To Be of Use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
~ Marge Piercy ~

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saying goodbye, but not forever!

As I woke up today, on the last official full day of my stay here in beautiful Molde, I began to think about all the things I have done, all the INCREDIBLE people who have entered my life, and the reality that I now know I have the strength to be away from home. I know that no matter where I am, I will find new people to call family, new people to call friends, and my family and friends back home will always be there for me! I have been blessed beyond belief here, with everything. As I want to write and share about all the amazing things I have done in these last few weeks, my heart begins hurt, I LOVE so many here and saying goodbye has been and will be extremely hard. My friends have been more then supportive of my last days here. They have taken me on road trips, boat trips, cabin trips, always wanting to hangout, swim, dance, party, and even throw me a SURPRISE PARTY!!!! I have literally not slept more then 5 hours in one night for the past 2 weeks because I have been doing so many incredible things with my friends! and I honestly cannot thank them enough for this year. I have talked about all the things I have learned about myself here, I have told you about my feelings about leaving, my feelings about school, life in Molde and ALL about my year in depth, but the one thing I cant write enough about is the people! When I first came to Norway I was told norwegians were very shy, and timid about meeting new people. Well I am here to say the COMPLETE opposite. From day one here in Molde, I have been welcomed into open arms by (to say so many is an understatement...) and the only thing I can say is thank you to all of them for that. Because without even knowing that I was a loving, sensitive person, people just knew that about me, and welcomed me with such warmth. It was the best way to start a life here. The tears are pouring down my face as I write this, peoples names running through my head, hugs, kisses, smiles and laughs from them, all I will miss with an incredible amount. But as the pain tries to eat me away, I have to use that strength that I first gained while on my journey over here. I know that I will see these people again, I know I will find those precious moments with them again, and I know my life will be amazing, because THEY have given me the all time confidence to travel and meet new friends all over the world! A big part of my heart stays here in Molde, and I am more then glad that it is staying here, because it will bring me back for visits and hopefully bring some of Molde to visit me! I have to say it one more time, I have been blessed beyond anything that I could have ever imagined. Tusen tusen TUSEN TAKK Molde!!! <3 <3 <3

Sunday, May 29, 2011

One month left!

One month from today I will be leaving my life here in Molde, to travel back to my home in Seattle. I wanted to write this blog post to look back on everything that I have done, and everything that I have learned along this journey in Norway. I want to start by thanking all of the people that made this possible and all the people that supported me in making the decision to come here. I was invited by my wonderful host family a little over a year ago to come live with them, and at first it sounded like a really nice thought, not thinking it would actually become reality. My mom talked with Astrid and Odd Tore about school, life in Molde, and how everything would work out. They were all so amazing about everything, and helped me so much in making this dream to travel a reality. I know my parents were both scared to send their son away for a year, to a place they had never been before, but I know they felt a sense of security sending me to live with this incredible family. We have had a bond with this family, the Eikrem-Finnøy's since we were blesses with the opportunity to have their daughter live with us in 2007, Siril (CC) <3 I was nervous about leaving my life and family in Seattle, not ever really being away from my family for more then 3 weeks or so, but I felt a certain comfort knowing that I had once met the Eikrem-Finnøy's and that CC would always be there for me if I needed her. It was so difficult to say goodbye to my loved ones in Seattle that day August 17th, 2010. I remember it felt like I would never see them again, the tears pored for the next few days. I felt immediately better once I was in the arms of my new family, the reuniting hug with my big sister CC, and the hugs from my new sisters, brother and parents here.

I started school the day after I arrived in Molde, exhausted. In fact I feel asleep in the police station while waiting for some papers to be filed that day. I wasn't united with my class till the third day of school when I had my first class period with them. I felt the kindness from all, everyone was so welcoming and nice to me. Just after the first week of school I had made some good friends. My social character helped me alot over the next few weeks in months, always searching for new friends, meeting new people and even saying hello to strangers. I have always felt the loving, kind nature of norwegians, even though they all describe them selves as cold and shy.... My friends here are incredible, I have been acquainted with so many wonderful people here that have welcomed me into their lives. I consider many here to be friends, wether I have talked to them once, or seen them everyday. It has been one of my favorite things about this year, and definitely one of the hardest things to leave, my friendships with these incredible people.

