Doing my laundry today was one of the most difficult experiences of my life.
First off, let me explain how things are set up here. I live in a student village, called Kringsjå Studentby (we all just call it Kringsjå). The student village consists of a bunch of buildings. There’s also a Kiwi (grocery store) in our student village, which is excellent. Each building is like its own dorm, albeit a smaller version of a dorm. The buildings aren’t set up like the dorms at Minnesota though. At Minnesota you need key card access to get into the building, but once you’re in the building, you can go wherever you want in the building. Each Minnesota dorm also has its own laundry room and a kitchen. Also at Minnesota, all students who live in the dorms are required to buy a meal plan, so they don’t need to cook for themselves.
Here you also need key card access to get into your building, but in my case, you don’t have a handy dandy card you get to swipe like other buildings but instead get to use the key that also unlocks your room. Oh, and the lock in the outer door doesn’t work well so it’s a constant struggle for me to get into the building.
Anyways, once you’re in the building you go to your floor. Each floor is divided into two sections. In order to get into your section of the floor, you need a key to unlock the door, which in my case is the same key I use to unlock every other door in the building. This means that you cannot get into the other section on your floor, or any other floors–you are only allowed into your hallway. Each section has a main hallway, a kitchen, and a few rooms that are situated off the main hallway. Each room has an outer door, which opens into a small entryway-type area. The door to the bathroom is found in this entryway area, along with the door to your room and your bathroom-sharing-mate’s room. All the rooms here are single rooms, which means that I don’t have a roommate. I share the bathroom and entryway area with one other person, and the kitchen with the rest of the people in my hallway (which is 7 other people, I believe). They don’t offer a meal plan here, so you have to cook for yourself, and there aren’t laundry facilities in every building, only a few of them.
Okay, moving on from the crappy description of my living situation and back to the things that went wrong with my laundry:
1. No laundry room in my building. Okay, not a huge problem, but it still sucks to carry all your clothes outside in the cold snowy outdoors. I just envision myself slipping on ice, sending my underwear flying all over the place. Luckily that didn’t happen today, and hopefully it will never happen.
2. I couldn’t figure out how to get into the building. My key doesn’t work in that building’s door obviously, so that was a problem. My friend told me you can use the laundry card to get into the building, so I tried swiping it like I had seen others do. No luck. I stood there for a while, hoping somebody would come out of the building, before I saw the separate swipe-device thing for the laundry facilities. I tried that and it worked. Yay.
3. I couldn’t figure out how to get the door of the washing machines open. Figured it out after a while by pushing all the buttons on the washing machine.
4. I couldn’t get the washing machine to start. I put my card into the machine and selected the cycle, but when I pushed start it said I need to push the green button to confirm the payment. What green button?! I finally figured out it was talking about the touch screen on the top of the machine. Of course everything on the touch screen was displayed in Norwegian, very helpful. Since I didn’t understand any of it, I just tried pressing buttons. I think I canceled my reservation on the machines (you have to reserve the machines before you use them… annoying), but I figured out how to reserve it again. Finally, after some 10 minutes of pushing every button combination on the touch screen, I finally got the washing machine to start. But I then had another machine to start, and I couldn’t remember how I had started the first machine. And of course there was nobody around to help, so I just had to struggle through it by myself.
5. After I washed my clothes, I threw them in the dryer and came back when they were supposed to be done. The machine said I still had 45 minutes left, even though the cycle itself was only supposed to take 45 minutes. I opened the door, which canceled the cycle. Unfortunately, my clothes were still wet. My sheets were dry, but my clothes felt like they hadn’t dried at all. Because I had canceled the cycle, I would have to repay to use the machine, so I just said screw it and hauled my wet clothes back to my room.
Three hours later, and they’re all still strewn across my room so that they’ll air dry.
Did I mention you have to pay 20 kroner per machine? That’s $3.30 PER MACHINE. Freaking ridiculous!
So yeah, that was frustrating, but now I have it (kind of) figured out so hopefully next time will go better.
Hopefully next time my clothes will actually dry.
Actually, at this point I’m just hoping that a pair of blue jeans dries by tomorrow so that I don’t have to go naked to class.
In other, somewhat better news:
A Norwegian told me my pronunciation of Norwegian is good.
Still can’t pronounce that darn ø though.
Also, I just happened to look down at my finger and it was bleeding. Yeah, no idea how that happened.
Because of a strong solar storm, we were supposed to be able to see the Northern Lights in Oslo last night. Normally they can’t be seen in Oslo because it is too far south, but last night was a special occasion.
Too bad the cloud cover was so thick that they couldn’t be seen.
Even though that’s disappointing, it won’t be my last chance to see the Northern Lights 😉