Monday, December 25, 2006


In these relaxing Christmas-times, I decided to take up knitting. After going through all the yarn I could find in the house, I ended up deciding to knit myself a vest. OK, so since I didn't have a pattern, I thought I could google "knitted vest" to get some pictures of inspiration. The search result was a little revealing; surprisingly many hits connected the words "knitted vest" and "nerd"... Hm, maybe I should take that as a hint..

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Still dreaming of a White Christmas...

When I got home Monday night I got home to snow on the ground. I was so happy. Seemed like signing underskriftskampanjer and dancing snowdances (although in secret and not in Tromsø sentrum) had done the trick after all. Yesterday was cold, there was snow on the trees and a blue, sunny sky. Yes, yesterday was a Christmas card. I was telling people that the white Christmas was there after all. Then I woke up today. Almost all the snow was gone, it was raining, and the thermometer showed +6 degrees. Argh!!! After 25 years I still haven't learned that whoever laughs last, laughs best. The weather-gods must be having a blast ringt now.

I tried to keep the Christmas spirit after all. I have been practicing my housewife skills - cleaning, decorating, writing Christmas cards, and baking. I had asked my mom to not bake my favorite Christmas cookies before I got home, so that I could do it instead. Because, to be honest, the cookies are good, but they are nothing compared to the dough! I went like it had to - I practiced my eating skills more than my cooking skills, and ended up on a sugar high with a terrible stomach ache. And the cookies.. Well, I burned the first tray, but after that managed to produce three good trays. Man må regne med litt svinn!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's Over

Finally! It's over! I can't believe it, but I have finally handed in my last exam. EVER! It is too recent to say how wonderful it actually feels, but I can at least say one thing for sure: I am so not going to miss them!! The weeks with lack of sleep, where all the dreams are so stressful and exhausting that I wake up more tired then I actually was the night before. The weeks with lack of appetite where nudles seem like a culinary treat. The weeks where I have a constant taste of old coffee in my mouth after desperate attempts to reach a coffeein level that would keep me somewhat awake. The weeks of getting weirder and more absent minded by the hour. The weeks where I feel more sorry for myself by the second. The weeks when organising old papers or cleaning my room seems not only of outmost importance, but actually fun. Nope, strangely enough, so not going to miss that.

Now I am going home to sleep. And then - out to eat some Chinese food and have a huge glass of cold juleøl. I think I deserve that.

Monday, December 11, 2006

You know it's Exam Time when...

... your priorities for the day look something like this:

1. check e-mail
2. check blog and everyone else's blogs
3. hmm.. maybe someone got up early and sent me an e-mail. I'd better check.
4. read newspapers online
5. make coffee
6. drink coffee (cannot be done while working!)
7. open the book
8. get frustrated, and close the book
9. write a few lines
10. check e-mail
11. check blogs
12. time for a proper coffee from Mix
13. newspapers
14. maybe now I got an e-mail...
15. I haven't really organized my desk this year. It really needs to be done. Today.
16. Well, why not go through and sort all the papers on my desk while I'm at it?
17. I'm hungry. Time to eat.
18. I have to check e-mail. And blogs. Maybe update mine.
19. OK, I'll write a few lines..
20. Oh, how frustrating. The words just won't come down on paper. I need candy. Time for Mix.
21. Did someone comment on my blog? Only one way to find out.
22. OK, now I really have to write something..
23. It's so dark outside. I must have been sitting here working forever! What? it's only 4 o'clock? well, I'm getting so tired I just have to go home for a nap. I can write more tomorrow.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Oh, julebord-season...
I am trying to apply to a school in Oslo to take one course there after Christmas. Then they suddenly told me that application dead-line was today. OK. No problem. They sent me the link to download the application form. OK. Only it won't open. So I called them. And called. Called. And called again. In desperation I finally called the front desk at the school. They told me that unfortunately, the study department could not be disturbed today, because they are using the whole day planning their julebord!!!

I can just see them sitting there folding napkins or something, while I desperatly have to realise that my possibility for a studyplace is getting slimmer by the minute..


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snowdance Anyone?

OK, so I know that there are raindances. Funny dances that will make the rain pour down in seconds. But do any of you know any snowdances?? I am getting desperate. There are only 17 days until Christmas, and there is NO SNOW! Unlike the Namibians, I do not dream about a green Christmas. They need this rain, we don't. We need snow. I simply refuse to accept a green Christmas. Besides, all this lack of snow and high temperatures all over Europe causes wintersport event after wintersport event to be cancelled - and my beloved sportslørdag and sportssøndag on NRK suffer with it.

So. Desperate times call for desperate solutions. If anyone has a snowdance to teach me - one that they know will work - I will overlook all my lack of rythm and poor dance skills, and perform it in the middle of Tromsø sentrum if that is what it takes. Så det så.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Darkness and Coffee-Hunt

Wow wow wow!! Hold on a second. Is this as light as it gets?? Needless to say, I am back in Tromsø. But I am not the only one to have arrived - so has mørketid. The couple of months in the year where there is no sun, and when it basically looks like it's midnight all day round. I have tried to prepare. I sucked in every bit of sunshine that I could from Namibia, and I hope they will keep me awake for a few days extra.

