Brad in Bergen


 

Gone to Norway, back in a year .

 

Welcome to the homepage of Brad in Bergen! This is a personal webpage set up to chronicle my one year of study at the University of Bergen in Bergen, Norway.

 

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Archived Entries

Academics

Extra-curriculars

Quotes

About me & this site

FAQ

Links

Acknowledgments

Guestbook

Brad in Bergen has moved! Click HERE for the new page (this one still has all the old stuff though)

Now that I am travelling around Europe, I have switched to an easier (but less flexible) website. This one also ran out of space. You can find the new, more updated version of Brad in Bergen at

http://bradinbergen.blogspot.com/

 

 

My brother will soon be here!

Wednesday, March 7th

I can't wait - and evidently neither can Greg - for his week-long visit to Bergen/Germany. My little brother is 17 so he is still in high school, but will have a week off for March break so won't be missing much school while he is here.

We've got lots of plans but mostly I am just looking forward to hanging out. I was worried about the weather, which unfortunately could be quite rainy while he was here, until I realized that it's +10 degrees here and -30 with the wind chill in Toronto. I am in the Spring mindset now and although the rest of Norway is covered in snow, even Bergen's mountaintops are at the moment mostly green.

 

Ελληνικά, Norsk

Sunday, March 4th

What a busy week, what with a heavy load in some classes, preparing for my brother's visit, and extra Frisbee practice in preparation for Norwegian nationals in Oslo.

But this weekend provided a chance to relax a little bit so Odd, Chas, Eric and I went to see Ghostrider. Don't see it, the dialogue is flat and the fight scenes are too predictable, even if the special effects were cool.

Then on Sunday Chanchal treated us to a delicious Indian dinner where the uniqueness of our floor's new dominant languages was amplified. There were 12 of us: 5 Greeks (the 4 who live here plus Eleanna's visiting mother), 3 native Norwegians + 3 speakers of varying skill: Chas (fluent), Chanchal and myself (conversational); American Eric completed the dozen. The third native Norwegian was a guest of Chanchal, so they took the chance to speak in Norwegian. Odd and I speak only in Norwegian now, and tonight I also did so with Espen and Chas.

Around the table there were one or two Norwegian conversations, at least one in English (for Eric, and when Greeks talked to non-Greeks) and the usual half dozen conversations in Greek. Other floors can be dominated by German (18C last semester) or Spanish (17D now, with an astonishing 6 out of 9 fluent Spaniards), or with enough of a mix, English. We speak in Ελληνικά (Greek) and norsk (Norwegian) - who would have ever predicted that? 

[Actually, English generally predominates here as it is the only common language; but last night English definitely came third on the list after Greek and Norwegian, and it wasn't the first time]

 

My other blog

Monday, February 26th

Yep, I have another blog: an academic one for the Tech and Society course I am taking this semester. Every student had to start a blog and post about the readings, assignments, etc. - but most of all to practice blogging.

That seems to have failed; at least that's what the professor says on her own blog (she is currently writing a book on blogging too.) Nonetheless, I've had a lot of positive and some constructive feedback in mine.

In an attempt kickstart some blogging discussion, I'm asking a favour of you, the reader. Visit my other blog by clicking here, which will take you to a blog post about Brad in Bergen and about the role of being able to reply to blog entries, in other words, being able to "comment". Tell me if you think this site should have comments, talk about your own blog, or just ask a random question like "what will you do in Ireland?"

I appreciate the help - and, at long last, you can write your own thoughts about Brad in Bergen and be heard. Power to the people!

 

Leddsetning

Monday, February 26th

Leddsetning - the word is the scourge and darling of Norwegian-as-a-foreign-language students and teachers respectively. I think it's roughly equivalent to a subordinate clause in English or anything that comes after 'that', 'because', 'about'.

The key thing about a leddsetning is that the adverb always comes BEFORE the verb, whereas in a normal sentence it comes after. I have been working doggedly to get this structure in my head, because above all it is the fatal flaw of foreigners who learn Norwegian - the Achilles heel to telling whether someone is a native speaker or not.

It appears to be working too well. I caught myself writing an English e-mail to my mother with the sentence 'I think that we soon will decide', which is how it would sound in Norwegian. I corrected it to 'I think that we will soon decide' but it still made me stop a moment.

