Friday, 5 September 2008

Week 1 over, red fish, and I getting my first packages!!!)

Friday 5th September

So it's been an interesting few days with it's ups and downs! I am actually glad it's Friday and for the first time since Hans went back to England I am not dreading the weekend!

As I mentioned before it has been the first week of my courses, it was the heavy going 'design metodikk' class... and it's been an experience! I am planning on including the work I do on my course within the blog, but this was all discussions and research and with a presentation at the end so if I do go into detail you will probably never read the blog again (however good your intentions are!) All I will say is it was tough going at times (particulary with all of the lectures and discussions being in Norwegian) it was interesting theory behind the lectures and the lecturere has sent me a briefly translated copy in English so it will be useful for future reference. It was more the method behind coming up with a concept and writing a brief, as opposed to solving a brief - so a completely different point of view to what I have been used to.

I guess if I am honest the most interesting aspect for me has been getting to know 1 or 2 people on my course, and working within a group (in my group their were 4 of us, all girls) It has been reassuring in a way because I have realised that the group dynamic was the same pretty much as any other group I have worked in before, you have people naturally falling into distinct roles and here it was no different. I don't know why I feared it might be, I guess just nervousness. But in the end the language wasn't as big a problem as I thought (obviously I couldn't jump in with suggestions when they were discussing things in Norwegian) but overall if there was something vital that I didn't understand the could tell me basically in English anyway.

An example of a really quick collage (they call it a mood board here)
that I put together for the presentation - I wanted to get across a general 'feel' for 1920's cinema.

Only one of the girls in the group I was working in is actually on the same (Visual Communication) course as me - my desk is directly opposite hers - and although we didn't speak much the first couple of days, now we have talked a bit more, and today went and had lunch together - she is called Maria and she is very nice! Anyway, she asked me today what I was doing at the weekend, I said (trying not to sound like a loner and completely failing) that I was just going to catch up on sleep and relax, and she very kindly invited me to dinner tomorrow night. I graciously (and gladly) accepted, and thanked her as it is a very kind gesture. I hope it all goes well and to plan, I am really looking forward to it - she lives with her boyfriend and a few other family members (including a couple of children) so it should be fun and easygoing. She is cooking fish, or to quote her directly; 'some's red', and I love fish so I am sure I will like it... whatever the case she made it sound so mysterious, I really can't wait! Red Snapper maybe? I don't know...

I actually went to Ida's house on wednesday evening too - after helping her to clean her apartment for 2 hours (which I WONT go into, but it was the reason I was so tired yesterday) and I was treated to my first homecooked meal since arriving in Bergen (some kind of chicken casserole which her dad had made for the first time) He was super happy because I had 4 servings - including 2 huge chicken legs!!! and I mentioned every time how delicious it was (I know that sounds alot of servings, but anyone who knows me well knows how much I eat anyway, particularly when the opportunity to have a homecooked meal presents itself!) I was very pleased with myself that night too, because we basically spoke only Norwegian (just occasional English to clarify things) and my confidence was boosted because they understood what I said and were really impressed with my language skills. Anyway, it was lovely and they said I am welcome to stuff myself with food there anytime :-)

Anyway, the only other thing I will talk about today is MY PACKAGES YAY!!!!!!!

Basically all week I have been waiting for letters from Hans and my brother - Hans posted his last Saturday so they took nearly a week to arrive but they have FINALLY made it! I have been rushing and home and checking my postboks every night, only to be dissapointed with an empty space (yesterday was even worse - I was sure that at least one letter would have arrived, and ran from the bus and opened the postboks and there was nothing there but a little sheet of paper - I looked at it and it was an invoice for over £500 for the rent) I was so deflated that I had to go and buy an icecream to cheer myself up.

