Holidays

Norway is weird about Holidays. After having everything closed during a four day stretch around Easter, again on May 1st everything is closed again. I can’t remember the last time I went to the grocery store. In my fridge right now I have an expired half gallon of milk and in my cupboard I have some knock-off Coco Puffs in the shape of Star Wars characters.

I’m trying to get back into a normal workout and dietary schedule, and it’s just not happening.

I came back from a trip to Amsterdam the other day as well. The purpose of Amsterdam was solely to experience King’s Day, the national day of the Netherlands. I went with a new travel group consisting of half Minnesota boys and then a few other friends we’ve met in our time here. We had a squad of 8 guys.

We landed in Amsterdam late on Wednesday night and trained out to our Air BnB. We realized pretty quickly our place was in the boonies of Amsterdam, if it was still even in Amsterdam at all. We were in the projects. There were tall, concrete holes littering the skyline and we had the pleasure of staying in one of the units. The unit itself was actually pretty well put together. We squeezed the whole squad in and terrorized the local kabab place next to our building right after.

We woke up early for King’s Day and were some of the first wandering around Amsterdam. We decked out in some orange and went around the city, meeting up with some other friends at their flat and exploring the craziness of the streets.

King’s Day was unreal. There were boats packed full of people going up and down the city’s channels, there was music blasting from bars and restaurants on all streets, it was nuts.

The trip was fun, and we got back safely on Friday night. The very next day Trevor (friend from Sigma Nu) came for a quick visit to Norway. We were able to explore the city with some beautiful weather, and try a new restaurant near the famous Horgan’s Bar next to the Palace. Unfortunately for us, Horgan’s betrayed us and bumped the age limit to 24. I’m not sure how that works, It seems like joints in Norway can set whatever age they randomly decide upon and enforce it without any repercussions. 21 years old in Oslo? Too bad, this bar is 23 and up for the week. That’s just Norway I guess.

After all of the traveling and fun it’s been time to settle back in with class. Today is yet another holiday (May 1st?) so I’m firing off this post before I continue to study for my first exam next week in Refugee and Asylum law. I haven’t had class in a while with the holiday breaks and my Monday class ending. I’m forcing myself back into the student mindset for the next month before exams are over. Luckily my attendance all semester was good and I my mock exam scores went better than I had anticipated (save for my Norwegian class).

It’s weird to think that I’ve been here for 4 months already. I still don’t come home for quite some time. I like it here a lot. I find myself thinking often that I could easily live here.

One last thing before I close out this post. The Norwegian high school seniors participate in this tradition called “Russ”. It’s a completely foreign concept for me, having gone to a public high school in a Minnesota suburb. Essentially, every year during April until May 17th (the Norwegian national day)  the students go on a 3-4 week bender of partying and wearing jumpsuits or overalls decorated with an assortment of sayings, quotes, pictures, etc. on them. Often the jumpsuits are red and blue, but I’ve seen some black and green ones as well. Apparently the color of the jumpsuit is determined by what you study. The Russ kids go around, often drunk, walking through the city and often being obnoxious (doing as high school seniors do). It’s fascinating to watch. There is more to it, they do tasks and get bandanas tied around their legs, but I’m pretty confused on the specifics myself. They’re everywhere though. The group next to me as I type this is a group of Russ kids. They’re blasting their speaker of shitty music throughout this room and talking REALLY LOUDLY.

Maybe a little bit of culture shock, maybe I’m just confused. Russ is an interesting Norwegian tradition to say the least.

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