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Jeanine Fritz

OSLO, Norway -- It's the eight-foot box wrapped in royal-blue tapestry covered in pink dragons and funky headless peacocks that finally prompts me to leave the house.

It looks like the kind of box you'd use to saw a lady in half, but I suspect it's nothing more than an armoire prepped for dragging up the stairs of the 100-year-old building I'm living in.

But I want to see it up close, to see whether the peacocks have heads after all (they don't) before the lady in the box gets moved upstairs. So instead of lying in bed and pretending the stifling heat of the bedroom is just like what I remember from Boulder, I decide to go outside.

I've been in Oslo for approximately 25 hours. I have unpacked and then repacked my things into little nooks and crannies around the wee downtown apartment I now call home.

I can't wait to see what happens when the stuff I shipped arrives. The apartment here may soon resemble the storage unit I have in Boulder -- chairs hanging from the rafters, furniture and boxes stacked to the ceiling and reinforced with twine so the mess doesn't come tumbling down like some kinda American Furniture Warehouse landslide.

Given the way I feel after 18 hours of travel, it seems like "The Hangover" is a movie I might relate to, so we head to the theater. I fall asleep during the movie (a lifetime first) and wake up to discover the three main characters have made no headway -- they still don't know what happened last night in Vegas and still don't know where their friend is.


I get that, because, as jet-lagged as I am, I'm not entirely sure how I ended up in Norway -- or if all of me is here.

Oslo Kino isn't your average theater; they eschew our practice of ugly, multi-colored carpet to hide popcorn and slushee shrapnel, because there is no slushee machine (the HORROR!) and the popcorn is neatly tucked into boxes behind heated doors.

It's like being at the grocery store. Open a door, grab a popcorn. Open another door, grab a capped soda designed to taste like sugary champagne.

One upshot: fresh Charleston Chews. I thought the chocolate-covered taffy candy was supposed to have the consistency of a rubber floor mat -- but surprise, it doesn't!

We have assigned seats, which blows, since we're assigned to sit in front of a couple of yakkity-yaks. Twenty minutes into the film, I stage an American revolt and move out of the assigned seats and away from the distracters.

Shortly after this coup, I'm out cold, hopefully not snoring.

I know it will take time to learn the language, to not get lost two blocks from home like I did today, and to start feeling I belong here. But I can't shake the suspicion that like the lady sawed in half, there's a chunk of me still missing.

Maybe it's the jet lag or maybe the other half of me is upstairs under the royal-blue tapestry with pink dragons and headless peacocks.

Boulder expatriate Jeanine Fritz's weekly musings on life in Norway appear in the Colorado Daily every Friday.