 

Go with the Flo

Sunday, February 25th

Florian is now on his way to Korea, if I remember his complicated itinerary properly. I didn't get him a going-away present, but hopefully this album of some of the best photos I have of Florian will help preserve memories of the good times.

Flo was always keen to make use of my presence as a rare native English speaker, and he loved learning new expressions. But I think he already knew this one - "go with the flow". It describes him quite well and so is a good title for this homage in addition to being a pun on his name. I'll miss you Flo, but can't wait to see you in Hamburg and beyond!

 

Oh Dear...

Back in Norway

Saturday, February 24th

This site has nearly died. But I am attempting to revive it and if I can devote an hour here or there in the next few days I can get rid of the backlog. Then I shall start recounting the fun that has been second semester so far. At least I've now cleared out 2006, as you can see by going to the latest photo albums (see above).

March will not be a good month for this site either. My little brother comes to visit, then I got to Oslo for the Norwegian Frisbee championships, then I spend 10 days in Ireland over the Easter break.

 

Hola!

Málaga, Spain 

Tuesday, January 30th 

[Don´t feel like reading? Just click here for the photos]

Three proverbial ingredients:

1) A good friend has an apartment in the center of an Andalucian city (S. Spain) for a few weeks

2) There are direct flights on a cheap airline from Bergen to this city, Málaga

3) Norwegian weather: dark and cold. Spanish weather: sunny and warm

Let stew for a few minutes, and what do you get? Brad in Málaga for a week. This country is one non-stop party, and becaue Michael, who is a good German friend from last semester in Norway, is now studying Spanish for 6 weeks, we thought it would be great if I came and visited.

Saturday, 27th: 

  • Arrive. First sight is palm trees. Sun is still up at 6:30pm
  • Pre-party ends at midnight, 3 clubs later and it is 3:30am and Mike and I drag ourselves home. We were the first to leave as generally the partying and clubbing goes til 7am

Sunday, 28th

  • Wake up around noon. Unfortunately there is no hot water (the gas ran out) so shower is as short as it is cold.
  • Walk around old town, then down to beach. Apparently it is one of the windiest days ever because the normally tranquil Mediterranean resembles the North Atlantic.
  • Head over to a seaside bar to meet up with friends and have a late lunch. Seafood is delicious.
  • Play around on the beach until Luke (german) gets dashed off the breakwater by a tremendous wave - "I didn´t see it coming"
  • Mike takes Brad to the famous bar El Pimpi where Brad tries the local supercharged wine, Moscatel. Twice the normal alcohol and more sugar than coke. Mike elects to have a beer.

Monday, 29th

  • For the first time in months Malaga gets a torrential downpour. I have brought the weather with me from Norway it seems. Nonetheless Brad and Florian (another, new Florian, from Germany) go to see the amazing Málaga Cathedral
  • It is Felix´s birthday. Therefore we must party at the local Irish pubs.
  • I meet a Spanish guy who spent six months in Guelph, ON on exchange and an Argentinian who lived for six years in Toronto at Jane & Wilson. This world is a small one

 Tuesday, 30th

  • Brad finally updates his website with some cool pictures. Plans to go to the fort on a hill today, as well as the Picasso museum

And now it´s now. Check back soon for pictures from the Alhambra in Granada, whither I will take a day trip tomorrow.

P.S. Málaga has two interesting claims to fame: it is the birthplace of both Pablo Picasso AND Antonio Banderas. The two names, especially the painter´s, are everywhere. Ironically Picasso left Málaga at age eight and seldom returned because he didn´t really like the city. Of course that doesn´t mean about 43 bars and cafés can´t make money by using his namesake.

 

Wonderful Weekend

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 19-21
 

A quick recap of the weekend:

SUN. There was SUN on Friday, despite the ongoing rain record. So of course we had to hike up the mountain. All the days of darkness and terrible weather are made up for by... well, see for yourselves:


View from near the top of Rundamanen


On Saturday Chas, Odd, Florian and I went to see Perfume: Story of a Murderer based on the namesake book. VERY chilling movie, one of the most terrifying (but simple) villains imaginable. Then we hung out at a local bar called Fincken. Very chic. There we met Eric (from Hawaii) and Sabrina (from Germany) and I planned part of my Sunday...


...which included a run with Sabrina around the small lake near Fantoft; we both want to get in shape for the 32 km run in Bergen in May. It starts at the bottom of Lydehorn mountain and the route visits the top of each of the seven hills.

