Trip Start Jan 05, 2011
Trip End May 18, 2011

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Flag of Norway  , Ostfold,
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Greetings from the Eastern Hemisphere!

    I hope February has started off on the right foot for y'all.

    The last few days have probably been some of the toughest since my arrival. This is due mostly to the increasing amounts of homework we've been having lately. Maybe taking two writing-intensive classes wasn't the best move, but on the other hand, nobody said college was easy. I guess the work isn't particularly difficult, but we have to do so much of it; it's becoming a bit monotonous. That, and I haven't been sleeping all that well lately, and I think it's the mind-numbing homework that's been giving me headaches recently.

    But, when put into perspective, none of these issues are related to my being in Norway. They occur to all students on campuses around the world, so don't lose sleep worrying about me tonight. (I'm talking to you, Mom!) Luckily, I have a good weekend to look forward to! (more on that in a bit).

    The big news of the day is (ready for this?) MY VISA FINALLY GOT GRANTED!! Yippie!! You may not see the significance in this, so let me explain... When getting all of my affairs in order for this trip, I was told that the application processing for a resident permit/student visa would take three months. I mailed my application off mid November only to receive it back a full month later with the message "could not deliver to address." Great! I mailed it to the wrong address! (In my own defense, it was the address the study abroad adviser gave me). So, I found the right address and sent it off again. Without the permit/visa, Americans are allowed to stay 90 days in Norway. So here I sat for nearly a month, wondering which 3 month period would end first; the 90 grace period, or the 90 days it took to process my application. The anxiety built as the days passed with no word from the Norwegian immigration office. Playing the waiting game wasn't my cup of tea. But to make a long story short, today we got the news that my visa was granted and ready for pickup. It's such a relief not to have the threat of deportation looming over my head like an ominous alien spacecraft, waiting to beam me up and send me home. Anyhow, that's was my source of profound happiness for the day.

    This weekend, Bjorn, who we went to Oslo with last Saturday, invited us out to his place. It's apparently a three hour drive from Moss, out somewhere in the Norwegian countryside. I'm really excited. I can't stand staying in a city for weeks at a time! I need to get out into the country. I don't know when we'll get back, so I'm thinking the next blog entry we be Sunday afternoon. Though I might try to do an update on location, but I'm not making any promises. We see how things turn out. Whatever the case, you can expect a plethora of pictures coming your way!

    Tomorrow night we have a Norwegian Culture Night (after which we leave for Bjorn's). Should be interesting. I hear there's free food! Tune in in a couple days to see how things go!

    Sincerely, Robert
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