Friday, December 14, 2007


Ornament project;

I spent a few days on a fun craft project that resulted in 20 Santa Claus ornaments. You take a stick that is cut on an angle. I painted the middle of the cut tan, the top red, and the bottom of the cut white. Add a nose and eyes, and you end up with a fun and simple art project.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Uses for Marshmallows in Norway;




I bought a bag of marshmallows for Thanksgiving, and noticed something for the first time. On the back of the bag, were three suggestion on what to do with the marshmallows. Two of the suggestions were very familiar:


1. "Grill for dessert"











2. "Delicious in coco"












However the third suggestion made me stop and think,



3. "Try them in a salad!"

Saturday, November 24, 2007




This year we decided to put our Thanksgiving off until Saturday. We figured that it would be better to have the entire day to eat and play games with friends, then to only have a few hours after work on Thursday. We had a two friends over and had a lot of fun.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Red Tape;

Moving to another country and becoming "legal" comes with a lot of red tape. I thought that I had cut through it all when I was approved for my "permeant" (only good for one year before you must renew it) Visa in September. The last thing that I needed was the Norwegian equivalent to a Social Security number. I thought that this would not be hard to obtain. All I had to do was walk to the "Folk Registers Office", fill out a form, and I would have the number in two weeks. A week after I had filed the paper work, I realized it would not be this easy.

I received a letter from the Folk Registers office stating that they needed me to bring down a legal copy of my marriage certificate to prove Ben and I were married. So I brought down our marriage certificate and presented it to the teller. The man looked at my apologetically and said, "well... yes... this is legal in the USA, but we need it to be legal for Norway". When I asked what that meant, he told me that the certificate needed an international stamp/ seal, and that I should go to the American Embassy to obtain it.

I took the bus down town, found the embassy, went threw security, and found my way in to the correct office. I approached the window and explained to the teller my predicament. To which she quickly replied, "there is nothing we can do for you. You will have to call the Secretary of State of the state you were married in. They will tell you how to get a stamp".

At this point I was starting to feel discouraged. So I left the Embassy disappointed and headed home. I looked up the number for the State Department and called the Secretaries office. I spoke to a very nice lady that explained to me how to send in my marriage certificate to them. She also told me what else they needed (check, self addressed envelope, etc.) and that it would be returned to me in two to three weeks. I put a small packet together of all the requested items and sent it off. Having no other choices available to me.

Two weeks and a day later, our marriage certificate appeared in the mail box. It now sports a letter stapled, tied, (yes literally tied threw two holes in the papers) and stamped with an official seal. I returned triumphantly to the Folk registers office, and presented my now legal document. It was photo copied, I filled out one more form, and I was DONE!!!

I now have a the equivalent of a Social Security number, and am extremely proud to say that I have finally defeated the red tape!

Photo by hexod.us

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Italy, The hotel and a few random incidents;



The hotel I stayed at was literally a half block from the train station. It was very easy to find, but when I first saw it I was a bit confused. It was the right name and address, but the hotel looked to nice for the room rates. It had a nice exterior, and the nicest lobby I have ever been in while traveling in Europe. I was the right place though, and I quickly checked in and headed up to my room. The room was a single, a was a typical European room. It was larger then I thought it would be. It had an on sweet bathroom, closet, desk and bench like chair. The bed was a single, and looked like a day bed. The room was very cozy, and sweet.














While I was waiting to board the train to Venice, I was standing behind two men traveling together. They seemed a bit confused and wanted to make sure they had the right train. So one of them started to ask me a question in Italian. So I responded in Italian (this is the best line to learn when going to another country. Say it in the countries language simply to be polite and respectful) I'm sorry, do you speak English?

He responded, "err, little, no good". Then he asked if I spoke French. I responded no, do you speak Dutch? (German, Dutch and the Scandinavian countries all sort of resemble Norwegian) He did not, so we spoke in broken English, and pointing. When we had decided that he and his friend were in the right place, he asked me if I was Australian. It was the first time someone did not assume I was American. I do not know how he got Australian, since I do not think I have an accent that sounds anything but American.


