Ethan Bjelland ’12

Posted on February 26th, 2014 by

1911798_10153918423925604_1719134783_n.jpgI’m going on my final weekend of a run for Theatre Pro Rata’s version of ‘Elephant’s Graveyard’ by George Brant, under the direction of Amber Bjork. I’m performing with another fellow Gustie, John Zeiler ’06. I attached a photo from the show. John and I are on the far right, (Stage Left), standing.

I am also working part time at Moods of Norway, the Norwegian fashion brand that has just started making its way to the US. The Twin Cities location is only the third location in the US, after one in Los Angeles, and another in New York. The company is one of the largest and most loved brands in Norway, and boasts “Happy clothes for happy people,” and further recognizes its roots in Norway through clever details including an embroidered number representing the number of tractors in Norway each year — Norway has the highest per capita ratio of tractors in the world.

I get to use Norwegian and Swedish languages on a daily basis while working at Moods. There are only a handful of people that work for Moods of Norway in the US, and so far, I believe I am one of two or three that speaks Norwegian. Still, the brand is a sort of welcome mat for Norwegian people in the US and Norwegian exchange students, surprised to see their brand in the Mall of America, and excited to grab a few of the new season’s suits and dresses without tax, and that Norwegian chocolate bar they’ve been missing since the plane dropped them off.

I’m also teaching Norwegian at Mindekirken in Minneapolis. The Mindekirken Norwegian Language and Culture Program (MNLCP) offers a wide variety of affordable cultural programming, and weekly language classes covering collegiate-level Norwegian language curricula, at a slower pace, only once a week. I have students both in college and out of college, some taking the language because they’re just interested in the culture, others taking it because they have a friend or spouse that is from Norway. It’s been a fun adventure, and I’m excited to continue!

The move to Minneapolis has been fun and fruitful. I’m excited to be living in a city, after a while working as an artist in smaller towns, like Lanesboro and St. Croix Falls. Both were wonderful fits for me, but the accessibility and size of the arts scene in the city is unbeatable. For one thing, it’s great to be able to see old Gustie friends again, so easily. I’m also excited to be a part of a Scandinavian community and be able to use both of my majors from college on an equal and active basis.

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