Saturday, May 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home

And We're Back.

After a pretty long day, we are finally back home. At this point, I am exhausted and want to sleep for the rest of the day, but I'm going to try and avoid that in an effort to get back to our timings here.

Once again, a special thanks to our family in Norway who made our first trip to Europe very memorable. We had an amazing time.

Monday, bright and early, I have my orientation for my internship... which will take over the rest of my summer.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30th, 2008

Today was our last full day here. Today, we went to Sweden for a few hours and then had a family barbecue.

These past ten days seemed to go by really fast and we have had a great time here. It's weird to say that I've been to Europe. :)

I am definitely going to miss everyone here, especially my niece and nephews who we have had so much fun with. Our family here was very hospitable and we had a great and memorable time.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

May 28th and May 29th, 2008

Yesterday, we met up with our cousin Arslan bhai where he works and then went out with him around Oslo.

The building where he works at was pretty neat and it is built in a really modern style. The view from there was absolutely beautiful as well (I feel like I say that about everywhere here - but it's true. The view is great.)

Some of the places we went yesterday was the place where it is decided who receives the Nobel Prize for that given year and where it is announced, this new Opera building that is built in a neat way, and a boardwalk near the water which is called Aker Brygge.

Today, we went to the Munch Museum here, where of course two of the famous pictures are of "Scream" and "Madonna".

I can't believe tomorrow is our last day here. As soon as we go back, I start my internship and my brother starts his Co-op... and the rest of the summer will fly by.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 26th and May 27th, 2008

Let's start off with yesterday. Yesterday night we went to the Colosseum to see "Indiana Jones". The place was very pretty nice. We got back home around 12:30, and were just sitting around talking ... and about ten or fifteen minutes later the lights went out. At first, I thought it was just my cousin's house and the fuse blew out or something, but when we looked out - the whole neighborhood was in dark. Even at 1 A.M., with no electricity we could still walk around and see things on the main floor because of course it wasn't even completely dark outside.

Today, my brother and I ventured out on our own for the first time today. At first we were very wary/hesitant due to the language barrier, but it wasn't bad at all considering we didn't have to talk Norwegian at all. Overall, the people here are really nice.

We walked around the Oslo City Mall for a few hours, and then ventured outside to roam around. We walked around for a while, and then walked to and through the King's Palace.

Today, we first-handedly saw how expensive it is here. After currency conversions, it is still at least twice as expensive here then in the U.S.

Tonight, we are going to our cousin Arslan Bhai''s house for dinner.

Here our some pictures of some of the things we saw earlier today:

This last one (above) is a picture of the King's Palace.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 25th, 2008

This afternoon we went to a beach nearby my cousin's house. The weather was BEAUTIFUL and the total opposite of yesterday.

Later, in the evening we went to dinner at my aunt's friend's house. There, we learned that there was apparently an earthquake here yesterday. Fortunately, we didn't feel anything.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

May 24th, 2008

Today, we went to Lillehammer - which is where the Olympics were held in 1994. The scenery here (everywhere in Norway) is beautiful - and the two and a half hour ride there wasn't bad at all, barring the rain.

The weather was terrible - extremely foggy and a lot of rain. But we made the best of the experience anyhow, and we definitely still had a lot of fun. Many thanks to our cousins who took us there (and everything else they have done for us since we have been here).

We walked about 3 quarters of the way down and up the skiing area (going down is no problem, but coming up - my god - was painful as an asthmatic).

After walking down for a bit, about a few sections down, we went to the gift shop. The worker there was apparently one of twelve thousand workers during the Olympics and was telling us some stories.

This picture is what we should have seen walking down:

This is what we saw because of the weather:

An odd diversion - they charge you in places to use the bathroom!! We took a break once we got to Lillehammer to eat, and when I went to the restroom.. I noticed it was locked. I originally thought someone was there, and while I was looking around.. I saw the sign below:

Not being able to read Norwegian, the only words that stood out were: "10 kr" (money), "toalett" (toilet) and I put together than it costs that much to use the bathroom. Here specifically, if you were a customer it was free to use the bathroom - but my cousin said it is very ordinary to be charged to use the bathroom in public places in Europe. How odd!