I took on the challenge of learning a new language, I have to admit I was scared and intimidated, but most of all excited. It took awhile to get the hang of it, and I have had many conversations, especially with my norwegian dad about the different stages of learning a new language are. From the first big hump of familiarizing your self with the sound and rhythm, to learning words and grammatical rules, to begging to understand sentences and phrases, and the biggest hump of all which is convincing your self to begin to speak. This last one was the hardest part of all, but thanks to a dear friend Lukas Tietgen , who is also an exchange student here in Molde, we told eachother that on January 1st we would only speak norwegian! and surprisingly we stuck to that, and the language became easier and easier everyday. It was amazing how the learning pace just took off after we began speaking it everyday. I must say I thank Lukas so much for not only being a great partner in learning the language, but being an incredible teacher as well. He has learned the language, i would say perfectly, and many say that is because he is german and they are very similar, but i know that he is an extremely intelligent guy with a big brain in him. I still can't say that I am great at norwegian, but I am at the point when I'm speaking it with my friends and family, i am able to sit in class and understand, able to do my homework (even presentations) and at the end of the day feel confident in saying that I know norwegian. It definitely is cool, and I will definitely continue to learn and study norwegian in the future and hopefully become better and better. Once again THANK GOD FOR SKYPE!!! I will be able to see and talk with people here even when im back in the states, amazing thing! :)

For those of you that have been following my blog, you know that I have traveled and seen beautiful places, met wonderful people, learned about a new culture and the traditions, tried amazing foods, learned a new language, grown as a person, become a more independent person and many more things. This year has really been a SPECTACULAR experience.

I am glad that I still have a month to learn and experience more, hopefully as much as possible! I look forward to sharing pictures, telling stories and maybe even showing off a little norwegian with all of you back home. Much love, Noah!

P.s. i'm putting up some pictures from the May 17th, norwegian constitution day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Birthday to remember!

Hello all! I wanted to share with you all that happened on my SUPER 18th birthday!!
To start off telling you exactly what happened, I have to start from the day before my actual birthday, on April 28th. I had a little birthday party with 13 or 14 friends, we ate DELICIOUS deserts that Astrid and Odd Tore worked so incredibly hard on, including scrumptious muffins my dear friend Anette made for me. We played frisbee and soccer in the yard and just all hung out. We ended the evening playing a fun board game all together. It was a very nice party! Ok, so April 29th, "the big day" it was extremely nice out with the sun shining, perfectly blue sky and birds chirping. I woke up at 7:00am to talk with my mom, who was waiting in bed just about to fall asleep. We talked for about an hour until my brother and dad called, and after about 45 minutes or so my sister rang me up entering into our little skype group chat. It was so nice to see their faces and hear their voices and get a chance to just talk about all sorts of things. After almost three hours on skype it was time to get out of bed, take a shower and eat some food! To of my friends came and met me at my house and took me to play a little frisbee which was exactly what I wanted to do. After a little while they decided it was time for some ice cream, and of course I agreed :p They were so sweet and bought me mine. With our ice cream in hand we went and watched a beach volleyball match from a P.E. class that was in session, it was nice to see friends and watch them play. At this point I was almost ready to head to school and see everyone! (I need to explain that on fridays I start school at 12:30pm) When I got to school it was lunch time so everyone was just chillin on the steps outside the school, immediately when I arrived I was embraced with many congratulations and hugs. It was so nice to have so many hugs and having everyone saying happy birthday to me (in norwegian b.t.w.) ;) I had a big geology project due on my birthday, and so that I was not stressed I finished it two days early so that I could just relax on my birthday! It felt so good to be finished with this project, it is the longest paper I have ever written at 16 pages, not to mention it was in norwegian. So it felt really good to hand it in stress free. after my geology class was over I had art, which was super nice to have because it is really relaxed and fun. They were all super nice and wished me happy birthday. After school is when my day really got good, I came home to a package from my mom sitting on the counter. It was amazing, so many fun things and some things that made me cry with happiness, for example the book my mom had my friends and family and teachers write and draw in. It was indescribably beautiful and touching. I will always cherish that book, and things people said to me in it. I feel so loved and its the best feeling in the world! After I was done crying and checking out all my prezies, I went out to meet a bunch of friends for a fun game of Ultimate frisbee, and afterwards beach volleyball, all in the AMAMAMAMAZING weather! I left all my friends around 5:30pm to go out to dinner with family, we ate at a yummy restaurant, I had a kebab plate which was suuuuuper good!! After dinner 5 of my guy friends picked me up and took me out on a boat trip. We ate hotdogs, danced and listened to music, all while the sun was setting (gorgeousssss). We were out on the water till 11:00pm, and the sun had still not completely set by the time we were on shore. We weren't exactly ready to end the night there, so headed for another friends house where a dew of my ladies friends were hanging out, so we all just hung out, tried playing volleyball in the dark, and relaxed with the guitar and some chocolate muse, at this point I couldn't eat anymore, so I had to unfortunately pass on the muse :(
After all was done, I was exhausted, so my friend drove me home. It was so nice to come home and read all the comments I had received on Facebook (a crazy 254 comments!!) they were all so nice, and I went to bed feeling so much love in my heart and around me. I have to say that this has to be in my top 2 birthdays, but to be honest I am so lucky to have so many people that love me, and always make me feel special every year! Thank you so much to everyone, for everything!!!

