‘Things are a lot more flat around here’
Eivind (pronounced Ivan) Kristiansen is 17 years old. He lives in Norway with his family, consisting of his mother, Anne; his father, Gunnar; and his three siblings.
But now Kristiansen has a new family.
Well, at least for a year, and that family is Bill and Karrie Eckles of Blue Earth, their 11-year-old son, Landon, and their three-year-old daughter, Faith.
Kristiansen says back home in Norway, he lives in the southeast portion of the country, just a few hours from Sweden in a town roughly the same size of Blue Earth, between 3,000 and 5,000 people. So, he is used to the size of the community.
What isn’t he used to?
“Things are a lot more flat around here,” says Kristiansen.
And that is saying something since he lives in one of the flattest parts of Norway.
“But it is nice having warm summers. We are not so used to that.”
Another thing Kristiansen is not used to is the size of things in the United States.
“Everything is so much bigger here,” he says with a smile. “Everything is very spread out. It is nice.”
At home in Norway, Kristiansen says school is not so different from home. The class sizes are roughly the same, but one thing that is different, school back home branches off into different trade-school classes, much like that of community college courses here.
He also says back home, students don’t have options for elective classes like Blue Earth Area students do.
And his favorite class, so far just a month or so into the school year? Current events. Kristiansen says the political debates of the United States have him very intrigued in his current events class.
Another thing that Kristiansen is getting used to are the cold viruses that run rampant in school. He has recently been recovering from a cold and says he has been pretty under the weather for a good majority of school so far.
“That’s okay, though,” says Kristiansen. “It only makes me stronger to keep going.”
Kristiansen says he is not involved in any sports or activities at Blue Earth Area High School, yet, but at six feet, five inches tall, perhaps Kristiansen may have a busy winter with the basketball team. He says he has yet to decide which activities he would like to be involved in. He is focusing his time on making more friends, doing well in his classes, and of course, recovering from those pesky cold viruses.
The things he misses most about home currently are his dog Wilma and his cat Betty, both named for the beloved Flintstone characters.
Kristiansen says he hopes to see a lot of the United States before he heads back home to Norway.
He says he has already visited New York City with his exchange student group program, the Education First, or EF?Foundation. A large group of exchange students from across the world, once they came into the country, traveled around the Big Apple as a group for three days.
“My favorite part was Times Square,” says Kristiansen. “I was only able to see a small portion of what I wanted, so I hope I?get to go back there.”
That was also the trip where he met a fellow Norwegian, who goes to a school close to Blue Earth Area.
When Kristiansen is not dreaming of the Big Apple or playing with his “siblings” Landon and Faith, he says he enjoys things most teenage boys enjoy.
That includes playing video games, watching television, and of course, sleeping.
“I have been sleeping a lot. I hope that will change once I am feeling better,” he says.
So for now, Eivind Kristiansen is focused on getting better and getting a better understanding of his high school routine. He says he enjoyed a lot of BEA’s homecoming activities as well.
As the seasons change, and time goes by, Kristiansen says he looks forward to knowing what winter will be like in the Midwest.
“I heard it’s cold, but I?want to see how cold it really is,” he says.
Some things are better left as a surprise.