"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other Plans"
-John Lennon

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lessons I have learned in Norway....the hard way.

I have been here about two and a half months now, and I cannot even count the ways in which my life has changed!

Along with these changes, I have learned a few very useful life lessons that I had to learn the hard way.
Here they are:

1. When it's raining outside, don't walk too closely to the curb....(or make your boyfriend walk on that side of the curb)....a lesson you only need to learn once!

2. Since moving to Olso, I have come to realize there are both pros and cons to not driving. While it is nice not to have to worry about sitting on the 405 for 3 hours in rush hour traffic, or not worrying about gas money, car payments, insurance, repairs, or designated drivers, the god awful stench of the bus some mornings is maybe worse than losing 3 hours of my like in traffic.

This isn't the worst part of the public transportation commute. One particularly cold morning, I was on my way to work, and layered up in a thick sweater and coat, and didn't think much of the fact that the bus seat felt cold....until I got up and realized "cold" really meant WET! It has taken all of my strength to not think about why on earth the seat of the bus would be wet, but I am going to just decide right now that someone must have spilled their water bottle.....right?!?!

3. "Slippery when wet" really does mean slippery! What the sign should read is: "Watch out asshole! Just because you can't see it, does not mean ice is not there and you will fall on your butt!"....now that would have grabbed my attention!

We have these little pebbles on the ground near my work, and I didn't understand what they were for. It looked like some truck had just spilled a bunch of tiny pebbles out of the back. I hated them because they get stuck in your shoe. Then, all day, you would click when you walk....they drove me crazy! That is until the first snow....now the pebbles and I have a new found friendship.

4. I never cared much for socks....living in CA my whole life, I never had to worry too much about them. We wore rainbows, ballet flats, or heels 90% of the year, and the other 10% we were either in gym shoes or boots, no one ever sees your socks and therefor you don't put much thought into them.

Here in Norway, socks have become something I need to worry about as much as the rest of my outfit. Not only do I need to worry about having warm enough socks (apparently only wool socks keep your body heat in), but I need to worry about them being aesthetically pleasing as well!

When you go into someone's home for a party, dinner thing, or just for vorspiel (the pre-drinking that happens at someones home before hitting the town), it is customary to take off your shoes. The first time we went to one of Knut's coworkers home for dinner, I had to change my whole outfit just so that I could make my socks work with the ensemble!

5. I grew up in the land of the Santa Ana winds. One time when I was a kid, the wind actually shattered my bedroom window just from the sheer force! I thought they were the worst thing in the world until I felt wind in Norway. Imagine a strong wind, but instead of being pleasantly and surprisingly warm, it is bone-chillingly cold!

6. Eating a hamburger or sandwich the "polite way". We have all seen that Seinfeld episode where everyone starts eating the Snickers bar with a knife and fork. Here it is considered rude to eat with your hands. Try eating a burger with a knife and fork without making a mess. It is maybe the hardest thing I have ever done!

I am sure that as the months pass, more embarrassing moments will come along to remind me on a daily basis that I am, in fact, a foreigner! I guess it's all of my bad karma for calling Knut a silly foreigner all those times when we were back in the U.S. Oh well....live and learn!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas in Norway

Before I go into more details on Berlin, I want to share a little about our Christmas here.

This is our second Christmas together, and our first one away from most of our friends and family, so I wanted to make it extra special for Knut by spreading out the holiday cheer all month long!!!

So I made a little 25 Days of Christmas surprise for him. Each day has a card with some kind of Christmasy fun.

So far we have had:
Day 1: To get in the xmas spirit he got to open gift number 1.....German Beer set from my trip to Berlin.

Day 2: Letter to Santa love note.....sorry kids, not going to share details of this one....

Day 3: Cookie Face Race! We still can't watch this video without laughing like crazy!! This is one Christmas tradition that we will be keeping around for future years.

Stay tuned to see what the rest of the month has to offer! There are gifts spread out through the month...#1-10...Christmas Games/Challenges, traditions, etc....

We also sent out the invite last night for our 3rd Annual Christmas Ornament Decorating Contest.....its really fun, and mostly an excuse to be with friends and drink and be merry! I love having my tree full of Ornaments made by all of the meaningful people in my life over the years.....that is what Christmas really is about to me anyway.

Here are some pics from the first 2 years....

I really dont miss home too much yet, but I will always miss that view!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Berlin on a Whim

Where do I begin?

