Tuesday, September 29, 2015


The scene in the House of Benthos today. 
I woke up this morning to find two classmates already in the barrack 11 kitchen, except that instead of eating breakfast, they were typing on their computers. In all honestly, I joined them just as soon as I had eaten, because we have a report due tomorrow.

As the morning rolled on, more and more classmates made their way into the kitchen with their computers. We filled the long wooden table with laptops, water bottles, and notebooks. At any given time, at least two conversations were going on at the table - one work-related, one not. We talked amongst ourselves to coordinate what should go into the reports, then shouted across the room to make a joke.

We spent several hours like this, clicking away at our computers, trading USB sticks and clever quips across the table. Eventually, we got hungry and distracted, so somebody turned on a Queen-Pink Floyd-Nirvana shuffle mix, and someone else started cooking a late lunch. The laptop crowd broke up for a few hours while we ate, watched movies, and took walks, but then we got right back to it.

The best way I can describe today is to tell you about a Norwegian word that really doesn't translate into English: koselig. It's an adjective meant to describe the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when sharing the simple things in life with good friends. Getting coffee with someone you haven't seen in years is koselig. Sitting by a warm fire and sipping wine with your mother is koselig. And apparently, at least to me, working on a cruise report with 16 other classmates is koselig.

Today rocked because most of us were in the same room, and we were all working toward the same goal. We were forced to collaborate, to share scientific ideas and grammatical advice, to pull ourselves together and write a solid report. Today was an exercise in togetherness.

As the reports gradually got finished and the kitchen crowd broke up, most of us shifted over to the living room to watch a movie. This is perhaps my favorite thing about my classmates: sure, we're forced to spend time together for the course, but we also choose to spend our free time together. In a pretty short amount of time, we've become a little family.

I absolutely love watching communities form, and the dynamic among my classmates really makes me smile. The environment in the House of Benthos is collaborative, dynamic, and diverse. And most days, it's really quite koselig.

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