When I was walking back across the bridge by the train station in Venice, I saw 5 or 8 guys with canvas tarps on the bridge steps. Each tarp had hand bags displayed for the tourists to buy, and they were either fake, or stolen. Anyway, as I approached one of the men yelled something to the others. The all quickly grabbed the tarps and ran off in to the ally ways with there merchandise. As I reached the top of the bridge, I saw what the men were running from. Two police officers had turned the corner, and were approaching the bridge. The street seller were so well organized and quick, that the police never knew they were there.

At the Milan airport, many planes leave from the same gate within ten minutes of each other. While I was waiting for my flight to board, a flight going to Brussels was boarding. I had my passport out because my flight was next. I looked up and noticed a women perhaps in her 50's looking at me. She was in line to board the plane and as she got closer to me, I noticed that she had a dark blue passport which meant she was probably an American. When she was just about in-front of me, she eagerly asked if I was an American. I said I was, and she got a huge smile on her face and she told me that she was from Michigan. It must have been her first trip to Europe, and she was heading home through the Brussels hub. I guess I was the first person she saw that was definitely from the states. It was very cute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007



ITALY, A day in Venice;

I boarded a six am train to Venice for a day trip. I watched the sun rise on the train while we passed grape vineyards before arriving on the island of Venice at nine o'clock.



Even with a very good map, is is extremely easy to get lost amid the winding streets and ally ways. There are yellow sings posted high on the buildings, with arrows pointing towards the main tourist attraction. If you happen to miss one of these signs, you may end up turned around and at a dead end.



My first stop was at the Rialto bridge, which is one of only three bridges that span the Grand Canal. This bridge is host to a large market at both ends of the shore, and on the bridge itself. It is also almost always packed with tourists.



On the north side of the Rialto Bridge is a mask shop that I wanted to visit. It is the shop that belongs to a master mask maker, who's work was featured in the movie "Eye's Wide Shut". I knew that I wanted to buy an authentic Venetian mask while in Venice, and I am so happy that the mask I choose came from this artisan. I did not want to get in to to many colors or adornments, so I choose the classic theater mask of comedy and tragedy. The mask maker even singed it for me.



I made my way threw the winding streets until I came upon the San Marco Piazza. I fed the many pigeons here, and they landed in my hands and even on my head! At the head of the Piazza is the Basilica of San Marco. Inside the Basilica are the most amazing mosaics depicting many biblical stories. You can climb the stairs of the Basilica to view the Piazza from the balcony. Up stairs is also a small museum, whose main attraction is four bronze horses which date back to antiquity, and are the only chariot group to have survived from that time period.



I took a little break from the mass amount of tourists, and went for a walk along the Grand Canal. I did a little shopping, and had a gelato while taking lots of photos of the canal and the gondolas.



My next stop was the Doge's Palace that then leeds you across the Bridge of Sighs and in to the prison. While it is in itself unique, the palace was sort of like every other palace I have visited in Europe from that time period.

My last tourist stop was at Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. This is a church I discovered in my research of Venice, that houses pieces from three masters. I was able to view Titian's "Assumption of the Virgin" and the "Madonna di Ca' Pesaro", Bellini's "Madonna and Child with Saints", and a wooden sculpture of John the Baptist by Donatello. Since this church is not one of the popular attraction, I had to rely completely on my map, and the kindness of the locals to help me locate the church.



I made my way back to the train station, and boarded the train back to Milan. The trip was three hours long, and I arrived at my destination after dark. When I had returned to my hotel, I quickly got in to bed and was asleep within five minutes. It was a very long, but stimulating journey.

Monday, October 15, 2007


ITALY, Milan;

I spent more time in Milan and was based there. I went to bed very early each night, woke up very early, and did a lot of walking. My legs were so soar by my last day, that while walking to my hotel, my walk resembled the waddling of a duck. I was able to see all the sights I wanted, and still arrive at them with plenty of time to appreciate where I was.


While in Milan I visited three museums, that each held it's own unique master piece.

When visiting the Brera Museum, I was able to view Bellini's Virgin and Child, Hayez's The Kiss, and Raphel's Marriage of the Virgin.

At Castle Sforzesco, I saw the Funerary monument for Gaston de Foix, Mantegna's Madonna in Glory, and most interesting of all, the last sculpture by Michalagalo. The later was unfinished when Michelangelo died at the age of 89, in 1564. The story goes that he was chipping away at this statue when he passed, most likely of a stroke.