Friday, May 23, 2008

May 23rd, 2008

The day we arrived in Norway, after being asked what we were interested in seeing, I said we wanted the "Norway experience... so what ever that is". The reply was in correlation with the jungle. So early this afternoon, my uncle, my brother and I went to ... the jungle. lol. It's right by their house and we took a walk through it and back, which took us about an hour I think. By the time I got back, my face was burning, and I was very nauseous. Fortunately, a quick shower helped me refresh.

Here are a few pictures from our walk:

A lot of trees are marked in the jungle with a red line, sort of like a pathway. As long as you see the red mark, you are fine and going in the right direction.

Later - in the evening, we were invited to dinner at one of my cousin's mother-in-law's house. We had a great time there as well. The mom made so much food - and all the food was really delicious.

Tomorrow, we are planning on going to see the Lillehamer, where the Olympics took place in the past.

Happy Birthday Imran! I hope you are having a great day (off from school)! :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

May 22nd, 2008

Earlier this afternoon we went to the Frogner Park, which is called the "Vigeland Parken" I believe. There, we saw some pretty cool sculptures : one was of different age groups or generations around in a circle; the first one was one of babies and toddlers, and as you went around the circle of sculptures, there were others of children, adults, seniors, etc.; another one was what I had originally thought represented the circle of life, after I looked it up I realized it was quite similar to what I thought anyways: it is called the "Wheel of Life". The wheel depicts four people and a baby floating in harmony. It is a symbol of eternity, and implies the overall theme of the park: man’s journey from the cradle to the grave. And yet another one of an "angry child" (in Norwegian, i believe it is called "Sinnataggen"). I'm not sure what the significance is behind this sculpture, but apparently it has been stolen twice and is the most popular sculpture at this particular park.

Afterwards, we went on a drive around downtown, and saw a few neat places. Near the end, my uncle took us to see where my aunt teaches. While my brother and I waited in the car by ourselves, the car started moving on its own! ... and it was a stickshift... but anyhow, my brother jumped into the drivers seat and put on the break...but just in time (thank god) my uncle and aunt came back out. Otherwise, god knows what could have happened. Whew!

Later in the evening, my cousins, my brother and I went to see the skiing area here. It was really beautiful - and pretty neat to see. I believe the place is called "Holmenkollen". I think we are planning on going to go see the Olympics area later in our trip. Below is a picture from the top area near the skiing area, overlooking the mountains and the surrounding area. It looks like a picture right off of a postcard; scenic and beautiful!

Picture of the Day

I took this picture yesterday at 9:45 P.M. here in Norway. When I went to sleep around 1 A.M., it still was only a bit dark.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We're Here

We're here! The strike was over by the time we got there ... even though it was only affecting domestic flights anyhow.

It is now 1:45 P.M. here..which makes it 7:45 A.M. New Jersey time. As soon as we got on the plane yesterday, we found out there would be an hour to an hour and a half delay due to some problem with the plane. The ride here seemed to take FOREVER, partly because we started off with a delay... it probably wouldn't have been that bad if we didn't have to wait in the plane for the hour. The plane had a screen on each seat from which we could watch movies, and play games... so that helped pass some time as well.

At this point, I have been awake for over 24 hours now... but I am not really tired enough to nap for some reason.

From what I have seem from the car ride from the airport to my cousins' house... (Oslo) Norway is a very scenic place and very beautiful. For some reason though, I had thought people drove on the right side of the car here... but apparently not.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It Had to Happen

So ... things were going way to well. This morning, I found out that the airport in Oslo is in a midst of a strike. At this time, it seems to be only affecting domestic flights there ... but you never know... our flight is still twelve hours away (just under that) at this point and a lot can happen in that time frame.

So, we'll see what happens.

Random Blurbs

I never realized how much I hate packing - and how much effort it actually takes. I had been putting it off consistently, thinking "oh it will only take me a little while to get it done". But my god, things accumulate ... and not only trying to fit everything, but also trying to organize everything is a hassle! But I am FINALLY done.

In about 17 and a half hours, we have our flight for Norway and I am one of those people that can't fall asleep before anything big ... so it is going to be a very long night for me. I am so exhausted (but the kinda exhausted where you just can't fall asleep).

