"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..... :)