My, my -- it's hard to find food here. Student cantine is closed for summer. I've been going on tiny grocery trips, buying things such as yogurt, bread, cheese, etc -- and each trip has been about $50. I tried to grab an affordable full meal to go: Kebab shop cheeseburger and fries ($13), Foccacia bread with mushrooms, feta and lettuce ($13), and last night's basic small whopper meal: $15. (after a hunt for the cheapest meal before the Spain vs. Portugal game). There are so many levels of guilt -- paying $15 for a whopper meal . . . I don't even know where to begin.
You know how in fancy restaurants you pay for atmosphere? I keep trying to use that excuse-- that I'm paying for the awesome atmosphere of Norway. Nobody even goes out for a beer, 'cause that's way too expensive. In the kitchen, a British bloke said, "I just spent 10 euros for a beer last night . . ."
I spoke with some friends in the group, and we have decided to save up for our 10 euro beer, and choose the most beautiful, wonderful spot in all of Norway, and then drink our beer for hours. :)
Some things the prices do for us: we find cheap / free activities. I'm usually ok at this, but now that's virtually all I do. Walks in parks, through town, people watching, chatting with friends over coffee we made ourselves after class. Stuff like that. This weekend we are going hiking in the fjords, quite far away on the west coast. We are stuffing a car with 5 of us, and splitting the cost of our cabin and car. The whole thing will cost under $100 each. Meanwhile, to see this scenery by train would be well over $300 , . . . and that doesn't include the hike or accomodation.
Prices keep me from shopping, and therefore accumulating more things that I do not need.
Prices keep me from eating too much unnecessary food, but since I'm walking about 2-5 hours a day depending on where I'm going, I got very cranky today-- probably from being a bit malnourished. I passed out for several hours after class. I think I saw quasi-affordable sushi around the corner (cheap availability of good fish . . .) so let me see if that's still open at 7:50.
These are all part of the adjustments and frustrations that come with living and studying in a place, rather than just visiting. Even if it is only 3 weeks, this is very different than popping in for 3 days on a euro tour, where you won't be much affected by these things. I don't think Helsinki and Copenhagen will be as bad (the places I spend my final weeks). Although I do know that I'm hitting up all my fave spots in NYC when I return, so I hope some of you are ready for some drinks and good food (which will seem unbelievably affordable to me). No whoppers, please.
Overall, I still love it.