maandag 2 februari 2015

AFS-ankomstleir del 2 med region 1

Hei hei alle sammen!

"Last weekend (16.-19. oktober), I spent the greatest weekend of all time with my new family of friends, the AFS’ers of region 1 in Norway! You cannot believe the amazing people walking around here in Western-Norge! " 
I wrote this somewhere in Oktober, and I decided to keep this sentence to show you that I actually started this post a loooooooong while ago. But then I guess I never finished it... But I did now! How good of me, huh? :)

(I'm sorry in advance for the almost absurd length of this post... Those who are not in the mood for reading, you can visit Ethan Block's blog right here: for a slightly shorter recap of what happened :) Those who don't mind, enjoy!)

The camp began on thursday and ended on sunday, which indeed means that I missed a day of school! Hurra AFS! And not only did I miss school on friday (I only missed english and photography, it could’ve been better…), I also got to skip french on thursday, in order to get the train to Oslo in time. This just keeps getting better, huh? :D

Erin (a citizen of the United States of America, more precisely Maryland ) and I met up to take the train together. She was already on there, as she lives in Brumunddal, a town next to my new home, Hamar. I filled up my bag with too much stuff (including waterproof boots, because had I mentioned it snowed that same morning? Yes. Snow on the 18th of october. Anyway, I wasn’t going to risk wet feet) The boots were incredibly heavy, and took up lots of room in my bag, but hey! It’s not like I would have to carry the bag anywhere, right? (Yeah… Right…) 

When I got to the train station, Erin sent me two cryptic texts as I was about to board the train.
I’m closer to the front of the train than the back…
Not exactly the front though… Io too many people and repeating „Unnskyld!” over and over again when I obviously hit everyone in the train. For those who don’t speak this nordic language: unnskyld means „sorry!”. Eventually I found my American friend and we sat down for a train ride of about one and a half hours. Time that flies by when you have an exchange student to talk to!
We both payed on the train because there is no ticket machine in Brumunddal and the one in Hamar refused to take my money. Rude!

a passing train taking photobombing to the next level

a very blurry view from the train. See the "mist"? That's snow.

more snow!


me and Erin taking a "first snow" picture! You can't see the snow though...

Worryingly (and also excitingly)  while on the train, we noticed more and more snow lying on the ground, and falling out of the sky. In Hamar it had only snowed very lightly that morning, and in Brumunddal the sun had been shining when Erin left, so we were both very surprised to see the white and icy fluff flying around and covering the landscape. Of course, at this moment I totally forgot about my boots, and didn’t think about them until that evening, when I didn’t really need them anymore. We got off of the train in Oslo S, the central station in the capitol of my new country, a city I had never been in before, but didn’t have time to explore, as our next train was already arriving. We decided that the warmth of the train was better than waiting for other AFS’ers outside of the train, so we sat down soon and I got myself a hot coco (because they have vending machines and sell hot drinks on the train. I love it!)
hot coco on the train!

We started talking about how we kind of hoped there would be name tags during the camp, because we didn’t really think we’d remember a lot of the AFS’ers names (if any of you guys are reading this: I’m sorry. But it’s true. Don’t take it personal, I’m just VERY bad at remembering names! Especially weird and international ones! :D I still love you guys, and I do remember now :) ) at this point, a random guy sitting next to us looked at my awesome belgian AFS-sweater and realized who we were. Turns out he was one of the volunteers at the camp! What a coincidence! So this guy’s name is Javier, and is completely crazy, in the best way of course :) The reason his name doesn’t sound very norwegian is because it isn’t. He was an exchange student in Norway 5 years ago, and after going to back to Chile he decided to come back and study at the university of Oslo. AFS needed extra people at the camp and he was happy to oblige. (Nog eens bedankt daarvoor, Javier! Haha, try to understand it in Dutch, no using google!)

