Monday, August 31, 2009

The Project Update

The project is going very well so far! I have found Norwegians to be generally quite friendly and receptive to the idea. So far I have photographed an incoming freshman at the University of Oslo who is going into International Relations, but has a strong interest in Environmental Studies. She took some Environmental Science classes both at her high school in Norway and when she did an exchange program to England for 6 months. She provided some very interesting insights about how they teach the subject in both countries: differences and similarities which betray the countries' political and cultural agendas.

Going off a lead from one of my helpful advisors in the Fulbright office, I checked out an apple juice stand downtown, located near the castle. I found it and after inquiring of the attendant about the legendary owner of said stand, I was told he will be working this week. She also gave me his number, so I set up a time to meet with him and talk tomorrow! This should be fascinating. I think he will have a lot of interesting things to say about buying local, slow foods and fair trade... among other things. I heard he is quite opinionated, friendly and talkative. I'm really looking forward to meeting him!

After obtaining the juice man's digits, I sped through the palace grounds toward the harbor. My aim: to obtain some fresh fish (probably cod) from the fishermen regularly stationed there who sell the catch fresh from their boats. They had sold out of fish (only prawns) so I tried to strike up a conversation with one man on the boat. Something I said seemed to make him uncomfortable, or maybe it was the sheer fact that I was sticking around for more than 30 seconds to talk. (Norwegians can be very shy people, but I have found in general they will open up if you are friendly and polite). Finally he passed me off to the real fisherman and captain of the boat. I was happy to find this man to be much more friendly. Kristian Kristiansen, an interesting example of Norwegian redundant nomenclature, gave some great personal anecdotes and information about fishing laws here. The well-traveled former smuggler took me for a beer on his friends' fjord cruise ship and told me stories about living in a van in Australia for 3 months. Finally, I made a few portraits of Kristian on his boat and got his card. As an after-thought, he went back onto his boat and came back with a generous serving of halibut from his own personal stash. When I tried to pay him for it he insisted that he only gets this "most delicious fish" once-in-a-while and likes to share it with his friends. He would not take any money for it at all. I plan to return to the harbor and visit Kristian again as soon as I can to bring him some prints of the portraits I took. He said someday this spring he may be able to bring me out on a fishing trip with him. Looking forward to that!!

There is, of course, much more to tell... but that's all for now.

Kristian Kristiansen

1 comment:

Stephen D. Clark said...

Hi Steph!

It sounds like your jumping right into things over there and having some fun.

"Kristian Kristiansen" really pretty normal. It's the same tradition as people naming their children after themselves. I knew a family where the father was named John; his son (the youngest child) was also named John; and the oldest girl was named Johnine and the middle child, a girl, was named Johanna. What an absurd ego!

In Iceland, all offspring, by statute, have their father's name as a surname. They can't legally do otherwise. My grandmother was named Thorhildur Jansdottir (Thorhildur, the daughter of Jan).

I'd like to hear any information you learn that might serve to confirm or disprove my thesis that the only way you'll get people and nations to change their earth-eroding behaviors is by force. Voluntary politics will always yield (or so I think) "too little, too late."

TIME magazine just ran an article a week or two ago that said it's already too late.