How to Succeed in Norway without Having a Towel

I wasn’t quite sure what to call this post, as a more appropriate title would follow the aptly named Beatles song, I’m So Tired.  In 48 hours, I’ve received about 7 hours of shut-eye (if that). However, it is my sleep deprivation that is taking a back-burner to the realization that I can never manage to do something just right.  Now I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but when you find out that you’ve come somewhat unprepared for a six week stay in a foreign country and have had close to no sleep, everything sounds dramatic. 

I know I’m stating the obvious here, but the flight in to Norway was long.  I had one stopover in Reykjavik, Iceland before landing in Norway at 1:00 p.m. local time, about 6:00 a.m. back at home.  I arrived at Blindern, a town outside of Oslo and our residence for the next six weeks, around 3:15 p.m.  I was really lucky to have had the same flight as another girl from UW-Madison, so we were able to stick together and navigate international lands.  A very strange observation came in Iceland when my travel buddy and I were looking for water.  I know in Madison there is a constant battle between eastern and western Wisconsinites as to whether it’s a “bubbler” or a “drinking fountain.”  In Iceland, and what I’ve seen thus far in Norway, that argument would be irrelevant as there not one water-dispensing machine in sight, and I would of course forget to bring a water bottle.

While we’re on the topic of things I forgot to bring, let’s talk about the fact that I forgot to bring a towel, something I only realized when my suitemate started unpacking her fluffy pink wads of terrycloth.  Ok, so I’ll just ask if there’s any way I can get a towel from the dorm. Worst case scenario will force me to buy one at a local shop.  According to the lady at the front desk, “There aren’t any towels and I will have to go into town, so…” So, what?  Where’s town?  I got here about 45 minutes ago, I haven’t showered in about 24 hours, and the only thing on my mind is that I just want to crawl into bed and sleep, forever.  My suitemate, Sarah from Minnesota, the one with the pretty pink towels, had just taken a jog and stumbled upon what could only be the town that the desk lady was referring to. After getting directions from Sarah, I set out to get myself a towel.

Along the way I met up with another Sarah, this one from San Francisco, who decided to help me on my quest.  Somewhere along the way, we took a wrong turn and ended up in a little town square.  This couldn’t possibly be the “town” that both the desk lady and Sarah #1 were talking about, could it? There was nothing there except a café, convenience store, drycleaners and a closed chiropractic office. Oh, by the way, it started to rain half-way into our journey. Earlier I had decided that it was a good idea to change into flip-flops and a tank top as to enjoy my leisurely stroll into town.  An hour later, wet and a tad bit chilly, I decided to get the next best thing until the next morning: paper towels.  Sarah #2 stumbled upon some microfiber cleaning rags and after realizing that microfiber can’t possibly be a good thing to rub all over my body, I decided on a nice pack of cotton-polyester blend towels that, according to the picture, are used to clean hardwood floors. With our mission accomplished, we came back to the dorms and I finally showered.

Feeling giddy about my recent victory, I decided to connect to internet and e-mail my mom.  “No internet until tomorrow, so…”  All my life I’ve heard Midwesterners, myself included, finish sentences with “so.”  This must be where it all started, where we got this lovely, cryptic speechism.  I vow never to end another sentence with “so” now that I have seen how unbelievably nondescript it can be.  Yes, it was quite a day in deed. I retired to my room at 10:00 p.m. and feel asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.  Wide awake at 3:00 in the morning, I feel that now is as good a time as any to reflect upon my first day in foreign lands.  As a brave little orphan once sang wide-eyed and cheery about the mishaps in her life, the sun will indeed come out tomorrow. Well in my case it already has come out and I’m sure this day will be better than the last, so…

View of Main Building, Blindern Dormatory

My “towel” in all its glory.