“Norwegians are very much used to having their own space.”

This week my roommate and I had an especially clean apartment, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to snap some shots!  There is no competition between the dorms at the University of North Dakota and the apartments at the American College of Norway.  The apartments at the American College of Norway win hands down because…

  1. we have our own laundry machine that doesn’t require quarters
  2. the bathroom has heated floors with 6 settings
  3. we have our own kitchen with plenty of cooking supplies provided
  4. the toilet is water conserving 🙂
  5. we’re a five minute walk away from the school

My only complaint is that I don’t have a Norwegian roommate!  It would certainly be a lot easier to experience the Norwegian culture.  The apartments that all the Americans from UND are living in are different from what the Norwegians have.  There are 18 apartments in the building that I live in and only two others have a shared bedroom and large living space like mine.  The rest have separate bedrooms and a smaller kitchen area.  According to the staff it was only natural to give the Americans apartments with the shared bedrooms because, “Norwegians are very much used to having their own space.”  In addition to the building I live in there are also three university-owned houses for students.

So what is it like living in the apartments?  I have to say it is always eerily quiet, even the weekends are strangely silent.  Every Thursday there is a party and people can be heard throughout the night and into the morning, but other than that rowdy neighbors have never been an issue.

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Since my stay in Norway I have only seen one shower curtain; most of the showers just have glass paneling.  The showers are also considerably smaller.  Putting shampoo on can be a bit of a maneuvering act with such limited elbow room!  The heated floors make up for any lack in the shower though!  If I get water on the floor it dries within minutes.  Since we don’t have a dryer, we have to hang dry all of our clothes.  The heated floors nearly triple the drying time.

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“No, I don’t eat weird things. Like turkey.”

My first shopping excursion started at a grocery store in the mall called Rema 1000 (yes, they have grocery stores in the mall) and ended at a place called Kiwi which is supposedly the cheapest place to get food.  We just got the basics.  Milk, fruit, bread, cheese, lunch meat…etc.  My roommate and I split the price and the total came to be about 27 dollars for each of us which is actually a lot cheaper than I thought it would be.  We came with some of the Norwegians and they were clearly shocked by some of our food choices.  One girl tried to trick us into buying an oily bread spread made out of liver.  I repeatedly asked her what it was but she would only say “Oh, it’s good you will like it!”  These people certainly have their opinions about food!  At one point I heard a girl say, “No, I don’t eat weird things.  Like turkey.”  Turkey?  Weird?  I guess Norwegians don’t eat turkey.

Norwegian bread is made fresh and way better than American bread.  After trying to convince us not to get “American-style” bread at the store with no avail they finally went and bought us some Norwegian style bread and put it into our grocery bags.  I sampled some and I must say there is a noted difference in taste!  I was surprised to find out that there actually isn’t much of a price difference either.

Norway has some foods that are unique to it. Since bread is a staple food here, spreads are very popular. Baconost literally translates to “bacon cheese”.  At first the idea of eating bacon in a tube was unsettling but now I find myself eating it almost every day on crunchy crackers (also very cheap). This is a common lunch here.

The Norwegians who were helping us shop called some of our food choices gross or sketchy.  We weren’t shopping for flavor though; we were on a budget!  Some things here are just not affordable.  Anything really processed is very expensive.  Pop, ice cream, cheese puffs, frozen pizzas…I’ve given them all up.  A package of spaghetti is a little over a buck so I eat a lot of pasta!  Vegetables also seem to be pretty reasonably priced.

In the U.S. we have eggnog, a special drink that we only have at Christmas. Here, they have a Christmas soda called Julebrus which literally translates to mean, “Christmas drink”. I bought a bottle on clearance and it is sweet and fruity.

Oh how I love generic brands! Same product, cheaper price. Target has Up & Up, Walmart has Equate and Suave, and Norway has First Price. It reminds me of the Fisher-Price label.