After a wildly crazy summer that included the wedding and a family camping trip not long after, moving 5200 miles away from my sunny hometown, family, and friends, setting up a new apartment, and starting a new job...I needed to rest. That was okay because I knew and had no problem speaking a few key phrases even before I arrived. I could, for example, say "Can you speak English?" (Snakker du engelsk?), "I'll have a white wine, please" (Jeg vil ha et glass hvit vin, takk), and "Where is the toilet?" (Hvor er toalettet? And hope that when they answer they use more body language than descriptive words...).
I knew my numbers, the alphabet (sort of, there's 3 extra letters in the alphabet that aren't exactly easy for people learning the language: æ, ø, å; plus the "r" is notoriously awkward for Americans), and I knew other things like the days of the week, months of year, etc.) I could get by, and that was enough for the first 5 months.
And then the darkness came. And the family get-togethers. And the general desire to communicate - to listen comprehensively and speak coherently. I spoke to people about where to take a class, did some research, and 3750 NOK later (roughly 650 US $) plus another $200 ish for books, I currently sit in a class of about 12 other students with a fantastic teacher who speaks just slow enough.
I leave class feeling quite confident - until I run into the real world where people don't speak that slowly or that patiently. Or maybe they speak an entirely different dialect. This is tricky business, this learning a new language thing. In any case, I can read a bit more, and I'm understanding a lot with all these new words I've learned.
This is good...just a few more months and *cross your fingers* I'll be able to have a decent conversation!