The last museum that I visited was the Ambrosiana Museum. At the Ambrosiana, I saw Leonard's Portrait of a Musician, and the original full size sketch Raphael drew and then used to created the School of Athens fresco located in Rome.



I also visited Santa Maria delle Grazie, where da Vinci's Last Supper is located. While viewing the Last Supper, I realized that is was the first time a famous art piece or landmark, was larger then I had anticipated. To view it you must reserve your ticket to the last supper early because only a limited amount of people are allowed to view the fresco each day. During the high season, you may need to make a reservation three months in advance. As a result, many people are turned away at the ticket counter daily because they were unaware they needed a reservation. While waiting for my time slot, I passed the time by watching people go in to the ticket office, count how long they were there, and if they came right out quickly (they did not have a reservation), observed their reaction to the realization they could not see the last supper. The most common reaction, started off being angry, then annoyed, then sad, and finally acceptance before leaving the church yard. It was quite amusing.




I visited Milan's Duomo. The Cathedrals interior is immense, with many grand stained glass windows, and an intricate tiled floor. You can even climb to the top of the Duomo and walk along the outside of the stone roof.




I walked through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a large X shaped mall cover by a glass ceiling. The floor of the galleria hosts some famous mosaics, including an image of Romulus and Remus, as well as a depiction of torino (little bull). The Galleria is an impressive example of Milan architecture.

I must say that the highlight of my time in Milan was visiting the last supper. I enjoyed looking at the feet of the decibel's since they are not often included in photos and posters. Unfortunately the feet of Christ were forever lost when a door was installed right under him.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Short trip;

Tomorrow I am heading off on a four day trip to Italy. I will be staying in Milan, and taking a train to Venice for a day trip. I am planning on visiting many architecture sights and museums. I am very excited to go, and looking forward to the 90 degree weather.
New old food;


The other day ben and I walked to the mini-mall up the street from where Ben works, and stopped in at the large grocery store on the main floor. We had only gone in to look around and compare the prices to the store closer to home. There are a few food items that we never got around to finding in Oslo. The items were so unnecessary, that a hunt for them was completely unnecessary. This day however, two of these food items found us.




The first item we came across was macaroni and cheese. It tastes very much like the craft brand, and looks the same. On the box it says, "American Macaroni and Cheese" and even has images on the American flag. The instructions on the back are in Norwegian as well as English. Now normally when ever instruction are given in English, the English flag appears next to the text (the home country flag of any language used is pictured next to the text to help the reader find the correct language). One the box of Macaroni and cheese, the American flag was used to mark the English text.




The other item we found was chocolate chips. This was the first time that I had ever come across chocolate chips in Norway (not that I was looking for them). The chips were richer, and about twice the size as the ones in the states. We bought a bag and made chocolate chip cookies right away. They were all eaten with in two hours of emerging from the oven.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Amusement park;

This past Sunday, Trolltech took the the employees to a near by amusement park called "Tusenfryd". The park was small by American standards, but lots of fun. There was at least one example of all the different types of rides, including a huge wooden coaster. The park was definitely more geared towards families with small children, and a few rides for the teenagers.

There was a "Wild West" town set up in one section of the park. We only realized it when we noticed that all the signs were written in English. The best part of the "Old West" town was a troff where you could pan for real gold. It remedied me of the time I did the same thing on South Dakota when I was about ten.

Trolltech had a tent set up where people could get together and talk. The also served a barbecue lunch. Ben and I were unaware how many people at Trolltech had children, since we only ever talk to the development guys, and they are all single.

It was a very long day, but we had allot of fun running all over the park.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007




July 3rd London

We woke up at about 5am, and headed out for the airport. There were no delays, and no extra security that we noticed. Our plane left at about 9am, and we arrived in London at about 10:30. After finding our hotel we grabbed some lunch, and stared some sight seeing. We walked past West Minster Abby, and Parliament (Big Ben) on out way to Buckingham Palace.
We took lots of photos, and video tape of the guards, the palace, and the surrounding area. From the Palace, we got our first look at the London Eye. We walked through the city and found our way to the British Museum. There we saw the Rosetta Stone, statues from the Parthenon, and a wide assortment of items from the ancient world. We then stopped at the National gallery were we saw works from all the masters. We also saw Leonardo's "The Virgin of the Rocks" , Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" and Rembrandt's "Belshazzar's Feast" . While walking back threw out the city, a thunderstorm rolled in, so we headed back to our hotel. We stopped at a grocery store and picked up some bread, cheese, lunch meats, and a bottle of soda (we had a mini refrigerator in out hotel room). We had sandwiches for dinner, and we were asleep by nine o'clock.





