Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ha det bra Norge!

When I first arrived in Norway, all I wanted to do is go home. For the longest time, or so it seemed, that is all I ever thought about. I was sitting in my room all day since I didn’t want to walk anywhere in the cold, I hardly ever saw any sun light and when I did it wasn’t for long because the sun was down by 3, and I didn't really know anyone. But as time went by, I slowly started going places; it just meant that I was wearing layers and layers of clothing. Once I started to get out of my room during the day, I was able to see the sun when it made its rare appearances. I was even making new friends among the international students. Still I missed my family and friends and I thought about going home more often than not.

January turned into February and it snowed all day, every day. It was hard not seeing the sun and having to trudge to school in crappy weather. So I spent a lot of my time reading and watching movies. On the occasional break from the snow I would go and walk down to the beach until all of my fingers and toes were numb. It was a nice break from all of the sitting and thinking about home.

Then came March out of nowhere. In March the snow turned to torrential down pours for a good two weeks. Then the sun came out! There were some really nice days where the sun shined all day long. It was still cold and there was snow and ice everywhere, but I started to stay outside more often to soak up some much needed sun. Some days it was even warm enough that I could walk around in a sweatshirt with a long sleeved shirt underneath. I still missed home, but it was getting easier to forget about going home for longer periods of time.

April came and I could feel the spring in the air. It didn’t rain as much and as hard as it did in March and it was starting to warm up enough for the snow and ice to start melting. I have been spending a lot of time outside at the beach and hanging out with my new friends. I was able to start counting down the days until I was able to go home and that gave me some comfort. By the end of April I was preparing for a busy May and rarely thought about home because I was excited to be done with school and I had a big trip to Italy coming up (a life goal was checked off!). I was to busy and excited to think about going home.

Then May came and went in a blink of an eye. I was finished with most of my classes and I spent 10 days in Italy. When I returned to Italy, I couldn't wait to go home, my Norwegian home that is. For the first time since I've been here, I thought of Norway as my home. I looked forward to coming home to my apartment, no matter how crappy and overpriced it is. I wanted to go back to something familiar, something that was mine. I was tired of living out of my suitcase in Italy, shuffling from one hotel to the next. I needed some stability in my life, and it was waiting for me in Norway.

So now that it is June, and I will be leaving tomorrow morning, I don’t want to leave Norway. I'm excited to see everyone, but I don't want to leave my home. I have enjoyed living in Norway, even though it was really hard at first. I don't like how I have to pick up my life again and start over. I have created my own home here and I don’t want to leave it all behind. It feels like I’m going to go to a foreign country all over again. The food is going to be different, I will be able to shop on Sundays, there is going to be a ton of car traffic instead of bike and people traffic, everyone is going to be in a hurry, and there will rarely be an afternoon where I can just go and lay in the sun reading a book and eating candy out of a paper bag.

Living in Norway has taught me many things, given me many memories, and has helped me grow as a person. I am going to miss a lot of things about my life here in Norway, but I am looking forward to starting a new life in America (once I get past all of the changes and culture shock that I am going to go through again). I just want to say thank you to everyone who supported and encouraged me to come here. It has meant a lot to me and has helped me deal with the cultural differences and get me though the times when all I wanted to do is come home. I also want to thank my friends that I have made in Norway, I don’t think that I could have gotten though it without you. You have helped me grow as a person and have given me many memories that I will always cherish.

I will come home a different person. I will have to adjust to American life again. I will have to start over again. But I know that I can do anything with my friends and family at my side.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh All The Things That We Think...

Okay I have recently been reading this blog about school lunches. At first I couldn't believe all the things that we feed our children! One of the most recent posts talked about what we say affects kids. For instance many commenters said that they overheard their parents talking about weight issues they might have had as a child and they grew up thinking they were fat. There was many tales such as this that I painfully read through.

