The Messina Family

The Messina Family
Barcelona 2010

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Russ time again....

A Russkort (Russ card) from an ISS senior.

Russ girls come to ISS to watch the Norway vs. Bulgaria rugby match.

Russ (pronounced ROOS)is a right of passage for students in Norway. The seniors (which in Norway they are usually 19 year olds) get about a month to totally go crazy before starting their official adult lives. How can you tell if someone is Russ? They all are required to wear these coveralls...with the straps hanging at the sides. They are pre-ordered to have different markings on the overalls to reflect the personality of the person wearing them. (these people that design them must make a killing in April!!) The Russ are required to wear them for the entire Russ period, everyday...and they aren't allowed to wash them. They are usually red or blue, depending on the school they go to and what they will be doing with their adult lives.
The Russ get together and 4 or 5 of them will buy an old beater van from a Russ group the year before. They paint the vans and write words all over them. The music is usually blasting.
Each Russ has Russ cards that they hand out. I will try and take a picture of a few of them and post them. They have the name of the person, a picture of them, two of their favorite quotes (by them or someone else) and the name of their school. It is really cool for younger kids to collect these Russ cards. Tim came back with a handful of them from his Oslo trip at the end of April.
Russ are trouble makers. You want to avoid them at all costs. There is a published list of about 200 "dares" that they want to try and accomplish. Each one they do, they get a knot in the string in their caps. If you see a Russ with a lot of the other way! Some of the dares are relatively benign...sit in a tree for an hour on school grounds before school starts. Bite the ankles of 10 9th graders. Camp out overnight on a grassy roundabout in town. Crawl across a bridge naked. (okay, not so benign) Pull middle school and high school students out of class to collect them together and teach them a sex ed class. (or I have heard they just go to a class and take over the class.) Stay up for 72 hours straight. Basically the kids are allowed to raise Cain and be idiots and all is forgiven because it is Russ.
17 Mai is the biggest Norwegian holiday and every child in the area is required to march in the children's parade in Stavanger. My two boys and Sergi will be marching on Saturday. It is very formal and you wear your best clothes all day. Norwegians will be in their national dress (bunad). This is the Russ's last hoorah. They will bring up the tail end of the parade being loud and obnoxious and blowing very loud whistles. All the adults will laugh and smile and cheer...because when the parade is is Russ for another year. Thank God!
Here's a link to the English Aftenblad (newspaper) with some articles about Russ...

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