I am not so sure my tactic worked, though. Because after looking out of the window of the reading room only for a few minutes - out on nothing but darkness - I felt the desperate need of coffee to be able to keep my eyes open. Apparently I am not the only one. Because we went to Mix - but they were out of milk. OK, so we tried the cafeteria. Nope, their machine was out of order. Hmm, the pharmasy building is known for their good coffee, right? Well, not today. Their machine was tired and waiting for reparations! (The pharmasy-cafeteria was forgiven, though, after offering us some free gløgg and christmas feeling). But to wake up, I had to go back to the reading room to make myself a cup of strong, but yucky-tasting instant coffee.

I wonder if anyone has done a study of how much the coffee-consumption in Tromsø goes up during Mørketid. It would be really interesting to know.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Looking Young

Today, I went to a cafe in Windhoek. I ordered a coke, and the lady working there told me it was a good thing that I didn't order a beer, because she couldn't sell them to people under 18... And the worst part of it is - the place was only selling light beer!

Friday, December 01, 2006

It isn't Only-Only

The last couple of weeks I have gotten used to driving on the wrong (read:left) side of the road. I realized that I am getting used to it when I said to my mom yesterday that "have you noticed that now I am almost always choosing the correct side of the road after turning in an intersection??". Yesterday I also practiced my driving-in-a-city-on-the-wrong-side-skills, and it was OK. But today I am returning the car to Hertz. Kind of sad actually. But I do agree with the Norwegian rally-driver Petter Solberg - famous for his Norwenglish - that it isn't only-only to drive in the desert! (This probably makes most sense for those of you familiar with the great Norwegian expression "bare-bare", it doesn't translate too well...)

It has been great to be back in Namibia, and to see the people again. But summr here is HOT! I am looking forward to going back to Norway now, to some decent winter temperatures! Guess I am a winter person after all!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Now I am going up North in Namibia, and I might not be able to use the internet so much. But I would be very happy to recieve some sms's at my new Namibian number: +264813217560 :)

Stuck in Windhoek

I almost have to laugh. Seems that I'm experiencing Murphy's law of travelling or something. I didn't mind staying 24 hours in London. Not at all. It was great. But then when we finally got on the plane that would take us to Joburg 24 hours late, I got sick. And getting sick on a plane is not a good feeling. It's kind of a claustrophobic feeling. Cause there is nowhere to go and always a line for the bathroom.. The only similar experience I have had was getting seasick in Iceland. Terrible. Well, we finally landed, and had to pick up our luggage and check in to the Windhoek plane. Then I herad that passenger "Berttness" should kindly report to the baggage reclaim desk. So passenger Berttness kindly did, only to find out that our bags were still in London. Filling out all those forms and arguing to get a refund (we finally got 35 puonds for buying deodorants and stuff) made sure that we also lost our plane to Windhoek. Luckily the nice rebooking guy in Heathrow had seen this happening, and also booked us into a later plane "just in case"... So we finally got to Windhoek, where it is nice and warm and sunny, but we have to wait here till the bags arrive, because they don't deliver to Khorixas off course... Turns out they don't deliver to Windhoek either, so we'll have to go get them at the airport. I just called South Africa, and the bags at least made it there and are heading for Windhoek this afternoon. So if all goes according to plan (haha) - we'll pick them up together with the rental care tomorrow morning, and I will test my "driving on the left side"-skills up to Khorixas :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

London Calling

Yesterday the winter decided to come back to Gardermoen. Our plane was not prepared for that. So it was delayed. When we finally took off, we realized that this was going to be a fight with time if we were going to make the plane from Heathrow to Joburg. We lost that fight. We were delayed in every possible way: Since we took off late, we had to get a new landing time, and had to circle over London for half an hour. Then when we finally landed, there was no space to park, and we had to wait for the stairs to be driven to the temporary parking spot. Then we had to take a bus to another terminal at the totally opposite end of the airport. At this terminal they were very strickt at the security check. When we finally got through, the last plane "to that part of the world" tonight (as the airport guy put it), had already left.

But all is well that ends well. All these dalays made British Airways give us new tickets for tonight, and a hotel in London for last night. And since we had all day today without nothing to do, what else could we do than get on the tube and explore London?? Since I have wanted to go here for quite a while, I was everything but sad to get an opportunity to spend a day here (almost) for free! Unfortunately our suitcases were stuck at Heathrow, and I don't relly have room for anything more in my carry-on, so shopping was not really an option. Still, it was a great day in London. But now we'll soon be on our way back to Heathrow to be sure to make tonight's plane to Joburg :)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ready or Not.. Here I Go

Can't believe how incredably fast the days have gone lately, and suddenly it is time to go back to Namibia! With limited time for preparations, I have been running around looking for my summer clothes the last couple of days, and I now hope that everything is in the suitcase... I don't really feel ready to go, but it will probably feel better once I've started the long journey towards southern Africa. Weather reports online told me that it was 43 degrees in Khorixas yesterday... But luckily the forecast says it will go down to only 37 next week! Well well, it will be nice to get some weeks with lots of sun so that I can hopefully tackle Mørketid a little better when I get back.. Knowing the internet situation there, I might not be able to update the blog for a while. But watch out - suddenly I might find a place with internet that works, and write a few lines letting you know what's going on in Namibia!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Career Options

"Peace Studies? Oh! How interesting.. But tell me, what kind of job can you get after studying that?" There it is again. The Question! The question that I have gotten so many times, but still dread more than any other question.. Because what job can I get really? Time flies uncomfortably fast, and I am getting painfully aware of the fact that I only have like 6 months to find an answer to the big future-career-question. But, as always, if Plan A is difficult to come up with, why not start with Plan B? That's what I did. If I cannot decide what peace-related job I could have a chance of getting, why not choose a completely different career plan? So I have come up with a Plan B. And C. And maybe even D.

