May 7, 2015

The art of koselig

En koselig morgen.

Norwegians are the kings and queens of koselig. What exactly is koselig, you ask?
It is my favorite word in Norwegian. Possibly my favorite word that exists to my knowledge. And there's a lot of words I like, rumpetroll,rumpeballer, smilhull,bøtteballet, tjuesju and so on. Koselig doesn't quite translate to English.

It's a feeling. It's an action. It's the atmosphere. Koselig is a lot of things.
It's warmth and comfort. It's being in the presence of loved ones in the evening. It's laughing in a pub with your closest friends. It's intimacy and love. It's warming your feet by the fireplace while wearing knitted woolen socks. It's candlelight on a dark night (or day). It's cuddling with your significant other under a blanket while sitting outside sipping hot chocolate - or cuddling on the couch with chocolate ice cream, watching Netflix, whatever your thing is. :-) It's something as simple as lighting candles.

I think of koselig as an art. Because it is an art. I'm sitting here sipping my chococino (that's the closest I get to drinking coffee) after having lit several candles because it's a very dark and drizzly day. It's making a dark day brighter and that is absolutely necessary for survival.

April 24, 2015


Just a little tip for those interested! :-) 

Mattilbud is an easy way to compare weekly sales each grocery store is having. All grocery stores are listed such as Kiwi, Rema 1000, Meny, Coop Prix, Spar, Rimi, Joker and many others. It's also a paper-free way of viewing what would already be in a paper ad you'd receive in the mail. 

It can be downloaded as an app with iOS, Windows or Android. I find this comes in handy as it's always updated on Monday morning, so I just check the new sales and I know where to shop for the week. 

April 10, 2015

Spring is here!

The sun is out. The sky is blue. Birds are singing. It's a nice 60 F degrees! Gardening. Ahhhh it's spring!

Hens and chicks. 

Dandelion. Løvetann.

I didn't want to get too close as I suspected there
was a bee hive nearby,but here are hviteis.

Happy Friday! Hope you enjoy the wonderful weather! :-)

April 7, 2015

Difference within state culture

I have recently returned to Norway from a nice trip to Kentucky. In the meantime while I am working on a seperate, but longer post, I thought I'd share one of my experiences which generally speaking sums up a common stereotype between Newark and Kentucky.

As a Kentuckian, I admittedly am a bit biased and take pride in being from a place that is generally known as very friendly and hospitable.

The difference in Newark and Kentucky customer service (true story):

Newark Welcome Center
The employee is wearing earbuds and chewing gum sitting behind her desk. I walk up to the desk and ask for help and whether she can help me get in touch with a local hotel so my family and myself can stay the night. After waiting for a 5 hour layover, we were told our flight was going to be 3.5 hours late. We decided to rebook the flight for the next day and find a hotel. The employee behind the desk didn't make eye contact with me and just pointed to a phone about 30 feet away and said rudely, "Phone's over there" while going about her business.

Cincinatti/Northern Kentucky Baggage Claim
The next day we were told to come to baggage claim once we arrived at our next destination so we could pick up our bags which we were also told would have arrived with the very delayed flight we chose not to take. Well our luggage wasn't there. The lady behind the desk looked at my daughter and went on, "Oh my goodness she is like a little doll! I love your little sticker that says PEEP! You're just as cute as a little marshmallow! I love kids! Okay, well they didn't send your baggage. I can send them a request for you. It's like this, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. I can send this request to Newark, but I can't promise how fast it'll get here." So on and so forth.

I just thought this was a funny difference between the two places. Of course you can't rely on stereotypes to base your judgement from place to place, but it's just a bit humorous to look back on this situation as it does shine light on some state stereotypes whether we like them or not. :-)

March 12, 2015

The heated bathroom floor

One of my favorite luxuries in Norway are the heated bathroom floors. I call this a luxury because it's something I never grew up with, I don't know of anyone in Kentucky at least who has a heated floor in their bathroom and I think it really is a luxury to have one. To Norwegians, this is just a standard part of their housing.

Without the heated flooring, the bathrooms are pretty cold, so it's actually a handy thing to have in the flooring and it's also comforting to start your day getting your toes toasty from a warm floor.

Under the bathroom tiling lies a mat with coils, these coils are what heats the floor. It's a good investment as it doesn't take up any space unlike a heater in the bathroom as it's concealed under the flooring, it can be used to heat the entire bathroom and it doesn't use much power.

Not that bathroom floors are particularly nice to look at or anything, but here's ours.
Warm and toasty. 

March 6, 2015

How to fall in love with a Norwegian

How to fall in love with a Norwegian in 2 easy steps:

1) Find a Norwegian.

2) Fall in love.

Simple as that.

I love my Norwegian. Regardless of nationality, I'd love him just the same.

God helg!!! :-)

March 3, 2015

Travelling with an infant

Last April/May we took our trip back to the United States to visit my family and our sweet little Pia came with us. I was very anxious prior to the trip because I really didn't know how travelling 24 hours with a baby would be. It really wasn't as bad as I imagined, but I do have a few things I will do differently this time around and some pointers to share.

I had read and read and read so many tips on how to travel with an infant. Of course every kid is different and I have since stopped reading so much about others' experiences with their own children. It only leaves me shaking my head and thinking to myself, "That is so not my kid!".

