Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moving to Pittsburgh

Finally, here comes the blog post you have all been waiting for; the blog post that tells you everything about my new life in Pittsburgh, what I think of my classmates, how the dialect of my roommate sounds, which professor is the most disorganized... But actually, I still haven’t met anyone that I am sure to meet again. So I’ll just tell you the same things I told the guys at the international orientation ice cream social.

Carnegie Mellon TartansYes, I am moving to Pittsburgh. I checked in to the Carnegie Mellon (CMU) campus today, where I’ll probably be hanging around at for the next four years. I’ll major in either civil and environmental engineering or electrical and computer engineering, but I’ll take both introductory courses in my freshman year. I come from Norway, a country that you can probably place approximately on a map, despite that I am the first Norwegian guy you meet. I have not been to Asia, at least if you don’t count the international orientation ice cream social.

I arrived in Pittsburgh two days ago, after a trip that lasted almost 40 hours; when I landed in Detroit, I had to check my luggage through customs, which made me lose my connection flight to Pittsburgh. So they put me on a plane to Philadelphia, but I didn’t catch the flight to Pittsburgh there either, and I had to spend the night. At least I was in Pennsylvania. I got on the next afternoon flight to Pittsburgh, and by the time I came to Oakland, where CMU is located, it was already sunset. Time had come to find the bed and breakfast –place I had found on Google Maps.

It turned out that the bed and breakfast was not bed and breakfast at all, but luxury suites. However, I appreciated that they had a vacancy; after all, I was walking around in a foreign city in the dark with 30 kg on my back and a big, unmanageable blanket in my arms.

The next day I spent exploring the campus area, setting up a bank account, talking to the student health service about my vaccinations, paying the tuition fee, handing in my final grade report and so forth. In the evening I went to explore downtown, and I found thousands of people dressed up in black and yellow, all gravitating towards a big stadium called “Heinz Field.” I figured I might as well follow them and see what happen. I bought a ticked from a guy who had too many, which saved me $20. More than 28 000 attended the game, but the stadium wasn’t even half filled.

Heinz Field
It was a pre-season game between Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, the two Superbowl finalists from 2008. Like then, the Steelers won. I had never seen a game of American football before, but the kind, old lady that sat next to me explained the essentials, and by the end of the game, I’d figured out most of it. I bought a “terrible towel” in support of the Steelers, but I hesitated to use it when I was told that to wave it was meant as a curse on the other team.

My thoughts on American football: Way too much breaks. The players don’t even get tired! What is it about this fighting for four seconds -thing, and then having tactics for fourty? They should at least cut the “waiting time” in half; maximum twenty seconds from the down till the game must start again. And also, there should be fewer substitutes. What are there, three or four different line-ups available for each team? I think tired athletes would make room for more touchdowns, which, no big secret, is the fun part. Let’s call the new game “battleball” or something, and eventually the old American football would die, and even the Americans will forget that they used to call real football for soccer.

Today I moved in to my dorm, and I took the bus to “Waterfront” on the south shore of the Monongahela River to buy bed linens. I also got slightly lost when I tried a new route to the suite where I had my bag, but not more than what common sense and friendly Pittsburghers could handle. I have learned that 5th Ave and Forbes Ave are the two most useful references for getting around, and that CMU is located about as far from the shopping district in Oakland as it is from the shopping district in Squirrel Hill. My dorm is also on the completely opposite side of campus of the building where I’ll have my early morning classes in math and physics. I’ve decided to get a bicycle. I still haven’t seen a grocery store.

Read more:
Pittsburgh: Best place to live
Tartans: Carnegie Mellon University
Wikipedia: Heinz Field
Wikipedia: American footballl


  1. Var det dyneplastposen som revnet, slik jeg spådde?

  2. Dyneplasten revnet ikke nevneverdig, nei, uten at jeg kan huske at du spådde den kom til å gå i stykker - jeg var jo enig i forslaget om å pakke den godt inn, men damen på flesland mente jo det skulle gå bra. Neida, grunnen til at bagasjen var gjemt bort, var at den var kommet med en tidligere flyavgang enn jeg.

  3. Jeg tenkte på dette: "a big, unmanageable blanket in my arms."