Sunday, February 28, 2010


Not more than an hour from Stritch, there is a ski resort called Sunburst, which is open from 10 AM to 10 PM every day. There are five lifts, two snowboard parks and tracks for snow tubing. I had most of my fun in the snowboard park, until I managed to slip on one of the rails, and hit the front of my legs against the metal edge of the rail. I had a lot of fun until that happened, so it was definately worth the 35 bucks spent on renting board and the skipass.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Soda, Candy & Ice Cream

Reese's Pieces are small M&M lookalike candies, which have a hard Hearshey's chocolate shell, but are filled with peanutbutter. I remember eating my fist Reese's Piece and instantly spitting it out, thinking that it was an M&M, but now as I have gotten used to them I think they are pretty good.

Root beer is something I do not, and never will like. If I would have tasted it blindfolded I would have guessed that it was toothpaste mixed with medicine. There are also other kinds of soda you can find here, which is not in Norway, such as Pink Lemonade, Mountain Dew(different kinds) and Cherry Coke/ Pepsi Wild Cherry, which I have come to like a lot since I came here. What I was shocked to see and taste was the cherry M&M's, which look like normal red M&M's, but taste like cherry chocolate.

Ice cream is different here as well. Here at school, they have an icecream machine which makes normal icecream, but if you go to Kopps they would serve custard, which is whipped and pressure cooked milk, sugar and egg yolk, which is frozen and served in a waffle cone. When first trying it, it tastes really sweet and good, but unlike icecream I could only eat a couple of spoons of this, before I would have gotten sick of it. Another kind of ice that we do not have in Norway, are the dippin' dots, which is freeze dried dots of icecream. If you try eating them rightaway, they would burn a littlebit in your mouth. It was a littlebit weird putting something dry into your mouth and feel it turn into icecream in your mouth, but I think this will be the icecream of the future, and it is probably just a matter of time before it reaches Norway.

One type of candy that they do not have here is the Scandinavian salmiak liquorice. As I came here, I brought and 800grams box of Pingvin liquorice, which lasted for just a couple of weeks. I tried giving it to Americans as well, but very few liked it. In fact, most of them spitted it out right away and thought it was disgusting.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Milwaukee Bucks

Today I saw my first NBA-game: the Milwaukee Bucks against Charlotte bobcats, and to be honest, I did not feel like they played too much better than the school team here at Stritch. What was a lot better though was the stadium, all the audience and the music and cheering. It felt like being at a concert, where the atmosphere is so good that you get goosebumps all over your body, and a good feeling in your body. Before the game and between the rounds, there was a lot of entertaining things happening on the basketball field such as national hymne being sung, cheerleaders dancing, a live band playing, different competitions being held and free things being shot at the audience. When the game was over, me and a couple of friends decided to buy tickets for the basketball game between Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heats on the 26th of March. I am already looking forward to it.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Madison City / Madtown

This weekend I was in Madison, which is the capitol city of Wisconsin, located about 80 miles west of Milwaukee. It is possible to get there from Milwaukee with The Badger Bus, but this costs around 20 dollars each way, so it would be better to drive the one and a half hour yourself
The city has been awarded titles like "the healthiest city in the US", "the best American city to live in" and "one of the fifty most gay friendly cities in the World". The city has several Universities and is therefore a big student city, with lots of events arranged by student organizations, including the State Street Halloween Party, with over 100 000 Halloween dressed participants and the Mifflin Street Block Party in May. The State Capitol (picture) is the beginning of the main street in Madison, which is called State Street and has a lot of restaurants, espresso cafès and shops. The street was decorated with silver snowflakes and lights and is only open for pedestrians and bikes. A great place to sit and take a coffee, without the noise and movement from cars.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Milwaukee Public Museum

The Milwaukee Public Museum is one of the biggest museums in the US and is located downtown Milwaukee. It is a museum of natural and human history, where you can visit Africa, Asia, Europe, the Artic, South and Middle America, the Pacific Islands and a Costa Rican rain forest. The European exhibition showed houses from all the different countries, and had facts about them on the outside. The Norwegian house was small and wooden, and had a small bed, and a woman sitting in the traditional Norwegian outfit, the "bunad", knitting a traditional "Marius"-Sweater. From the facts on the outside, I learned that the term "spooning" (sleeping together) came from Norway, as men in Norway would carve out a spoon-necklace of wood and give them to girls. If the girl accepted and wore the necklace, it would mean that she approved the men to be their husbands. 