Plan B came about in the least expected circumstanses. In the changing room at Kraft last year, Kjersti and I was talking about my towel, which I told her had one of my favorite celebreties printed on it. She thought I was talking about Kristofer Hæstad (no no no), but I was of course talking about Harry Potter! However, with this misunderstanding the brilliant plan of "The Celeberty Shower Company A/S" was born! Wouldn't you like to be able to order towels with your favorite celeberty on?? If you have any special requests, just let me know, and it might even make it to the first big kolleksjon..

But such a risky Plan B also requires a Plan C.. What if celeberty towels for some mysterious reason is not a big hit? Well, I have a plan. It is called "Pink Tomatoes", and is a t-shirt store combined with a cafe that serves the best hot chocolate EVER. Also this plan came about under strange circumstances, as I was making food for old people in Iceland and spent my days without understanding what anybody said, except some Icelandic words that sounded like, yep - pink tomatoes. Therefore, the first one will be opened in Reykjavik.

If all my creative skills fail me, however, I just recently discovered a third option. Holding my lectures for Save the Children, I discovered that the prosentage of cute, young, male teachers in Finnmark is relatively high.. So maybe a school career in the far North wouldn't be such a bad idea.. After all it would be a good thing also for my huge student loan.

Well well.. Other career suggestions greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


I overslept this morning. My alarm clock went off. Since I'd been wide awake from 4am to 6am, I figured I deserved to snooze at least once. The alarm went off again. I turned it off, ready to get out off bed and get ready for school. I just needed to close my eyes for a moment. Then I thought about getting dressed, putting my make up on, prepare my lunch, and go out the door. When I was on my way out the door, I opened my eyes. I was still in bed. It had all seemed so real. Creepy!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Christmas Card

I wish you could all see Tromsø today. It's beautiful. Cold, snowy, and sunny. It is on Sundays like this that I really don't like being a student. Because Sundays like this should be spent climbing a mountain, not inside a reading room trying to meet a research paper deadline. Somehow I have this fancy idea that having a job enables you to take weekends completely off. I guess I could now that I'm a student too, but in exam times like this it would be a day off with a side dish of guilt feeling.

I also wish that I would have taken my camera today. I looked at it as I left my room this morning, and thought, neh, don't need it.. Then I came out and realized that if I had brought it, I could have posted a great christmas card this year. But, since I didn't bring it, you'll just have to close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful winter landscape you can think of. And that's the christmas card from Tromsø this year.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Vi Rosenborg-supportere blir ofte beskylt for å være medgangssupportere, som holder med et lag som bare vinner og ikke vet hva det vil si å støtte opp når det går i motbakke. Dette fikk vi til de grader motbevist i fjor. I år har jeg tatt mine evner som motgangssupperter et skritt videre. Men denne gang for et annet lag.. (Jeg må på dette tidspunktet understreke at jeg på ingen måte har sviktet Rosenborg). Under snøstormen på Alfheim i går var det en stemning på tribunene som fikk til og med en svoren RBK-fan til å hyle "Heia TIL" og håpe at stemmen, sammen med de over 6000 andre, ville nå fram til banen gjennom vindkastene og hjelpe Tromsø til å berge plassen i Tippeligaen. For min nye posisjon som motgangs-supporter for TIL har også rent egoistiske baktanker.. For at TIL holder plassen betyr flere gode kamper i byen, og ikke minst besøk av Rosenborg til våren, slik at jeg kan dra på Alfheim og stille meg sammen med borte fansen!

Nok om det. Kampen i går var en opplevelse av de sjeldne. Det er ikke ofte man får oppleve en fotballkamp i ekte snøstorm, der arrangøren må plukke fram en orange ball, og kampen må blåses av med jevne mellomrom for å få måket linjene fri for snø.. En opplevelse man bare får i Tromsø vil jeg tro. De to timene på Alfheim inntullet i alt vi kunne finne av vinterklær, ga begrepet vintersport en helt ny mening. Men det var verdt det. TIL ser ut til å berge plassen, og gullet er tilbake i Trondheim, der det hører hjemme...

Halloween Party

On Saturday there was a great Halloween party at the Peace House. And yes, among many others, a couple of vampires did show up. So I guess we do exist... And I have pictures to prove it!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Vampires - do they exist?

In these Halloween-times, Norwegian newspaper focus on extremely important issues, like "do Vampires really exist"? The researcher Dagbladet had talked to (OK, it isn't only newspapers that use their time and effort wisely...) said that vampires are mathematically impossible. If not, we would all be one. Personally, I don't think we should draw any such firm conclusions yet. Let's wait till after Halloween, and then we can discuss it, OK?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Blog Power

Just two days after I wrote my previous post, King Winter did decide that it was time to come to Tromsø. I believe the decision was made after reading my blog, of course. I love winter. The snow makes everything so much lighter, and the cold is so refreshing. At least if it doesn't get any colder than this.

