Monday, 1 September 2008

I'M A FOREIGNER!!!! (a smelly one)

Hmmm...... what word would I use to describe today??? Let me see.... I think;

AAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yes that will do nicely :-)

Today (well, this morning at least) was HORRIBLE - absolutely the worst day since Hans left (but still nowhere near that bad, thank god) I was really nervous about it anyway, as my classmates are completely different people from the ones I met last week, so it was like starting all over again, again! Also the particular course for this week is methodology and lectures which are COMPLETELY in Norwegian...so no, wasn't looking forward to it - but I guess having that frame of mind put me on a downer from the start...

I woke up late to begin with (7:45) and I had to leave at 8:15, so I had quickly get dressed and grab my stuff and a bowl of cereal and fly out of the door - JUST caught the bus. I washed my hair Saturday before I met Line for a coffee so it's not too bad, but I don't like leaving it long, so I felt trampy and smelly all day (it's not even greasy now, but you know how it feels!)

Anyway, then I got to the building with 10 minutes to spare, sweating and feeling even more smelly from all of the rushing around and tried to find the room I was supposed to be in - now I could guess at the right floor but it took me ages to find the right room as the doors are not numbered until you are actually in the first set... anyway, eventually found the room to discover that the rooms had been changed, but luckily I saw and followed some poor guy up the stairs to the right room. The guy introduced himself, he was quite nice :-) he is actually in furniture design, and he remembered my name and that i was from England (from when I introduced myself to the wrong class last week - he was there!) Shame...

So the lectures began - and they may as well have been in Cantonese... We had a designer do a presentation first, I was catching odd words that I knew but basically all I heard was;

'hi everybody my name is Bente....fjirbgjbgojnjg....I work for Fuggibaggi Design........fejjjnjfknmvknfjkadng....design......njinrfvriwgr.....working in a team.....vnrjinjnfmkldnmvnljln...very, very difficult.......rjajnhjtl...yes?......fewijfjekojebfk....bus station......numbers........jrjgnjrnjnjngjra......typograpy.............jhfnm....architects, furniture designers and several graphic designers......frjoajgk;lkgra'h....many, many people....vbehhbjfnem.....for 10 years.....rwihfjrnjnjnaji...in an office near Bryggen...."

Looking back at it now, I am actually pretty impressed that I even managed to pick any of it up - especially considering I have taught myself from a book - I mean, I did get the very general gist of it, so it could have been worse. I was really focussing on every word though (like I am not supposed too!) and I am so drained now because of it! On top of it though, I didn't know anyone - there were quite alot of students there and they were all Norwegian and people kept looking at me (with interest obviously, but at the time I just felt out of place and.....smelly!)

Lunch time came around pretty early (11:15) and everyone shot up instantly in their little groups and disappeared so fast they left smoke trails - you should have seen me then I was feeling SO sorry for myself, poor ikkle Becky, all awone in Bwergen! Honestly though, I felt really sad and friendless, so I got up slowly, put my stuff away in my bag and (lip quivering!) made my way outside. I had no idea where I could get a cheap lunch from and (it's so embarrasing now) but I was walking down the street nearly crying! The feelings of missing Hans just intensified by 1000 and I texted him then and there - something along the lines of 'It's going really badly - I can't understand a word and no-one is talking to me...'

Just then I saw the guy who had spoken to me earlier, and I asked him where I could get some food, and he kindly took me to the little student kitchen in one of the buildings, I thanked him and went inside to get a sandwich. As soon as I sat down I got a text from Hans - he texted me back super fast, bless him - it said; "Be brave, just talk to someone. You won't regret it. Also, (wo)man up and ask the lecturer for a brief recap in English. Wish I could be there to help you out"

As soon as I read that and I had eaten, I started to feel a little better. Then I had a coffee and felt even better (coffee solves everything) My mood lifted fast and so visibly I felt it - it was like the sun had come out from behind a cloud or something! Then a couple of the guys I made friends with last week came out from their lecture (which just happened to be in the same building I was eating in) so they came to say hi, and we had a bit of a chat about how my day was going, I did say honestly how I was feeling and somehow getting it off my chest made me feel a little better.

Anyway, I went back to the class and although the afternoon was much of the same, I felt happier about it all - I did as Hans ordered and spoke to a couple of people when I got back (before the class had started) and they said they had been watching me before and wondering how much of the lecture I was understanding - so that explains the stares! Its amazing how when you feel 'different' and not one of the crown, paranoia just takes over and it's a slippery slope. I can see how easy it is for people to just go into themselves or hand around with ONLY other students from their home country - but I am absolutely determined I am going to do what I set out to do. I WILL get whatever I can from this experience - as MUCH as I can acedemically and personally. I will be able to say when I get home 'I speak 2 languages' - not 1 and a bit! I won't go through all this and be away from Hans only to see it as a bad experience the whole way through. And I won't, it's not my nature to do that - I may struggle now but I work best when things are tough and I am under pressure, I always come out on top and stronger for it - LOOKING GOOD - I just get lots of spots in the process. Ha ha.

Coffee break...

Anyway, I felt more positive all afternoon, though tired. I am quite looking forward to tomorrow - we had to pick a type of cinema (kino - like German!) that we would like to have a go at designing and I picked 'cinema in museum' or Kino i Museum and I am working with 3 other girls tomorrow. Not quite sure what I am doing, but I guess I'll find out - one of the girls was really friendly (again not on my course so won't see her for long) she wrote her name down for me, åshild, and the names of the other girls in my group which were Maria and Silja. I will post about how it goes but I think I have written enough for tonight.

On another positive note, Phil (PA TEAM friend) liked the designs I mocked up for them, and we have decided on an amended version of the black and white soundwave lot, so I will do them up properly and more professionally and send them over to him. I will post the finshed versions when I have done them!

Thanks again for everyone's comments and emails - it is constantly comforting and cheering to read them all!

Much love x
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