Now I have never grown up thinking that I was fat, in fact it was just the opposite. I have been underweight my whole life, and most likely always will be. My mother has had four children and we weigh practically the same, we are not far off in our pant sizes, and we are about the same in height. Growing up I was never teased about being fat, but instead I would be teased about how skinny I was. My mom always told me to ignore them, for in just a few short years they would envy me, they would want to be skinny just like me. Well after those few short years, kids, mainly girls, did envy me. Not that I am self conceded, or at least I like to think that I am not, but I would overhear comments or people would just flat out tell me how skinny I was and how lucky that made me. Now of course, like any other teen trying to fit in and to be considered popular, it gave me a confidence boost. Someone wished that they could be more like me, or more so look like me and have my body. I want to put this out there, I was never popular and nor will I ever be popular.

So from a very young age we have either labeled ourselves as fat or skinny. We have drawn lines, put of barriers, and even made a checklist of what you need to be or have in order to be allowed to pass over to the most highly sought skinny side of the line. We have created programs to help us get there, we are constantly dieting, we are told we need to exercise more; we need to fit into a size 2 in order to be perfect, we need to take all of these pills, we need to stop eating. We are always told what we need to do in order to cross over and become one of those skinnys. Then we are told now that you have been allowed to come over on our side of the line, congrats by the way you are now a skinny!, there are more rules you have to follow. You need to constantly be dieting, exercise more, you’re not quite perfect, the size 2 is a bit snug dear, here are some pills to help with that, and ohh by the way that piece of celebratory cake was all you get for today, and since it was cake, I wouldn’t advise eating anything tomorrow.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we constantly worrying about our weight, what size our dress sports, what others will think of us? Now I am not perfect in any shape or form, for I have done this myself. I just want to know why we feel the need to think this way? Is the media responsible? Yes, they media needs to take its fair share of blame, but is not the sole reason. Should we blame our parents? Sure, blame your parents for talking about your weight behind your back, which you happen to overhear and let it set the tone for how you think of yourself. Are we to blame? Yes, we let the media tell us what to do, how to think, how to behave. We let other people's opinion of us bring us down, or in some cases we let them go to our head.

In order to fix this ever present problem in our lives, I propose this:
1. Don't you dare step on that scale unless you happen to be in a doctor's office for your annual checkup!
2. Stop that crazy diet! It will never work! I said stop dieting! Start eating healthy instead, less processed and fast food. I will tell you like your mother used to: You are not allowed to leave the table unless you finished your vegetables! Smaller portions, smaller meals, no more super sizes. Try the half portions or buy a smaller plate. You don’t have to diet, count calories, or points. You just need to eat a variety of things and make sure you have food from the 5 food groups.
3. Don’t look at the size of your dress, in fact cut the tag out. Wear whatever fits you. By the way, dress sizes here in Europe are different, I happen to be a size 28-36 and in America I happen to be a size 4-8. I like to buy dresses that fit me and look good on me; I don’t buy dresses based on what is on that darn tag that happens to have a number on it. Try it sometime; you might get a pleasant surprise.
4. Exercise it important. I know that it is hard to fit it into our busy lives, so try parking in the furthest possible spot, so you have to walk, like what 30 feet at most? Please everyone can do simple things like that. Try doing something fun for a change, take a Latin dance class, join a pick-up basketball game, and play with your kids. You don’t have to hit the gym all the time to have an active lifestyle. Now for all of you who hate to exercise, try some fun things in order to be active. I hated to go to the gym; everyone seemed to think that they were better than me because they could bench four times the weight that I could. Here we are again getting caught up in numbers. Who the heck cares what you can bench? If you feel good about what you can bench then why would you let someone bring you down and make you feel like you suck? Don’t let them do that to you!
5. Cover up all of your mirrors, but leave enough room so you can make sure that your hair isn’t sticking up and that you can swipe on some mascara, with sheets, family pictures, positive sayings, Bible verses, old birthday cards, whatever you want. Stop looking in the mirror so damn much! All you ever do when you look in the mirror is pick apart yourself, find your faults, and compare yourself to others. Don’t even try denying it! When the heck was the last time you looked in the mirror and said "Hey, look at me! I am an amazing person! I love my legs, butt, hips, lips, eyes, or whatever" I bet that was never...yeah so stop saying that you don’t find your faults. Since we can’t say anything nice about ourselves then we shouldn’t look or say anything about ourselves at all!
6. Don't flip that page, click that mouse, or turn up the volume! Stop listening to the media tell you that you are too fat! Who the hell wants to listen to someone tell them that they are not good enough? I know I sure as hell don’t, so stop reading and listening to them! You shouldn’t worry about the latest diet, the hottest trends (for they are just trends and they do change, so by the time you get that new wardrobe you need a new one again!), or what you should act like. Start acting like you want to act, dress how you want to dress, and once again STOP THAT DIET! IT DOESNT WORK!