Because of all the snow, I now have some entertainment here in the city library. I got a desk right by the window overlooking a steep down hill, and from the looks of it - the winter came a little suddenly on people in Tromsø this year. Most have not yet found their winter shoes or brushed the dust off their "walking on slippery snow and ice-skills", it seems. No serious falls yet, luckily, but quite a few funny walking styles and almost-falls have been spotted. (Man får ikke mer moro enn den man lager selv, sant...)

Ok. It's time to stop writing unnecessary blog posts and close the internet here now. I must go back to staring helplessly at the computer screen trying to write a few sentences on my research paper. No luck so far. I wish wasting time could be a full time job. In that case I wouldn't have to worry about not getting a job once student life is over..

Friday, October 20, 2006

Change of Mind

As I headed up to Kirkenes on Monday to hold lectures for secondary school students about Operasjon Dagsverk, I was very curious about two things..
1. What could I possibly do for three whole days + an evening in Kirkenes??
2. Would I be able to hold a lecture about Nepal for a bunch of people without fainting or forget everything I was supposed to say?

After having spent a few hours in Kirkenes on my way to and from Murmansk a few weeks ago, I have said that the only thing that could make me concider living there was if I was very newly married or desperately in love. This tiny city where a Latte is still presented as a "nyhet" and every cafe seems to be closed after 9 pm (exept Ritz, which apparently is the place to be) just didn't seem like the place for me. Spending three days there was not really on top of my priority list. But things change. Kirkenes is also a town where the winter comes early (yes, I count that as a positive thing!). It is the place where I first saw a submarine. And it is a place very close to Finland, which means I had the opportunity to stock up on my favorite chips (with dill). It is basically a very koselig little town. And last but not least; it is the home of a lot of really nice people! I met so many nice people during these three days, and it really confirmed my opinion that: it is not the place that is important. It's the people. I was almost sad to leave Kirkenes last night!

The other issue was the speaking-in-front-of-a-lot-of-people-about-a-topic-that-I-don't-know-too-well issue. Scary. Definitely scary. Monday night I considered locking myself in some room in Tromsø airport, and accidentaly miss my plane. But I didn't. I had put too much work into holding presentations for our poor mirror to chicken out now! And after feeling uncomfortably many nerves on Tuesday morning, I held my first presentation - and found out that it was actually kind of fun!!

And last night, as I went on the plane in Kirkenes, I felt the great, familiar smell of winter. It was great. Can't wait till King Winter decideds to make an apperance in Tromsø too :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Russian Specialities...

On the first night in Murmansk, the guy next to me at the table said that he thought trying new types of food was the most interesting part of travelling. The woman across the table disagreed, and thought food was next most important after the view.

In the case of Murmansk, I have to say that the food was probably a little more interesting than the view. Because we got a lot of Russian specialities - and I think the word "interesting" describes them quite well. "Indefinable" is another one. But of course, we had to try these indefinable foods now that we had the chance...

Lakserogn (Salmon roe): very strange consistency, strange taste, wouldn't recommend trying it really... But in case you do, have a glass of water (or vodka) ready.

Griseflesk med hvitløk (pig fat with garlic): don't even think about it!

Some kind of fancy chicken: Despite tons of butter, this is VERY good!

Chips with mushroom flavor: Not my first choise of chips...

But I have to point out that we also got a lot of good food in Murmansk :)

However, I also have to say that I don't agree with either of my neighbors at the table. The best thing about travelling is either the food or the view. It is meeting the local people.


I am now back in Tromsø after spending the week-end in Murmansk, Russia, and I have to say that it has been four extremely interesting days visiting our neighbours in the east.

My image of Murmansk before I went, was that it would be a very grey, cold, and boring city. And yes, it is grey, but it is by no means as cold as I feared, and it is certainly not boring!

No one in Murmansk live in regular one-family houses. They all live in five to ten-storyes appartement-buildings, and these buildings all look grey and tired from the outside. This is because it is the municipality's responsibility to renovate them, but they never do. In this way, Murmansk looks like a very grey and tired city at first glance.

However, once you get to know the people, Murmansk comes alive. The reason I went there was a meeting in Save the Children, and because of this we got to meet and work with some of the children that are participating in one of the projects SC are starting in the city. Meeting and getting to know these children was really great, and it made the trip so much more special and interesting.

But there is no doubt that crossing the border between Norway and Russia means crossing one of the borders in the world where the social differences from one side to the other is the biggest. And the system is also very different. We got our passports checked three times on the three hour bustrip from Murmansk to the border, every time by a serious military guy with a gun. Some of the cities are very strictly military cities, where noone is allowed to stop, and in some cities one is not allowed to take pictures. In other cities you are allowed, like in Nikkel and Murmansk - and here are some examples

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dear TromsBuss

Let me make a suggestion.
Take a look at the schedule of the incoming planes to Tromsø Airport.
I am sure the number is not astronomical.

Take a look at the times they arrive.
Then take a look at your flybuss-schedule.
See anything that doesn't match??
There is no flybuss for the plane that comes in at 1 am!!

I am pretty sure that I speak for almost everyone who was waiting in the 50 m taxi line for over half an hour Monday night when I say that it would be a good idea to do something about that...

Friday, September 01, 2006


After taking a fair amount of trains recently, I am left with one question:

Why is it always my train that has to stop and wait five minutes for the train going the opposite direction??

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ooops, I did it Again...

It seems like I never learn..

