Friday, October 30, 2009
(We're watching a famous Scandinavian talk show.)
Sverre: Oh! Winswan is on tonight.
Sverre: Winswan. You know.
Me: What is Winswan?
Sverre: Wins Wan! The American actor! You know!
Me: Uh...Vince Vaughn?
Sverre: Yeah. Wins Waughn.
Me: Vince Vaughn.
Sverre: That's what I said! Just like you, with an angry tone! Wince Waughn.
At that point, I gave up.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Tonight was my last society class in Oslo. I am going to miss the group we had. Most people think that the society class is an exquisite form of torture. However, my group was so friendly, smart, and willing to discuss different cultures that I learned something new every week.
I will miss one of our Ethiopian members who is larger than life. He is an idealist, who waxes lyrical (and loudly) about love and his hopes to create a family, become a doctor, and how Norway is beautiful, people are beautiful, everything is wonderful...what is the problem? He really made me smile.
I will miss my Pakistani friend, who is a Canadian in disguise. She wears traditional Pakistani dress, speaks Urdu, but when she talks in class a Canadian accent falls out. I will miss her stories about her husband and her son, and her unique perspective as a North American living in a European country who is also a Muslim woman trying to make two worlds meet.
Then there's the new guy, the young Lebanese man whose English is shaky, unless it comes to the proper use of shit or fuck. And what's even more amazing...he gets away with it.
I will miss the young Indian man, who is so soft spoken, but always has a well thought out opinion.
I will miss tiptoeing on the stairs during break. My classes were in the late evening, so all other rooms in the school are locked. Our second Ethiopian friend is a devout Muslim, and would use the lower stairwells to pray during breaks. I will miss listening to the music of his prayers.
My teacher is one of the most open-minded people I have ever come across. I couldn't have hoped to have a cooler, more laid back moderator and teacher.
My eager Iraqi friend, who wants to learn Norwegian so bad she can taste it. I worry for her, and hope she will not hear bad news from Baghdad after this weekend's gruesome attacks. I know she fears for the lives of her friends, many of whom worked around the affected areas. She has brought a level of conscience regarding Iraq that I have never felt. She is a good person, and leaves me so conflicted.
Mostly, I think I will miss my Tibetan friend. I will miss his gentle nature, and the unexpected fireworks that come out when the discussion turns to a subject he is passionate about. I will miss simple lessons in Buddhist theology. When I meet people like him, and hear what he has to say, I wonder if we all wouldn't be better off to take the time to meditate on how we will leave this world--if we will leave pain or pleasure. If we remember that all sentient beings have a soul and fear pain, if we shoo a spider out the door rather than squash it, will that carry over to our dealings with others? Is there room for more compassion in our lives? How might we expand that?
Yes, I'm moving, and yes, I knew I was leaving sooner than expected. But I will still miss my friends.
I am definitely not looking forward to saying goodbye to my normal class.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
RennyBA's Terella is putting on Blog Gathering in Oslo, and y'all better be there. C'mon down and say hi! This whole fest will get you:
Lots of expensive beer!
(This is me hoping....)
Sightseeing of Lovely Oslo!
Special prices on accommodations??
A guided tour of Oslo on your first day!
Activities and fun!
An opportunity for bloggers from all over the world to meet and verify that yes, blogging can translate to real life!
Look here for more information!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Because, they "need to plan for the year, and need a place where they can all be together."
Yeah, right. I can spell boondoggle.
Anyhoo, guess who got to go all the way to Sverre's work to pick up the car? And guess who got to drive in Oslo traffic all the way home? Oh, yeah, that was me.
It's so weird, driving in Oslo is not especially terrifying. Nor is it especially difficult. I think maybe the reason for my jitters is that I hardly ever drive when we're in Norway. Thus, I'm not as familiar with where I need to turn, and so I get scared I'll miss my exit. And since Sverre isn't too awesome with filling the tank (and the gas meter lies horrifically), here's my thought process:
God, this traffic is taking forever.
Am I going to burn out the clutch with all this start-stop?
What is that little light....?
Oh, fuck, I'm pegging it. Pegging it on the highway!
And I don't know where Iam!
Oh, wait, downhill, light off. Whew.
I wonder if I should get off here, or somewhere else?
I wonder where that ambulance is going?
Oh, fuck, I'm pegging it. Pegging it on the highway!
Where's a gas station?!
Oh, wait, downhill, light off. Whew.
Rinse and repeat a few times, and there's my drive home.
Tomorrow, I'm leaving Oslo and drivin to my sister-in-law's.
I will be filling the tank first.
Here's hoping for a curse-free trip!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
What is Tran? Quite simply, it's fish oil. Fish oil with Vitamins D, E, and A and a buttload of Omega-3s. Supposedly, the non-flavored Tran tastes like a bag of liquefied cat butts, steeped in fish offal. I am a very lucky girl, and have a hubby who dished out the extra 20 kroner for the lemon flavored variety. My Tran tastes like fish oil with lemon.