Here's a few pointers from my own experience:
  • Bring a travel stroller, not the huge prams we use in Norway. They're big, bulky, you have to also pay for your own travel bag for them (I bought one used) and in my experience when I brought it to the airport in Washington D.C., they were confused and asked how many strollers I had. They also charged us $200 for it because they were confused and marked it as oversized luggage. I later disputed them on this, which just ran me in circles talking to several people before I just gave up. The airport in Louisville, Kentucky lost our stroller once on the way to Kentucky and our stroller was lost on the way back to Norway in Brussels. It was a stroller nightmare. I have since bought a smaller stroller just for our next trip.
  • The one good thing about bringing a stroller is using it as a luggage carrier. Just strap the baby in a baby carrier and place some luggage in the stroller and push it. It really saves a lot of hassle.
  • With the above being mentioned, a Baby Bjorn or Ergo Baby carrier is necessary. I originally brought my ring sling to Kentucky, but I soon realized it wasn't suitable for carrying a baby through a hectic airport. When I gave up on the ring sling because it was too difficult to continue checking the sling and make sure she wasn't slipping out, Pia fell asleep in my arms eventually, but we were going through security when this happened. My arms were completely asleep, but I had to slightly move my arms and this in turn woke up the child who hasn't slept since birth. This caused a good hour and a half of constant screaming and crying. I even started crying in the security line.
  • During take off it is beneficial to use a pacifier or boob. Pia's doctor also recommended us bringing nosespray to spray in her nose. I only did this once as she never acted like the pressure bothered her. Luckily for us, the shaking of the plane put Pia right to sleep. How my child could sleep on a noisy plane, but wakes up if she hears the slightest creak is beyond my comprehension.
  • Toys. Entertainment. What have you. It depends on the age of the infant. I'm not talking about toddlers here. I have no experience with that... yet, but help us when the time comes! :-P I brought hand puppets, Pia's favorite ball, and some chew toys.
  • Snacks. Again, it depends on the age. Food pouches are handy.
  • Ask for a seat with a bassinet. They're usually located behind the bathrooms.
  • Have plenty of layover time. I'm sure parents of small children realize how long it takes just to leave the house. Going on an intercontinental trip requires more time and patience with the little ones.
On the way to America using my flimsy ring sling. 
We traveled with Brussels Airlines and I can't say I really enjoyed the flight. We were granted the seats with a bassinet, but there were a few extra seats on the plane and the flight attendant asked the lady sitting beside me if she would move to another seat so Pia could have her own and we could sit as a family. The lady refused and argued with the flight attendant. This very persistent flight attendant wanted Pia to have her own seat rather than sit in my lap, so Arild moved to a row ahead of us.

So Pia had her own seat, which was great. However, the flight attendant had me so confused. Several times she told me to put my baby in the empty seat and stop holding her, put her in the bassinet, hold her and not let her sit in the seat. Put her in the seat. Put her in the bassinet. Hold her. Then she openly tried giving me parenting advice and advice about teething. Arild glanced behind him and saw I was getting mad and hand signaled for me to calm down. I felt singled out by this lady and really wanted to tell her to go on somewhere.

So happy in her own seat. 

Ah, the Baby Bjørn. This saved so much stress!
And she actually liked being in it once we adjusted it to her size a bit better than in the picture.  

Finally we made it to Washington D.C. This is where we realized 2 layovers was too much for us and we should have paid a bit extra for a pricier flight with only 1 layover. Of course we have to learn things the hard way. Pia lost it after she fell asleep in my arms and woke up in the security line. I couldn't calm her down. She was tired. I was tired. Arild was tired. All 3 of us just wanted to make it to Kentucky and sleep.

After a 1,5 hour flight to Louisville we drove to my family's house and slept.

Enjoying a walk in the park. 

Oh yeah! April and I can wear very little clothing! 

Canvas and tea night! I LOVED it!
I got to paint a jockey silk in support of The Kentucky Derby! 

Lessons I've learned: 

  • Breathe. Relax. It's ok. It's several hours, but it will be over with and you and your family will eventually get some much needed rest. 
  • Bring a sturdy baby carrier. 
  • At least in my case, having a child who never sleeps, it was very hard on us during the trip and especially when we came back to Norway getting her un-jetlagged. We MUST stick to her very strict schedule this time. No excuses. No negotiations. 
  • When paying for a car rental online, make sure it's a business that has no hidden costs. We had to pay extra when we arrived at the airport when we went with our previous car rental company. 
  • Bring a travel stroller! 
  • If you're like me, you worry about trying to cram in several visits with every family member and friend and have a lot of anxiety over this. Again, relax. (I am trying to practice what I preach this time!) We spent a lot of time trying to calm Pia down, either she was fighting sleep and was cranky or it was just too much stimulation. Plus she was teething. 
After we left Kentucky, we visited Washington D.C. for a couple of days. We did a White House and Capitol tour. I finally got to see pandas at the Smithsonian Zoo. We visited the Smithsonian museum as well as the reflection pool. All of which is highly recommended. I absolutely loved our Washington D.C. trip! Our plan with our America trips is to do "one extra" during our visits so we can eventually see all of U.S.A. and Pia can grow up knowing more than just Kentucky on her American trips. Having a small child with us also means we try to find some of the most family friendly places to visit. For example, Nashville will be our next extra American destination. According to Arild, he wants to finish visiting all of the south before Pia begins elementary school and we have to start taking our America trips in the summer instead of the spring. (He hates the heat. Typisk nordmann.)

Uh, Mr. President, my kid is trying to eat your fence....

Cool baby! Checkin' out the capital of the U. S. of A.!