Thanks to my last blog, I am now in possession of 700g of marmite, which inevitably has given a whole new perspective on my life here. Whilst it may be getting colder, days are vastly improved by the condiment – spent too much money this week? Barter your way through life with marmite! Shoes aren’t keeping you warm in the cold Scandinavian weather? Insulate with marmite!
Although it is about 10 degrees, and my jealousy for friends taking their Year Abroad in a hot country rises (f**k you, Harry), it is often bright and sunny, which proves a nice antidote to my perpetual despair. In order to pass the time, and considering I can no longer just sit by a lake unless I want to freeze, I have started exploring the city more thoroughly, particularly the museums. This is also an effective way to satisfy my intellectual ego, so, two birds one stone, really.
One of the best museums I have been to here is the privately owned Astrup Fearnley museum of modern art. Renovated in 2012, it’s situated right at the peak of the Oslo, picturesquely looking out onto the Oslo Fjords. It contains some important pieces by Jeff Koons (including one of the three Michael Jackson and Bubbles), as well as some spectacular work by Damien Hurst (God Alone Knows, Mother and Child, Divided). It definitely ticked the ‘fucking weird’ box for a contemporary art museum – enough vagina art to satisfy any budding modern art connoisseur.
I’ve also taken to drinking coffee. I mean, I drank coffee before, but now I’m talking about it so it seems much more important. Whilst not specifically a Scandinavian past-time, the Norwegians are really self-righteous about their coffee, and consequently Oslo has no Starbucks. Just cool, independent chains/shops, with a variety of edgy Norwegians frequenting them. So, in order to become totally Norwegian, I am constantly on edge and can’t sleep, and have spent buckets of my student loan on miniature cappuccinos. Sigh.
On the subject of money, the price of everything here is becoming a slight problem. I knew Oslo was going be expensive and I’m hardly poor, but the most frustrating part is that it’s not even purchases that I want to make that are bankrupting me, it things that I need, like books or passport photos or travel. Whilst I would gladly spend all my money on anything that makes me feel slightly edgier (it’s a f**king struggle to keep up here), becoming poor because a frozen pizza cost £7 is depressing.
There is the occasional exception, Salmon is cheap, mass making waffles means life is inordinately better, and I no longer need to spend all that money on importing marmite from England. Win.