July 4th Stonehege Tour

After a very good nights sleep and a light breakfast, we went out in to the city for an up-close look at the near by sites. Our first stop was Big Ben and the houses of Parliament. We crossed the river Tames, and stood beneath the London Eye. We then went to Westminster Abby, where inside I saw the tombs of Queen's Elizabeth and Mary, Henry the 8th, King George, Mary Queen of Scott's, Chaucer, Newton, and Darwin. After lunch Ben took me to wait for the tour bus that would eventually take me to Stonehenge. Ben preferred to stay in the city and look around some more. The bus arrived and after a kiss from Ben, I was off. Our first stop was to the largest stone circle in the world located in Avebury. There was also a sweet village complete with thatched roofs. Our next stop was a neolithic burial mound that we were allowed inside to explore all the chambers. Right next to the mound happen to be a crop circle that had "formed" in the past few day. It was a simple circle however there were a few people in the middle, chanting. Next we drove threw Pewsey valley, passing the white horse carved in to the chalk hillside. Our last stop was Stonehenge. Normally visitors are not allowed any closer then with in ten feet of the site, and there is a fence to make sure of it. The tour I took is called the "beyond the Fences Tour" and takes its passengers inside the site so you can walk around the stones and touch then. This tour runs either before stonehenge officially opens to the public at sun rise, and just when it closes at sunset. I was on the sun set tour. We spent about an hour walking around the stones and taking photos. It was an amazing experience. The best part was at the end. Myself and another person from my tour were the last people to leave the site. Because of this we each took a turn standing in the center of the stones all alone. It was an unsurpassed moment. We then boarded the bus and headed back to London. We arrived at about 10:30 pm where Ben met me at the hotel and we headed to bed.



July 5th All Over London

This was a very long day that ended with blisters formed on top of blisters on our feet. After breakfast we headed West to reach the days attractions. All the places we are visiting offers free entrance if you buy "The London Pass" which also gives the bearer special offers at shops and restaurants. We first crossed London Bridge (the original one is long gone and is now just a normal bridge) to arrive at "The Monument". The Monument is the largest stone column in the world, and was built to commemorate the great fire of London. After climbing the 311 steps to the top of the tower, you are rewarded with spectacular views of the entire city. Our next stop was the "HMS Belfast, which is a cruiser that fought in World War Two. Visitors are free to explore nine decks and see recreations of what life was like on a war vessel. The best parts were the boiler rooms, and sitting the captains chair. This was much bigger then we thought it would be and could have spent a lot more time there. We then visited Tower Bridge which most people mistake as London Bridge. We rode to the top and crossed the Thames from the foot bridge at the top of the towers. The bridge was built in 1894 and survived World War Two, because the Germans used the bridge as a landmark to find their targets. For this reason, no pilots were allowed to bomb the bridge. We visited the engine room, and saw fun interactive displays on how the bridge hydraulics work. Next we visited the tower of London. Here we saw the Crown Jewels, traitor gate, the White Tower, The Bloody Tower, and of course the Ravens. We then headed to St. Paul's Cathedral which was featured on Disney's "Marry Poppins" as the location to buy crumbs from the old lady to feed the birds. Here we climbed 530 steps to the top of the golden dome, for more breath-taking views of the city. Our final stop was a gift shop that gives a free teddy bear to you if you have a London Pass. We did a little bit of shopping on the way back to the hotel, and stopped at Pizza Hut for good hot food. When we returned to the hotel, we backed out backpacks and got ready to return home.