So how does it feel to be 18? I was asked that many times on my birthday and almost everyday since. The day after I was sharing stories from my birthday with my dad, and I got to thinking about everything that I want to do in my life, and the things I need to do in my near future. I have this incredibly strong urge to take a year off after high school and travel, to places that I can experience poverty, places where I can escape the addictions to computers, Tv's and cell phones. I need to experience something that will change my mind set, I want to become someone that can survive with what is necessary, not all the excessive junk that clogs our our brains from the internet and TV. I have always had what I have needed and more, and I feel like I could really benefit from learning a life style outside this world of luxury I have grown up in. I want to share what I have with those who are not as fortunate. My grandparent have lived in places all over the world, including Africa and India, and have learned so much about what is important in life, and what is exsessive. They have always shared with me their values and I respect the way they look at world, and I want to find that out for my self, traveling and witnessing the different classes of living. Its all stuff I have been thinking about, not just since I turned 18 but recently, and now that I have be gone away from my normal life in Seattle for this long and experienced learning a new language and culture, i want to find more places, learn more languages and meet incredible new people. There is so much to learn from the world, and there is no better way to learn about it, then to traveling. I feel strongly about going to university and I will go, but I also feel that I can learn so much outside of school, and I feel like the best time to do it is when I am young and free. I am ready to come home and see everyone, but I am also ready to continue with this journey i have begun, and I don't just mean norway this year, but the journey of my life that will take me around the world.

I hope all are well, I look forward to hearing from you all! Much love, Noah!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A beautiful feeling! Inside and out!

Ok so let me start out by saying sorry for not keeping up on my blog, I know it has been awhile. But where to start? I can't say that I have been up to too much (meaning crazy, incredible, outrageous things), but I can say that I have been and still am enjoying myself more then everrrrrr :) I have been a little stressed with school, just because we have a lot of tests and projects and so on at this moment, but at the end of this week I start a much needed spring break!

It is so wonderful to be in a place that I can feel so at home in, I was realizing that yes I will be going back to Seattle in less then 3 months time, but to be honest its hard to think about that, because I feel so comfortable here, so natural and at home. I will always remember the streets of Molde, the way to my school from home, the different ways of getting to friends houses and so on. Its such a cool feeling, and I feel so blessed to get to experience it. I have the hardest time excepting that I have nearly just 2 and a half months left in this incredible place, I don't want to talk about it to much, but the thought of leaving brings tears to my eyes. I love Molde, and everything and everyone here.

Last night I had a presentation on the U.S. with all the AFS people in Molde, it was a great experience to get to talk about my country, friends family and home in seattle. It was also a great experience to be able to describe, explain, and express myself all in Norwegian, and it was also nice to hear all the responses afterward :) they really boosted my confidence. I have really begun to feel confident in the language, there is a certain security I feel now that I can understand and speak the language fairly well. It is so nice to be able to sit and listen and converse with people, to laugh and make jokes with friends and family in a different language. It really is the best feeling to finally realize that if I just allow myself to feel confident, I can speak a new language without much to no effort. and I must say that it is sooooooooooooooooooo cool to think and dream in a different language!! That finally started happening only just a few weeks ago, and it was an amazing feeling! (of course after I am done writing this I will be thinking in English again, but its all good I'll get back to Norwegian in the mornin') ;)

I have always thought Molde was a beautiful place, but recently as spring is showing up it has become this completely new incredible stunning place, and I can even imagine what its going to look like in a month or so. I'll make sure to take many pictures over the next couple month, so that I can share the beauty with all of you!