It still requires a chaser.
In the land of No Light in Winter, Vitamin D is essential. It is imperative for a psoriasis riddled chick like me, since one of the underlying causes of psoriasis is a Vitamin D production deficiency. Amongst a bajillion other things. So hopefully a tablespoon of Tran every morning will help fight off the Winter Baddies (that crushing sense of yuckiness that very nearly was the end of me last winter) and make the P a bit easier to deal with. I hope, I hope. I also need to go scouting in the New Town for a cheap tanning salon. I do not want to look like a Flaky Alien Beast this winter, I don't think my nerves could handle it!
Here's to winter. Bottoms up, y'all.
(Snort. If you click the picture and get the large version, the Moller seal looks like a fish is about to say, "Keep your spoon, girlie, while I eat your FACE!")
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Because I must be freaking nuts:
Why do I go to my father-in-law's house, and every time think, Oh, I'll only have one glass of wine.
Why do I think, every time, Oh, what can one cigarette hurt?
And why do I always wake up the morning after thinking, Why the eff did I do that? Where's the painkillers? What midget fire brigade started a forest fire in my throat? (I'll spare you from all-too-savory descriptions of other ailments.)
What else could it be?
Stupidity? Most likely.
Now if you'll excuse me while I medicate with coffee and lemon cookies....
Sunday, October 11, 2009
You Stupid Cow
Hello, My Girl!
Head over to Amy's blog to check out a more recent cheese commercial, that nearly made Sverre snort his soda when he first saw it. And, of course, the always hilarious "This is Norway" video.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Today Sverre's father and his samboer (what we would call a "significant other" in English) bought us a microwave oven and an oven/stove as a wedding gift. Later they made a huge Norwegian dinner complete with wine and beer.
When Sverre's father excused himself for the evening, I started gushing with thanks, as usual.
"Takk for alt!" I said, Thanks for everything!
"I'm not hanging it up, just going to lay down!" He laughed. "But, bare hyggelig." You're welcome.
I was confused.
Sverre explained later:
"Takk for alt is what we say at funerals."
Friday, October 9, 2009
I am proud because the international community has honored us. By awarding our president, Barack Obama, with the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Peace Committee in Oslo has acknowledged what Europe--and the world--has felt since his election.
Welcome to the shared world stage.
I think Fareed Zakaria said it best today:
"For decades, it's been thought deadly for an American politician to be seen as seeking international cooperation. Denouncing, demeaning and insulting other countries was a cheap and easy way to seem strong. In the battle of images, tough and stupid always seemed to win.
President Obama is gambling that America is now mature enough to understand that machismo is not foreign policy, and that grandstanding on the global stage just won't succeed. In a new world, with other countries more powerful and confident, America's success -- its security, its prosperity -- depends on working with others. It's a big, bold gambit.The Nobel committee wanted to encourage this sentiment. I hope Americans will see that and encourage the path President Obama is taking."
The backlash and the puzzlement began shortly after the award was announced. We were all surprised, and I think I was a little slow on the uptake as to why Obama received the award so early. Was it too early? What concrete things have been done?
We have to think globally for a second. The Nobel Peace Prize Comittee doesn't really care about domestic issues like who-gets-what in health care reform and petty partisan bickering. I hope Americans are able to take notice that regardless of your politics, our President has been given a huge honor.
We put a thinking man, capable of inspiring many, in the position to receive this award. We, as a nation, fairly said that maybe we can change things with this person. Changing the world's opinion of us is only one small step in creating a new place in the world for America. It's a small step in changing how we are viewed. We don't have to be the hulking bully, waiting to rob the small kids of their lunch-money behind the backstop anymore. We, as a nation, can be the adults and moderate through diplomacy rather than the old fall-back of sabre rattling.
Yes, we can.
The ceremony is on December 10th, as it is the anniversary of Nobel's death. The Royal Family will be there, all dressed up. Celebrities will alight in Oslo for the annual Peace Concert. Traffic will be murder throughout Oslo, as the security of a President of the United States is The World's Biggest Pain in the Ass.
We may have to celebrate at my house. Any takers?
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Gee, Max needs to be crate trained before this move.
Step 2: Acquire necessary equipment at minimum cost.
Find a 1,000kr crate at the flea-market, almost new, for 150kr
Step 3: Utilize product for desired result.
Warning: Interpretations of "desired result" may vary.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Dudes, I drink beer, okay? I have had a beer gut since I landed in Italy and realized that while the legal drinking age is somewhere around 18, no one ever checks IDs. I'm no alchie, but my fondness for beer has led to the roll-cage of a go-kart smashing my wrist because I refused to drop my beer. Or ruining my elbow taking a face-plant in Australian turf because, once again, I refused to drop my beer.
And as punishment for my devotion to my beverage of choice, and probably for my hubris, I've been trailed by little, old, Asian ladies.
The latest in this string sits next to me in my Norskkurs.