I invite you to take up this challenge with me. I will no longer worry about what I weigh, never again worry what eating a pie will do to me, care about the size of my dress, worry about not being able to get to the gym or not going to the gym, never evaluate myself in the mirror again, and I will stop letting people tell me what I need to look like. I like me for me. If you don’t like yourself, then maybe you should start changing the person inside, not the outside. Be happy with the way you look, for I will not judge someone by the way they look anymore.

I know this is asking a lot. I know that it won’t be easy. I know I will slip up many times. But I will never give up until I have created new healthy habits. I will not stop nor will I give up. I love me for me, I love you for you. I will stop all of this crap from taking over my life!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Now that Spring is here...
There is no longer blizzards every day,
They have been replaced by torrential down pours.
There is no longer mountains of snow,
They have been replaced by mountains of mud with a river running through them.
There is no longer three inches of ice on the sidewalk,
They have been replaced with three inches of gravel and trash.
There is no longer snow outside of my window,
They have been replaced by gravel ridden grass and thorny bushes.
Even with all of the changes one thing remains the same...there is still no sun

Monday, March 22, 2010


Okay this is me venting about some of my professors....

~You can not just all the sudden say hey i didnt get through everything today so i think we will have class on friday, ill post the room on frontier (blackboard) once i have it booked. No! we dont have class on friday and you cant create another day for class because you couldnt get through everything! that is not the way it works! i had plans for friday morning...sleeping until 2 or 3. getting up for a 9am lecture is not included in my plans!
~You cant cancel class because your sick and then say since i was sick we need to make up that does 9am on friday work for you? good, ill get a room and let you know which one. NO IM NOT FREAKING AVAILABLE FOR A LECTURE AT 9am ON FRIDAY! ARE YOU INSANE?! it does not work that way, you were sick you cant make up that lecture, you need to combine it with the next one or cut a lecture cant go and make it up another day, we do have lives and have better things to do than go to class and hear a lecture on educational research cases studies!
~There is no freaking way i can put together a 5 min presentation on a case study that im going to write when i have yet to conduct the study or observation! what am i supposed to talk about? hi im michaela mapes and im going to see what methods middle school teachers use in the math or science classrooms...except i dont know which one because i have yet to be assigned a school where i have to conduct like 20 hours of observations and the semester is already half way over! that concludes my presentation. you are freaking insane?!
~thank you for listening to my absolutely boring presentation on school boards in america that i happen to copy and paste to a powerpoint slide from my notes from last semester. i would also like to thank you for your feedback that you orally told me in front of the class...all of your likes and dislikes of my presentation. thank you for asking the one question i cant one can answer why rich people are on school boards. i dont know they got nominated and then appointed or voted on. how should i know im barely old enough to vote. i guess its because the poorer population doesnt turn out to vote or no one really gives a shit because either way the poorer schools are screwed and dont get the funding they need. does that answer your question? no, okay well that is all i have for you. and that concludes my presentation.
~it is not appropriate to talk about naked dancers at a school function. you just made every single student in the classroom feel very uncomfortable. if you are trying to relate to us...DONT! that was a horrible attempt and now everyone wishes that you would just leave them alone. BY THE WAY KELSEY AND I ARE NOT INTERESTED IN BEING THE CHAIRMAN OF THE POT-OF-LUCK DINNER PARTY THAT YOU WANT NAKED DANCERS AT! im still uncomfortable and wish i was at home or at least that you would stop staring at me. i understand what you are saying and no i do not want to be the chairman of your naked dancer party!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To My Dearest Neighbors...

