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Norwegian 101, Lesson 1

Dear HC readers,

Hello, or “hallo!!” from Oslo, Norway.

I know you have probably all long forgotten me by now, either figuring I turned into a Nutella crepe in Paris or fell into a fjord and/or the hands of some tall and not-so-dark-but-ever-so-kind-and-handsome Scandinavian here in Norway. They are aplenty.

But alas, I’m alive (albeit a little chilly) here in this wonderful land of Vikings and sweaters with the clasps , where I’ll be exploring and traveling and also studying a little for the next three months. And while travel blogs or blogs of any sort have never really been my thing (I’ve long come to accept that no one besides my mom really cares what I’m doing), I keep hearing this little, guilt-tripping voice in my head that says everyone is opining online these days and it’s just about finding your niché. So that notion, along with, yes, a mission to pacify my mom back home in Boston as she floods my inbox to gauge whether I’m breathing across the pond, has led me to offer you loyal HC readers what will probably prove very useless but also hopefully mildly entertaining in the scheme of your non-Norwegian lives: Language Lessons, The Oslo Exchange Student Edition.

For those of you who have truly and strangely been antzing to learn some Norwegian, I provide the following disclaimer: All my classes are in English, I don’t really believe in foreign verbs and I used to induce premature balding among my Spanish teachers as I routinely butchered “hola.” I refer you to Rosetta Stone.

For those of you who attend Quizzo and/or are remotely interested in Scandinavians/ fjords/salmon/oil/darkness and seasonal depression/hot blondes/Vikings/high taxes/expensive things/a pretty kickass welfare state: I can’t make any promises of fluency, but stick with me and come December, my hope is that you and I both may be able to string some very peculiar Norwegian sentences. And when I travel, I’ll try to throw in a bit of the local language, too. So without further ado, Norwegian Lesson No. 1:

1. Snakker du engelsk?!
Katie-ified: SNUHK-ER DEW EN GEHLSK?!?!
Translation: Do you speak English?
Relevance: Upon arriving here in Oslo along with the students on my urban studies program (eight kids from MinnesOHta—which, turns out, is pretty much a mini Norway—and one west coaster), the ten of us were immediately overwhelmed with how friendly and excitable these cute and local blonde people appeared. We also found that they seemed to get particularly excited, or at least amused, when we prefaced our English questions with some poorly pronounced rendition of “SNUCKER DU INGLESK?!!!!,” a phrase we learned from Lonely Planet. Tips: in order to sound like an entirely hopeless tourist, draw the words out in a rollercoaster-esque fashion and apply a very interrogative and enthusiastic tone. Most people, we very luckily found, speak English.

Anyways, that’s lesson one for you. Take-homes: pretty people, pretty place…I’m a fan.

Katie most enjoys friends, non-fiction, and dessert. She graduated from University of Pennsylvania and is a contributing editor at Glamour magazine.
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