Finally, the sun and summer temperatures have decided to find their way to Os also. And in true Norwegian summer spirit, I find my bikini and go to lay out on the veranda at the first hint of sun. That is how the Norwegian summer works. So now I have spent a few days just sitting out on the veranda, trying to read in the great, warm sun. It has been great! But too bad that I forgot that thing called sunblock - again! I am now so red that I can barely sit, and I shouldn't go out in the sun again today. But how can anyone sit in when there is weather like this??

The thing which is quite strange to think about is that only a couple of weeks ago I was in Khorixas, where 20 degrees felt really, really cold. It is winter in Namibia now, and people were wearing their jeans and winter jackets - which are just as thick as Norwegian winter jackets (boblejakker på godt norsk!). People were talking about how cold it was, and the funny thing is that I, too, would disapprovingly shake my head and complain about the temperatures being low. It really felt cold!! And here it feels really hot! Strange.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Snapshots from the Khorixas Album

Me and my host brothers Dion and Dannie

Me and 2-year-old sister Mercy posing in traditional Damara dresses

Donkerhoek and some of the children there


... and the "Norway Boys":

Back on Norwegian Soil

For those of you who were starting to wonder whether I had been eaten by a lion, I can assure you that I am back home safe and sound. Back home in Norway, that is! And even though I have had a good time and experienced a lot during my seven weeks in Namibia, I have to say that it feels extremely good to be back home too.

Matt, the American Peace Corps volunteer in Khorixas, asked me the day before I left; so, what will you tell all the people at home when they ask if Namibia was as you expected it to be? And that was not an easy question. Because it wasn’t really as I expected it to be, but then again, I can’t really say exactly how I expected it to be, either.

To put everything I have experienced this summer down on paper would be impossible. And for that matter, I don’t think I have realised everything I have learned yet, I guess that comes with time and distance. But what I do know is that I have learned a lot; about Namibia, about other people and cultures, and not to forget – I have learned a lot about myself.

Of course I have experienced both positive and negative things during the last seven weeks. I have seen things that made me cry, I have heard things that left a big lump in my troat. The words “extreme poverty” and “living of less than a dollar a day” have become painfully real to me. Because even though they have tried to hide the extreme poverty in areas called Donkerhoek (The Dark Corner) outside the towns (out of sight, out of mind?), it is there. One of the UN’s millenium development goals is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger within 2015. There is certainly a long way to go. The people in Donkerhoek have never heard about the UN. They live in sheds with no electricity or water, and struggle to get one meal a day. Seeing this, the millenium goal seems so far away. I don’t see how it can be obtained. But I certainly hope that there is a way.

The crime rate is also high, and as a response to this there were always guards with guns in the grocery store, in the pubs, everywhere. I guess they were there to protect us, but I always found it a little uncomfortable. And one thing I think I could never get used to is the lack of freedom I often felt. I am used to being able to walk home alone at four o’clock in the morning, or go jogging by myself in the woods. Now I couldn’t be outside after dark, not unless I had someone go with me. In Khorixas that was OK, because I always had someone to walk with, but in Windhoek it was more difficult. To walk around in the centre by myself was OK, but I tried not to go outside downtown. And I couldn’t take a taxi alone either, so I was pretty much stuck in the centre or at the guesthouse. The fact that I couldn’t go out alone after dark made me feel that six hours were cut off my day, and I didn’t like that feeling. This has really made me appreciate the freedom I have here in Norway, a freedom which I always used to take for granted.

But I shouldn’t only focus on the negative side, because I have experienced a lot of great things this summer also. One thing is the culture, all the music and dancing – that will bring you in a good mood even if you’re having a bad day. I have met a lot of really nice people, and the hospitality and friendliness that I met from people was amazing. Namibians might not be rich when it comes to material things, but they are certainly very rich in culture, hospitality and friendliness. And my host family was great. It was so nice of them to take me into their house for a few weeks, and they not only took me into their home but also into their family. After the four weeks I spent up there I really felt like one of the family, and it was sad to leave. The children were a wide range of ages – 2, 8, 18 and 20 – so they all had different interests which meant that I got to experience a lot of different things. I can’t wait to see them again when I go back this winter.

And I have also met some other amazing and inspiring people who have started many interesting projects for children from poor or troubled areas. Since my project is about sports for development, I also wanted to talk to people who have started other sport projects in the country. And it turned out to be quite a few. I met a woman who had started a weekly football tournament for several hundred kids to keep them away from doing “not-so-good”-things and give them confidence and organization skills. I met a guy who had started an organization that imported thousands of broken bikes from abroad so that people could learn mechanical skills and open small businesses, in addition to exercising and improving their health. I met someone who had started an organization that focused on young kids who had come in trouble with the police – and which also organized sports events to keep these kids out of the streets. And I met many more. And to see what these projects do for the kids - how happy they are when they are playing, and how much they appreciate having something like this to do – that is a great sight. I know that sport is not a miracle cure that can fix all the problems in the world. Not by a long shot. It doesn’t end poverty, hunger, criminality or conflicts. But it can certainly be a helping factor in some cases. And it gives the kids something to do, a free time where they can think about something else than all the difficulties at home. Sports can’t help them all. But it can help some. And that’s important too.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Off to see the Elephants

The days just seem to fly by here in Namibia, and today it is just a week untill I leave.. I don't know how the days manage to go so incredibly fast, the days just never seem to have enough hours.. Since I got to Windhoek I have gotten a lot of interviews with different organisations and people working with different sports for development projects here in the area. There are a lot of interesting projects and facinating people with many great ideas! Yesterday I went to a huge football tournament that one American lady arranges for over 500 kids every Saturday!

