An unintended word of caution was sent to me earlier today by my father in the form of the following video.
In the video, a group of international students attending UiO finds difficulty in branching outside of their circle of foreigner friends. While the students express their love of the nation and its culture, the video ends on a more doleful note with the main narrator expressing his regret of not immersing himself more fully into the culture.
It was not until I finished the video that I realized how strongly I want to avoid this trap. I intend Norway to be a transition for me, some journey of self-actualization with me coming out the other side a fuller, better person. I anticipate that I will be unable to do this if I lock myself into the comfort zone to which the students in the video had fallen prey. While I certainly understand the importance of a safe haven abroad, especially with the looming threat of culture shock in the coming weeks, I don't want to lose myself in the succor of the familiar. I need to explore. I will explore.
One of the major failures mentioned in the video is the poor language skills of the main student. In the past six months, I have done my best to learn the language, and I hope that my current (growing) knowledge will be a sufficient baseline to experiencing Norway.
These tiny revelations have steeled my resolve to making the most of my days in Oslo preceding my first semester at UiO. One of the ways I will make due on this promise will be to familiarize myself as much as possible with the local supermarkets, particularly the grocers and butchers who work near Bjerke (jeg kan ikke spiese karbohydrater, dere vet). It's my hope that my initiative to meet and befriend some of the locals will make them more sympathetic to the gaps in my understanding of the language. In Norway, I will do my best to use Norwegian as my default over English, and I beg the patience of native speakers and foreign, more skilled speakers alike in my coming to understand this new culture.
(Note: At the end of each blog post, I will attempt to express what I am feeling using only the Norwegian that I know. I will not to look up any words or grammar until after I am complete. Also, I will not correct what I have written in earlier posts so that I will have a record of my progress in learning the language.)
Jeg er lit tret alrede, men jeg vil gjerne jobbe veldig hardt å studere den norske språk. Jeg må ikke gleme som jeg kan gjør dette. Jeg snakker norsk bedre den jeg shreibe den språk, men jeg vil bli bedre på beide i futur.
This week, I've done okay in expressing my thoughts, but I'm starting to realize how different Norwegian is from its distant cousin, German. I noticed when writing that, when I was unsure of a word, I would search back into my understanding of German in the hopes of finding some cognate. It turns out that "schreiben" and "Futur" do not have Norwegian cognates. A few other errors litter this short piece, but I'm content with how this turned out.