To my dearest neighbors who live above me,
I'll let you in on a little secrete, I do not have a 6 am wake up call. So could you please turn your alarm down. I'm glad that you get such an early start to the day, but could you please not listen to the radio or watch tv so loud at 8 am? Some people do try to sleep past 8. Also, do you mind not laughing at all of those funny jokes so late at night? I mean, I'm always up for a good knee-slapping-joke, but could you please keep you guffawing to an inside level? That would be graciously appreciated. Here is a tip for you, do not rearrange your furniture so often. It messes up the feng shui of your room, and I cant fall asleep when you do such activities in the middle of the night. It is also not good to drag your furniture, you really should pick it up, dragging it could make really loud noises. One last thing, has your mother or father ever told you that bouncing balls is an outside activity or should be done at the gym? Since I know there is no gym or court in your room (all rooms are the same, have not been in their room) you need to take it outside. I'm only telling you this because your mother is not here so I thought I should say what she would tell you...Your not the only one living in this building, and I really hope your not loud Americans, that just makes it all the worse! If you are American, you are the reason why Europeans hate Americans, you are to loud!
Signed your neighbor from down below

Monday, March 15, 2010

Papers in Norway

So in Norway teachers don't give you your papers back with comments, in fact most teachers don't even give you your paper back. You just receive a grade and then you have two weeks to make an appointment with whomever graded your paper. At this appointment the teacher or whomever graded your paper will give you a list of what they liked and didn't like about your paper. If you disagree with your grade you can "complain" about it. All you have to do is fill out a form and then someone new will grade your paper and whatever that new person gives you is what you get. They can give you a higher grade, same grade, or lower grade.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. In a way I like it, I have a say in my grade. But at the same time I feel like what the teacher says doesn't matter, its whatever the third party thinks. I think I'll just leave my grade up to my teacher, I don't think he's a hard grader, he is very lenient.

I only have to complain about the lack of direction the teacher gives you here. The only requirements for my papers is 10 pages, 12 pt font, 1.5 spacing, and then a broad topic such as it has to do with inclusion or comparing an aspect of two countries educational systems. I need a narrower topic range, where do you even begin? So for my inclusion paper I'm going to write about segregation in the OPS school district. For my comparison paper I'm going to us the US as one of my countries, but I think I'll narrow it down to Nebraska and then I guess I'll use Norway since it will be easy to get information about it. My only problem is what do I write about? I really don't know all that much about the Norwegian school systems. Ohh well I'll figure something out, most likely will do some making up on my part but thats okay.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Europeans do some really cute things that take me back to fifth grade...

*Pencil bags....everyone has one that they bring to class filled with pens, pencils, markers, rulers and so on. In fifth grade I had a Winnie the Pooh pencil bag.

*Sweaters....everyone wears sweaters not sweatshirts. Girls are always wearing cardigans and the boys like to wear v-necks or sweater vests. In fifth grade I wore a cardigan instead of a sweatshirt.

*Leggings...your not European unless you wear leggings at least once a week girls. They say its a trend coming back in and they aren't behind, like it came back in the US five years ago. I loved to wear leggings, bight bold colors and crazy patterns until the fifth grade.

*Reeboks with the strap...yes they wear Reeboks with the strap, high-tops, sneakers, crazy colors, bold patterns, they wear it all. I wore white Reeboks with the Reebok symbol in blue in the fifth grade.

*Purple...its a very popular color amongst the boys and girls here. The girls wear a lot of purple shirts and scarves, boys wear a lot of purple hats and jackets. In fifth grade I had a purple jacket with purple mittens.

So at the gym, they don't wear shorts they wear spandex or sweatpants. I just started wearing my running pants and leggings, I blend right in.

I have a sweater crush on this kid...hes so cute, he likes to wear sweater vests with a tie and collared shirts all the time. It is so cute!