Oslo in the Summertime

Aug 05 2011
Just had my last breakfast in Norway! (At least for now…) Flying out this afternoon and even though I’m a little sad, I can’t wait to be home!

Just had my last breakfast in Norway! (At least for now…) Flying out this afternoon and even though I’m a little sad, I can’t wait to be home!

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Aug 03 2011

It’s finals week here at ISS! (And everyone’s super stressed…) Since the reason that I’m actually here this summer is to study, I thought I should write a little bit about what my week is looking like.

For my Gender Equality course, I am writing a paper on the pros and cons of different policies for reconciliation of work and family in Norway. I’m specifically focusing on public daycare, a cash benefit for parents, and parental leave including paternity leave.

My final for my Peace Seminar consists of two essays, one of which I’m writing on the role of gender in conflict resolution and peace movements and in the other I am comparing theories on the causes of armed conflict.

We also had to give presentations on our research projects this week and the title of my presentation was “Policy and Praxis: Gender Mainstreaming in Refugee Camps- How and why gender mainstreaming policies are failing refugees”. Unfortunately, we each only had 10 minutes to speak so I felt as though I was barely able to talk about everything that I’ve learned, but I will have a few more opportunities to present it this year, including at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

Our finals are due tomorrow and then Friday afternoon we board the plane home! Hopefully I’ll be able to get everything done and quit procrastinating…

Aug 02 2011
Aug 01 2011

Jul 31 2011

Classic.

Jul 28 2011
Jul 27 2011

This weekend I had an excursion with my school to a rafting resort near the national park Jotunheimen. We didn’t have the nicest weather, but still had an awesome time. It was a beautiful drive there past mountains and lakes and pretty houses with flags at half-mast. We spent the first day hiking up a mountain. I barely survived and there was no view from the top because we were in a cloud, but at least I felt accomplished! We then drove (soaking wet from the rain) to the resort we were staying at which consisted of lovely log cabins with grass-covered rooftops. After a delicious meal of grilled chicken and lots of vegetables and fruit (rare and expensive in Norway!), we spent the night running between the stove-heated hot tub, the freezing river it overlooked, and the sauna. Rafting the next day was exciting and terrifying. I fell in and we flipped many times, but it was so cool to be surrounded by tall mountains and wildlife. We even saw reindeer and moose before we left! It was a really wonderful and relaxing weekend after the atrocities of Friday. 

Jul 26 2011

I went to a rose parade last night in downtown Oslo where 150,000 people attended to pay tribute to the victims of Friday’s events. So many people crowded into the plaza with flowers that the city actually had to cancel the parade and everyone walked to the Oslo Cathedral on their own. It was incredibly moving to see the support and solidarity between the Norwegian people during this difficult time. At the end of the evening, we worked our way through the crowd to place our roses on the blanket of flowers, candles, flags, and notes in front of the church. 

*Since my camera has been acting up recently, these photos are from from the New York Times, Biljana Dijanisieva, and Evan Kristiansen

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Jul 23 2011
Today was a shocking and terrifying day for Norway. I woke up from my afternoon nap to what seemed to be a clap of thunder after a very rainy morning. Not ten minutes later, I saw a status update from my friend Joe back home about an explosion in Oslo. It turns out that he heard about the attack before anyone I knew here. Disbelief was our first reaction as my friends and I tried to check sources online. Who would want to attack Oslo, the world capital of peace?? There was much speculation and many rumors about what had happened as well as panic and concern for our friends and family in Oslo. Thankfully, almost everybody at the International Summer School has been accounted for and is back here on campus safely. A couple of my friends had actually gone downtown this afternoon for coffee and were just two blocks away from the building where the bomb went off. I had originally planned to join them. The windows in their café rattled and after seeing people running through the street, many on cell phones, they went outside to find out what happened. They saw shattered glass and damaged buildings through a smokey haze before a police officer moved the police line farther away from the scene.
It has been very interesting to see how the students here have reacted to these events. My two friends were, naturally, pretty shaken up. Most of the Americans were nervous and confused. Many students were already discussing who might have attacked and why, while others were snapping pictures during our emergency ISS meeting. Some started shouting in the hallways about terrorist attacks, and a few were crying. Most were trying to get ahold of loved ones at home. However, many of our friends from the Balkans didn’t seem phased by the news coverage at all. While they were of course concerned and saddened, many of them have grown up in violent, unstable countries and hearing about a bombing was not an entirely new experience for them. The distant sirens and helicopters above, however, were very surreal for me.
At this point, I don’t know much more than many of you do, although some of the news on TV has been taking longer to trickle over to the States. We’ve been following BBC’s live coverage online and I can give my brief, unprofessional summary about the information I’ve heard so far: 
As of now, seven are confirmed dead in the Oslo city center. The number of injured is unknown. Police suspect a massive car bomb but do not know the cause. Damage was done to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office and government headquarters as well as the location of a main newspaper in Norway. All the government ministers are safe and the Prime Minister has left a press conference to go visit the injured in the Oslo University Hospital. They’ve evacuated the central city and soldiers and police are downtown now. Soon after the explosion, a gunman dressed as a policeman fired openly at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utøya, west of Oslo. The Prime Minister had been scheduled to attend. Ten youth have been confirmed dead so far, but the search for missing people is still going. Undetonated explosives have been found on the island. One man, reported to be a 32 year old Norwegian, has been arrested and is believed to be connected to both incidents. The motivation for the attacks is unknown.
   It has been a very very scary day full of bombs, gunfire, broken glass, and blood. I can’t imagine the terror of those youth on the island who were forced to hide in bushes or attempted to swim away from the island toward shore. Thank you everyone for keeping Oslo in your thoughts today and in the coming weeks. These incidents have truly shaken this country as a peace nation. As my dad said, “In this tragedy, the irony of your being there to study peace has not been lost on any of us.” Perhaps this is all the more reason to be studying peace in Norway.