The only thing that is bugging me about tomorrow (well, actually later today) is that I'm kinda annoyed that I will miss the primaries results tomorrow and won't know the details until many hours later. Even though it is a given at this point (barring some insane and surprising circumstances) that Obama will win Oregon and Clinton will win Kentucky, it is still neat to follow the results the whole night and tomorrow will be the first one I will miss all election year long so far (no matter what I was doing or even if I had an important exam the following day, I still made time to follow election night coverage). There are a lot of times "unexpected happenings" that make things more exciting, but even in general I love following election nights coverage.

All this election talk reminds me... did you hear about Obama's rally last night that drew over 75,000 people to it? How amazing is that?

Moving on, I'm going to try and blog as often as I can while I am in Norway, so I can look back later and recall everything. I'm definitely really excited and want to make sure I can remember later things I see that I would most likely forget otherwise.

To end with, it's the week of birthdays in my family ... and I want to give a special early birthday shout out to Hooria and Imran (Imran, sorry I am missing your birthday AGAIN). Love you both :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And So it Begins

So today is officially my first day of summer vacation (considering I had work yesterday)..and waking up around 10 today felt AMAZING! I haven't had a chance to sleep in forever. So far, it has been okay just being lazy for the day (it's only about 3 P.M.)... but I am definitely not used to not having anything to do since during the semester I never get a second to myself.

At the same time, fortunately my summer will be pretty packed. Thankfully I just confirmed my internship for the summer and my orientation is on June 2nd, which is right after I come back from Norway ... so I won't have much time to waste. I am sure this experience will be great and I will learn a lot from it. I am definitely looking forward to the experience. It's at a law firm, and what is great is that what I will be doing deals directly with my psychology field as well. I'll be interning in Manhattan, so I hope I don't get tired of going there so often -- especially with the trains always delayed and what not. :) But, whatever, the experience will (hopefully) be worth it.

Besides the internship and Norway, I have a couple of family weddings to look forward to (one involving a week long trip to Canada - which is always fun). I absolutely hate coming back from Canada (even though I went four times last year!).

Five days and counting until I leave for Norway!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Edwards Endorses Obama

John Edwards announced his endorsement today for Obama in Michigan.

Edwards started off with "the question is what am I doing here?" and later said that voters have "made their choices and so I have I" :). He went to say that "There is one man that believes it is time to make one America, not two, and that man is Barack Obama".

I have to give credit to Edwards for talking about Clinton's strengths as well, even though at times he seemed to go on and on about it. Clinton earlier said she didn't "believe in quitting", but come on - there's an extent to that. I am not a quitter either, but I wouldn't do something that would get in the way of someone else doing something.

What struck me was that Elizabeth Edwards was not present as John Edwards announced his endorsement, and we know she's a supporter of Clinton, so that was definitely interesting.

Two Years Down... Two Years to Go

I am DONE! After a very LONG semester... I am finally done my second year of undergraduate! My sixth (and last) final was yesterday and in six days, my brother and I will be going to Norway ... so I am extremely excited about that. Looking forward to the trip has made the last month and a half unbearably long... but at last, it's only a few days away. :)

It's so weird to think that I just finished my second year at Rutgers ... time is literally flying. I am definitely big on reminiscing and it is so weird every time I do so. It seems as if it was just a few years ago where it seemed as if college kids were "old", and all we worried about was the trivial things in life. To think, that in two years I will (hopefully) have my Bachelor's degree makes it sound unreal.

This summer should be quite busy, and quite fun with all the weddings and what not in the family, but I hope it doesn't go by too fast.

One of Life's Little Ironies

So as most of us "typical" college students are going crazy and stressing about finals, this article I just read on MSNBC gave me a good laugh.

A ten-year-old in California is finishing his second year of college -- I JUST finished my second year yesterday! I don't even know what I should feel because I am one of those people that stress out every semester (this is our future we are talking about!) and here is this ten-year-old kid who thinks it is all a piece of cake. By all means, I am happy for this kid for his accomplishments... but doesn't he make you feel worse than the annoying person genius in your class that always seems to get an A+ no matter how much the majority of the class is struggling?

