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  • Diana

A trip across the Atlantic Ocean

Oslo, Norway is 3,653 miles away from Rochester, NY. When I was eight years old, three plane rides took me to this beautiful place.

I am front and center. My sister is behind me to the right in the yellow top.

My family and I spent two weeks in Norway and we lived the life of any Norwegian. The first few nights we were there, we stayed in a winter cabin. I was terrified because the bathroom was outside and it was made of wood. The Norwegian culture is so beautiful, but a bathroom in a shed was definitely something I had to get used to. When you walked outside of the winter cabin, you saw fields full of long grass and flowers. It was so peaceful that you could hear the sun's rays shining down.

My sister (right) and I (left)

In the middle of the trip, we stayed with a Norwegian family. I enjoyed this because we were able to truly experience the Norwegian lifestyle. I remember Norwegians put caviar on everything. Caviar was put on rolls (which were incredible), meat, name it and caviar was there. When we explored Oslo, parks of elaborate white statues were found almost anywhere. Unlike the U.S., people climbed on the statues- it was actually a very common thing to do. Norway is also known for its Viking ships and gnomes. I can recall walking inside a wooden viking ship with large flags hanging above.

At the end of our trip, we stayed in a summer cabin. The cabin was modern and numerous windows overlooked the water that surrounded the cabin. In Norway, it is normal for people to swim without any clothes on. Not only was this shocking, but the water was home to deadly jelly fish. At the time, I remember learning the Norwegian word for jelly fish, just in case I was stung, but luckily, I never had to say it. However, you could swim all day if you wanted because the sun didn't set until 11 p.m. I think the sun is different on the other side of the world, because I never saw a sunset as perfect as those in Norway.

Summer cabin

When we travel to Epcot in Disney, it is a ritual to visit Norway because they sell our favorite Norwegian candy, Non Stop. The name of the candy might be intentional because it is really hard to stop eating them after you start. The thin circle candy is a tad smaller than a nickel and it comes in basic colors like red, yellow, green and orange. The outside is crunchy but the inside is soft because it is filled with chocolate. This Norwegian favorite is similar to an M&M but the taste is very different! Another Norwegian staple is pineapple pizza. It might sound strange, but it is the perfect combination!

Although I can only remember small parts about our trip to Norway, there is one memory that I will never forget. We were at a store and someone started to speak Norwegian to me. I studied the Norwegian language for months and I knew I could respond back. Not only was it an accomplishment to communicate in another language, but that very moment opened my eyes. From then on, it was important to me to understand other cultures and languages. When we do this, we begin to respect others and our outlook changes for the better.

My family and the Norwegian family we stayed with

Although I didn't continue to study the Norwegian language, I am proud to say that I can read, write and speak in Spanish. I will graduate from college this May with a minor in Spanish and I am a member of Alpha Mu Gamma, the National Language Society, for my success studying the language. I am thankful that my experience in Norway changed my perspective and inspired me to expand my knowledge.

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