Well this “fact,” courtesy of Andrew, has proven to be true while in Norway, and this past Wednesday was the beginning of our long weekend at ISS. Thursdays are also the least likely day for Norwegians to go out. Sadly that was true and the highlight of the night was eating fries at McDonalds.
Although some of us didn’t travel anywhere on our break, we had an amazing time exploring Oslo and camping. It’s incredible how you can be in the city in one minute and in the wilderness the next. You can camp almost anywhere so we decided to take a Wednesday night excursion to Skogen (1 hour from Blindern). Andrew, Amy, Maddie, and I packed up a little tent, our sleeping bags, and sandwiches and set off for our adventure in nature. We found wild strawberries, a gorgeous lake at sunset, a boat, and some cute hiking trails. After setting up camp next to the lake we spent hours talking, exploring, swimming, and paddling around on the boat. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to break!
I’ve put on my tourist hat and started visiting lots of museums and exploring the East side of Oslo. So far I’ve gone to the National Gallery, the Astrup Fearnley Museet, the Opera House, the Munch Museum, the Akershus Fortress, and wandered around Grønland and Grünerløkka. Seeing “The Scream” was incredible, I’ve been a total art and history geek for the past few days. I’ve also managed to spend lots of time at the beach. We even sang Kum-Bah-Yah in the fjord while swimming so that’s checked off the to-do list. This weekend has also helped me to meet more students at ISS. It is so interesting to hear their stories and learn about their homes. These students have such insight into the various events occurring around the world and I’ve enjoyed hearing their perspectives. I’ve also gotten some great travel advice!
I recently spent some time at Bjølsen Bakeri doing research and chatting with friends. The coffee here is 25 kroner with free refills. If you know anything about the cost of (good) coffee in Norway, you would know this is the best thing a tired college student could find. Although, I did get made fun of for asking for iced coffee…us silly Americans. I’m starting to find some great material in my research on Peace Education in Societies in Intractable Conflicts. One of the biggest obstacles I see for the success of a peace education program in an ongoing conflict are the competing historical narratives that instill the “us” and “them” mentality. My focus is on Israel and Palestine where the facts on the ground change daily and actions are justified through past histories. How can we come together to form a joint history that is accepted by all? Is it possible to begin peace education without a common history? These are questions I continue to struggle with. At the same time, I am researching the power of nationalism in war films as seen in Hollywood and Scandinavian cinema. It has been wonderful to see the parallels between my film class and peace seminar. I knew absolutely nothing about film before arriving here and I now understand the conventions of film in a different light.
So far this Monday has proven to be unusually sunny, good thing since we watched Trolljegeren (Trollhunter) in class. Trolls don’t like sun so we were safe, whew. If you’re looking for some authentic Norwegian fun (besides reading my blog) watch Trollhunter.
The Opera House
Astrup Fearnley Museet
Akershus Fortress…Overlooking the fjord keeping Oslo safe from the Swedes. There’s also some treasure. Fun fact: During the Nordic Seven-year War Lord Christiern Munk ordered the people of Oslo to burn their houses so the Swedes couldn’t find shelter. They got twelve years free of taxation in return.