Well…. after about three hours of sleep last night, I took the bus to Oslo this morning for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize.  Ok, you’re right, unless I was press, there wasn’t a chance I could have actually seen the awarding, but it was pretty cool just to be there.  Oslo is a fairly quiet city, and the commotion around the city hall building definitely proved something big was going on.  

There’s us in front of the city hall before the ceremony.  And then… as luck would have it, we walked out of the cafe where we stopped to warm up just as two of the women who were awarded the prize were making their public appearance.  You can see one of them in the purple hat.  It was pretty cool.  

Speaking of cool, the weather in Oslo was freezing today.  Tights under jeans and a sweatshirt under my coat weren’t enough to keep me warm; nevertheless, I’m really happy we got to go.  

First video upload! 

Tonight Åse invited me to come to a concert in the Halden Theater.  She performed there 20 years ago and now her son Levi performed tonight.  It was such a great show.  Tons of great acts and beautiful music.  

Some of the highlights for me include the above video, a cover of “You Belong to Me,” another of “Heart of Gold,”  and an original song about the events of July 22nd and how Norway continues to stand together.  

The low point was a band of children with a girl singing “I hate you.” I’m not sure if it was original or not.

It was such a good night though.  I left feeling happy and inspired and I’m looking forward to playing music again. <3

Still… 13 more days.  

The past few nights have consisted of a special dinners. “Eat, Santa, eat!” Portion control has not even been an option.  

Tuesday: Special dinner for Anita… because she’s done nice things for us all semester! I made good old fashion american stuffing.  Ricky and Mike made chicken curry and rice. And Mike and Astrid made this amazing french tart with pears! 

Wednesday: German Kässpätzle! Come on, anything that involved 15 eggs, over a kilo of cheese and onions is right up my alley.  You can see the excitement in my face (this picture is from the first time Ralph made it for us).  MMmmmm! 

Thursday: Another Christmas dinner! Anita always makes the cutest settings. More shocking though: I actually had seconds of the chicken!  That’s a first for me since I started eating meat again.  Usually, I just eat it to be polite.  

And here are more pictures of the beautiful snow before it started raining again. Uggg…. I think Norway has worse weather than Wisconsin. 

13 more days ‘til I get home! 

 

This week has been very Christmas-y and I love it.  

First, we had a farewell lunch at school where they served an authentic Norwegian holiday meal: Tacos! Ok, the tacos were more of a tradition I guess, but after the meal there was gløgg and peperkaker, which is definitely Norwegian.  Everybody was pretty skeptical about the gløgg I think.  It sort of reminded me of hot apple cider only with other fruit and raisins and almonds inside: I liked it.  :)

On Sunday night, Lucie, Ralph and I went to a Christmas service at church. It was really beautiful. I still love going there even though I don’t understand most things.

Monday night: Lucie, Dominika and I made Christmas decorations, ate polish sausage, and watched a Christmas movie.  Perfect. These are the things I like best about being here. 

And yesterday it finally snowed! I’m totally in a Christmas mood. 

Also this week: 1st Advent. :) Totally adorable. 

If you’re wondering why there has been a lack of updates… well, it isn’t because my life has been boring.  Actually, I’ve had a pretty action packed month.  There were days when I thought, O man, I haven’t taken a picture in 2 weeks. And then there were days when I thought I should update tumblr but I never did. Until today. And you know what? I just have a ton of things I would like to say, but realistically, I can only say a few.  

First of all, I’ve been waiting for last week a long time. And it was worth the wait. I got to pick up my man in Oslo (<3), go to Cambridge, see one of the most wonderful ladies in the world, have coffee and write postcards with her, get inspired by everything about Cambridge, take a running night tour of London (OK… why is Occupy London happening at St. Paul’s Cathedral??) and even have skype Thanksgiving with my family… sorry I forgot to take a picture of that.  Around the world, baby. 

Sunday night: ringing in Diana’s birthday! Midnight felt more like one in the morning but it was totally worth it to give her 2 kilos of chocolate. 

