Our first Norwegian-led group day







Mandag, Trettende Januar 2019

Cycling to Spicheren for 9am, I slipped off my bike three times; last night’s rain had frozen. It was clear that it was going to be a fun day, but sarcasm aside in earnest it was. Through the grey clouds a sun was peering, but not before letting loose a healthy bit of drizzle.

We met the Norwegian Friluftsliv students and gathered outside for a brief chat about the day’s agenda. Off up to Den Omvendte Båt, translated to ‘the upside-down boat’ due to its lookalike appearance. Though as the whole world seemed to be thinly layered in ice – and everyone had already been there – this was soon altered. Holmenkollen was now our destination.

The group was vibrant, with people mingling as if we had always been friends. It rained lightly for most of the walk, and a mist had settled amongst the lakes, occasionally drifting through the trees we passed.

As we rounded the top of the hill, Holmenkollen felt near. The apex of our trip was set, with the sun gleaming through the trees. The ground soon turned from icy mud, shrubs and trees to bare granite, sparkling with the newly emerged light. The view was spectacular; the lakes and sea were concealed by mist, with only trees and a few buildings peering through. It was only after a rest by a campfire, with the mist clearing, I realised it was the city of Kristiansand that lay below and the ocean beyond.

We settled around a campfire, with wood that some of the Norwegian’s had brought and prepared with them. Though, now there was quite an apparent divide between the original groups. Many of our class were sat together, and vice versa – with lots of languages being spoken, and a little less room for open interaction.

Haron spoke to Jaymee, then caught the group’s attention to propose the rules that we had first formed, with emphasis on only speaking English. There were a few understanding grumbles, though it was well received. I interjected, with a hope to learn Norwegian during my stay I would like to hear the language from time to time, even if it means I often cannot understand or be a part of conversations.

With a slightly tangible tension, Jaymee proposed we play a game together. Each ‘round’ a question was raised to the group, and whoever had experienced what was said had to raise their hand (e.g. “Have you ever been to Australia.”) Someone was picked to describe what they recall. It was a perfect game to get each other a little closer, introducing us all individually to the group.

Before heading back, Nathalie suggested one last game with us all stood in a circle. Moving clockwise, each person performed some movement of choice, and the group had to mirror. With varying degrees of absurdity, everyone was laughing and looking quite silly. At the same time as loosening the group up, it got us warm before heading on.

The day was a solid reminder of remaining open to new ideas, such as a change of route depending on the experience or desire of a group– particularly when you have not met most of them. To head up to Holmekollen instead while halfway, based on ground conditions and to provide a new experience for the group was a great example of this fluidity. Though a criticism would be that there was no change of route on the descent back to Spicheren. This could have been easily amended with the spaghetti of paths weaving amongst the main tracks in Jegersberg.

Tusen takk, Nordmenn!