But the highlight of the weekend was definitely the full Greek dinner prepared by our four Greek floormates, with Eleana and Marianna taking the roles as head-chefs. My Greek being non-existent, I can only give English descriptions of the meal. I ate a TON of food with second helpings from everything on the following list:

  • Something resembling lasagna (in appearance only) which was actually eggplant with potatoes and other veggies topped with cheese. Mmmm!
  • Penne with cheese and ham, prepared as a casserole with cream as the 'stick-together' ingredient
  • Rice with chicken and various other seasonings
  • Tzatziki on pita with gyros, onions, and tomatoes. Yummy!
  • A sort of strawberry-pinapple cream pudding type desert
  • Something that was basically bûche de Noël but also included coffee, cognac, and lots more cocoa than usual

Simply delicious - a gustatory revelry. My new aim: become a Greek chef before I return to Canada. I'll try and get the pictures from Martha and others who catalogued the meal.

 

ESL 101: 'Crash a party'

Thursday, January 18th
 

A common feature of learning a new language for the linguistically-bold is to try and transliterate. Rarely does this work, so when I say jeg fløy på stolen av buksene mine or 'I flew by the seat of my pants' I am likely to get puzzled stares/laughter.

Florian and I 'crashed a party' - it was his bold idea and it worked - and we met some very nice Norwegians, including one who gave us our discount card and told us to use it at the bar downstairs, the nearest beer-counter being closed. Alas Florian's expression 'we pumped in the party' did not work, so now I've got him saying 'we crashed that party!'

 

 

New Courses

Wednesday, January 16th
 

What's Brad taking this semester? Well, the previous entry describes quite well my ambitions re: Norwegian.

But I am also taking a biology course, called Evolution Biology. This course, *ahem*, actually seems to do a decent job of mirroring the course I am getting credit for back home, because they use the same textbook. The professor is American.

I am also taking 'Critical Perspectives on Technology and Society', or, to clarify, Kritisk Perspektiv om Teknologi og Samfunn or something like that. In a nutshell it looks like we'll be studying blogs and computer games BUT I think the background and extra material actually fits quite well with the Artsci courses this replaces for me, 3B03 and 3BB3.

 

Norskkurs Trinn Tre!

Tuesday, January 15th
 

YES! When I started this whole Norway scheme, it was always my intention to learn the language. That is not easy to do in Toronto, so my preparation was enthusiastic but hampered by a full-time summer job, three ultimate teams, and  the necessity to study at the Toronto Reference Library.

But when I got here I thrived in Norwegian level 1. Too bad that the website said a strict limit of one Norwegian language course per student. I discovered such a disclaimer was meaningless when all my Norwegian teachers encouraged me not only to take another Norwegian course, but to skip level 2 and go straight to the highest - level 3. Passing this course allows one to register in courses in Norwegian at some later time. Huzzah!

Bureaucracy being inexplicable at times in this country, I got a spot in the course BEFORE they tested my ability to actual do it. After a weekend of muddling through my sadly neglected French (now neurally meshed with Norwegian, ugh) in Switzerland, I had to write a placement test. I found it easy but still made some mistakes...


But it was enough! Ten minutes ago I signed up for NOR-U3, section A. Next week lectures begin.

 

New Semester, Old Traditions

Monday, January 15th
 

Last night we kept up the good old tradition of everyone-cook-clean-and-watch-a-movie. Chief chefs that night were Chas and I; he made chicken stuffed with beef and wrapped in bacon, crab and beef meatballs and rice. I complemented the protein heavy dish with bell pepper halves stuffed with black beans, mushrooms, green onions, and cheese. I also baked dessert: the now perfected (thanks to Grandma's gift of measuring cups; it's impossible to measure 3/4 cups in Europe) Signal Hill Gingerbread cake made with Organic Molasses.

We then watched Mean Girls, a favourite movie of Chas'.

 

Back Among the Fjords

Sunday, January 14th
 

After a month of semi-non-stop traveling, I am again firmly settled into life back in Norway. Not a moment too soon as well, since classes start tomorrow. I am ready for a new semester and am caught up with University bureaucracy.

Alas, the same cannot be said for this website, which has been neglected for about five weeks now. The backlog is gigantic, daunting, and fascinating, so may take a few days. But I will write and post photos roughly according to three categories:

  • End of Semester, Latvia, London
  • Christmas in Canada
  • Fredrikstad & Swizterland

Godt nytt år!

  

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