Wednesday, July 20, 2005

We were in the paper;
The other day, one of the HR people asked Ben if we would mind being interviewed for one of the local papers. They were doing a story on a new program to help X- patriots get settled in the country. As Trolltech relocates a lot of people from around the world they are taking advantage of some parts of the program for their new employees. Ben and I agreed to be interviewed. We were asked the usual questions about why we decided to move and how we learned about Trolltech. We explained the biggest challenges of moving to a foreign country, which was how everything is just a little different. When they took our picture we were told to tickle each other. I can only assume it was so our smiles would look more authentic, but we think we look stupid. Oh well, we are still in the paper.
We were surprised when we found out that our article was in the paper the next day. Unfortunately we found this out the day after its release. We were able to keep the copy that Trolltech had, even though we cannot read what the article says yet. The best part of being in the paper was that Ben has received three e-mails from different people originally from the states. They want to get together with us to help us find our way around the city and to just talk. Not bad for being in the country for two weeks.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Getting out of the city

We have been in Oslo for a few weeks now and although we have explored, we have not left the city. When Simon got home from work, he told us he was going to the forge (the local ocean/ beach) and would we like to come? We found our bathing suits and walked down to the bus stop. The bus ride was about a half hour that took us thru the suburbs and farms outside the city. When we arrived, we first had to walk thru a forest path. When Simon finally stopped, we were on a cliff face over looking the ocean. We soon learned that this spot was where people would jump off the cliff and in to the ocean. The cliff jumps were between nine and eleven feet high. Ben and I climbed down the cliffs to a more reasonable height before jumping in. The water was glorious. It was about 75 degrees with small waves. The current was a little strong, and we had to deal with the see weed, but it was worth it.
Climbing out of the water was a bit tricky for all. You first had to get a good grip on the cliff face next to a steep slope. Once you had a good grip, you had to wait till jus the moment the waves hit your body to give you the lift you needed to get your foot on the slope. You then have to wait for the waves to roll out so you can put your strength in your leg to get up on to the slope. The sun’s reflection on the water was lovely, and the quiet was extremely peaceful after a few weeks in the city. We sat in the sun and watched some “macho guys” try to get the courage to jump of the eleven foot high jump. Only one managed it. We dried off and took some photos of the ocean. We made our way back thru the forest until we arrived at the bus stop. We returned home to a nice cool shower, removing all the salt and see weed. We slept well that night.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