Otherwise I have gone shopping for some really nice souvernirs, and although my bargaining skills are not the best, they are improving - and I actually made a deal I was quite proud of yesterday. I am now planning to buy an African drum, but a friend of mine is going to help me with that, since he said that they will ask much more from me since I'm a tourist. So now the only problem will be actually getting the thing on the plane.

And from tomorrow I decided to take a few day's vacation, and go on a safari up to the Etosha National Park. It is a camping safari, and I have to say that I wonder how it is going to be sleeping in a tent, since I normally sleep with two duvets, two blankets and a sleepingbag - indoors! (people told me that it would be cold here this time of year.. but I don't think I managed to imagine quite how cold...) But I have survived quite a few camping trips in Iceland, and surely Africa can't be colder than that! Anyway, I can't wait to go up to Etosha, and I really hope to see some Elephants, Giraffes, and Lions - oh, and not to forget the Meerkats, of course!

I hope you are all enjoying the summer!
I am going to try to stay in a safe distance from the lions.. I'll tell you how it went on Wednesday!

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Those four last posts were things I have had on my memory pen for a while. Maybe not so interesting, but since I had already written them, I decided that I might as well publish them, too.

Things have changed a little bit since that last one was written. I am in pain. IN PAIN!! And I only have myself to blame... You see, I decided that the lemon blonde hair was not enough. I needed a tan. So this morning, I took my book with me, put on some SPF 10 and sat in the garden for a while. The SPF 10 did not do the trick. At all. Result: One red lobster in pain. AAAAAAUUUCH! OK. Enough complaining.

Windhoek is treating me well. I am doing some interviews, some shopping, and hanging out with friends. And now I have to go. I have to prepare some questions to ask at the Ministry of Youth and Sport tomorrow. Wish me luck :)


Just as I suspected, my skin refuses to get any kind of tan - even if exposed to the strong sun of Africa. (Well, that is not quite true. I have discovered that one part of my body actually gets a tan. I have a tan line from my sandals. But somehow that just makes it look like my feet are dirty. ) I have a sneaking suspicion that none of you will believe me when I say that I have spent 6 weeks in Africa. You will all think I decided to do my fieldwork on football in Siberia instead.

So I decided that at least I have to make use of the sun for something - and that is to get my hair blonder. Therefore, my brother Dannie and I decided to do a little myth-buster, and see if there actually is some truth to the good, old lemon trick. So we squeezed a couple of lemons in my hair and made a couple of highlights in Dannie's. And it worked! Well, Dannie's hair didn't really change at all. But my highlights did! Some of them actually turned platinum blonde!

And that will be my evidence of having spent a month and a half in the sun. That, and the sandal tan-line, off course.

Separated at Birth?

Now in these World Cup times, I was talking to my football fanatic neighbor Philip. The subject of Sweden participating in the World Cup came up, and he asked which famous players plays for Sweden. I listed up the ones I knew, ending with Zlatan Ibrahimovich. Then there was a little pause where my neighbor just looked at me before he said "Yeah. You actually look like him".

Well, I don't know MJ, do Zlatan and I make it to your look-alike-list??

Jump, Shake your Bootie

The first days I was here, at the preparation course for the Norway Cup project, I learned a new game. It was called "Jump, shake your bootie", and turned out to be very useful when I have tried to learn a little bit of Namibian dancing.

The dancing here is just incredible. Dancing is such a big part of the culture, and almost everyone dances wherever there is music - which means basically everywhere. And it is just amazing to see.

So I decided that I also wanted to try to learn to dance the way they do here. And this involves a lot more flexibility than I am used to, and yep, also a lot more bootie shaking! But I just can't help trying to dance when I hear this music. And my attempts are always met with laughter and applause, and I just try to convince myself that they are laughing with me and not of me. I undersatnd that even if I try to do like thay show me to, my dancing just looks very, very stiff to them. "Why aren't you people more free?" they ask me. Good question. I didn't find an answer.

I have decided that learning by observing is probably the best way. And the posibilities to observe are many. At the break time of a football tournament, the boys will put on some music and have kind of an impulsive dance show on the side of the field. I think you would have to search long and hard to find 15 year old boys in Norway doing the same. At the youth hall there are often traditional dancing competitions, and even the smallest social gatherings seems to involve music, dancing, and singing. At the preparation course when the boys were asked to show us some traditional dancing, they didn't hesitate for a second. When we Norwegian people there tried to come up with some dance to show them, we had a hard time coming up with any. And when I ask the boys what they'd like to know more about Norway, they always respond that they would like to know more about Norwegian traditional dances..

Unfortunately, I don't think my learning by observing method has made me a much better dancer. But at least it has given me a lot of fun, and let me see some incredible dancing skills!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Lesson in Namlish

Even though English is the official language of Namibia, it is noone's actual mother tounge. Actually a school here in Khorixas has a poster on their door saying:

"Don't be ashamed if you make mistakes when speaking English, it is a foreign language!"

At home most people speak one of the bezillion tribal languages, and often they don't start to learn English before they start school - when they have to learn it because all lectures are given in English. Therefore, the level of English varies greatly.

There are a few phrases here that everybody use when they speak English, though, phrases you don't normally hear an English speaker use. Therefore, we can call the language Namlish. For an already language-confused Norwegian, Namlish can be a bit hard to follow at times, at least before you recognize the pattern.