Cell phones and SIM-cards

Cell phones in the US does not differ much from Norwegian in brands, but the models are totally different. They have Nokia, Samsung, LG, HTC and Blackberry, but instead of having plain touchscreen phones, most of the phones here have something fancy about them. Most of them are flip-up or slide phones and have a hard button QWERTY-keyboard with a screen on the inside, and a simple touchscreen on the outside. I feel like many of the most popular cell phones in Norway look a lot like(slim, big screen, full-touch phones), but vary more in operating systems and hardware specifications, while here it is more about shapes and sizes. Even though I just bought the brand new Nexus One, which is a really slim and fast running Android cellphone, I still envy people with thick brick phones when they flip them open and reveal the hard button keyboards and big screens underneath. 

Another thing is that if you buy a prepaid phone card here in the US, it is not very likely that you can receive phone calls and text messages if you do not have credit on your phone. I chose to go for the T-Mobile prepaid card, as it was only 10 dollars with 3 dollars calling or texting included. T-Mobile have good customer service, and a shop close by Stritch, but if you run out of money on the card, then you will not be able to receive any text messages or incoming phone calls. 

Taxation in stores

Imagine that you are out shopping with a certain amount of money, say 20 bucks, and you find something that you really want, which is only 19.99 and you think "yesss, I can get that", but NO.... When coming to the counter,they would say that the price is around 21 dollars. In the United States, the final price is set at the counter when the tax has been added. The tax for groceries, clothes and most of the things you can buy in shops are usually 5%, which means that you would have to add 50 cents for every 10 dollar a thing costs. This can be a pain in the ass when you are out shopping, but luckily the tax is not as high as it is in Norway(25%), so it does not make much difference.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stritch Arrangements

All students going to Cardinal Stritch University have to pay a so called "activity fee", which is supposed to cover expenses that Stritch have when arranging trips, events, sports and the cinema. The last weeks I have heard about several activities arranged by Stritch, such as:

  • Free bus trips to Chicago(about one time each semester)
  • Pizza Shuttle is free, and they actually give you 5$ to buy pizza for (they drive you to place called Pizza Shuttle, which is a place where you can buy cheap and good pizza)
  • Lift and ticket to NBA games cost 5$ (I have signed up to see Milwaukee Bucks this Friday).
  • Trips to museums here in Milwaukeee cost 2$(I went to the Harley Davidson museum today, which was really interesting, showing different bikes such as the first that were made, bikes that were used in movies, like the bike from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, custom made bikes that were really something out of the ordinary and the machines that made the bikes).
For some activities you would really have to be quick to get seats(usually the free ones), and other activities never get filled up(like the Harley Davidson museum today)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Milwaukee Art Museum

On Wednesdays the Milwaukee Art Museum offer free entrance to their museum if you are a Milwaukee resident. The museum is definitely the most beautiful museum I have ever seen, both from the outside and the inside. When entering the museum, there was an enormous hall with glass windows and ceiling. The museum can both look like a ship with sails, or a bird with wings that slowly go up and down depending on what time of the day it is.

The museum has art in many categories such as: religion, environment, lights, and infinity. The last part I liked especially, with mirrors that "cloned" the objects so that they looked like they went on infinitely. They even had a so called "infinity room" with lights and mirrors on every side, that went on forever, just like the scene in matrix, where they have shelves with weapons that never stop. 

I found one picture that I recognized from my book in art from elementary school, which was a picture from Andy Warhol with two cans of tomatoes which were identical, except from the colors.This museum and the art that they have there is definitely something everyone who visit Milwaukee should see, as it has become one of the symbols of the town.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV

The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League (NFL) and the most watched American broadcast. The Super Bowl Sunday is an actual American national holiday, and the second-largest day for food consumption in the US, right after Thanksgiving. The commercial break in between the match is also considered a big event for most Americans, as this is the time when the most expensive and thought through commercials are being played.

The atmosphere here at Stritch was really tense as the "New Orleans Saints" beat the "Indianapolis Colts" thirtyone to seventeen in Miami, Florida tonight. The school here, showed the game on a big screen at one of the common areas and gave away free food, snack and soda. During the halftime break, The Who had a show and commercials from Doritos, Google and movie ads for Alice in Wonderland and Ironman 2 filled in at the break. It was an experience, even for people who had no interest in or knowledge about the sport at all.