We arrived at the station of Vestby, got of the train (but not without Erin getting scolded by the train chef for not being fast enough. Oh, Erin…) and found no-one there. At all. It had been snowing more in here, and it was still snowing, and because we had to hurry, I hadn’t even pulled my hood over my head. We ran to the station house (is that a word?) and noticed that it was closed. Just our luck. So he huddled under the small shelter next to the house, with us three and another girl who appeared and turned out to be another leader. Her name is Ingeborg, and she is very nice :D 

We waited there for what seemed like forever, our feet slowly but surely freezing off, me still not remembering the dry shoes that were in the bag I was sitting on, and while more and more people arrived, the socializing and comparing exchanges started. 
I know most of you won’t understand this, apart from the ones who are/have been on exchange, but talking to other exchange students is something very peculiar. Even though you don’t really know each other, you understand everything the other is going through. There is no judging, no envy, no bad anything. I think the angriest feelings of that day were probably directed towards the snow that was freezing our asses off. (I might be speaking for myself here, I think the people who where seeing snow for the first time in their life didn’t mind the cold at that point). At a certain point we were waiting for just two more people. Ethan, another American, and Taneli, a Finish guy. They were on the same train as a bunch of other AFS’ers, but forgot their sleeping bags, had to run back and weren’t in time to get off the train. 

We played games like Big Fat Pony and Bird and Monster for a short while, trying to stay warm, but it didn't really help. In fact, I think I only got colder... After too long, the two latecomers finally arrived, and we got on the bus and drove to the camp site. We arrived there, got out of the bus and took our bags out of the trunk. I followed the rest to the mutual building and almost slipped in the snow. What a great start. As my shoes got soaked once more, we went inside and the volunteers told us where the boys and the girls would sleep and let us settle in. I noticed that Claudia was my room mate! Which was super awesome, because I think we were the only roomies that actually knew each other beforehand. She's in my local chapter and is honestly one of the sweetest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. So we made our beds, tried to turn on our heater, because our room was cold as hell, put on our warm and dry shoes (finally I remembered) and went back to the main room. We waited for ever for our middag (dinner in Norwegian. Dutch speaking people will understand how confusing I think this is ) because the lady bringing it to us was stuck in traffic. We managed not to be too hungry until the food came and talked A LOT with each other. There is something about sharing your stories with people who totally understand you that makes things easier. Even waiting for food. :)
Me and Time the Thai on the bus to the camp!
Surprise snapshot of AFS'ers in the bus
My awesome rain boots (also usable in snow)

Claudias smokin' hot socks


Time! Or: Underthepatatoes!!

Nina fra Thailand who recently moved to Oslo from Bergen! Velkommen igjen til den beste regionen i Norge !!  
Best of friends!

Erin became a temporary Italian, hand gestures all the way!
My favorite Thai people!
We eventually ate some sort of dish with a lot of rice and tomato sauce and I ate about three bowls full of the stuff until they told us to go to bed, because tomorrow would be a long day for us.
So the girls went to the girls building, and I'm not sure how it happened, but suddenly, we were sitting in a big circle in the hallway, sharing our stories, laughing with all of the odd things norwegians do and being disgusted by the way people "molest our traditional dishes. This was not such a problem for me, because I'm used to fries not being amazing when I'm traveling, and waffles just not being the same (don't get me started on the chocolate though), but for some people (*cough* Italians *cough*) it seemed to be the worst thing in the world. Just the thought of people putting pineapple on pizza, someone who is old enough to twirl his spaghetti cutting it, or the worst of the worst: ketchup on anything Italian! Sadly for them, norwegians put ketchup on everything, and especially on pasta and pizza. 
Me and Claudia decided to go to bed around half past one, and fell asleep quite fast in a still cold room. 