July 6th

We started our last day with a good breakfast at the hotel. We checked out early, but left our packs so we could squeeze in a bit more sight seeing before we had to be at the air port. We walked to Hyde park to see the "Wellington Arch" then walked threw the city to see Harrods department store. Our destination was the Science Museum which we arrived at a few minutes before it opened. Once we were in the museum, we saw exhibits on space, train travel, airplanes, and a display on plastics. After a few hours, we headed next door to the Natural History museum. Here we saw lots of dinosaur skeletons and very cool dinosaur displays including some life size animatronics. From here we walked back to our hotel and picked up our bags. We took a bus to Heathrow airport and checked in. Our flight was delayed an hour, and sat on the tarmac for an hour after we had left the gate. We finally got home at about 10 pm, and headed to bed after we took a nice hot shower.




All in all we had a fantastic trip. We saw lots of amazing things and had some fantastic experiences.

Monday, July 09, 2007


Scotland


June 29th Glasgow

Last friday we met up with some guys from Trolltech at the bus station down town to fly to akadamy. We were flying out of the small airport that is a two hour drive from Oslo, which meant the long bus ride was unpleasant. The flight was uneventful, and was soon over. We took a train from Prestwick airport to Glasgow central station. On the train ride we saw many wind turbines on the hills. Once we arrived in to the city, we all split up to find our separate hotels. Ben and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which is located along side the River Clyde. We grabbed some dinner and headed out in to the city. We found the statue of the Duke of Wellington, which is famous because teenagers place a traffic cone on the dukes head, and will replace the cone no matter how many times the sanitation department removes it. Unfortunately for us, there was no cone on the Dukes head when we visited it. We visited George square and saw lots of kids dressed in punk and goth styles. We picked up some groceries so we would have food to snack on, and headed to the hotel for an early bed time.



June 30th Day trip to Loch Ness

After breakfast at the hotel, Ben walked with me to George Square to meet the bus tour I would be taking that day. Ben kept walking to aKadamy, while I waited anxious for the bus to arrive. There were only 16 of us on the tour, so the bus was a small coach. When it finally arrived, we all got on board quickly and headed out 10 minutes early. Once we were out of the city, we headed towards Loch Lomond. We drove the length of the loch and stooped for photos. Next we headed north towards the great glen beneath Ben Nevis ( Britain's highest mountain) and learned about the great massacre of the McDonnell's at the hands of the Campbell's. We stopped for lunch near Fort August were I had a tranquil experience. The place we stopped for lunch had a large gift shop and a coffee shop. Since I had packed my own lunch, I went walking around a bit. I saw a fast moving stream down the banks behind the gift shop. I saw a little path threw the woods and decided to explore it a bit. I had only gone down the hilly path for a few yards when I realized I was now parallel to the stream. I walked very carefully across moss coved rocks, until I reached the dry rocks of the shore. The river ran around the shore in a way that made a small peninsula. I walked out to that part of the shore and sat to have my lunch. I was very peaceful and tranquil. Even though I knew there was people and a town up the bank, I could only hear the rushing water, and could only see the wooded tree filled banks. I was a bit saddened to leave my secret stop to rejoin the tour group. After lunch we drove along the four lochs including, and on the way, to Loch Ness. The other Lochs were, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Linnhe. After driving along the bank of Loch Ness for a half hour, we stopped at Urquhart Castle which is one of the most famous and most photographed castles in the world, although not many people know its name. We toured the castle for an hour and a half taking photos of the castle, and the Loch. At 2:30 we gathered together on a boat, and took a half hour cruise on the the Loch itself. The cruse ended at a gift shop were there were two "Nessy" full scale models. We gathered back on the bus (which drove to the spot while the group toured the castle, and took the boat cruise) and headed back towards Glasgow. We drove threw the Forest of Atholl. We stopped for dinner at a sweet little restaurant in Pitlochry where I had roast beef with yorkshire pudding. While people were returning to the bus, the bus driver was on the phone with the office. This is how we learned about the terror attack on Glasgow airport. The airport was now closed with no indication on when it would reopen. Some of the people on the tour bus were suppose to leave in the morning. Since they were not sure if they could get out, they started to discuss taking another tour instead. After the dinner break we drove on the high way to return to the city. Since the road was mostly empty we made it back to George Square an hour early.



