I finally turned in my Hedda Gabler paper yesterday, so I'm taking a well deserved break from my required writing to do some non-required writing. Usually, when it takes me two weeks to write a paper, I mean that it took me two weeks of complaining about the paper while I thought through the ideas that I wanted to use and appeared to be doing nothing. Then I wrote the paper in one evening. No. I spent over two weeks staring at the computer screen, tired and frustrated, trying to type anything that made sense about the play. Because I had to write it in Norwegian. And my norwegian textbooks don't have that much information relating to Hedda.
I also had a traumatic experience recently, when my computer decided to freeze up while I was writing my first journal entry in several days. Not that it wasn't also traumatic when it has frozen up on my paper writing or my e-mails, but Word and Gmail have auto-save features, where as Blogger just disappears with all my clever turns of phrase. But a lot of things have happened since I last made any updates, so here are the last two weeks in review and reverse:
One of my dorm mates has a twin who, while not identical, looks enough like her that when I'm not paying attention I can confuse the two. So for the Halloween party at Kroa this Saturday it was only appropriate that they dressed as an angel and a devil. Every time they saw me they would chant "bad, bad, bad" and "good, good, good" at me. I also met another guy from Wisconsin, who I got to dance with us to Ghostbusters. Bravery points all around, because he danced despite being tanked, and we danced with him while he was tanked. I also saw another of my dorm mate's boyfriend again for the first time since the beginning of the semester. He lived in the dorm building (in fact, my room at one point) the last couple years before he graduated. Apparently all the buildings cluttering my kitchen view have gone in over the past couple years. Bø might be a rural college town, but it is growing.
While Bø is building, you can get a nice house in Tinn for a song. Since Norsk Hydro has gone inside the mountains and mostly automated, the towns around the hydroelectric plants have lost their major employer. Tinn still looks nice though, with a pretty little downtown. We drove through it on the way home from a field trip two Wednesdays ago to a stavkirke in Eidsborg and the Norsk Industriarbeiders Museum in Rjukan. Luther-girl and I were having an extra-cranky day. Being cold and rained on in Eidsborg didn't help. The tower was off the church and on the ground, and everything was wrapped in plastic, because it's no longer tourist season so it's time for repairs.* It was cool to get a mini-lecture on the structural changes to the stavkirke while sitting in the pews, but I didn't start feeling better until we got to Rjukan and were fed a nice paprika chicken lunch. The Industrial Worker's Museum is located in the old Norsk Hydro power plant in Vermork. I have had an affection for this power plant since I wrote a paper on Norwegian resistance fighters for my second college history class.
This was one of the field trips from a very evil week for we American students. Two major papers due, and three field trips. Granted, the trip to Eidsborg and Rjukan was optional, but our class that day was cancelled so that we could go. Then when we got back, I ran up to my dorm to grab a quick snack and my rain clothes, because then I was going to look for beavers as part of my friluftsliv class. We saw some beavers. Fall is not the best time to go beaver hunting. The long days of summer are better for this, because one can sneak up on the beavers while they are on land and get a good look at them. All of our beavers were in the water, and quick to disappear if we tried to get close to them. We also saw five swans. Two adults and two juvies. We got a lot closer to the swans than the beavers, and disturbed their attempts at sleep. The beaver safari was pretty cool. We got pølse. Norwegian and their sausages. Oh my. What wasn't so cool was the trip to Lifjell on Friday. At least, not for some of us. The friluftsliv class is large enough that with the Spanish alpine ecology students along, they divided us into two groups. My group got the Danish department employee. The first thing he said to us was that we were going to stick together. We stopped frequently to consult the map. He had us discuss the articles for class that day as best we could, see as we had not read any of them. He talked to us about hiker safety rules in Norway. They are pretty standard, but with the addition of avalanche awareness, not so important in flat Wisconsin. Then he gave us compasses and had us start learning how to navigate our way back with the maps on the smaller, sometimes indistinct trails. We got back right about on time. The other group, with the friluftsliv department head, they got lost. They didn't have compasses. At least, not other than the instructor. Heavy off-trail walking finally brought the two Americans in the group, far ahead of the other students, to a different parking lot than the one we started from. They got back an hour and a half after the rest of us. Fortunately, our taxi-bus wouldn't wait that long, so we all got to leave only slightly late, while our Dane stood around waiting for everyone else to arrive. Granting that we have only a select group of Danes here in Bø, they make a very good impression of the country.**
*as the church in Eidsborg is wrapped in plastic, it is obviously not the one in the picture. I took the picture on Bygdøya in the Folkemuseum.
**All of the Danes I have met are here in relation to the friluftsliv program. The are all very competent, friendly, and generally attractive. Denmark is obviously populated by some strange and wonderful race of fairytale people rather than humans.