Where are you from?

This is the number one question that I get from people that I meet for the first time. When I first came to Norway, I did not mind people asking me questions. I understand that some people are just curious types. I do not talk too much to people that I just met. In short, I am a shy type person but I can be really talkative, depends on my mood and the topic. However, I did get tired of this questioning every time that I meet new people here. Why do they ask? Do I look like and alien? Is there something wrong with my Norwegian?

Aside from this question, I do get a lot of how long have I been living here in Norway. In the beginning I felt like I was being interrogated. So, as much as possible I tried avoiding eye contact with people by the bus stop, cafes and restaurants. However, there were times that it was impossible for me to avoid any conversations with strangers. Like for instance when I was waiting for the bus, a man came to me and asked for the time. When I answered him, he asked me where I came from and if I am living here in Norway for a long time now. I think he just used the time as an excuse to talk to me. I told him that I am from the Philippines and been living here for more than a decade now. Then he told me that I do not look like from the Philippines. He thought that I am from Japan or China because of the color of my skin (which is unfortunately pale or yellowish). He also thought that I am adopted because according to him I speak Norwegian fluently. I started to get uneasy and irritated because he started telling me about how lucky I am to be able to live and get an education in Norway and be able to escape poverty and terror in the Philippines. It made me want to run away from him. But I did not. In fact, I sat beside him on the bus just to educate him about the Philippines. Haha! Oh yes, I am Philippines’ newest ambassadress!

Eventually, I started to realize that when Norwegians ask me where I came from, it is because a lot of them are not used to seeing foreigners or other races in the area. Though they travel a lot, *”they can feel like a child in an unknown woods, away from their parents and grandparents. And sometimes they get a feeling that a Filipina like me or other foreigners will try to fool and rob them” (*An excerpt from Odd Børrentzen’s book: Hvordan forstå og bruke en Nordmann.). They do not mean to be rude. They only need answers and some of them only want to talk.

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Swan Lake

Last weekend we were at my friend’s wedding and since the reception is a bit far from where I live, we’ve decided to rent a hotel room in Sandnes for one night. We could have also taken the cab home but the taxi fare would cost the same as the hotel room rate.

Anyway, the following day I showed my bf Sandnes Brygge since he had never been there before. From there we found a big group of swans.

This is not a lake but it is a small river leading to the sea. However upon seeing this, I couldn’t stop playing Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in my head.

 

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If I’m not mistaken, there were 30 swans in total. But only 26 are in the water. The remaining 4 are on the land.

Norwegian Constitution Day

Or 17.mai as we call it here is Norway’s biggest event. On the same day in 1814, the Constitution was signed in Eidsvoll and this year marks the 200th year of having its very own constitution. Every year, 17.mai is celebrated by long parades and numerous festivities. People wear their national costumes and wave the Norwegian flags with pride.

I celebrated this big event in Stavanger. I started the big day with a 17.mai frokost (breakfast) at a hotel with my lovely friends. Then, we watched the parade. After the parade I went to Stavanger Konserthus to watch the program there.

So, here you go. Behold the shots I took yesterday. Hipp Hipp Hurra Norge!

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The Ant-Eater

The Ant-Eater
by Roald Dahl
Some wealthy folks from U.S.A.,
Who lived near San Francisco Bay,
Possessed an only child called Roy,
A plump and unattractive boy –
Half-baked, half-witted and half-boiled,
But worst of all, most dreadfully spoiled.
Whatever Roy desired each day,
His father bought him right away –
Toy motorcars, electric trains,
The latest model aeroplanes,
A colour television-set,
A saxophone, a clarinet,
Expensive teddy-bears that talked,
And animals that walked and squawked.
That house contained sufficient toys
To thrill a half a million boys.
(As well as this, young Roy would choose,
Two pairs a week of brand-new shoes.)
And now he stood there shouting, “What
“On earth is there I haven’t got?
“How hard to think of something new!
“The choices are extremely few!”
Then added, as he scratched his ear,
“Hold it! I’ve got a good idea!
“I think the next thing I must get
“Should be a most peculiar pet –
“The kind that no one else has got –
“A giant ANT-EATER! Why not?”
As soon as father heard the news,
He quickly wrote to all the zoos.
“Dear Sirs,” he said, “My dear keepers,
“Do any of you have ant-eaters?”
They answered by return of mail.
“Our ant-eaters are not for sale.”
Undaunted, Roy’s fond parent hurled
More messages across the world.
He said, “I’ll pay you through the nose
“If you can get me one of those.”
At last he found an Indian gent
(He lived near Delhi, in a tent),
Who said that he would sacrifice
His pet for an enormous price
(The price demanded, if you please,
Was fifty thousand gold rupees).
The ant-eater arrived half-dead.
It looked at Roy and softly said,
“I’m famished. Do you think you could
“Please give me just a little food?
“A crust of bread, a bit of meat?
“I haven’t had anything to eat
“In all the time I was at sea,
“For nobody looked after me,”
Roy shouted, “No! No bread or meat!
“Go find some ants! They’re what you eat!”
The starving creature crawled away.
It searched the garden night and day,
It hunted every inch of ground,
But not one single ant it found,
“Please give me food!” the creature cried.
“Go find an ant!” the boy replied.
By chance, upon that very day,
Roy’s father’s sister came to stay –
A foul old hag of eighty-three
Whose name, it seems, was Dorothy.
She said to Roy, “Come let us sit
“Out in the sun and talk a bit,”
Roy said, “I don’t believe you’ve met
“My new and most unusual pet?”
He pointed down among the stones
Where something lay, all skin and bones.
“Ant-eater!” He yelled. “Don’t lie there yawning!
“This is my ant! Come say good-morning!”
(Some people in the U.S.A.
Have trouble with the words they say.
However hard they try, they can’t
Pronounce simple words like AUNT.
Instead of AUNT, they call it ANT,
Instead of CAN’T, they call it KANT.)
Roy yelled, “Come here, you so and so!
“My ant would like to say hello!”
Slowly, the creature raised its head.
“D’you mean that that’s an ant?” it said.
“Of course!” cried Roy. “Ant Dorothy!
“This ant is over eighty-three.”
The creature smiled. Its tummy rumbled.
It licked its starving lips and mumbled,
“A giant ant! By gosh, a winner!
“At last I’ll get a decent dinner!
“No matter if it’s eighty-three.
“If that’s an ant, then it’s for me!”
Then, taking very careful aim,
It pounced upon the startled dame.
It grabbed her firmly by the hair
And ate her up right then and there,
Murmuring as it chewed the feet,
“The largest ant I’ll ever eat.”
Meanwhile, our hero Roy had sped
In terror to the potting-shed.
And tried to make himself obscure
Behind a pile of horse-manure.
But ant-eater came sneaking in
(Already it was much less thin)
And said to Roy, “You little squirt,
“I think I’ll have you for dessert.”