On Sunday we went with some new friends for a barbeque. We got hot dogs from the store and bought a small one-time use grill. It looked like an aluminum baking pan, with charcoal inside. It had a grill top, and they can be obtained in any store in the city. Norway is very big on parks and the out doors. Because of this you are allowed to barbeque anywhere in the city that you want to. The guys and I found shady spot in the park and lit our barbeque. We had a great time sitting, talking and eating grilled hotdogs. We did not get home until ten pm, however due to Oslo’s northern location, the sun was still fully out.
Before we left Boston, I was told that if I was ever home sick to look at the moon. The moon always looks the same no matter what country you are in. This is a very romantic and lovely idea. Unfortunately I have not seen the moon or the stars in two weeks. The darkest it gets here is the equivalent to six A.M in the states. While this is great for the summer, I am apprehensive to experience the darkness of winter.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Our apartment;
I received a few questions about what our apartment is like so I will endeavor to describe it. To get into the apartment you have to pass through three doors. The first one is on street level and is an enormous double door. Thru this door is a wood floor hallway leading to the back of the building. The second door is in the back of the building. It is brown door with amber glass. Our apartment is on the second floor off a spiral staircase. When you enter our apartment there is a hallway with the kitchen immediately to the left.
The kitchen is a little small, but it is functional. There is a stove/oven, a double sink, refrigerator, and a washing machine. There is a table with chairs, and just enough storage space. There is a nice tall window in the kitchen that looks out on to the paved yard. Continuing down the hall and to the left of the kitchen is our bedroom.
The bedroom is much smaller then our last one, and the bed is smaller then our queen size one back home. In the room there is also a closet, and a bureau. There is window with a tree right outside, with a birds nest. The walls of the room are covered with blue wallpaper. Directly across from our room is the living room.
The living room is a good size with lots of light. There is a couch, two chairs, and a coffee table. There is a large cabinet for books and small items. The TV is on a short, long stand that also has a DVD player on it. There are two doors in the living room on either side of the TV. The left side door leads to Simon’s (our roommate) room. The door to the right is the bathroom. The two large windows look out to the street.
The bathroom has no tub. There is a drain on the floor that the shower water flows in to. There is a curtain to keep the water contained, but the floor stays flat. There is no flusher on the toilet, instead there is a button on the top of the tank. To get in to the bathroom, you have to step up. This is because there is radiant heating beneath the tiled floor all through the bathroom.
There is hardwood flooring throughout the apartment except for tile in the bathroom and carpet in Simon’s room. There are high ceilings and lamps on every windowsill. There are posters of flowers throughout the apartment and old iron stove in the corner of the living room. When we have a moment, we will post photos of the apartment for you to see.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Everything is the same and yet just a little bit different. I made a few observations of things that stick out to me as strange. I do realize that some of these things could be just a part of city life that I have never been exposed to. We went to the grocery store today. While we could identify the food, the packaging was different. There were only a few familiar brand names, and everything was in Norwegian. The M&M bags where different colors and the shampoo bottles were about half the size.
There is very little handicap accessibility here. To go in to the grocery store you had to go down an escalator and there was no elevator. Our apartment in on the 2nd floor and again no elevator. The windows open by tilting the glass inwards. There are candles in every window but few curtains.
I went to McDonald’s were I discovered the french fries were different. I still cannot put my finger on it but it had something to do with the texture of the fry. I also was told that a "large" size meal included a second cheeseburger.
The digital clock in our apartment runs on military time. The first time I saw it say 13:00, I was mystified. Later when it read 0:00 I was totally confused for a moment. The term "AM" is not used here. We discover this when we were talking to one of Bens co workers. When we said we got in at 11 am, he looked at us confused since he did not know the term.
As we walk thru the parks we noticed that there was more fathers walking children then mothers. We also noticed that children were allowed to play naked in the public fountains. As we walked threw the park there were a large number of sunbathers. I had never noticed this in the states, but again that could be from not living in a city.

Friday, July 01, 2005

We got to the airport at about 3pm on Wednesday June 29th. Arriving three hours early, we sat in the rocking chairs and each read. I read "The Da Vinci Code" and Ben read "State of Fear". We had Mc Donald's for dinner, which strangely enough had a credit card machine. We finally got to board the plane and it took off on time. Before we left, we were asked to change seats so that a family of four could sit together. The flight attendant gave us a bottle of wine for switching. After dinner we watched the movie, "In Good Company”. Finally all of the children on the flight went to sleep, so Ben and I were able to continue our books. We landed in Amsterdam at about 7am local time. We went through customs fairly quickly and got a new stamp in our passports. When we boarded the plane we were able to get a row to our selves. We took off at about 8:30 and countinued our books. We landed in Norway at about 10 and collected our luggage. We exchanged our cash for Kroners and got our train ticket’s. We went down stairs and boarded the train to Oslo. The train ride was nicer then when we came here in January. Everything was green and flowerly.
We got in to Oslo at about 11 were we found a taxi to take us to the hotel. The day before we flew we found out that the guy in our apartment had not moved out yet so we had to stay in a hotel for the night. We took a shower and then we crashed. We fell asleep at about noon and woke up at midnight. When we woke up it was still light out. Apparently the sunsets just below the horizon making it look like early morning all night. We spent the night finishing our books, and watching local TV. The hotel served breakfast at 7, so off we went for a meal of waffles and eggs. We then walked for about an hour to Troll Tech to pick up our apartment keys. Now armed with our keys, we walked to the apartment and took a look around before we walked back to our hotel. We got all our bags and called a taxi to pick us up. We spent the next three hours unpacking our four suitcases an exploring all the nooks of our apartment. Almost everything made it ok. The nail polish remover leaked (luckily I packed it inside a plastic bag) the glass in one of the frames broke, and a piece of one of Bens Transformers broke off. We went down the street and found a grocery store. We bought milk, bananas, soap, and frozen pizza. We ate the pizza for dinner wile watching "The Simpson’s", in English. We then crashed at about 6 pm