She's new, just joined our class on Monday. She refuses to state her age, but tells me she's over sixty-five. She's funny, and sweet, but goddamnit she will not get off the subject of my weight.
It started this morning.
It's freaking cold here, and I was wearing my winter coat. After I took it off and started to sit in my chair, she reaches out and pokes me in the gut. "Oh, look!" She chortles. "You have a lot of fat here." Du har mye fett!
Yeah, but since I've started this class I've lost five pounds. I tell her this and point at my belt, on the next to last hole. She laughs and PINCHES MY SIDE and tells me I need to go down in weight. "Sju kilo," she says, fifteen pounds! Of course, I undo the belt and pull the waistband of my jeans, which are about three sizes too big, out from my belly. "Jeg er ned!" I yell. I'm down! I've lost weight!
Don't think this ended when class started, oh no. My self-appointed dietary analyst follows me to the lunch room. I have water, a banana, an apple and a small roll. "You must not eat bread!" she chides. "You'll gain weight with bread! You should only have the apple."
Think my day is over? Not hardly.
Today's subject in class is food and health. The teacher is talking about how "fett mat" or "fat food" will make you gain weight. My new "friend" reaches over, grabs my thigh, and starts shaking my leg, saying, "Look at all this meat!"
Seriously, I'm fucking doomed.
And I really, really need a beer tonight.
Friday, October 2, 2009
"For all her ambitions to be America's first PILF, it will never happen."
America's first President I'd Like to F***?
Apparently this guy thinks only women are eligible for a Effability Rating.
In response, I--a relative nobody--would like to counter with my own America's Gallery of PILFs.
In what has turned into chronologically descending order:
Our current President, Barack Obama. (2009-present) No. 44
Suave, handsome, eloquent, and terribly intelligent. His wife can totally kick my ass, but that's okay. Hell, his wife can probably kick his ass, too. At least we have that in common. This guy from Hawaii is yummy, no other way to say it.
John F. Kennedy. (1961-1963) No. 35
Arguably, the premier PILF. Though he was a rake, and Secret Service allegations of marital misconduct make the boys from Animal House look tame, his public persona of America's Arthur left the girls gagging for him.
Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam, to the moon! A man of little more than a Thousand Days. Still hawt.
Franklin Pierce (1853-1857), No. 14
Hey, no one said anything about politics being a factor, did they? Because Brigadier General Pierce was a cutey, even if he was one of the Worst Presidents Ever. Pierce passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which allowed settlers to determine by vote if their territory would allow slavery or not. This led to the "Bleeding Kansas" scandal. The Republican Party (according to Wikipedia) was born in opposition to this act.
The argument has been made that Pierce tipped us into the Civil War--by far America's bloodiest conflict. According to Encarta, during the War Pierce railed against the Emancipation Proclamation and "[h]e spoke of the war as the 'butchery of white men' for the sake of 'inflicting' emancipation on slaves who did not want it."
A real winner, huh?
He did, however, secure additional US soil with the Gadsden Purchase...which gave us Arizona, New Mexico, and a greater appreciation for tamales.
James Madison. (1809-1817) No. 4
Okay, okay, so maybe Madison wasn't so hot while he was President. While many other Presidents were lookers in their youth, I've only included those who are in my opinion good looking while President. And since the vast, vast majority were old dudes, it's a limited pool.
From the White House's Presidential biographies:
"At his inauguration, James Madison, a small, wizened man, appeared old and worn; Washington Irving described him as "but a withered little apple-John." But whatever his deficiencies in charm, Madison's buxom wife Dolley compensated for them with her warmth and gaiety. She was the toast of Washington."
But damnit, smart guys are hot. And you don't get much smarter than Mr. Madison, who sits near the top of my list of Most Influential Americans Ever. Raw intellect turns me on!
Along with being the youngest member of the Continental Congress, Madison is the principal author of the Constitution. Madison himself, ever shy, said the Constitution was "the work of many heads and many hands." From his noggin sprung our three-branch system. While he deferred credit for the Constitution itself, Madison wrote the Bill of Rights and saw these twelve amendments passed through Congress. He wrote the Federalist Papers with Hamilton and Jay (the Supreme Court's first Chief Justice). These essays are still used as basis for legal, political and Constitutional arguments today.
His failings? Well, while he did have arguably one of the nicest First Ladies ever in Dolley (who had the audacity to wear make-up, smoke tobacco, and gamble), by marrying him she was kicked out of the Quakers. Don't know if that's really a fault of his, though. Ah, he did set the stage as President for the War of 1812. Though we did win, thanks to future president General Andrew Jackson, the sodding Limeys managed to make it to Washington and torch the White House. Oops.
(In case you guys haven't noticed, I'm not a scholar. So all the mistakes and misrepresentations are mine. Got corrections? Provide below.)
Anyway, one of the teams won an all-expense paid trip to Europe, courtesy of American Airlines.
I turned to Sverre and whined,
"When is someone going to take me to Europe?"
I know, right?