The thing that has been most confusing to me is the use of the word "must". "Must" is used in every context, and covers pretty much everything from can, could, should, will, have to, and do-you-want-me-to. While I always think of must as in "have to" (Norwegian "maa"). So, on my first day when my brother asked me "must I save some of the dinner for you Hanna?", I just said "oh, you don't have to if there is not enough"... But later I realized he was actually just asking if I wanted some dinner.. I did want some dinner!

The one thing I find most funny, though, is this: time apparently has a different meaning here, and the word "now" means more like "in a couple of hours" than "right now". So what is very funny to me is when a person is telling me they'll be back in a little while by saying "I am coming right now" just as they turn and walk away from you. I am still working on getting used to Namibian time..

And when I come back home, chances are big that I will end every sentence with "neh?" or "man!"

Gotta go! See you later, neh?

Beautiful like a Macaroni

Last night, while I was out playing pool with my brothers for the last time in a few months, I recieved the so far strangest compliment of my life from some guy in the bar.

"You look beautiful like a macaroni".

"Ehm.. Thank you. I think.."

My brother Dion had to explain some cultural differences to me. That has started to become a habit by now. And apparently, macaroni is something most families in Khorixas only get to eat for their Sunday dinner. Therefore, it is something special for them. Rice, too, is apperantly pretty special, therefore "beautiful like a rice" would also be a big compliment. So thank you. I think.

When we are on the subject of strange compliments, there is one more that I just haven't gotten used to. "Oh, you legs look so fat!" "Oh, you look really fat in that picture!" Ehm.. thank you?? Dion comes to my rescue again. According to him, if he told a lady that she had become fat, she would be happy all day long. Apparantly, if people loose wait, there will be rumors that they have gotten HIV, and therefore, nobody wants to hear that they are thin. I can understand that. But it still feels a little bit strange to hear people telling me straight out that I look fat today..

Otherwise, today I left Khorixas, and I am going to spend the last two weeks here in the capital, Windhoek, except for a little safari trip or two. It was really sad to leave Khorixas, and especially my family who has been great! It was probably good that my friend Eric came to my house at 8.30 this morning saying that he had found a car that would take us to Windhoek right now, even before I was finished packing, so it wasn't much time to feel sad and dreading saying good-bye. I don't think it really hit me before I was sitting alone in Windhoek this evening, that I don't get to see them again for months. That's sad!

I must try to look at the bright side! here in Windhoek I have hot water, and tomorrow I get to take a warm shower and wash my hair. I never thought I could be so excited about hot water!! I can count on embarrasingly few fingers the showers I have taken in the last four weeks.. Besides, getting back to more familiar food is also on the plus side. And now I am just babbeling. I hear my bed calling me. A bed with a duvet and pillow, no more sleeping bag for a looooong time :)

And, as you see, I am back in a place with internet connection. tomorrow I will see if I can get to post the blogs I have saved on my memory pen each time I optimistically went to see if the internet place was open..

Friday, June 09, 2006

A few Words from Khorixas

Just thought I'd write a few words from Khorixas, Namibia! The place where I have access to internet is also the place where they have examinations these days, and therefore - not so much internet for me. And now that I suddenly got to use the internet for a few minutes, I have experienced so much that I don't even know how to start putting it down on paper.

So now I have been up here for almost two weeks. It's strange - in one way it seems like I have been here a lot longer, but in another way the days go really fast. I have decided to stay here for about two more weeks, doing some more interviews and hanging around, and then go to the capital, Windhoek, to do a few interviews, go to a fund-raising sports day, and hopefully have time to go on a little safari-trip somewhere.

Khorixas is a nice place, and the people are very nice. I live with a very nice family, and have four host siblings. The two oldest boys brought me on a sightseeing trip in the area a couple of days ago, and that was a lot of fun. I have also tried to learn a little bit of their traditional dancing, but without very much success I'm afraid. Another thing I am not doing very much progress on is to learn a few words of the language they speak here - because they have a few clicking sounds that are just impossible for me to pronounce. I had my brother record it into my cell phone, so when I get home I let you hear and you will all probably understand why... Otherwise I have started to do some interviews, and I have followed the Norwegian girl who is a sports volunteer here to some of her work. Tonight she has her good-bye party, and she'll be leaving on Sunday. That will be sad!

Well, there is a lot more things I should have written, but I am running out of time right now. Ciao!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ready (?) for Take Off

Day of departure is sneaking up on me, and the "joy" of packing is almost over. The packing has mostly been carried out like this: making a list of things I think I need to take with me (and forgetting half of it of course), then starting to sort things into piles on the floor (piles that don't have any kind of categorization or make any kind of sense of course), and then standing in the middle of all those piles, just looking at them not knowing where to begin. The other problem is of course that I have decided to bring very little.. And knowing myself, this is going to complicate things even more, because I am just not made for packing lightly. But I am not made for carrying superheavy backpacks in warm weather either, so this time I have to be good..

The worst thing is that I have this terrible feeling that I am forgetting something.. The visa-application was approved in record time, I now have a host family in Khorixas and a lift from the airport, and I have "enjoyed" my last bottle of delicious, "raspberry"flavored drinking vaccine, but STILL it feels like I am forgetting something.. Oh well, I am counting on that it is just a stupid feeling, that things will work out very smoothly once I get past those off-sick/striking security-check people (wow, maybe I won't be body searched this time!) at Gardermoen.