Here I am working at a showroom for just shy of 2 weeks....very much the new girl still, and the owners come over to me and ask me if I would like to attend their Christmas party in a surprise location.

The only things that I know are to show up at 7 am and to have my passport and an overnight bag with "going out" clothes!

So.....after thinking, for maybe less than a second, I of course agreed!

We show up at the airport and we still have no idea....

We get to the baggage drop......still no idea.

We get to the security check....no idea.

I get randomly searched and subsequently felt up after going through security....still no ideas.

Pass quite a few of those arrival/departure boards and try to figure out the times.....no ideas.

Sit down at a cafe, 3 bottles of champagne materialize.....no idea.

Then, after the bubbles have been pored, they say it in unison...............IT"S BERLIN!!!!!!!!!!!

In a matter of minutes we were on the plane and off to our holiday party....details of the trip to follow, but all you need to know at this point is that I work for the world's most amazing company and it was an amazing trip!!!!

Stay tuned..... :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What exactly are you selling?

I mentioned in an earlier post that the T.V. commercials here are a bit more provocative than back home...

Here is just one example that was playing during America's Funniest Home Videos...

I dont know about you, but I am uncomfortable!

Damn Bird!

He may look all sweet and innocent, but I don't think a day has gone by where I wasn't woken up to this asshole's yelling! 

Oh and it's not just any yell either....he says "muwahahahahaha" like a horror movie monster!....wtf right?!?

Listen bird, Halloween was over weeks ago, and I am not amused! It is November now, and unless you start singing Happy Birthday to me (Since my bday is one week from today!!) or Christmas carols, I have had about enough of your lip!

Your friendly (and sleepy!), animal loving, human neighbor.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

På Bølgelengde.....My Norwegian movie experience

Last night, Knut's uncle Arne treated us to a limited screening movie "premier" here in Oslo of På Bølgelengde (which translates to On Wavelength...or how we would say "on the same wave length"). Arne's friend had made the movie in the city of Stord, Norway where Knut's mom's side of the family is from. Oh did I mention the entire film is in Norwegian? 

First a little on the theatre itself. We start out by passing the Bar/ Cafe where you can buy a beer or cappuccino for your movie going experience. Then we went downstairs to get popcorn in what I can only describe as the movies very own grocery store (I say this because the "concession stand" was bigger than our local grocery store).

The only thing I could think about was popcorn....but you dont walk up to a counter where some stoned high school kid with braces gets your popcorn, here there are giant warming boxes...dont know what else to call them...filled with different sizes. You grab one and bring it to the counter to pay...

Then, we go inside to our theater. We find our ASSIGNED seats. Yeah, they assign your seats, and since we bought them right before the movie started, we were in the second row of the theater. But it wasn't so bad because we were in the coziest seats of all time.

Now a little on the actual movie. As the title On Wavelength suggests, the movie is about a couple who is not on the same wavelength in the beginning of the movie. The age old tale of girl wants wedding and baby, and boy craps his pants and faints at the thought of all of this.

I think the look on his face says it all....this is where she tells him she wants more.

To make a long story short, the main girl breaks up with the main guy because he wont commit and then is immediately engaged to some other guy....super creepy, gross guy I might add.
Said creepy and gross guy on the left with the bald head

During this time, the main guy character starts to get seduced by the local "hottie" as seen below.

"Hottie" with her top from Red Eye in 2001

Whenever this "hottie" comes on screen, the song "My Lovin (Never Gonna Get It)" by En Vogue comes on....yes the same En Vogue from 1992....and you're welcome for getting that song stuck in your head for the next week! I can't stop singing it. I think Knut has at least 5 sniper style videos of me singing and dancing to this song all alone as I cook, clean or go about my daily activities. I can't get rid of it now!!

In the end (Spoiler Alert for all of you american readers who will prob never see this film), the two main characters decide that they cannot live without each other and they get back together....and, in true romantic comedy fashion, she is pregnant with his baby! All is well that ends well right?

All in all, the movie was cute, and it was a really fun experience getting to go see a movie all in Norwegian that took place in the gorgeous small town that Knut's family is from. After the movie was over, we met up with the Director and a few of the cast and crew members. The only cast member was the creepy, gross guy though....and Knut and I immediately decided that his character in real life was not too far off from his movie character since in the first few minutes of meeting this guy he happens to (according to Knut since I don't understand a word of what he says) compare himself to James Bond and also tells us a very charming story regarding many shots and some embarrassing anecdote about the director...local celebrity at its finest I suppose! Did we happen to mention that we are from California?