Well I need to hit the sack, got a English exam in the mornin' so i need my sleep :p

Love to all, and hope all is well!

(The Picture of Kaizer (dog) is from a walk we took today) was beautiful out today!

(The picture of the Fjord and the mountains in the background was from a ski day with my school) Wow! how it couldn't have been nice out!

(The cute picture of CC and her friend was from the first Molde Fotball klubb home game) was super awesome, even though it was just a tie 2-2 :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Taking advantage of the time I have left!

I have been here almost six and a half months now, and I can really feel how fast the time is flying by. haha Im gonna be honest it has become difficult to write in english, so excuse me if I have some grammatical or spelling errors. This adventure in all has been an extremely life changing experience, and I am more the thrilled that I had the opportunity to do it. I think doing this, has opened many doors in my future, and really opened up doors in my mind to new possibilities, wether it is in my carrier choices or life choices. I now have this urge to go out and explore all parts of the world, and really get a feeling for the way other cultures live, and see the way things are done. I really do believe that this is the best start for me, and I know that Norway is not a dramatic change from my life in Seattle, but it has given me the confidence to become an individual, away from my parents and friends that have always been there for me. I now feel that I can make that step into adulthood, with knowing what real independence feels like.

I am going to be 18 next month, and I know that is a big step to take, a step that means something big. It is just a number and I know that, but it marks a step in life, one that means you are given the responsibility to be an individual and make choices for yourself. I have always been taken care of so well by my parents and loved ones, almost to the point when I never really had to do anything alone, and I have always appreciated that, but my year here has really shown me that I can do things alone, I can make those decisions by self and that I can be an independent person. Many of my friends here have and are turning 18, and I have gotten a see the life of an 18 year old here in Norway, and it is exciting, because they can legally drive, buy alcohol and go out to bars and so forth. Those are all cool things, but to me I believe 18 is something different, a step for me to show the world who Noah Lanphear really is. This is going to be a good year, a year followed by many years filled with big decisions, big accomplishments, and extreme growth as a person. I want my 18th birthday to represent a stepping stone in my life, I have finished my childhood years, and I am ready to take the leap into adulthood. A beginning to real responsibility!

My parents and grandparents are my inspiration in life, and they are the reason I am here right now. They have all moved away from the comforts of home , to go live in a place far away at one point in time and I can see how completely amazing people they are today because of those choices they made when they were young. None of them pushed me to do this, but simply showed me what it can do for the rest of your life. I thank all of them for giving me this opportunity, and I am and will continue to use this year to the fullest!

It is hard to think that I have less then four months left in the incredible place. I know that it is a good thing that time has flown by so fast, meaning that I have had an incredible time, but I wish it didnt have to come to end. I am not thinking about it now, because I want to use these months I have left, to explore places I havnt been, to meet people I havnt met, and to try new things. I want to be able to take back things I have seen and learned and share them with all my family and friends. I know that this year will be in my heart forever!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A good experience! A good now! A good life!

So, I just finished an incredible week working at an elementary school. This was an AFS work week, and to be honest at first I was a little skeptical about doing it, and the reasons for why we had to do it. but in all I am so happy I did it, and so grateful for the incredible support that was given to me during it from everyone at Sellanrå barneskole! I felt like I was part of the staff, a member of the team! Walking through the halls smiling and saying hallo to everyone, eating lunch with all the teachers and administration, and helping teach the students games, english, and about where I come from. I feel like I formed a relationship with these kids, I feel like they really wanted to learn about me and the country I come from. I talked to them about so many things, from the foods we eat, the shows we watch, the sports we play and they even wanted to learn a little about Obama and if I supported him. It was a very nice experience, and exciting to show pictures and explain different things about a place that most of them had never been before. Many were surprised to the resemblance of Puget Sound to the Molde Fjord, I had a picture with the Olympic mountains in the background and a ferry going across the water, when they saw it they didn't believe that it wasn't Molde. I was very excited to show them Qwest field and the Sounders because soccer is such a big part of their lives here. Their jaws dropped when I showed them Qwest field, the size blew them away. Molde's population is around 25,000 and Qwest field has a capacity of 67,000 meaning that more then two and a half Molde's could fit in Qwest field. So yeah they were shocked. They liked the space needle and all the tall skyscrapers. I talked with the 6th and 7th grade primarily in english because they were more the excited to show me their english skills. Although I enjoy a little break from the tiring reigns of learning norwegian once in awhile, this was actually quite frustrating, because afterwards when I needed to go be with the younger kids, I had to use my brain alot more when speaking and listening to norwegian. Overall the week was amazing, I made great little friends (who are so cute!!) and learned alot of norwegian, while feeling confident in my self to communicate with all the students and teachers.

