Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 9th-10th- Home and final thoughts

I warn you all.....I havent slept more then 5 hrs and a quick nap as I write this Norway blog.

My last day consisted of showing off last documents, emailing the ladies everything I have worked on, and saying somewhat awkward goodbyes to the men in office.

That night we had an epic salad and grilled out with the neighbors across the street whom I have gotten to know during my time there. It was nice to take a walk after dinner and relax a bit before trying to sleep.

Woke up at 6 ready to get going for the day. After a 30 car ride, 3 flights, layovers, and customs, I got to see my Adam waiting at the gate. Best moment. Ok, cheesy yes, but I don't care.

Final thoughts about travel and Norway:

Can I put a price on an international experience?
Sure you can. Flights, trains, buses, taxi, hotels, food, museums, etc.
But what is the price tag amount of learning a new culture, understanding your OWN culture better, learning a lot about yourself, trying new things, testing your mental and physical strengths, meeting wonderful people, and finding/feeling more accomplished, experienced, and cultured.

I can't stress enough the greatness and beauty of this world. Everyone thinking differently, having a different customs, yet smiles and hugs are universal.

PLEASE, experience the world. Go, See, Do. To those scared of travel: you can do it. The accomplishment you will feel is worth it. Language scares you? Well as native English speakers, we are in luck. It is understood almost everywhere. Plus, learning new words and phrases are fun.

It is said that a picture is worth a 1000 words. Well seeing something in person is worth a billion. The wonder and beauty of this world just amazes me everytime I travel.

Things I wouldn't have experienced without these 6 weeks:
*seen 2 world heritage sights
*climbed a couple mountains
*took a dip in the ocean (freezing)
*corrected documents for the IOC
*wrote an entire comm plan for an intl company
*learned to count to 10 in Norwegian
*Did intl travel alone
*done a ski simulator
*was a part of having a car onto a ferry
*boating on the ocean
*learned 2 cities transit systems
*rode a motorcycle
*drove a motorcycle
*learned to like salmon
*challenged my belief systems

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 7-8th- Hike of all hikes and a good bye dinner

Wednesday: I got up and already knew I was taking at least a half day off. When Anita woke up she suggested we go for a "walk." Ok, so I got the day off work and we set out. This walk.....lasted 4 hrs, was mostly through the Trondheim forest and up a mountain. Like holding onto tress to keep climbing up. It was awesome. For the most part, it was just the two of us in the forest with only the occasional passerby. The top of the mountain is called Geitfjellet (Goat Mountain). Check out the view on my facebook video I posted. We just sat at the top for awhile, eating our packed lunch and soaking in the amazingness of the view. Then it was time to come back down. All in all, our feet hurt, our muscles hated us, one killer blister on my toe, and I was starving.

FYI: A fanny pack is only cool when you are going on the hike of all hikes and need something to hold your water bottle so you dont faint of dehydration. so there.

After dinner it was time to pack, watch a bit of the world cup game (ok, not really....the buzzing drives me crazy!), and chat with Anita and Nils, and Peder.

Thursday: I had to say goodbye to Anita and Nils as they are leaving for a trip to Oslo. We thanked each other and hope to see you again stuff. Very nice.

Work had me finishing all documents, going over the English in some documents, and talking with their web provider to ensure my new website layout happens.

Dinner: After work I moved back to Bente's house as Nils and Anita were leaving on a trip. The official good-byes have started. First Sondre, then Nils and Anita. Around 8 we went to Agon restaurant which is located 74 meters in the air in their radio/tv tower. The restaurant......moves! Designed after the Seattle Needle, the restaurant takes one hour to spin all the way around. Amazing view of the city as well. People present: Bente and Mortin, Martin and Kristin, Lisbeth and her daughter. Really cool experience.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 5th-6th Chiropractor and Eclipse

So I haven't told many people this, but my right shoulder has some severe pain going on. I tried not to show it, but eventually the ladies at work noticed my shoulder. I at first thought I had slept wrong or something and it would go away, but the pain only got worse. So I gave in and let them make me an appt. The chiropractor, Sonja, will forever in my head be called "Helga." Think of every stereotypical Scandinavian woman you know. She wrote on my back with pen and then said "I fix you now." That was right before she elbowed me very hard in the shoulder. I couldn't breathe the pain was so bad. I did get the shoulder adjusted.... and it hurt worse. The next morning it felt a bit better, but I can't wait to see my own chiropractor.

