Despite not having slept well, I woke up early the next morning since I needed to go shopping. I bought an ethernet cord and after a bit of wandering around and asking multiple people for directions, I finally found an ATM. The ATM wouldn’t take my card, however, so I tried to go inside the bank. I couldn’t open the door, so I just figured they weren’t open. I heard a man behind me say something in Norwegian and realized after a bit he was talking to me. He told me (after I asked him to repeat it in English) that the door opened by pushing it in, not pulling it out. This is not the first time I’ve struggled to open a door in Norway. Embarrassing. Anyways, a guy in the bank helped me with the ATM so I finally got money. Huzzah!
I then went to Oslo Central Station and wandered around the shops there, and I fell in love with the area just a bit. It’s pretty awesome. I will go back to take pictures sometime soon, since there are a lot of cool things in that part of the city. I also found a tourist information desk which was incredibly helpful, and I got free maps! It rained all day today though, so walking around in that when it was cold was a little miserable.
I went to IKEA (they have a free bus that takes you to IKEA, how awesome is that) so that I could buy sheets and towels and other stuff that I needed. IKEA was more frustrating than I expected. Literally everything was in Norwegian, which I mean isn’t completely unexpected since it IS Norway, but it was still very difficult since I couldn’t understand anything. The map was particularly difficult for me. Luckily some words in Norwegian are close enough to English that I could guess what they meant, so I eventually managed to find everything I needed.
After IKEA I headed to a convenience store to buy a few things, then I went back to the store where I bought the adapter last night and bought another one. It was funny because the guy who checked me out today recognized me and remembered that I bought an adapter the night before, so he asked, “…did it not work, or…?” Haha poor guy, he was probably confused. I then headed home.
The sidewalks turned into death traps today. Yesterday there was some ice on the sidewalks which wasn’t a huge deal; however, today it rained all day. There is no way to survive walking through water on ice. I slid around all day, and finally ended up falling after getting off the subway at one point. A guy picked me up (second one in a day, probably not a good sign), but man, did it hurt! Plus then I was wet and cold, which didn’t help.
By the time I made it back to my dorm, the rain had turned into a heavy snow, much preferable to cold rain. I unpacked all my stuff which helped make my room feel more like home. I slept better than I had the night before since I had sheets so I didn’t freeze (I also figured out how to turn the heater up, but it still is pretty slow), so I managed to sleep from 2 AM – 6 AM without waking up. At 6 AM though my body decided it was time to wake up, so I just stayed up.
Norway is interesting so far. Thank God almost everybody here speaks English extremely well, or else I would be screwed. I think I’ve asked for help more in the past 24 hours than I have in my entire life. People have been helpful and nice, which is much appreciated.
It’s definitely different though. For one thing, all signs are in Norwegian which can be difficult. It’s also weird to have people automatically start talking to me in Norwegian, and to hear conversations all the time which I can’t understand. The language barrier will take some getting used to for sure, but again, at least English is an option.
The people are also different. It’s hard to explain how or why, they just… are. It’s also been a little difficult getting used to the different currency (the Norwegian krone [plural–kroner]). I know what the conversion rate is from dollars to kroner so if I do some math I can easily figure out what it would cost me in dollars, but it’s still a shock to me. Because the rate is 1 dollar to ~5.9 kroner, everything looks expensive. For example, I bought some bread which I believe was around 20 kroner. At first I was like WHAT but then I realized it was only about 3 dollars. I will eventually get used to it though and will stop having a heart attack every time I look at the price for something.
Hm, what else… there’s snow here, but not a whole lot. It’s cold but not horrendously so; it’s warmer than Minneapolis on a windy day which I’m thankful for. There is not a whole lot of daylight–I’m writing this right now at 8:43 AM and it’s just starting to get light out, and the sun sets pretty early (I believe around 3:30-ish).
I do like the public transportation system here. I take the subway a lot, and it isn’t difficult to navigate or use. Also, youth discount on tickets = excellent.
Norwegians drive on the right side of the road, same as Americans.
Basically, things are going well and I do really like it here, but the differences will take some getting used to. And I really wish I spoke Norwegian.