I give the movie and the day 2 Thumbs Up!!

Judge for yourself...here is the trailer:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Those girls sound like they could be my people!

I had lunch today with a fashion industry person that I knew from CA. He happened to be in Oslo for about 5 hours meeting with one of the stores here, so we met up so I could pick his brain....nothing wrong with a little networking and a free beer right?

That's not the exciting part of my day though, the exciting thing happened when I was walking home. I am just crossing the street, minding my own business when I hear a couple of girls behind me talking. "Some d-bag in a lifted truck trying to get my number....." is all I could hear.....all I needed to hear. Lifted truck, d-bag, english speaking brunette....all those things add up to one thing: AMERICANS!!!

Naturally I immediately invite myself into their convo (I really am that rude american chic I guess) and ask them where they are from...One girl is living in Oslo, and the other in Germany and they are both originally from Seattle, WA! The girl that lives in Oslo lives in my neighborhood, and so we exchanged numbers and are going to get together next week. That means I officially have 2 new friends here completely separate of Knut and his friends (whom I love btw).

All of this say that I think I may be officially becoming the equivalent to that guy who drives down the street "hollering" at girls to get dates...."That d-bag in the lifted truck"....only I am not trying to win dates....just friends. And technically I am not "hollering" at people , just politely saying, "excuse me, I cant help but notice you're american". That's not as creepy right?!....well just humor me and tell me that it's not.

Nothing Like the White Noise of a Record Player...

When I woke up today I noticed that it was just a little bit colder....Winter is officially knocking on the door! So to enjoy my last bits of Fall, I decided to get ready for my day to the familiar sound of my records. I think today we'll start out with a little Bill Withers Ain't no Sunshine, and then follow that with some Phil Collins....because let's be honest, Phil makes every day just that much better!

....Two of my favorites....

Thank goodness for my record player coming back from the dead. We thought we had lost it there for a while. To those of you that don't know, you need to have some kind of energy converter for U.S. electronics, and we plugged the record player into such a device, but apparently not the correct one, because all we heard when we turned it on was a loud bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, followed by a POP! When we (ie: Knut) went to investigate what had happened, the plug converter had shot out of the wall! 

We thought the record player was a goner, but about a week later we decided to give it another shot, and plugged it into a different converter and it worked!!! Thank goodness we didn't give up on it! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Suzie Freaking Homemaker!

Now that I am living a life that is completely foreign to me in every way, I have needed to make certain adjustments. The foreign life that I am referring to is not that of living out of the U.S., but that of an unemployed house-"wife" (I use the term "wife" loosely....honey try not to hyperventilate!).

So, to try to contribute to our household in a way that I never had much experience in before, I have taken to having a hot dinner on the table every night when Knut comes home to his clean house....(cleaning being the other "chore" that I have adopted).

I am quite proud of my dishes usually! Especially since the majority of my culinary skills back home consisted of Mexican food (easiest thing to make vegetarian without his objections),which i have been forced to branch out from since the necessary ingredients are difficult to come by.

Tonight's dinner: Pesto Chicken (for Knut), Pesto Tofu (for me), Balsamic Parmesan Cauliflower, and Balsamic Cinnamon Carrots.....delish!

Quick shout out to all of my Pinterest finds.....without that site, I would be a terrible house-"wife"! These are all things that I have made in the last couple of weeks that I would recommend trying...links to recipes are below....enjoy!
Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Balsamic, Honey, Cinnam
Black Pepper and Lime Baked Fries
Grilled Corn w/ Chilli Powder and Lime

Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Crostini
Stuffed Peppers

DIY Smoothie Packs
Jello Shots in Apple "Boats"

Baked Apple Chips
Portobello Philly Cheese "steak" Sandwhich

Friday, November 4, 2011

The view from where I am standing

This is just a few of the sights that we have seen in the last few weeks...

The River by our house

Lysaker Brygge

The Castle
The view from the castle

The Oslo Opera House

Flower shop by our house in Grunerløkka

This building down the street was built in 1887!!
One of the many Flea Markets in our neighborhood on the weekend.
Gorgeous waterfall along the river by our place.

My favorite thing in the entire world!....Duckies! :)
Just pretty buildings.
Just on our walk...
The path we walk by the river...
Gotta love Grunerløkka...look closely at that "swan"....

Little Norwegian Troll...