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Home Sweet Lillehammer


Sun, May 27th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

When I first arrived in Norway, winter had a firm grip on the country. The mountain forest would be frosted white every morning, and the ground was permanently blanketed with fluffy snow and ice. I adored the site of Norway in the winter-I was able to try my hand at cross-country skiing, used a sled to haul groceries, and had an excuse to buy a warm Norwegian sweater.

After I returned from my spring break adventure, however, the land had changed completely. As I reflect on the changes the weather has made on the land, it's hard to ignore the changes the land has made on me.

When I stumbled back into Norway after a full 24 hours of weary travel back from spring break, I found a place devoid of any type of wintery evidence and beaming with an unseen repertoire of natural beauty.

The ground that was covered with a mix of snow and ice had given way to soft, mossy grass. The evergreens that blanketed the mountains were now accompanied by lively bursts of bright green leaves from the trees that had been invisible until the cold had subsided. The birch trees, which are my favorite type and very common in Norwegian nature, had sprouted leaves so fresh and new that they swayed in twinkling attempts to drip right off their branches. The icy lake had thawed to a smooth, glassy mirror for the mountains hovering above it.

The evolution that Mother Nature has bestowed on the Norwegian landscape is matched with the evolution I experienced during my time abroad. Before I left Minneapolis International Airport in January, I was very skeptical of how the next four months would be. I was afraid it would drag on forever and I would regret losing that time at home with my family and at school with my friends.

But, I quickly saw that doing something solely for myself-like packing up and moving to Norway for a little while-was one of the greatest surprises of my life.

Being abroad not only teaches you about another culture or forces you to make new friends, but it peels away any doubts of your own capabilities and you can see how well you function when you're away from anything familiar (besides Coca-Cola, because that will follow you anywhere). It has given me confidence to speak another language, read a city bus schedule without worry and not be afraid of being independent.

It is good to be back home with the people I have missed, but that dreamy, mountainous view from my apartment will always remain as the backdrop .....
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The Life of an Amateur Cosmopolite

Sun, May 13th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

One of the main reasons why any American studies abroad in Europe is the endless opportunities for travel that living here brings. Instead of thinking about the long hours of work and the frugal living I did last fall, I thought of how those paychec ..... 
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A Glimpse of Diversity

Sun, May 6th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

From my experiences in Lillehammer so far, I have realized that Norway is a pretty homogeneous country. The nation does have a fair amount of refugees from Africa and eastern Europe, but very few people are visibly non-Scandinavian. This could be a p ..... 
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Starved for America

Thu, Apr 19th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

I'm sitting in class, and all I can think of is my mom's scalloped potatoes. I'm riding on the bus, and a heaping bowl of Schwan's ice cream with Hershey's syrup and crushed peanuts will not have mercy on my mind. I'm staring into my empty cupboard, ..... 
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Taxi cabs and conversations

Wed, Apr 4th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

It was 5 AM in the leery London borough of Harlesden. The taxi pulled up outside of our shabby hotel, distressing me at the sight of its beaten-up exterior and floors littered with Red Bull cans. As a young Middle-Eastern man got out of the driver's ..... 
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Riddle me this

Sun, Mar 25th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

"It's like a fire station. People are willing to pay for it, but they don't ever want to have to use it." Can you guess what Norwegians are referring to in this metaphor? I'll give you a hint-these are the words of a Lutheran pastor, not a fire chie ..... 
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First impressions

Sat, Feb 18th, 2012
Posted in All Norwegian Ancestry

Being immersed in another culture is the perfect opportunity to test first impressions. Over the past few weeks, I have been flooded with my first glances of Scandinavia and its culture. The wealth of information that I have learned from my classes, ..... 
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Hallingdal Rosemaling

Fri, Dec 17th, 2004
Posted in Norwegian Ancestry

During April 2004 I had the pleasure of meeting my distant relative, Nils Ellingsgard, from Norway for the first time. Nils was one of the keynote speakers at the first international rosemaling symposium, The Art of Rosemaling: Tradition Meets the Cr ..... 
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