Now, as the school is over, and I think back at the semester at Stritch, I feel like it has given me a lot:
1. The chance to meet a lot of interresting people, some that I will stay in contact with for years from now (hopefully)
2. The chance to see the American culture and way of life from the inside(not just the simplified stereotypical American culture people hear about from media and through being a tourist there)
3. The chance to learn a lot through working as an intern at the Stritch International Office, through classroom presentations and activities
4. The chance to develop my English and Spanish language skills
5. The chance to have a lot of fun, through traveling, activities at school and with friends off campus.
It has been great. I've missed home while I've been here, but I am sure that I will miss Stritch as soon as I am back home as well. I would recommend studying there for a semester for whoever might be interested, and I would like to thank people who have had a look at my blog once in a while. I'll keep on writing at www.travelbjorn.blogspot.com, and will with that just wish everyone a good summer!
If you, as Norwegian, would have lost your passport while you were in the US you would have to go to one of the Norwegian consulates in the US to get an emergency passport, or you would have to go to Washington DC to get a real passport. As I still have lots of travelling ahead of me, I went for the last option. What I did was to fly to Washington DC, take the red metro line from Metro Center to Cleveland Park, and walked a couple of blocks south and about four blocks east to get to the Embassy, which is located right by most of the embassies in DC. You know when you have come to the right embassy when you see a statue of Queen Sonja and the Norwegian flag hanging outside a while building. There are no guards outside the building, and when you come in, you are greeted with a friendly "god dag!". They were very helpful with the applications that had to be filled in and offered me water and telephone call to Norway. All I had to bring in to get a new passport was just a form of ID, and a declaration that I did not apply for an other citizenship. The application was sent the same day, and I recieved the passport in my mail about nine days after.
Almost everyone walking around by the mall in Washington DC (the area between the monument and Capitol Building) for the first time will have a feeling of being there before. There are so many places famous places that have been shown in numerous movies and TV-shows, making them easily recognizable for any tourist walking around in the city. When walking there nine years after my family made a house exchange for one month in 2001, all the things that I did, said and thought while I was there, came to my mind again. Staying at Hi-Hostel Washington DC in the city center, I had great opportunity of seeing the White House, the Capitol Building, the Reflection Pool and Chinatown, as well as several of the free museums of the Smithsonian Institute. Two days was enough for me to see most of the city, and get a new passport at the Royal Norwegian Embassy.
On my flight to Washington DC I looked up the city in my book "Turen går til USA", and was really fascinated about some of the information the book gave me: Washington DC has been the capitol of the United States since 1790 as the politicians decided to "cut out" 100 square miles by Potomac River, which is the border between north and south. The capitol city was named after the first president of the US George Washington, and was supposed to become a modern city, with architecture drawn by the French architect Pierre L'Enfant. Today, the city stay the same as it was in the 18th century, with famous buildings as the monument, capitol building and the White House.
Cardinal Stritch University has a department for Art, Photography and Drama. The drama students have several plays through the year. Usually there is a free show for the students at Stritch, and the second and third show would usually cost less than 10 dollars, depending on the play.
Today I watched a play by Shakespeare called "comedy of errors", performed by the drama students here at school, which involved singing, stepping and great dramatization of the play.
About an hour South-West of Milwaukee, there is a place where you can go skydiving cheaply. If you book early, you don't have to pay to more than a hundred dollars for a skydive in April.
I was pretty nervous at the beginning, but this was something I had wanted to do ever since I was little, so I was determined to go through with my decision. The most scary part was standing on the ground, seeing the small, plane that we were going up with, filled with holes and duct tape. It was almost not enough room for the four of us (the pilot, the instructor and the cameramen). The most complicated and scary part was crawling out on the outside of the plane at 1200 feet, without being allowed to hold on to the plane. When we were all outside of the plane, we jumped and made a roll/flip in the air, before we had around 40 seconds of free falling, which was just AMAZING. When the instructor pulled the string of the parachute, I was both relieved and exited, and wanted to go up again as soon as I landed. It was really a great experience that everyone should have once in a lifetime.I myself went from deadly nervous to overwhelmingly exited and revealed in one day.
A video of my dive can be found at Sky-Knights own webpages: http://www.skydivemilwaukee.com/index.cfm?area=videos&id=6d975ca6b33b