Even though I am a little nervous about the whole thing, I am also - believe it or not - quite optimistic that this will be a really good experience. I have heard so many positive things about Africa, about Namibia, Khorixas, and the people there, and also about the amazing desert-scenery in Namibia. I think it will be a great experience, and the six weeks will probably fly by. I just wish I could go now. It's all this waiting that is just starting to make me nervous.

But I have found out that there is an internet place in Khorixas (although the net apparently is a little unstable, as the internet usually is), so I am going to update my blog as often as possible! My blog will as of now and for a couple of months turn into a travel-blog, or a travel-diary. And I'll be very happy if you send me e-mails, comments or sms's :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Au Revoir Tromsø

Summer vacation arrived early this year. Early exams, great sun, and shorts-and-singlet temperatures tricked my brain into believing that it is a lot later than the 14th of May. The result is that I am walking around in a summer-vacation-mode which seems impossible to snap out of. Even the fact that it has now started snowing outside can't change this great summer feeling..

I left Tromsø four days ago, and it it strange to think about that I'm not going back there for like four months. But there will be a lot of stuff happening in those four months!

My summer vacation started out great when I spent three days at Berit's place in Oslo. Next week I'm going to Trondheim to celebrate 17.mai and do some serious Namibia-shopping on the 18th. Then I guess Namibia is next up on my summer plans.. I am experiencing a strange mix of feelings about the trip - a good portion of excitement and curiosity all mixed up with a big dash of fear. Lately, though, the excitement and curiosity part is starting to grow bigger, especially after recieving two big envelopes filled with Namibian tourist phamplets in the mail. My new brilliant plan is to finish all my interviews in record-speed, and have as much time as possible to go on safaries and do some tourist stuff!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sweater, anyone?

I am not happy with our washing machine.

We have had some minor disagreements all along, since I am secretly suspecting it of shrinking my jeans ever so slightly. However, last night it was time for the big confrontation:

It definitely shrunk my lambwool sweater! A lot!

I mean, even the washing maschine should understand that when I put it on the gentle cycle, 30 degrees, it is supposed to do exactly the same as if I had put it on the wool-programme. Hello!

But, I guess I have to face facts, the sweater is no longer possible for me to wear. Some serious stretching changed it from a tiny size 10-year to something more close to a size 12-year, but at soon 25 that doesn’t do much good for me. So I figured it is probably best to see if it could be useful for anyone else, and therefore:

A now amazingly tight and tiny, but still nice and warm, beige lambwool sweater up for auction! So if you know someone who knows someone who.. Or if you are looking for a cheap gift for a nephew or (maybe preferably) a niece – look no further!

The bidding starts at 10 kroner! 10 going once– 10 goin..

Did I hear 12?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sunday Hike

Yesterday, Kjersti and I let thesis preparations be thesis preparations, and decided to spend all day outside. It is simply impossible to sit inside when the sun is shining, there are no clouds in sight, and the temperature is climbing towards the 20 degree mark. So we decided to take up the søndagstur tradition from the fall.

Goal of the day: top of the Fjellheis mountain. The Fjellheis goes there, but costs 85 kr to take to the top, and is free to take back down. Translated into student language: you walk up, and you take the heis down.

The hike up is steep, but not too long. Within an hour the goal was reached, and along the way we got to take some breaks and take pictures of the people who were not quite as sporty as us (look right):

From the top of the mountain, the view is fantastic. And I also got to work on my sunburn that is supposed to be the base color before heading off to Namibia (so actually I could call this thesis preparations after all!), eat some ice cream and a hot dog, and just relax. What a perfect day!

And after a Sunday hike, what could be better than sitting outside at Driv in the sun, drinking a glass of ice cold coke?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Sommer og Sol

Looks like the summer has already come to the Paris of the North! The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the seagulls are singing and the ice cream is waiting. I spent May 1st (Labor Day) sitting outside Driv eating the first softis of the year and working on my sunburn, and it felt great! I think I might have to reconsider winter being my favorit time of year..

OK, now I'm off to sit on the veranda of the Peace House to read a little. My sunburn is not quite there yet.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Schweiz - Suisse - Switzerland - Sveits

Last spring I got a letter from Leoneck Hotel in Zürich, telling me that I had won a free week-end at their hotel after participating in their online puzzle-quiz. I was so excited - since Zürich is one of my favorite cities, and since this is the first time I win anything else than a lottery - and determined to use my free voucher even if the plane tickets would cost more than the actual hotel would have..

So after Easter I headed for my favorite country Switzerland. There I met Giulia, my friend from Italy who went to the same high school as me in the US, and who I hadn't seen for three years. That was great, and we had a lot of fun in Zürich!

I also decided that Switzerland is a country I have to go back to. It is so beautiful, and so facinating. And since they have four official languages, I have decided that it must be the perfect place to go and learn one. After listening to people speak and trying to understand signs and restaurant menues, I realized that learning a new language is necessary. And since they have every sign in at least two languages, La Suisse is the place to be. They even have both French and German subtitles on the movie at the same time! But language is not the only reason I so desperatly want to go there. It is so beautiful with the Alps, warm in summer and lots of great snow and ski slopes in the winter. And the people are so friendly and helpful! Watch out, Switzerland, I'll be back!