The other exciting event this week: breaking in Lucie’s new Norwegian waffle maker. It’s harder than you would think though to find the recipe. She tried going to the student parliament (who is always giving away norwegian waffles) but it turns out that they just order the batter from the kantene. Our waffles might not have tasted like the Norwegian waffles, but they were pretty tasty. And they’re shaped like hearts! 

So…since wednesday my week has featured:

Aerobic dance! There’s a class every Monday and Thursday. I feel pretty good about myself if I make it to one of them. :)

Anita’s fabulous cooking (including her signature chocolate cake). Probably neutralized the aerobics, but that’s not my main concern. I also taught her and the guys how to play spoons that night. We would have died if we played with knives. 

 Friday morning meeting at the church.  Åse and her sister and brother sang some worship songs together. It was great.

Finally, yesterday was a shopping day. There is actually a real mall in Halden!I can’t believe I didn’t know about it. After lots of walking Anne, Lucie and I settled down to a nice frozen pizza dinner! We felt a little bad for monopolizing the table. There are always so many people in that kitchen though! 

all we needed was vanilla ice cream&#8230;

all we needed was vanilla ice cream…

On the ride back we stopped and saw one of those houses with grass on the roof! Note: 2 ways to know the man next to me is Norwegian. 1: His name is Henrick. 2: He’s wearing only a t-shirt while we’re bundled up tight. Must be in the blood. 

We also stopped at a historic church. Too bad it was covered in plastic because it was being renovated. AMAZING!

The highlight for me was getting up close and personal with sheep, of course. :)  

1st night we had the greatest Italian dinner! And the best part was I didn’t pay more for it than I would expect to in the states! 

Bergen was a pretty cool city.  There is the old town which was originally built in 1000…of course it has burnt down and been renovated a few times since then. Anyway, it was the meeting place for North Norway to trade with Hamburg. Kind of crazy when you think about how long Norway is. The history was really interesting.

I’m surprised that ugly sweater parties haven’t made their way to Norway… Lucy wins for the ugliest one though. 

Oh, and Grieg lived in Bergen! I wasn’t aware of it until I got there, but it was really exciting to me.  If I had another day there, I could have gone to see his house. But, seeing his statue was pleasure enough for me. 

One other thing: I don’t know who Henrick Ibson is but his statue is pretty horrible. 

School trip to Bergen, baby! I don’t know if it’s really a good idea to travel with 70 people because we had more than a few problems on this trip, but when school pays for the bus and the hotel, it’s really hard to complain. :)

We saw more incredible views on the 12 hour bus ride. Creation amazes me. 
We even stopped at what I thought looked like an American gas station… Marius disagreed. 
Also, long tunnels were a novelty to me when I first arrived in Norway; but after all the tunnels on this ride, including one that was 20 km, I am not so enthused about tunnels anymore. 

Today I went to a cupcake making class. Ok, from the email it sounded like a cupcake decorating class which is more what I was looking for… As you can see, we just made basic cupcakes. Still it was fun. 

Everyone was like, “Oh, you’re from Wisconsin, you must do this all the time!” haha. Sometimes, I’m just surprised by certain stereotypes. 

Then there was Tempere, Finland…

There were a few nice buildings
A few naked statues
A cool European food market (stinky french cheese!) 
Apparently world famous doughnuts (maybe famous for not being too good)
Gorgeous forests, beaches, and lakes
And an abandoned building filled with toy graffiti (I’m still not sure if the people at the hostel were joking when they told us to go there.)

All in all, it was a fun trip. Sadly, Finland wasn’t what I was hoping for. At least, Tempere wasn’t.  The people and the city had sort of a dark aura about them. Maybe next time I’ll go to Helsinke and hopefully get a happier impression of my homeland. 

 

After Trondheim my friends threw a surprise birthday party for me. This lovely lady, Anita, was the woman behind it, but so many people helped.  It was perfect! American flag, hot dogs, chocolate chip cookies, and cake. I think I’m eating in the majority of the pictures taken that night.