(P1) Three years ago, I sat on the wooden chair in the back of Randi Bjellands’ kitchen in Norway, waiting. And waiting. A gentleman walked in and sat down. She quickly emerged from the back room and greeted him in Norwegian with a plate of food.
(P2) I don’t speak or understand Norwegian and couldn’t tell if she understood that I was hungry, too. Did she think I was sitting here waiting for a travel companion to join me? Did she not realize my feet were aching from winding up-and-down the San Francisco-like streets of the Nordnes neighborhood, in Bergen, trying to find Bjellands Kjøkken (Bjellands’ Kitchen) before she closed shop?
(P3) It was clear Randi wasn’t to be disturbed. I had stumbled upon the recommendation online, stating that Bjellands, who is in her late 70s, single-handedly ran the restaurant and had her own methods.
(P4) When I first entered, all she said to me in broken English, a bit brusquely, was: “You hungry? You want fish? Cod?” I had nodded with every question and sat down, a good 20 minutes ago. She hadn’t acknowledged me since, while several locals had entered and been served immediately.
(P5) After another 15 minutes of clanking in the back, she appeared in front of me with a plate, piled high with battered cod, potatoes, and slaw and the heartiest grin on her face. Even though we couldn’t carry on a conversation, her expression said it all. She wanted to impress the one tourist and only other female in the room and had gone out of her way to prepare my meal with an extra dose of care.
(P6) The beauty of solo travel is the ability to immerse yourself in the community and to stumble upon those moments of international connection organically on your own. But as a woman, fears, sometimes innate, over the silliest things can spin into overdrive, especially in a foreign environment.
VOCABULARY: emerged, single-handedly, brusquely, clanking, heartiest, innate
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you think women should travel solo? Why or why not?
- Have you ever traveled solo? If so, tell me about it.
- What are some precautions a solo traveler should take while traveling?
READING COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS:
- What type of seat did the author sit on in the restaurant?
- What’s the full name of the woman working in the restaurant?
- What did the traveler eat at Bjellands’ Kitchen?
- The woman working in the restaurant spoke a few words of English. (T or F)
- What does the author say is the best thing about women traveling solo?
EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:
What do the following expressions or phrases mean?
- winding up-and-down the San Francisco-like streets (P2)
- stumbled upon (P3)
- an extra dose of care (P5)
- spin into overdrive (P6)