Theaters in Milwaukee

When googling "mvoie theaters in Milwaukee", seven different theaters came up. As I have been here, I have been to two of them, and there is also a small one here at school, which shows movies once a week. The different theaters I have been to so far are:

Marcus North Shore Theater is one of the closest theaters to Stritch. This theater looks very much like an Hotel, where all the workers are wearing suits, they havered carpeted floor, with a lot of gold covered objects. They have restaurants, and even a bar outside of the movie area, and some of their movies are shown in UltraScreen. I went to see the Edge of Darkness in the Ultrascreen auditorium, which had three stories of big comfortable seats(more comfortable than "luxussalen" in my hometown Stavanger) and a big clear screen. Ticketprice: 8,50$

Humphrey IMAX-dome is at Milwaukee Public Museum. The theater has an auditorium with seats that you can lean down and look up at the ceiling which is one big screen, covering the walls of the whole auditorium. This gives you a 3D experience, as all you can see, is the screen. I saw a documentary about fishing and sealife in South Africa, and had to close my eyes regularly, because I became sick when they flew over the shore and when there was too much going on for my brain to register. Ticketprice 5$

Cardinal Stritch University also show movies in a big auditorium every Thursday. The seats are like regular theater seats in Norway, and they serve free popcorn by the entrance. Ticketprice: Free

A difference between theaters in Norway and theaters in the US is also that you do not have to pick your own seats when purchasing tickets. This is fair for the people that arrive early to the theater, but bad for those who booked their tickets online/by phone and came late.

Cultural relativity vs. ethnocentrism

After being in the US for a couple of weeks, I have started noticing that a lot of people over here, have no clue how it is, and what is going on outside of their borders. One girl, said she was from the Phillipines, but when I asked her where it was on the map, she pointed at the Western coast of the US.  I have commonly had questions like "Is English the main language in Norway?" and "Whaaat, you don't have Taco Bell in Norway?", that clearly shows that some Americans think that the American culture, is the "right" culture. I believe this has to do with both the school system over here, and that a lot of people have not traveled much outside of the US. What really helps for getting your eyes open for new cultures is going abroad for a semester or two. So while I work here at the International Office, I will try to encourage as many students as possible to study abroad, especially to Norway.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Tiping at restaurants

When I first got to the airport here, and had my first meal at Chili's (a popular barbecue food chain here) and was given the receipt, I was very unsure of how much to tip the waitress. I knew from the opening scene from "Pulp Fiction" that waitresses here run their butts off for their tables and typically make around 3 dollars an hour, which equals nothing to their paycheck after taxes. My meal was 7,50$, and I simply gave her a 10, and said that she could keep the rest(25%). 

Now that I have been here for a while I have learned that it is common to double the tax or to give 15%. This goes for workers such as: waitresses, hairdressers, delivery people, cleaning personel and taxi drivers. This is to show that you appreciate their service and to make sure that you get treated good if you are a customer in the future. 

In small towns it is common to give around 10%, but in major metropolitan areas like NYC or LA 20% and up is common to tip the waiters. If the service is good, if you are in a large group or if it is a nice restaurant you usually tip more. I guess the golden rule here is: If they take good care of you, then you should take good care of them.

"Snus" and "Dip", the same thing?

For those of you out there who are planning to bring a bag of snus when going abroad to the US; don't do it. If you live close to a big city, it is very likely that you will find a place where they sell it. Chicago is one of these cities, and online shops like or sell snus for less than half the price of what Norwegian shops charge. Some cans to start on might be smart to bring from the duty-free shop, but if you buy too many they will just expire, so it is better to get them fresh over here.

If you are a little more willing to adapt to other kinds of tobacco, then you will find it even easier live here without snus. Very few Americans are known to the Scandinavian Snus, but they have a similar tobacco product called "dip" or "chew", which is grinded tobacco, which can be loose or in pouches (a littlebit longer than the average "portion snus"). The difference is not just the product itself, but how the people here use it: People put it in their under lip, and spit(or swallow) the juice that comes out of it. You sometimes even see people walking around with bottles full of black spit, which they have saved up during classes. When using dip in your upper lip on the other hand, it pretty much has the same effect as snus and does not make you have to spit, like the dip. More choosy/picky users of snus will probably find the taste and feeling of dip disguisting, but others do not mind the difference. I guess everyone have to find out for themselves.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Drop/Add day

After two weeks of school, every student get to decide if they want to stick with the courses they are enrolled in, and if they want to add/drop courses. I used this chance to add two courses, while I left the course "Leadership and Communication". I joined the course "Human Sexuality" because I want to understand how these psychological factors affect people in their daily life. I also added "Internship" to my schedule. This is a very common way for students here in the US to get credits, and it also makes you learn things in a practical way. My tasks are:

  • To make a Norwegian cultural table and personal presence at March Study Abroad Fair
  • Blogging about the school, and differences between the US and Norway (This blog)
  • Create and develop promotion material, such as posters and guide booklets
  • Classroom Presentations about Norway and the exchange program that Stritch is offering


    When people have nothing decent to do (70% of my time here at Stritch) they usually go to the Claire Lounge, the Den, Sam's Place or Assisi Living Room, which are places to hang out. All of the rooms have big TV's, some have vending machines, one has a cafeteria with pizzaovens and others have table tennis or pool tables.