Anyway, that was a cultural experience to say the least.....and 500kr!!! Gross

Tuesday I set out for downtown to do a bit of last shopping. Bought stuff for my girls and family(s). Then Bente picked me up and we went grocery shopping for lunch. Lunch at the office (i kinda have already described this) is that someone is in charge for the week. The person buys the lunch food, hard boils eggs, and sets the table. So we bought all the food we normally eat, and got the food ready. All of us sit down together for lunch. I think this concept should be brought to America. We would eat healthier and be less stressed.

After work it was back home to make pancakes for dinner. "Egg" pancakes as they are called in my house- "Dutch" pancakes as they are called at Adam's house. Amazing. Then Peder and I left for Eclipse-- "Yes, I'm a guy here, and no I'M NOT GAY"- he spoke loudly before the movie started. haha. It was good. The book felt more epic to me I think.

Today is Wednesday.....3 days from home!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Money! the Norwegian Kroner

The norwegian kroner is the country's currency and the money I currently have in my purse.

The exchange rate is currently $1 US = 6.4 N kr. I have to take the kr price and divide by 6 to get an approximate amount of the product.

Lots of coins! As you can see in the picture there is (left to right):
.5 kr, 1 kr, 5 kr, 10 kr, and 20 kr
The bills go up to 1000 but I didnt have that bill at the time.

Everything here is sooooo expensive compared to US. Compared to anywhere actually. Even Norwegians think so. They are taxed so heavily as well. Clothing at certain stores can be around the same prices (except for jackets!) and fees to get into museums/etc are around my average thought of a tourist price. But, prices on the same items can vary greatly so you need to be aware of the best place to buy your chosen item.

Example: Go Morgan----my absolute favorite food in Norway. Its a yogurt with granola or cereal you dump in. At the grocery store it averages 10 kr ($1.5). At a convenience store: 15-20 kr ($2-3.5). Now that I know this information I only buy this at the grocery store.

Monday, July 5, 2010

July 3rd-4th- 4th of July weekend: Norway style

Saturday- woke up late (well they did) and had a brunch around noon. Then it was completely a typical day....because it was warm and sunny (summer!) we washed their 2 cars, inside and out. Peder had a bit too much fun with the sprayer. Then I just suggested that I wanted a ride on Peder's scooter (big enough to be called a motorcycle) and off we went. Holy cow....sorry Mom! I never got that experience when I was younger, so it had to be done. SO MUCH FUN....AND SOMETIMES SCARY. Then yep, I had to try driving it. I didnt want to, they all made me. I probably only went like 20 ft. but that was enough. Then we went to Neils family summer cottage. The whole family was there. We had coffee and chatted. The little kids are too cute! They all love Neils and he had 5 little kids on top of him at one point. Back for grocery shopping (for the 4th!) and then Peder and I made a couple pizzas and watched New Moon. Yep, thats right: a guy's guy can watch Twilight and not die. We are planning on going to Eclipse so he needed to watch New Moon first.

After the movie--- A night I will never forget. I dont know how to describe this night....nor should I online. Here are a few words..... A bar/disco with old school music (BSB!), dancing, a boat (well two boats), a Russian, a drunk skipper, a walk through town, and a taxi with Pedere's parents also just leaving their party for the night. All home around 3:45. After more pizza, and crash.