July 1st

On Sunday I spent the day in Glasgow and took advantage of a Hop on - Hop off tour. These tours are in most big cities and the premiss is that you buy a tickets and can get on or off the bus at any of the stops all day long. The bus stops at all the popular tourist attractions and gives a commentary about the sites and about the city itself. I jumped on the bus in George Square and took it to the city limits to see the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The museum is home to real stuffed animals like birds, a giraffe, elephants and many other land and sea creatures. There are fossils, skeletons and Egyptian artifacts on display with hands on experiences for the kids. On the second floor there is an impressive collection of art from many masters like Rembrant, Monte and Rafael. There was also a room dedicated to Scottish painters and a wing for Scottish history. I then took the bus to the 'Barras' Market, which is a large flee market. I then went to see the Glasgow Cathedral and its crypts. When I was done touring the city, I went to aKadamy and picked up Ben. We went to the largest glass top mall in Britain and looked around for a while. We went out for dinner for a hot meal (which is severely under appreciated) during a rain storm. We picked up some ice cream and headed back to the hotel. We ate the ice cream and had a relaxing evening, going to bed early.



July 2nd Edinburgh

I headed out early on Monday morning, and made it on to the 7:13 train to Edinburgh. The journey lasted for a little more then an hour, and took me through the rolling hills of the country side. Along the way, I saw many cows, sheep, and horses grazing in the pastures. When I arrived at Waverly station in Edinburgh, I first visited the statue of Greyfriar's Bobby (check out this site if you are unfamiliar with this story, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyfriars_Bobby ) before heading up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. The castle was fascinating, and is home to the crown jewels of Scotland, and the destiny stone, as well as the "one o'clock gun" that has fired everyday at 1:00 for the past hundred and fifty years. After about two hours I headed out of the castle and down the Royal Mile. I stopped in at the Tartan Mill, which is a free walk threw exhibit of a real tartan production factory. It is also broken up with many opportunities to buy scottish products. My next stop was the Scottish Whisky experience, where you can learn about the production of scottish whisky. There was a "barrel" ride that took you threw the history of whisky in the country. I had never been more bored on "amusement park ride" in my life, simply because of the slow movement of the cars. My next stop was Giles Cathedral, with it's crypts and lower sanctuaries. After a bit of shopping, I went to high tea (lunch) at Clarinda's tea room. It was extremely quaint, and served tea family style (shared tables). I then headed back towards the train station, stopping at Princess St. Park, and walked around the grounds for a while. My last stop was at the Scott Monument, which is a gothic tower with 287 steps to clime to get to the top. I boarded the train headed back to Glasgow. I met Ben at the hotel and we went out for dinner. Once we were back at the hotel, we packed our backpacks and went to bed early in anticipation of Tuesday being an early and long day.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

"aKadamy"

It is once again time for the annual "KDE" conference called "aKadamy". This will be the third conference that Ben and I have attended since moving to Europe. It will be great to see a bunch of people again that go to the conference each year, and a few guys that used to work at Trolltech.

We leave on Friday for Glasgow Scotland where this years "aKadamy" is going to be held. While Ben is in meetings, I am going on a tour of the highlands, which includes a stop at Lock Ness. I am also going to take the train to Edinburgh for a day trip on my own.

When we are done at "aKadamy", we are going to hop a flight to London for a few days. Although there will plenty of amazing sites to visit, I am most anxious to see the Rosetta Stone, Westminster Abby, and StoneHenge. We are looking forward to going on a trip together, before it gets too hot in Europe.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Amsterdam

Last weekend I found a great deal on a round trip air fair to Amsterdam, so I decided to go on a quick trip. Ben was not interested in going to Amsterdam, and the deal was for the middle of the week, so I went by myself. I left Tuesday at five, and got back Wednesday at nine. I stayed in a Hostel, which is a cheap hotel where you share the room with other people. In my case, I was in an all girl room with seven other girls.

I walked around a little bit when I arrived to get my bearings, and did a little bit of shopping. It was very cool in Amsterdam especially around the canals, which even under cloudy skies, were very pretty. I also saw "The Red Light District" with its windows before heading back to the Hostel for the night.

