Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A White Halloween

We awoke this morning to discover it had snowed during the night. The snow was still falling, as a light lazy flurry. The total amount of snow was enough to cover the grass and only allowed the tips of fallen leaves to poke thru. There is a thick icing like layer of snow on top of all the cars. The trees have not yet lost all of their leaves, which makes for a white yet colorful landscape.

A little walk behind Trolltech there is a large hill besides a man made waterfall. The kids in the area were having a wonderful time with the first snowfall by sledding before and after school. So even though it is technically still fall, and Halloween has yet to a cure, winter has begun in Oslo.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friends moving back home

Two of our good friends have decided to leave Trolltech and return to their home countries. The first person to leave is Zack. Zack has decided to return to the states after having a hard time adjusting to a new country. He is a vegetarian and has found it hard to find the assortment of meals he was used to in the states. Zack was also used to playing basketball and riding a skateboard with his friends back home. He has tried to get in to a basketball league here, but he says it is not the same. He has toughed it out for about five months, but now has decided to return home.

Our other friend that is leaving is Boris. Boris is from Croatia and has a young daughter. Due to some family issues, Boris has decided to resign from Trolltech and return home. Boris has also only been at Trolltech for a short time, about four months.

I cannot begin to express how much we will miss them. It seems that we are with them at least once a week. We have gone to museums with Boris, and Zack comes over for dinner often. Luckily in the computer profession, there are many conferences and worldwide meetings. I know we will see them at one of these functions, but I will miss them on a day-to-day basis.

There is one good occurrence for Boris leaving, as cruel as it is to say it. Boris had recently leased an apartment and now has to break his lease. Ben and I have agreed to take over the lease and move in to his apartment. So we finally have an apartment of our own. It is about a twenty-minute walk from Trolltech’s current location. However when the new office opens on December, Ben will only have to walk for ten minutes. We will be moving next weekend, and we are currently setting up the cable and Internet services.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Fun things going on

We try to get out of the house and do something together whenever we can. One activity we did together was to go to ceramic store on the corner. It is basically like a “color me mine” where you pick out a pre-made ceramic item. The items vary from simple cups to piggy banks and vases. I painted a water jug to uses as a flower vase. We are planning to return for another date soon.

There is a small stream that runs thru Oslo, that we live about five minutes from. All up and down the stream you can find many small clusters of ducks. In the past we have always forgotten to bring bread on our walks to feed them. The other day we realized we had some bread that had gone stale. So we saved the bread with the intent to take it on our walk. However when we left the house, we had once again forgotten it. We walked home just to get the bread, and we were finally able to feed the ducks. It was a lot of fun feeding the ducks especially when groups of them came from up and down the river when we started feeding just a few of them. Ben took some pictures.

There was a film crew directly out side of our apartment filming a scene for a local soap opera. They shutdown the street and spent the entire day filming a boy and girl talking, and then the boy backs up and gets hit by a car. He stands up and is fine. The scene ended with the boy and girl hugging. The boy did his own stunt, and it was fun watching all the takes of him getting hit by the car in different ways. I doubt we will ever see the show this scene was intended for, but is was interesting to see the filming from the living room window.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Alone again

Jason moved out of the apartment, and in with his girlfriend Pam. Pam’s job transferred her to Norway, and Jason decided to move with her. Pam’s transfer did not go in to effect until now, so Jason has just been waiting for her to move. Pam’s company is providing her with an apartment, so she did not need to locate one on her own.

Now that Jason is gone, we have the apartment to our selves. As of right now, Trolltech has not hired any one else so we might be alone for a wile. Of course if any business associates arrive for a meeting, they will stay with us.

We are still in search of an apartment of our own. We have been looking for one on-line and in person. Trolltech is moving to a new office building in December, so we are mostly looking in the area of the new office. We are looking forward to moving out, so that we can finally finish unpacking and be all moved in.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Underwater bar

We went to a bar a few block away from us with a large group of guys from Trolltech. It is called “The Underwater Bar” and has a matching d├ęcor. The walls and ceiling were painted with ocean murals, and schools of colorful schools of fish. On all the walls were displays of artifacts supposedly from the ocean floor. The bar had an upstairs reachable by a “dock” bridge and a down stairs representing underwater. The group of us sat down stairs in a corner next to a salt-water fish tank.