The language is really progressing I think! I am at the point when I can communicate in norwegian, and have a conversation with others in norwegian. I think I would say that it is definitely bad norwegian (grammatically incorrect), but hey I think its a good start! It feels really good being able to form whole sentences and understand the majority of what is being said, i think the most exciting thing is feeling confident enough to go into stores and being able to ask for help or whatever in norwegian! So yeah I feel really good about norwegian now, and I will continue to push my self everyday to become better and better! My good friend here, who also an exchange student, from germany has been an extreme help! He learned norwegian faster then I though possible, and he has given me the confidence to push my self to learn it! We also decided that after New Years we would speak just norwegian, and for the most part it has happened. I feel that in just one month I have learned an incredible amount, and I have been told that it will progress even faster if i continue to focus and speak it. I have said it before but I just want to thank all my friends and family here for the incredible help and support that they have given me with the language, because my time is only getting more enjoyable now that I can join into conversations and talk to my family every night at the dinner table in norwegian, and watch norwegian TV and yeah its all just so EXCITING!!!

I decided to write this blog in just english, because this one is more for you all back in the states, and plus people here can read it anyway :p I just wanted you al to know that the language is definitely coming, and I am still doing as great as ever!

Much love, Noah!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Julestemning :)

Jeg var veldig spent til jul, norsk mat, tradisjon, og feiring. Julen var kjempe flott, alle sammen rundt bordet, og juletreet. Vi spiste mye MYE deilig mat, sang sanger, åpnet gaver, og ga MANGE klemmer etterpå! Norsk Jul har mye tradisjoner, og jeg var så glad for å oppleve dette, jeg har ikke savnet de hjemme veldig mye denne julen... Jeg savner familien min i Seattle, men jeg elsker Norge veldig mye og jeg tenker på dette som hjemme allrede. Familien min her, er så snille! og det har vært veldig koselig denne julen med alle norske søsken her, og mye annen familie. Vi har vært på mange mange mange mange MANGE juleselskaper, og det er kjempe artig! Jeg skal aldri glemme norsk jul, fordi det er så koselig og det har veldig rike og morsomme tradisjoner.

I dag er nyttåraften, i kveld skal jeg og familien min dra til onkel, tante og søskenbarn og ha middag der. Etter på, vil det være mye fester og fyrverkeri. Det skal bli en kjempe artig kveld!

Det er litt rart å tenke på at jeg skal være i 2011, når familien min I Seattle skal forsatt være i 2010... haha bare litt rart synes...

God jul alle sammen! og ha et kjempe hyggelig nyttår!


I was very excited for Christmas, the Norwegian food, the tradition, and celebrating. Christmas was amazing, everyone around the table and Christmas tree, we ate delicious food, sang songs, opened presents, and gave many hugs afterward. Norwegian Christmas has much tradition involved, and I was so excited for it, that I did not miss home that much during it. I miss my family back in Seattle, but I love Norway so much and I already think of it as a second home. My family here is so nice, and it has been so nice to have all my Norwegian siblings here, and other family all celebrating together. We have been to MANY Christmas parties and they were all so fun! I will never forget Norwegian Christmas, because it was so nice, and they have such rich and fun traditions.

Today is New Years eve, tonight my family and I are going to our uncle and aunts and cousins house for dinner :) After dinner there are many parties and fireworks. I think it will be alot of fun!

It is a little bit weird, thinking that I will be in a different year then my friends and family back home for 9 hours... just a little weird i think...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!