Archive for December, 2009

Now I know what you’ve all been thinking the last couple weeks: “Why doesn’t this stupid kid update his blog more often?  I mean he usually only posts once or twice a week, the lazy jerk.  Doesn’t he know we can’t live without his random ruminations on travel and international relations on a semi-regular basis?”

Well my faithful readers, I understand your pain, and I too find it hard to live without me. While I acknowledge being a lazy jerk, I have also been very busy the last couple of weeks. Writing this blog is fun, but it neither pays my bills nor improves my GPA, so I have been neglecting it.  I figured it might be nice to clue everyone in else I’ve been working on that has been eating up my spare time:

First off I will admit it, I’ve been cheating on this blog; I must shamefully admit I occasionally write for the UOSPJ’s blog.  The post I wrote this week is particularly cool, it’s about a photo project that one of my SPJ cohorts and I worked on.  The photos came out pretty cool, and you should take a look.

Next, is something I’m really proud of:  I got my first byline.  My story about the Eugene Ballet Company’s production of “The Nutcracker” was on the cover of this month’s Emerald Magazine.

It’s cool to know people are reading my work online, but there is something about seeing my name in print for the first time that brought a smile to my face.  I actually saw someone reading my article in class instead of paying attention, which is alarmingly cool.

Lastly, we have something that is a bit sillier and of shockingly low production values, but still fun: my final project for my grammar class.  We were asked to create a video illustrating a grammatical concept, and the video would compete against other videos made by students in our class.  My group decided to do a parody of “Mythbusters” in order to illustrate the difference between damage and destroy by damaging and then destroying a few objects.  The results involved fire, smashing things and throwing them off bridges.  While the judges didn’t like our video because it “felt like a home movie” we did take second place in the popular vote by our classmates.

Take a look at our video:

Despite the rather low production values it did take a shocking amount of time to make the video.  The plus side is that I’ve now got a lot more experience with Final Cut Pro, which should be useful for the rest of my college and professional career.

A couple of my favorites by my classmates were: “A job interview at Fox News” and “The ‘case’ of the mysterious grammarian”

While I have been busy recently I’ve got a few post ideas I’ve been sitting on for a while and I’d like to get posted.  In fact sometime in the next couple days I’m going to write a story about the hordes of Sea Lions that are taking over the beaches on the Oregon Coast.  The post will include pictures!


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Thanksgivings Past

With the holiday season now upon us I am reminded of one of my favorite Thanksgivings: the one that took place while I was studying abroad in Kristiansand, Norway.  I was having a blast in Norway and was excited to be on my first long-term stay outside the US, but the approach of the Holiday was a bit depressing, due to the twin disappointments of being away from my family for the holiday and being in a country where people basically only knew about Thanksgiving because they had seen it on American TV shows.

I decided not to dwell on what I was missing out on at home and to instead have a celebration with all of my fellow international students.  I promised to provide the turkey, fixens and apple pie, and I invited everyone to bring a dish of traditional food from their own countries.  I figured it would be a great way to spend time with people I really liked, share a bit of my culture with my friends and have them share some of theirs back.

The only real challenge proved to be the turkey, which was an adventure both to find and cook. Norwegians don’t really eat much turkey which made even finding a bird hard to do. The issue was further complicated by the fact that I couldn’t figure out what the translation for ‘turkey’ was in Norwegian. One of my American friends, who I had solicited to help me prepare the event, and I had to search basically every grocery store in the city before we found a turkey.  When we finally found the only store in the city that sold turkey we pooled our money and bought the biggest turkey in the store.  I can’t verify this, but I’m pretty sure that it was the biggest turkey in the entire city.

Even with the turkey safely purchased our troubles were not over.  My American compatriot who was helping me with the event  hadn’t ever cooked a turkey before and didn’t know that we were supposed to thaw it before hand. Thawing the bird seemed obvious to me and I didn’t send her any kind of reminder.  I showed up to her kitchen where we were going to be cooking only to find that we had a lump of ice to cook instead of a bird.

Thanks to some quick thinking and google we managed to fast-thaw the turkey in a couple of hours and get it cooked in time to have it as desert.

It was a really great event, and is one of my favorite memories of travel.  I was really pleased by how enthusiastic everyone was to celebrate with me, and the great food that everyone brought made it a really fantastic event, and instead of being a day that I spent feeling homesick I get to look back at it as my favorite Thanksgiving ever.

I guess the moral of the story is that when you are traveling you should take advantage of the opportunity to get to know new people rather than letting yourself feel homesick.  In the grand scheme of things the five months I spent in Norway were pretty short and I’m glad I took advantage of them.  When you get the opportunity to travel take advantage of it too!

PS – To everyone who was at that fateful Thanksgiving:  I miss you all!  If I haven’t kept in touch it’s because I’m so busy!  Send me a message sometime!  I may be in Europe next summer and I’d like to visit you if I could!  Happy Holidays!


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