Sunday (4th of July)- After all our late night, it was a late start. Ok first off, I have inherited an amazing family here in Trondheim. They wanted me to have my 4th of July so they asked what I usually did and they helped me to recreate it (minus fireworks...totally illegal). Around 1 we all left for Munkholmen (the island in the fjord which over the last 1000 years had been a monastery, a prison, and in WWII was occupied by Germans). It was wonderful to walk around, put feet in the water, go a ferry to get there (my boating for the 4th), and play around with everyone. Took a tour of the fortress and in dome structure there was the best singing area. So Mortin told me to sing something. I whipped out the National Anthem! Great for the 4th right? Mortin hummed the harmony. So much fun.

Grilling! Time for more burgers! I made sooooooooo many patties! I recruited Sondre to help so now he has the skills required to pass on the tradition. Kristin put out the Norwegian flag for me ("same colors") and we had a great dinner. Wii time afterwards...watching Kristin box is probably one of the cutest things ever. She did better than Peder I think. I got to try on Bente's bunad (Norwegian national costumes) They are chosen by family location, name, etc. So by looking at them you can tell something about the person. So much fun to try that on. They wear bunads for May 17th, their national holiday.

Great final weekend here!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July 2nd- Great meeting and Getting homesick

Meeting day! I got to work and did some final details. By the way.. it was the first actually summer feeling day. So we had the meeting outside. My left arm got burnt. You should see me.....completely white from lack of sun and one red (splotchy) arm. Ok my meeting: AWESOME. I really feel like 4 years of college and internships and jobs and hard work means that I truly knew how to give this company a great new communication and explain it to them in a holistic unifying way. They understood me, knew why I suggested each task, overall wonderful. College does make you smart. No joke. And now I have tasks and goals for my last week there with them.

Ok I can say this now that I'm a week from coming home: I miss America, my family, my boyfriend, food, English speaking, etc. I have been having so much fun, learning so much, and meeting wonderful people. But as Dorothy says "There's no place like home."

Friday night Neils and Anita had some friends of their over for some grilling and socializing. Later Sondre drove me around and showed me a few touristy things I hadnt gotten a chance to see yet. Super nice guy. But of course my camera (mom's camera) would lose its battery power only 3 pictures into my tour. Ohh well, at least I got to see more.

Picture one: its like 11:30 at night and we decided to drive around. It was starting to rain, that is why it was dark....not because it was 11:30 at night. haha. This is a harbor shot from a really cool old bridge.

Picture two: Sondre demonstrating the machine where you load your bike, pay some money, and it can take you and your bike up a really steep hill.

Friday, July 2, 2010

June 30th and July 1st- work work and party

So Wednesday and Thursday have me preparing for Friday's big meeting to go over my Communication Plan for Sim Optima with the group. But after a long days work, you have to relax a bit right?

Wednesday, Sondre and I rented a movie (Alice in Wonderland: 2d not 3D) and made cupcakes. Then we all sat down (Anita, Neils, Sondre, and me) for the movie. Good movie...would have been cooler in 3D I think. Anyway it was a relaxing chill night.

Thursday morning....locked myself in the bathroom, again. I swear the locks/key system they have in Norway is American proof. The whole time I have been here I seemed to get locked in the bathroom with each and every lock at least once. Luckily Neils helped me out. Long day at work. But party. We stayed at the office and had snacks and drinks (yep alcohol, at work) and chatted before Bente led us all in an activity. The activity was The Marshmallow Challenge. If you want to learn what we did, go to All I say it is a challenge you are supposed to fail. The two companies used it as a way to access and learn why they need to work together. One had the technology, the other has the way of teaching others how to use it. Then a maxi taxi picked us all up and drove us to Tulla Fisher. Yep, same restaurant as the last company meal. The chef is Lisbeth's son. Some of the same tappas as last time, others new. I liked the ousters this time. Really good sauce and spices, etc. The guys with a few got so loud last night! Hopefully I was able to keep up with them most of the time.

Bente and I both left our phones at work, really smart we are. So the lack of communication was a challenge for the both of us.

Ok this afternoon (like 6 am your time)I give my presentation I have been working on for weeks. Things to be discussed: their new communication plan (written by me), template and structure for their case studies, thoughts about website layouts and content, and tape their new video "about us" section. Here I go!