Friday, October 29, 2010

Translation Errors...

17-year-old with a false leg
This, luckily, is a translation error! The police blog (Østlendingen) is always interesting reading, and this article was about a young women who "borrowed" a friends ID so she could go out drinking. She has both her legs, I presume...

Internasjonal Dag

We celebrated International day at Voksenopplæring yesterday. We had an open house, with maps, food and dance from our native lands. Luckily for all, I did not dance.. However I did make some mean chocolate chip cookies, and supplied a map and some photos from Washington State. Evidently I am the first student from the USA to attend school here in Elverum. Over 32 different countries were represented, and many local elementary students stopped in and enjoyed the food (I especially enjoyed the Thai food....). I felt a bit sheepish representing the USA, as most of the immigrants learning Norwegian are from countries that are poorly understood or even recognized outside of their region (Burma, Turkmenistan..) Norwegians all know about the US (both the good and the bad, mostly they know the US from movies and films). The middle school had the day off from school so they could work and raise money for refugees. Most businesses in Elverum hired them- so they raised quit a bit of money. As homogenous as Norway is, I am impressed by the attempts I see to help newcomers integrate and feel welcome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tractor Racing

Traktorcross (as it's spelled here- the Norwegians don't use the letter c unless it is a foreign word) is a new sport to me. Juliette and I were driving south of town this weekend and came upon some 300 folks standing in the bitter cold watching tractors speed around a field marked with barrels and flags. In the bottom photo is the winner- one Thomas Hansen!
Norwegians are a hardy bunch... BRRR.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The kids have høst ferie (Fall Holiday) this week, so we hoofed it to London. The Ryan Air flight was cheap, and no surprises: not very comfortable. But we've paid much more for just about the same level of discomfort on planes. At least the Ryan Air folks are honest about what you are getting- a cattle like experience, no food, small chairs. I do appreciate being short in these settings, Peter's legs were crammed into the back of the chair in front of him.

My sister Caroline and her family live in London, so we have a place to stay. Her daughter Regine (above) has attached herself like a limpet to Conlon and Juliette, she loves having her older cousins come to visit. She and her older brother Clement are not on vacation this week, but we enjoy goofing off in the afternoon with them.

London is a riot of people, a real world melting pot (like a lot of big cities). We have a hard time understanding the hard core English accent- there were a couple sitting behind us on the bus that I could only understand about every 5th word. That's approximately what I understand in Norwegian! Most of the Brits who guess where we are from (by our accents) guess Canada! I imagine that's because they are used to east coast or southern American accents.

Most of the museums in London are free (which helps, because everything else is expensive). We enjoyed the Natural History Museum so much, we will return today to visit the new Darwin Center. The Natural History Museum building is amazing in itself, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, after the first architect (Captain Francis Fowke) died.
Waterhouse altered Fowke’s design from Renaissance to German Romanesque, creating the amazing Waterhouse Building.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Alces alces alces (European moose)

The train we rode to Trondeim last weekend shook violently and I wondered what had happened. The conductor said we hit a moose, cutting it in half (ugh). There are now an estimated 120,000 moose in Norway (known as elg), about 30 times as many as 100 years ago. When you consider how small Norway is relative to the US, it is an astounding number. The estimated population densities 3 moose / km sq, whereas in Alaska and British Columbia the density is 0.3 -1.2 / km sq. In Scandinavia moose numbers have increased dramatically due to conservation efforts and lack of natural predators. However natural predators, wolves and bear, are increasing in number in Norway, causing conflicts with both hunters and sheep ranchers (similar to North America).
We live in Hedmark County, which has the highest moose concentration in Norway, and issued 8,500 hunting permits for moose this year. Wildlife management authorities hope that 8,000 moose are taken in this county alone, as moose are overgrazing their habitat. Hunting is very popular in the area, and many people hunt with Elkhounds (Elk or Elg is the name for moose in all of Europe, but a confused settler called Cervus canadensis an Elk when arriving in N. America- as it was as large (almost) as a moose)

The largest members of the deer family (Cervidae), Moose are found in northern forested areas across Eurasia,
from Norway and Poland to eastern Russia, and across North America from Alaska and British Columbia to Labrador and Nova Scotia. The same species, Alces alces, occurs on both continents. This pattern of distribution
is called circumboreal. Adult stand nearly 2 m tall at the shoulder and weigh between 350 - 700 kg. They have long legs that enable them to easily walk through deep snow and fallen timber. This also makes them very dangerous to motorist, as when hit the large bulk of their body lands directly on the windshield. The Swedes developed a moose test for cars (ability to evade a large object on the road at high speed and not roll over) as well as crash test against moose "dummies". Train collisions are frequent, and Jernbaneverket (Norwegian Rail authority) is spending an estimated 80 million kroner to reduce moose collisions (fencing, clearing vegetation, and feeding stations far from the rail lines during the winter).