Monday, December 31, 2007

Ha det bra, 2007!

Vitensenter yesterday was great. I spent a lot of time talking to an NTNU student who works there, he showed the kids all kinds of fun things. He told me I absolutely must meet Nils, a math guy from NTNU who creates all kinds of interesting things for the museum. Then Allan tells me his office is a few doors down from mine... aha! *THAT* Nils -- yes I know him! I'm all the more excited to get to work!

Today we went for a long walk down the MAXI grocery store, then met Eric and Fridjof from Maggie's class at an outdoor skating rink. Chaotic but fun!



Tonight we're going to Allan's house to watch the city fireworks which will be shot from the festning, then to a potluck at one of his neighbor's house, then we'll shoot off rockets. Woo-hoo!

This is the last New Year's that fireworks will be legal in Norway -- the government decided there were too many injuries last year. We can expect a LOT of explosions tonight!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ut and About

Kids were happy playing all day, until about 1600 when everyone began to melt. So we rushed out to Solsiden and checked them into Lekerland ("Playland"), which is a Tube-Time kind of place. Pam and I then went shopping for an hour and then sat for an hour in a cafe drinking very expensive hot chocolates. It was worth it!

We picked up Petter's Pizza on the way home and ate it while watching "Tilbake Til Fremtiden"... "Back to the Future." Damn I love this movie. If you haven't seen it in a while, watch it again. Every small detail is perfect!

Today I'll take the kids to meet Allan and son Max at the Vitensenter where we will make good use of the last day of our science center annual membership.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Nidarosdomens Jentekor

This evening we joined Allan and Alison at the Nidaros Cathedral to hear their daughter Maia sing in the girl's choir (Jentekor). We left the kids at their house to watch movies with their older daughter.

This was my first time in the cathedral, and WOW! It's beautiful, mysterious, and awe-inspiring, just as a medieval cathedral should be. The Christmas program was very well done with a good mix of traditional and popular songs, solos, violin playing, and sing-alongs. We walked home along the river and stayed for pancakes before heading home for another late night.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Internet Down

Ugh! Our internet went out yesterday. That meant trying to contact the company, the kind of task that always fills me with dread. It wasn't so bad, though. I found the company name on the cable modem, found them in the phone book, listened carefully to the voice menus and pressed 2 for internett and then 2 because it said something about "ikke" for that option -- "ikke" means "not" and we fell into the "not" category, I hoped.

They'll send a technician, but it will take 3 working days, which translates to 7 calendar days. I'm not sure what we'll do without internet for 7 days... the kids play games online, we watch TV online, I play Scrabble with my mother-in-law online, we blog and email and research things to do in Trondheim and store hours and yikes! We have become quite dependent on the web. This morning we are at ThIS. The kids are in the computer center and we are happily catching up on email.

I know I should say something optimistic like "This will be a great opportunity for us to do different things with our time," but I won't.

Pirbadet


Day after Christmas we decided to risk potential crowds at Pirbadet, the aquatic center located right on the fjord in downtown. As it turns out, most of Trondheim was worried about crowds as well and the place was not busy at all.

The center is absolutely wonderful. It was quite pricey, costing us about $90 for the family, but we stayed all morning and had a fabulous time. The first thing I tried was a circular channel with a strong current swirling around it. We felt like Remy from Ratatouille on his way to Paris. The track opens to a pool but it is quite difficult to break free from the current to escape.

Next: the giant waterslide. Anna decided to give it a try as well, hugging her daddy for dear life all the way down. She was terrified, but immediately wanted to try it again. She went 3 times!

There's 4 hot tubs with different temperatures, 3 normal sized ones and one that's larger than our apartment. The main lap pool is salt water (I don't know why) and today they have a gigantic inflatable octopus in the middle on which kids play king of the mountain.

Another great feature of the center: the back wall is entirely glass and looks directly onto the fjord. We watched the cliffs light up pink with the 10 am sunrise, and stayed almost until sunset.

To Hell and Back


Wonderfully slow days. We sleep in until 10:30 when it's light enough to feel like we should be awake. The kids are happy playing as Pam reads and I play guitar. Late afternoon we've been able to muster the energy to make some trips.

On Thursday we visited some friends in Hell. We had to drive through the Hell Tunnel, the across the Hell Bridge, but we made it and even had the opportunity to get our pictures taken at the train station next to the sign that says "Hell Gods Expedition." I understand this is a very popular photo spot for tourists. (The translation is "Goods - Shipping").

That evening, we went to Allan and Alison's house for dinner: sweet potato soup, bread, salmon, salad, and plenty of gløgg. If it sounds like pulling a plug from the sink when you say 'gløgg,' then you're saying it right. Gløgg is a hot spicy winter drink, kind of cinnamony, vanilla-y, licoricey. We mixed it with red wine, chopped almonds, and raisins. Yum!

In August, their family will be coming to Bellingham for the year. It's nice to know that the we are making good friends in Norway and we will be able to continue to see them even after we return to the States.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

God Jul!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Couch Surfing Blog Complete

The past week has been so busy, I haven't had the time or energy to work on blogs. Just closed out the couch surfing blog... 36 "couches" over the course of the term. While we're talking numbers, I also have had 51 plane rides since August, averaging one flight every 2.8 days or so.

It is so very nice to be settled in one place!

Pictures may be scarcer for a while, my new Canon gave me an E18 Lens Error, and from what I've found online, it's the kiss of death. Not covered by warranty, and as expensive to fix as it is for a new camera. With Norway prices, one shudders to imagine... I may invest in a set of tiny screwdrivers and take it apart. Can be harder than a Rubik's cube, and what do I have to lose?

Back in Norway

I awoke this morning at the break of dawn. Which is 10:30.

Today is the winter solstice, and it was the first decent night's sleep I had since returning to Norway on Tuesday. It's very nice to be back with my family, and it's taken a few days to get used to not being by myself. There are definitely pros and cons each way, but being with family is better for sure!

We are in full holiday swing now. There was a school party yesterday, and we started opening presents... one a day like vitamins. We received several packages for Christmas and the base of the tree is buried in gifts.

At noon today we went for our annual solstice nature walk. We walked in shadow, the tops of the trees illuminated by the sun. On this day the sun is at its lowest high, and it's remarkable just how low it is. It is now 2:30 and as I write the sky is painted pink and purple with the setting sun. Soon it will be dark again.

A cat followed us home from our walk and we brought it in and fed it. It seems to be keeping with some holiday tradition of feeding strangers. Of course the kids are sad we can't keep it.

This evening we will go grocery shopping. Nearly every store in town will be closed for a week, so this is our last chance to stock up on supplies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Nuts!

Okay, this is too weird. We went to a "Super Club", which is like a
Costco or a Sam's Club, and look what we found: Kirkland mixed nuts,
which is the Costco brand based in Kirkland Washington.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Flag Raising

It's been a very busy week for me back in the States, so I'll post some new old photos here. This is the rainbow at the festning a couple months back. Watch as the flag comes up.

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