(a view outside the plane over the North Sea heading towards Stavanger)
A 03:30 start is never fun. The only time I have ever seen that time in the morning have been on the (used to be more frequent/I no longer have a life realisation) return of a night out. Failing that rowing or getting up for a shift (that is closer to 4:00/04:30 to be fair) would be the other moments when that time in the morning would be witnessed.
Having landed safe and sound, I discovered that the public transport here in Stavanger would appear to outdo that of the UK slightly in terms of frequency and being on time. I discovered that the cheapest way (this is going to be a running theme) of travelling was by public transport even if it does take twice as long and cost the UK equivalent of around £4 for a single. Makes buses in England now seem economical. Though I do now miss my car.
A more exciting discovery was the location of accommodation. Normally nursing students on an exchange here are located in the university campus accommodation which is on the outskirts of the city. I find myself in the city center and a lot closer to the hospital I will be on placement, which is based centrally. The campus is a fair 50 minute walk from our accommodation/hospital, so getting up for a placement starting at 07:00 would have been a little less desirable if I had been based on the campus. As with most city living, you pay for the location. The only downside of this place is that it is the most expensive accommodation I could have been given. I would like to point out here that I didn’t get any say in the matter you were just allocated where there was space. The room is pretty bare and basic, but after a trip to Ikea, and a rearrangement of furniture, I have managed to make the place look a little less sparse.
The accommodation is a house shared with around 6 other people on one floor (there are 2 floors, but my floor also has a separate but adjoining flat with 5 other people in it). Currently there are only 3 of us living on my floor, so it makes kitchen/bathroom sharing a lot easier. I did find out this morning that the shower is INCREDIBLE. Nothing beats a decent shower, other than decent heating (this place is also very warm), and coffee (I may have to curb my habit while I am here due to the cost of it. Not going to be easy. However I am living with an Italian who has already offered me the use of his cafetiere and coffee 😀 complete winner).
The basement of this house has been turned into 2 huge common rooms with table football, an out of tune piano and a laundry room (its free, another upside of this place despite the overall cost of rent, about £423 per month, which I know is better than London but not by much). Past residents have left infinite amounts of laundry powder so that is one expense I am not longer going to have to worry about.
Despite the majority of Norwegians being able to speak in English, I do feel guilty that I have none, even please and thankyou are an unknown. Cue a download of a Norwegian dictionary and a desperate attempt to pronounce the words properly to the great amusement of anyone listening. I can only hope that 3 months here is going to produce something that sounds like the language is supposed to. And not cause complete confusion and people just speaking back to you in English because you clearly have no idea.