I got an early start in the morning, and headed out to see the sites I was most interested in. I visited "Dam Square" to see the palace and the first Dam which gave Amsterdam its name. I went to the "Rijksmuseum" to see "The Night Watch", which like so many other iconic items, was smaller then I expected. I headed to "The Van Gogh Museum" to see over two hundred of his most important works that included "The potato eaters", "Sunflowers", and "The Bedroom". I visited the "Flower Market" and "Nieuw Market". My last stop was to visit Ann Frank's house. The highlight of the tour was too see the actual bookcase that hid the door and the actual diary that Anne wrote in.

I was a great trip with interesting new experiences. I only needed a backpack and enjoyed not having to wait at baggage claim for a suitcase. It was also the first time I went on a trip by myself. An experience that I might recreate in the next year.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Hodgepodge;

I woke up early the other morning and it was so sunny in the house, I thought that the alarm clock had not gone off . When I looked at the kitchen clock I realized it was only 4am! Now that we are in to summer, the sun is setting at about 11pm, and is rising at about 3am, and it we have not even reached the longest day of the year yet.

We went for a walk to the statue park last weekend, and on the way we heard birds chirping by a wall. We could not figure out where the chirping was coming from until we saw a bird fly in to a vent by a window. When the bird fly out, we peeked inside, and found three baby birds waiting for food. They were extreme adorable.

It has been very hot these past few days the type of heat were you do not want to move or get out of bed. To escape the heat, we spent some time at Trolltech. The office just purchased a "WII" so Ben and I battled it out on all the different sport games. I finally won at a bowling, even if it was only a video. We ate ice cream from the cafeteria, and cold sodas. An excellent way to spend a hot day. :)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day;

May Day in Europe is just like Labor Day in the US. Since Ben was home today, and everything was closed, we decided to go for an adventure walk. There is a small lake surrounded by forrest about five miles north of us, which is also the last stop on one of the subway lines. We have gone there a few times on the subway and it is very nice. Ben and I decided to walk to the lake this time since it looked like it would only take about an hour on the map. The way there was up hill and there was some very nice views of downtown and the ocean. We past by a little antique store, but like everything else it was closed. Walking parallel to the train line, we arrived at the lake which was full of people having barbecues and spending time with friends and family. There were people running around the lake and there was someone selling ice cream at the entrance. Walking around the lake took us another hour with breaks and photo opportunities. Never in america would you walk for an hour to a place to exercise and then walk back, that is what the car is for :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ben Before;






Ben After;






Ben is donating his hair to Locks of Love. "Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis."

http://www.locksoflove.org/

Monday, April 16, 2007

Stupid Fun;

Last Sunday we went to "Vigelandsparken" which is a large park in Oslo, full of statues. We went with a bunch of friends to have a BBQ and some laughs. Well, Veronica and Donald were messing around and Jesper took some video. He then edited it and put it up on You-Tube.

"Frog Fighting" is when you hop around on your calves (like a frog) and try to knock over your opponent. It is very silly and stupid, and much funnier when witnessed in person. You can see Ben and I in the back round of a few shots. We are the two on the blanket behind Donald.

Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ma5pmwJy9sA

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Easter Week;

Easter in Norway is a very big deal. The days leading up, and following the holiday are also observed with the same respect as Easter day itself. Businesses close on Wednesday afternoon, and do open again until the following Tuesday. This also applies for the grocery stores. Normally we go there three times a week, buying enough to last two days. With the grocery store closed for so long, our kitchen is stocked to last a week. It seems so alien to us now to have so much food just sitting on a shelf, while in the USA, we would always have a weeks worth of food available. It is hard to fathom how quickly you can adjust your self to living in a different culture.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Visa;

After nearly two years of living here, I have finally obtained a permanent Visa. The wait for a Visa is about nine months from when the paper work is received until you receive a letter telling you whether or not you are to be issued one. It took me a year extra due to translation mishaps, wrong paper work, missing paper work and waiting on Ben’s Paper work. At least that is all behind us now, and I have a legal right to stay in Norway.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A welcome site;

Norway is a culture based on the outdoors. Even though Ben and I are not in to sports, we have adopted the practice of picnics in the parks. We have often discussed how a picnic in America always seem to in tale such hassle, to the point where not many people make picnics a routine outing. Many of the picnics here include disposable grills that people use for burgers and hot dogs. I was so excited to see that the grocery store has started putting the grills out. This more then anything else, tells me that spring is coming very soon.