The thing that makes this bar different is that every Tuesday and Thursday is Opera night. They show Opera on a large screen TV over the door, and at seven and nine PM, students from a local college sing Opera live for the patrons. Two women took turns singing ballets with a live piano acompiment. To end the performance, both girls sang a lovely duet. The second performance started with a violin solo, and a violin/ piano duet. The second act also sported a different program of classic Operatic melodies.

All in all, it was lots of fun to be out with so many “trolls”. We took up an entire section on the down stairs with our group alone. We (they) drank and told stories from Spain and everyday life. The conversation eventually ended up returning to talk of work and the currents “bugs”. The live Opera was wonderful, and a welcome cultural treat.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The quest for Ricotta cheese.

I try to have Zack over for dinner once a week. I feel bad that he always eats out, or eats what is left over at Trolltech. Zack is a vegetarian, so I normally feed him pasta. I decided to make lasagna because it would be a little different, and yet still safe for Zack to eat. I found a proper pan, and all the ingredients except one, Ricotta cheese. I looked in every store near us with out success. I even went to my favorite little “mom and pop” shop but no one knew what it was, or sold it.

I went with Ben to work one day and asked some of the HR people if they knew where I could find it. Only one person knew what I was talking about. She had lived in the USA and had also gone on a hunt for the cheese when she had first arrived in Norway. She told me about a little Italian grocery store that sold it. She had not been there in a long time, but they should still carry it. It would take about a half hour to get there on the bus, so I started out. I found the street I was sent to, and walked to the address I was given. When I arrived there I did not find a grocery store, I found a gas station. I walked up and down the street hoping that the number was wrong, but again I could find nothing.

I returned to the bus and went home very disappointed. On my way I stopped at my favorite “mom and pop” store to pick up some vegetables for dinner. As I walked to the casher, I saw a boy unpacking a new shipment of Ricotta cheese in to the fridge. I was ecstatic as I realized my search was over.

Happily the lasagna came out well, and everyone enjoyed it. It feels good to make familiar foods that Ben and I enjoyed in the USA. It can be difficult at times to find all the ingredients needed, but in the end it is worth it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Dinner Party

We were invited to a dinner party at Harold’s apartment the other Sunday for a non-birthday party. We have never been to a dinner party, so did not know what to expect. We have gone to other people’s houses for dinner and had people to our house, but it was never classified as a “dinner party”. It was always, “want to come over for dinner?” I instantly had images of the 1950’s with proper table setting and martinis. Again my images of what a dinner party is was in need of help. Basically it was a group of people eating and talking around a table, just like Ben and I do and how we both grew up with our families.

Then menu was as an interesting blend of cultures as were the people at the table. There was homemade bread and salad with different dressings for the first course. Dinner was Eggplant curry over rice, which was a Turkish recipe. Dessert was a dish called, Kaiserschmarrn, which was a pancake like substance, ripped up and added to an egg based liquid. Fruit is added and the whole thing is cooked in a pan and served with ice cream and applesauce. This recipe was an Austrian dish.

Harold, who is German, and his girlfriend who is from Turkey, made all the food. Also in attendants were Marius-Norwegian, Simon-German, Zack- Polish, and Trenton-American, which made for the best part of the dinner, the conversation. Normally when I am with computer guys, the conversation is almost entirely about computers. This night however we had almost no discussion of work. Instead we talked about world politics, and customs. We discussed the German elections and the state of New Orleans. There were debates about policies the European government has on Turkey, and India. The conversation was light though, with jokes and stories every ones has had. We even discussed the different news sources including the Daily Show.

Ben and I have debates and conversations with each other, but we have never been able to discuss these topics with anyone else. We never lived close enough to Ben’s offices in America, to be able to hang out with intelligent people. And lets face it; the three year olds at my work have a limited understanding of the world’s movements. It was so refreshing to be able to discuss topics with people who have a better understanding of the European markets and culture. To be able to have intelligent debates and informed conversation was a refreshing change to be a part of.