This week when I was pretty much ignoring everyone I know in order to get in some internet time, I realized I live with a Norwegian. When I say this I do not mean your grandma’s family came over to the states. I mean she was born in Oslo, Norway.
This whole thing started when I still had no idea where I was living this year. I had a friend who was transferring in to be our third in Bogs Manor, but we still needed a fourth. So finally, we were told by housing they would just find the fourth for us.
Fast forward two months and we get our housing letters; lo and behold I see, “Amanda Kjærnes, Oslo, Norway.” Now, you can imagine the turmoil I felt knowing I was going to live with some brand new person my senior year, let alone a foreigner. Fast forward two more months and I am sitting in my apartment by myself in Bogs. I hear people outside my door, playing with the key, and then in bursts a Norwegian, a Frenchman and a global studies intern. She seemed exhausted and rightly so, because it was 1 a.m.
Amanda was a breath of fresh air. She had one suitcase and a bag of sheets, which we promptly put back in the bag because I had more than enough. I showed her a bunch of things and then she became Sleep, Destroyer of Beds.
The next morning I was terrified! Imagine being a senior and having this freshman-like anxiety over your new roommate. She had nonstop International Orientation, but the time we did spend together was hilarious. It was a lot of, “Where’s this?” and “What’s that?”
Since having met Amanda I have learned that the Norwegian alphabet has three more letters than ours, what Knekkebrod is, how to say “hold the fish” in Norwegian and various other little things that make our friendship an unending adventure. Our apartment is full of crazy dance parties to Norwegian house music, stories of Russ, discussions on why America does not have small drinks and comparisons of cheese. Typical stuff.
I love that I have made a really good friend in Amanda, but I am also super glad I am seeing what an international student has questions about. Silly American things that make zero sense to her, like frying vegetables, wearing shoes inside, not using the dining table, twerking… The usual. So embrace the nearest foreigner, and ask questions.
Katelyn Henagin graduated from Pierz-Healy High School in 2010, and grew up in both Pierz and Worthington, Minnesota. She is graduating in 2014 with a Philosophy Major and a minor in Psychology. If you feel like talking to Katelyn, striking up a conversation about Harry Potter is always a good choice.