Click here to read the article.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mothers Day!

I am definitely one of those people who are a firm believer in the fact that it should be "Mother's Day" everyday, as they are one of the most under appreciated people...but I would still like to wish my mom, along with all the other mom's... a very Happy Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Descriptions and Explanations of the Terminology used on Election Nights

So I just read an article that I just saw on, called "How NBC News projects election winners" , which probably clears up a lot of confusion on the terminology the media uses on primary/election nights.

First of all, the following distinguishes the differences between the main terminology we often hear on the TV or see on the web when they are calling an election:

Projected winner: NBC has made a projection that a candidate will win the race, but the vote count is not complete. This call is made only after all the polls are scheduled to have closed in a state.

Apparent winner: NBC has tallied enough votes to indicate that a candidate has won the race, but the results may well depend upon a potential recount or final official tallies.

Winner: A candidate who has clearly won the race, beyond the normal margin for a recount. “Winner” will not be used unless returns make the outcome a virtual certainty. Note that neither of these terms refers to the “official” winner, since most states take weeks to certify a winner in an election.

Too early to call: There is not enough data in the NBC News decision computer systems to allow analysts to make a call.

Too close to call: While there is data in the systems, the numbers are too close to allow analysts to make a call.

The first three are not a source of confusion really, as they are pretty self explanatory, but the latter two are often used interchangeably even though there is a distinct difference.

Most simply (and important to note), an election can only be "called" once all the polls in that particular state have closed for obvious reasons.

The article describes exit polls as when voters leaving the polling places in certain districts are asked not only how they voted but also "are handed a questionnaire with both demographic (sex, race, age) and attitudinal questions (Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job?)".

Click here to read the whole article.

North Carolina and Indiana Primary Results

With the Indiana and North Carolina primaries happening today, nothing unexpected happened. Clinton won Indiana narrowly and Obama won North Carolina.

With a close race in Indiana (it being "too close to call" all night), and a tremendous lead in North Carolina...Obama definitely has the benefit of a decent net gain to help him. Obama's net gain in North Carolina definitely cancels out Clinton's win in Pennsylvania, delegates wise. For the primary in Indiana, they didn't "project" the race until past 1 A.M as it continued to be "too close to call" until about 95 percent of the votes were in. In the end, there was a difference of around 21,000 votes.

It was interesting that Clinton began her speech tonight with,
"Not too long ago, my opponent made a prediction," she said. "I would win Pennsylvania, he would win North Carolina and Indiana would be the tie-breaker. Well, tonight we've come from behind, we've broken the tie, and thanks to you it's full speed on to the White House."
It seems to me she didn't receive the memo the race in Indiana was still "too close to call". Until pretty much the end, the race could have gone either way.

Friday, May 2, 2008

What Would You Do?

A little while ago, as I was catching up on the news (as I do everyday), an interesting article on an experiment caught my eye and it got me thinking about what would I have done in a similar situation?

In this experiment in Orlando, Florida, they set up a girl to be "missing". They put posters all over a mall, and the girl was actually sitting just beyond the entrance of the mall. Many people would see the "missing girl" posters on their way in...then see the girl...and just walk past her (noticing it's the girl in the poster). Some would see the posters, and not even notice the girl and others, they wouldn't even notice the posters and/or the girl at all. Across from the bench where the girl was sitting, the girl's father was sitting nearby keeping an eye out for her and producers were walking around her undercover for her safety (and extra camera's were installed as well). Surprisingly, of the many people who walked by her and noticed her, only two people walked up to her to see if she was okay and one woman went to a nearby store to ask for the security.

Reading the article, and then watching the video on the experiment got me thinking. Would I have even noticed the girl? Many, if not most of us, hardly ever seem to notice our surroundings because we are too caught up in our own things. If I had noticed her, would I have taken any actions? Like mentioned in the video, even if I did notice the girl, I too probably would have been hesitant to get involved in the situation... because you just never know. But isn't the safety of a child worth that risk?

Click here to watch the video. If it doesn't work, Click here to get to the article, and there is a link on the right side to watch the video.

Related Posts with Thumbnails