Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Weekend BBQ

Turns out, a BBQ in Norway is pretty similar to a BBQ in the states.  My comparison may be a little off as there weren't any Norwegians in attendance... but two BBQers were Scottish. My point is - BBQs are fun no matter where you are!

Our friend's house is just on the other side of the harbor, so Jeff and I walked from our house.  Our neighborhood is bursting with roses!  Naturally, I stopped and smelled them.  Apparently, Jeff found this funny and took pictures.

As we passed the harbor, there was a crowd watching the water.  It wasn't until we were closer that we understood why.  We just never know what to expect on our walks around here...

We definitely need to try this out sometime, thought it's much harder to move across the water than it looks!  Pretty entertaining for all the people watching.  On second thought.. maybe I'll just watch Jeff do it.  We also saw the family of swans that live in the large pond next to the train station!

We finally made it to the BBQ before a search party was sent for us. We dined on hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, salad and corn on the cob (courtesy of our host, Chris); cream-cheese-stuffed-jalapenos-wrapped-in-bacon (courtesy of the Burros) and s'mores (courtesy of Gillian and Steve).  No one had tasted jalapenos prepared like this before and they were a hit, making it totally worth the search at 5 different grocery stores for fresh jalapenos!  My favorite?

The s'mores!  They may be a little messy but they sure are tasty.  Gillian likes them too :)  Too bad this was the last BBQ in Norway for Gillian - she and Steve are moving to Perth!  Guess I'll just have to make my jalapenos when I go visit :)

Hope everyone has a great weekend! If not, make a s'more.. it will make it better instantly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pity Party

Though our recent guests (Jeff's parents and our good friend Matt) were welcome distractions for a few weekends, I'm going to give it to you straight..  I am a little put out with my new friend, Norway.

Like any new friendship, we've had our roles to play.  I was the new one in town and Norway introduced me to all these exciting places, promising me that it would fill the void caused by being so far from family and friends.  We both laughed at our different versions of appropriate prices and yummy cuisine.  I justified Norway's cold climate with reasons such as "It's still winter" or "Great excuse to wear my new boots.. again!"

Here's the deal.  It's July and I still wear a sweater AND a jacket 90% of the time because it's either raining or windy while hovering around 55 degrees.  I'm seriously lacking motivation in the kitchen after loads of cooking but still refuse to order takeout because of the outrageous prices. And, speaking of outrageous prices, Jeff and I took 7 pairs of pants to the dry cleaners and walked out with a $200 bill.  $200! I've discovered my Blackberry will never live up to the standards set by my iPhone.  Friends and family?  Still really, really far away.

Phew. Glad I got that out.

It would be really easy to blame this on Norway.  But Norway hasn't lied to me or betrayed me.  Our differences have just become more apparent (this explains most of it).  This happens with friends sometimes, but sometimes the best friendships arise from these circumstances.  So, instead of wishing that Norway was like home, I'll take one day at a time and continue to be grateful for this big adventure (and make a few extra phone calls to you guys back home - I'm homesick for you more than anything!).  Jeffrey and I agree - there are just too many pluses of knowing Norway to focus on what we miss.  What's so bad about a little rain when Europe is right at our fingertips?  Or the high prices when hiking in the mountains or walking along the harbor just outside our house is free?

Pity parties? Who needs 'em!  Well, except just this one...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Commonplace in Norwegian life, second homes tucked away in a valley, overlooking a fjord, or amidst the mountains are called hytter (or, singularly, hytte).  I'm still impressed by the sheer number of families with personal acces to one, either by direct ownership or through family ties.  Hytte ownership is just part of the culture.  Of course there are plenty of websites to rent from too and most corporations rent a few to their employees.  We have taken advantage of a rental once before and recently stayed in our company's summer cabin with Jeffrey's parents.  I'm hooked!

Sometimes I chuckle at the thought of Norwegians needing to get "back to nature" since everything in Norway IS more natural than anywhere I've ever been.  There was a time, though, that a hytter with electricity or running water (let alone internet) was unheard of.  They still exist and can be sought out.. not necessarily by me due to my disdain for cold showers, or sponge baths as the case may be... but now most have the conveniences of home.  It's their remote locations and idyllic scenery that create the relaxed, simple atmosphere.  This may not be possible in every country/family, but it does inspire me to find more ways to simplify and enjoy the outdoors - a feeling I hope lasts longer than our stay here!  Below are just a few snapshots of hytter around Norway.