Today was a shocking and terrifying day for Norway. I woke up from my afternoon nap to what seemed to be a clap of thunder after a very rainy morning. Not ten minutes later, I saw a status update from my friend Joe back home about an explosion in Oslo. It turns out that he heard about the attack before anyone I knew here. Disbelief was our first reaction as my friends and I tried to check sources online. Who would want to attack Oslo, the world capital of peace?? There was much speculation and many rumors about what had happened as well as panic and concern for our friends and family in Oslo. Thankfully, almost everybody at the International Summer School has been accounted for and is back here on campus safely. A couple of my friends had actually gone downtown this afternoon for coffee and were just two blocks away from the building where the bomb went off. I had originally planned to join them. The windows in their café rattled and after seeing people running through the street, many on cell phones, they went outside to find out what happened. They saw shattered glass and damaged buildings through a smokey haze before a police officer moved the police line farther away from the scene.

It has been very interesting to see how the students here have reacted to these events. My two friends were, naturally, pretty shaken up. Most of the Americans were nervous and confused. Many students were already discussing who might have attacked and why, while others were snapping pictures during our emergency ISS meeting. Some started shouting in the hallways about terrorist attacks, and a few were crying. Most were trying to get ahold of loved ones at home. However, many of our friends from the Balkans didn’t seem phased by the news coverage at all. While they were of course concerned and saddened, many of them have grown up in violent, unstable countries and hearing about a bombing was not an entirely new experience for them. The distant sirens and helicopters above, however, were very surreal for me.

At this point, I don’t know much more than many of you do, although some of the news on TV has been taking longer to trickle over to the States. We’ve been following BBC’s live coverage online and I can give my brief, unprofessional summary about the information I’ve heard so far: 

As of now, seven are confirmed dead in the Oslo city center. The number of injured is unknown. Police suspect a massive car bomb but do not know the cause. Damage was done to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office and government headquarters as well as the location of a main newspaper in Norway. All the government ministers are safe and the Prime Minister has left a press conference to go visit the injured in the Oslo University Hospital. They’ve evacuated the central city and soldiers and police are downtown now. Soon after the explosion, a gunman dressed as a policeman fired openly at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utøya, west of Oslo. The Prime Minister had been scheduled to attend. Ten youth have been confirmed dead so far, but the search for missing people is still going. Undetonated explosives have been found on the island. One man, reported to be a 32 year old Norwegian, has been arrested and is believed to be connected to both incidents. The motivation for the attacks is unknown.

It has been a very very scary day full of bombs, gunfire, broken glass, and blood. I can’t imagine the terror of those youth on the island who were forced to hide in bushes or attempted to swim away from the island toward shore. Thank you everyone for keeping Oslo in your thoughts today and in the coming weeks. These incidents have truly shaken this country as a peace nation. As my dad said, “In this tragedy, the irony of your being there to study peace has not been lost on any of us.” Perhaps this is all the more reason to be studying peace in Norway.

Jul 20 2011

I’d Rather Dance With You- Kings of Convenience

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