So, they have arrived today and they have made me so happy (so get writing friends and family!) My brother Rob sent me a very humourous typed letter and a 400g bar of chocolate (lovingly smashed into bite size chunks by the various people that have handled it between Sheffield and Bergen) and my angel Hans has sent me some very thoughtful little gifts that made me cry a little and smile alot! He sent;
  • A mousemat - I only had a piece of cardboard before!
  • Some feminax (for those times that only a woman can understand)
  • Some earplugs (I live above 'Klubb Fantoft' and have very arguementative neighbours)
  • A little packet of chilli (to spice up my life even when he is miles away I guess:-0))
  • A fridge deodoriser (I won't even go into what the fridge smelled like when I first moved in!)
  • some newspaper clippings - one about some London ads for my graphics influences and one about alot of English people not being able to make roast dinners or bread anymore (I guess because I make a smashing roast!)
  • Some wine gums! - this is particularly sweet (no pun intended) Before we left for Norway I hid lots of little cards and packets of wine gums around the house for him to find (he loves wine gums!) he has eaten all but 2 in the packets and then twisted the ends up to make little wine gum sweeties! I knew before I opened them they would be they black ones as they are my favourite, and whenever he eats wine gums he always lets me have the black ones :-)
  • And finally, thank you SO much Hans - 2 cds with various films and series that I can watch, and a couple of excercise tutorials.
I didn't miss it at first, but I have been longing to watch some TV for the last few days. I even (this is so embarrasing) watched an episode of Eastenders on youtube that Rob told me was good (it was the one where Jase dies and had loads of complaints) it was chopped up into 3 seperate 10 minute segments hahaha. I don't even watch it normally (well occasionally when there is nothing else on I might!) So tonight I am going to curl up in bed with my chocolate from Rob, a nice cup of coffee and watch a film from Hans!!! Woohoo!!! The only thing wrong is that I'll be snuggling with Hans the Penguin instead of Hans my fiance... but I guess you can't have it all!

My pressie from Rob - thankyou!!!

And my lovely, thoughtful gifts from Hans! thanks angel :-)

It's all little things like this are keeping me going while I am over here, and friends and family that I love are reminding me why I am doing this and keeping me strong - thanks to everyone who calls, emails and writes, but a special thanks again to Uncle Andy for the no-nonsense emails when I'm struggling and sending all of the comics for me to read at my laptop - and also to Hannah who seems to be there waiting whenever I need a friend to talk to... I promise I will buy you some new ears when I come home Han Han!

Anyway, wish me luck for the weekend - and all being well I'll let you know how the meal went - I am sure that is enough waffling for now!!!

Much love to everybody xxx

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Hello, Goodbye!

I have had a tough and busy couple of days - so this is just a quick update. Just to say hi to everyone really and I have not forgotten about the blog. I am a little stressed out and it's late now so I am not going to write anything other than that! I may just go and cry into my pillow instead...or just go to sleep :-) I haven't had a really good nights sleep since I arrived so I'm knackered. Anyway - I'll update properly tomorrow - it'll be the weekend, YAY!

Thanks for the ongoing support everyone, I need it!!!

Much love xxx

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Second line = 1 eighth!!! (and more silly Bek Humour)

I am on the second line of my 'Hans Calendar'... remember the one I drew to count down the days until I see Hans? (and of course, all my family and friends too!) well there are 8 and a bit lines of days on it and I have crossed off all of the top line now...

...that means I am about an eighth of the way through my exchange trip (no Lorna I'm not wishing the time away!) but I just need to do the last 2 weeks 8 more times and I'll see you all again. It helps to have a goal you see, I'm sure you understand.


(I'll probably post again later - I'm off to try out the Thai Boxing tonight with Ida...)

Oh, and this pic really made me laugh when I saw it - and not very hungry!

fail owned pwnd pictures

And another favourite from

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;


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 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 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 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

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Work done for the PA Team

These are some examples of the work I did for my friends (who own the PA Team) I just redesigned some stationery (as in letterheads and business cards) These are only really quick preliminary mock-ups though, not finished pieces! I am doing it as a favour so I want to make sure they definately want one before I spend too much time on it.

I had freedom with the design really, I just couldn't change the Logo / font etc as I think they were already pretty happy with this plus it's on the website and everything. So anyway, a couple of quick designs based on the theme of sound waves (as the company is sound engineering and equipment hire)