Wait….we have to go home?

I’m not entirely sure what it was about Stockholm, but for some unknown reason, I was more excited to visit this city prior to leaving for the trip than I was for the other two. That is not to say that I wasn’t excited for the others as well, but it is definitely safe to say that Stockholm (and the other cities, for that matter) lived up to the hype that I had created in my head since the day I got the email telling me that I’d be going on this trip.

Being a music major, I would always get excited when something on the trip involved music. In Copenhagen, it warmed my heart to hear the tour guide explain how they had just recently built an opera house across the river from Amalienborg Palace and Frederik’s Church to have three important parts of their society represented in one place: music, government, and religion. I really appreciated how much that music was valued. Similarly, in Stockholm, the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace was a true spectacle (all thirty minutes of it). The marching band was a large part of the changing of the guard ceremony. They lead the procession, provided entertainment, and signaled various parts of the event. I was completely caught off guard when I heard over the speakers that the band would give a concert which would include Uptown Funk (the TCU Marching Band had performed the same thing this past football season, so the marching band version was the only version that I’d hear in my head anymore).

I can’t believe the trip of a lifetime is already over. It feels like just yesterday I was meeting everyone at the pre-trip dinner in the BLUU and trying to make sure I didn’t forget to pack something important. This trip has given me some fantastic memories with some fantastic people, and I am eternally grateful that I was able to be a part of it.

 

Norwegian Fiddles

When we were asked to find a cultural artifact that we connected with, it was easy for me to decide what to look for: some type of traditional musical instrument. After spending a bit of time in each city, I’ve decided on this type of violin from the Norwegian Folk Museum.imageIt is called the Hardingfele, or Hardanger fiddle. It is similar to the violin in terms of how it is played and the general shape/construction, but there are a few key differences. This instrument has significantly more decoration than a typical violin. The typical violin also has the scroll on top (the part on the end that looks like a swirl) while the Hardanger fiddle usually has some animal carved into the head of the instrument, like a dragon or a lion. It also has more strings than a typical violin. You still only play on four strings, but this instrument also has several strings under the strings that are played, and these strings resonate in response to the main four.

Obviously, being a music major, I will choose a musical instrument as my artifact, but I chose this one in particular because it was probably the strangest instrument that I have seen on this trip, and I knew the least about it out of those that I have seen. I found it very interesting, especially when the girl in the photo played it during the demonstration at the museum. It was used for dances, and you could tell it took a large amount of skill to even be able to play simple dance music. I knew going into this trip that I wanted to see instruments, but I was not expecting anything like this strange instrument.

City 2 out of 3 is 10 out of 10

Halfway through the trip, after having packed for a trip that was about 20 degrees colder, the magical laundry day has arrived. Being used to having the laundry machine within steps and everything was done by pressing one button, I was not prepared for the ordeal of washing my laundry abroad.

After a few stops at a grocery store (for detergent), an ATM, a bank, we thought we were in the clear and everything would be easy. As it turns out, we had no clue what we were doing, and had to have a maintenance person from the laundromat explain how the machines worked. The problem with that was that he spoke basically no English, so most of the explanation was pointing and hand gestures.

Since I was still unsure how some things worked, I decided to try out the Google Translate app’s camera feature, where you point the camera at the text and it will show the same text translated on the screen.

Apart from the issues in getting laundry done, I felt like our time in Copenhagen was the most relaxed. We had the most free time, so we weren’t feeling pressured to hurry to get to the next thing (except for the group that did the marathon of activities on the last day), and I was able to spend a lot of time just kind of wandering around and getting a sense of the environment around Copenhagen. On the final day, I went exploring along the water, through the main shopping centers, and got turned around in a giant mall, all while fully rested thanks to taking advantage of the chance to sleep in.

Can I live here?

I’m not entirely certain what I expected Oslo to be like on the flight out here besides that it would be colder and they make some quality sweaters. In the few days I’ve been here, it’s pretty easy for me to say that Oslo has jumped up to one of my favorite places in the world.

The contrast in mentality compared to that of Americans is probably the most refreshing thing about this city (with the summer temperatures below 90 degrees coming in close second). The people here are much more concerned with relationships and helping others, and are happy to pay higher taxes knowing that the money helps to improve the quality of life for the entire community. While there are still people with more money, they do not flaunt their wealth.

I am also surprised that I find the history and all of the information we’ve gathered through museums and tours so interesting. I am not much of a history person, but learning about Norwegian history and the timeline of occupations/unions/governments has actually been very enjoyable.

I would fit in very well living here, in my opinion. I am not the most outgoing person, and don’t often bring attention to myself, which matches the Norwegian mentality. And nothing against Texas, but I could appreciate being able to walk outside and not start sweating immediately.

Around the World in…. a summer?

Hey everyone, my name is Hunter Hilton. I’m about to be a senior Music Education major with a business minor.

Like some of the other individuals on this trip, I have also done some additional traveling this summer. I went on a two week trip exploring Peru with a group from the Neeley business school, and it was absolutely amazing. We explored the Amazon, hiked up Machu Picchu, fed alpacas, and on and on.

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After the hike up to Machu Picchu

One of my favorite things of the trip was how all of us became such great friends when prior to the trip, we likely would not have even spoken to each other due to the variety of majors and other factors. I am hoping that this trek through Scandanavia will have a similar result. I am looking forward to meeting everyone and getting to know you all better through this trip.

When I got the email saying that I would be coming on this trip, I probably sat there staring at the screen with my jaw dropped for a good ten minutes. I just couldn’t believe that I’d get to go on such an amazing trip and experience the rich culture and history that these countries have to offer. I’m still a little unsure of what to expect, but I’m super excited to get up early and stay up late to see and do everything.

Everyone seems to be talking about food and the excitement of experiencing the cuisine on the trip, so I guess I’ll hop on that train. I have to be honest, I am a picky eater, and one of the things that I’m not a big fan of is seafood. My trip to Peru sort of forced me to get over some of my picky eating habits, but seafood is still one that I’m not too sure about. Since seafood is such a big part of the culture, I better figure out how to get over it quickly because I don’t want to miss out on a big part of the experience simply because the food isn’t my favorite.

So now that I’ve been to South America and will be going to Scandanavia this summer, I guess I have to plan a trip to China or somewhere in eastern Asia before the fall semester starts back up to actually¬†make my title happen.