The next day, we woke up to snow. That's been a while... :) We started out with breakfast and basically talked A LOT all day. We were put into groups and had conversations and deep-going AFS stuff with them about a bunch of different subjects. In my group there were Ethan fra USA, Riccardo fra Italia, Loreto fra Chile, Hannah fra Tyskland (Germany), Ai fra Japan and me fra Belgia! :) I don't think our volunteer liked us that much, because we just started talking about the most random things at the most random times, while she just wanted to finish her booklet filled with boring stuff :) I'm sorry for that Anna, but not really. I've actually had a great time during our group time, and got to know the others a lot better, which is always great!


even more snø! (it had rained by then, so most of it was gone already)

We also had to draw our host families that day, so I drew my host mom, Astrid, totally in love with our two dogs, my host brother, Sondre, yelling at the TV while watching football, my host sister, Ingrid, singing and being all ready to be a "Russ" (I'll try to explain that another time) and my host dad, Ruben, holding a beer and telling me not to touch it. :) This was with the whole group and resulted in a lot of papers, magazines, pens and whatever else people could find, being thrown around the room. Lots of fun, until you have to clean it up of course :) A lot of us also realized that Thai uses a different alphabet than most of us, so we made the Thais write our names and a bunch of other stuff in Thai, just because we could. 

Happy picture time, when no one realizes I'm taking a picture

Oh, they noticed... Byebye happy faces.

Jori in Thai

a bunch of other names in Thai :)
Later that day, when we had some free time before middag (do you remember what this means? ;) ) some of us decided to go swimming. Not in a swimming pool, but in the actual sea (I guess it was the Oslo-fjord though). Which I thought was absolutely crazy. It had SNOWED the day before, remember? Crazy people thinking they're vikings...
a little waterfall flowing to the fjord

crazy Italian girls.

Brave, but crazy.

the beach was not crooked actually. The panorama looks kind of weird :(

Erin and Riccardo (mentally preparing himself for swimming)

Some of the guys, physically preparing themselves for swimming

a couple of cute houses on the shore

the girls after swimming

Fabiana doesn't like pictures

Thank you, Hannah, for posing for my picture!

Cold selfie! (Don't I look super norwegian now?)

After this, the swimmers took a hot shower, while I retreated to the dining room, where a couple of people were drawing random things, hungry and impatient for food. Jessica was outing her hunger in the shape of Mr Tacoman, a taco that is also a man, and Claudia was drawing lots of faces, that looked more like cyclopses to me. She agreed and continued drawing cyclopses. Sadly, I don't have any pictures of them, but I do have some of the portraits Jessica and I made of each other. Without looking at the paper, that is. I think my drawing kind of succeeded, as in: if you squint you recognize a person in there. I'm not sure what Jessica's version of me is supposed to be ^^. After this, we finally got food: a very traditional norwegian dish!

Jessica, by me

Me, by Jessica (don't mind the green dots)

Traditional norwegian food!

The answers to the questions in your head are yes and no. Yes, people here eat Taco's like they eat bread or potatoes (that means that they eat a lot of it! ;) ) and no, taco's here aren't "real taco's". I've met enough Mexican people to confirm that this mixture of random ingredients is NOT in fact a taco, and bla bla bla :) I think it's delicious anyway :)

here is a nice picture of what a Mexican eating Norwegian taco's looks like :)
That evening, we just talked a bunch and finally went to bed, exhausted and ready for the next day!

On Saturday morning Jessica, Javier and I decided to go for a walk and find another way to the beach. It was really nice and when we came back some people suggested that we could play football. I just watched as a bunch of people started running around behind a ball, as it started raining. That didn't stop them though, so after a couple of minutes I was watching a bunch of drenched people running behind a ball, which was a lot more entertaining :)

kudo's to Jessica for this pretty picture
me chatting with Chile :D

football in the rain!

