub opened up and everyone headed down to buy some beer. Our group was pretty tired, but we had been told repeatedly that this week was very important and a great way to meet people. So we went down and had a great time. It was fun to hang out and just talk. We actually hung out with a few Norwegians too! It was great to get to know them. We left there at about midnight on the bus and had a little concert of Norwegian Drinking Songs from the back of the bus. Once we got back, we just said goodnight and went to sleep. So exciting huh? We were all exhausted and we are in Norway.
Thursday morning, we had a break from our 915 meeting time for class and were going to be meeting at 1115 instead. But we didn't sleep in; we had to make our appearance at the police station to get our resident permits. Once we arrived at the police station, we saw a sign saying "Attention International Students and Immigrants. The Immigration Office will be closed for the remainder of the week due to sickness" We thought it was really odd, because Hamar isn't really that small and it was different that they only had one desk worker for the office. Anyway, we just went and hung out at the school and walked around until our class. It was still fun just hanging out. The only scheduled events were what we thought was a bus tour of Hamar, but it was actually a walking tour and a showing of Pirates of the Caribbean in both Norwegian and English. There was also another party at the pub, this time it was called "Snuskefest" which means "dirty party" It was weird, we ended up going to a "forspill" or pre-party, but literally translated it means foreplay, which became a huge joke to us. We weren't too sure about how much fun we would have, but we ran into a bunch of the Norwegians that we had met the night before and sat and talked for a long time. It was really nice that they remembered us as well as talking and getting to know each other better.
Friday was the last day of our class and also the one day we actually had free time. The only planned event was a free concert that night. Which we went to and it was terrible. I have no idea what kind of music category it was supposed to be, but it wasn't enjoyable. Although, we hung out with the other international students for the rest of the night and that was really fun.
Saturday and Sunday such a relief compared to the week. We all hung out, went to Lake Mjsa for lunch and skipped rocks! After that, I spent my afternoon starting my blogs, facebooking, reading articles for class on Monday and I finally got through to my parents and was able to talk to my dad for a while. I'm using Skype to talk to them for free and it has actually worked out really well. Plus, I hadn't spoken to my parents in over a week. For dinner, we made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on Saturday and Salmon and veggies on Sunday. It was so good! Sunday morning, Lauren and Christy made us raspberry scones and they were amazing! Sunday was totally laid back and we stayed inside for most of the day because we had a thunderstorm during the middle of the day. But I was right at the window the entire time listening to the rumbles. It was awesome. Well, I think I have finally caught up. I'll make posts every few days. Hope this was fun for you all to read and not too confusing. I'm not rereading anything, so bare with me! Until next time!
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