During the rest of the day we mostly talked A LOT again :) We played a game where there were five tables, all with a  different subject written on them (Family, School, Friends, Home and one more I can't really remember :) ) We then had to go around and write down questions concerning this subject. After that, we got put into groups and had to write answers to other peoples questions. Of course it didn't take long until there was a huge pen cap-war raging in the room and stupid silly questions where answered by stupider sillier reactions. I guess you can't expect a group of foreign teenagers to be too serious when they only have a couple of days to act crazy with each other before having to say goodbye for a while again :(

The day went by way too fast and it was soon starting too get dark and cold outside. Some of the guys decided an evening swim in the sea would be a good idea and just did it. It was raining and dark and cold, but they stayed in the water for a good 5 minutes before they came out, shivering their asses off :) While they got into a hot shower, we headed over to "the White House", an old white house where some groups had had their group conversations. We had ourselves a little party there, but while some were eager to dance all night long, I enjoyed myself by having deep, long conversations with people from all over the world that were slowly turning into very dear friends. I eventually went to bed around 5 am, which is a record, as people who have had sleepovers with me know. I usually fall asleep around one, or earlier, I just can't handle being awake at night I guess. But now, I did. I also had the strangest conversation I have ever had in my life, about seating furniture and whatnot. Good times... Good times...

Let me take a selfie!
But first...

no, these are not zombies, but freezing boys crawling out of the Oslofjord :)

Waking up on sunday was not easy. Sleeping for only 3 hours is probably worse than not sleeping at all, and it's not hard to imagine that the six exchangers staying up until 5 were wrecks. I remember that we had to fill in a plan for our year, with 4 goals and how we are going to reach them. Doing this is a hard task for an exhausted person, but I think I managed in the end.
Then, after breakfast, the bad news came... Cleaning duties...
My group for the unfortunate task of cleaning the toilets, along with some other poor kids who were dragged out of their groups to help us with the favorite job of all! We just got it over with and then it was time to go home. We waited for the bus, which was late, and used this time to take some amazing pictures

The following pictures are sadly not mine, but they are made by my amazing friend Jessica, from the USA! She's amazing, and you should really check out her blog as well!

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...  


Family For Ever <3 Region One!


'Murican Girls

Mine jenter!

Getting home proved to be a challenge as well. Everyone going in the direction of Oslo missed his train because the bus was too late, so it drove us to Oslo instead. Erin and I were taking the train to Brumunddal and Hamar respectively (It's the same one, different stops) so we were just happy that we weren't alone on the last part of our trip, or at least I was. We waited for about an hour at the Oslo S train station and then went to find our bus, as we had found out the train wasn't going today. There are these wonderful things called "Buss for tog" which means bus for a train, that take over the trains destinations, preventing any inconveniences travelers might find. It's a great idea, but it wasn't quite clear where that bus would be. Erin and I found signs leading to the bus terminal, so we ran and found the bus with destination Lillehammer, our destination! We ran and ran and got there right on time, only for the driver to tell us that this bus isn't going to Hamar or Brumunddal at all, before driving off.

We had no idea what to do. We were all alone in Oslo, never having been there before, and just missed our bus home. We walked to the information office, who informed us that the "buss for tog" leaves at the train station, not the bus terminal. Disappointed we walk back to the station and find our bus stop. We have to wait for about an hour until the next one leaves. At this point are both my phone and iPod dying, so I take a picture of my host mom's number with my camera, to make sure I can send her a message when I'm almost there, using Erins phone.

This plan was supposed to work out great, until we found out that the bus to Hamar and the bus to Brumunddal were two separate busses, so I couldn't call home after all. (Erins phone died on the trip home as well, so I guess I was doomed anyway) After an hour and a half I arrived at the train station in Hamar, and after waiting for a couple of minutes, I decided that my host parents probably didn't know I had arrived, and without having the courage to ask people to borrow their phone, I decided to walk home. Turns out that my adorable rainboots are not good to walk in, especially when carrying a heavy bag and sleeping bag. When I arrived home, 30 minutes later, they had worn out the heels of my favorite socks :'(
It also turned out that my mom was waiting for me at the station 5 minutes after I left, and that I am just very, very impatient.

There you have it. A bunch of random events from four and a half months ago, that I will probably never forget. And now you won't either, or, you know, you can read it again if you forget :)

Big kisses from Hamar!
Ha det bra!

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