July 29, 2015

The matpakke

A staple in Norwegian life is the matpakke. An openface sandwich with cheese, leverpostei, or other forms of pålegg (the wonderful word that basically means all types of food you can place on bread) is what a matpakke consists of. 
Bread + pålegg + waxpaper + bread + pålegg + waxpaper 
and continue.

 Simple as that. :-)
The matpakke is brought to work, to the forest, to barnehage and school, to the park, etc. 

A complete matpakke.
2 sandwiches made of polarbrød (the bread of the northern folk) to be shared between me and my little girl. 

Extra food for another matpakke box.
Fruit snacks brought from USA, a banana and a can of leverpostei.

The matpakke is such a large part of Norwegian society that children bring them to school on a daily basis as warm lunches we are so accustomed to in the United States aren't served in Norway.

The typical lunch drink of choice is milk, but also a thermos of saft is acceptable as well.



A walk in the woods. It's the perfect time to put a matpakke to good use.
To be completely typisk norsk (typical Norwegian), bring a Kvikk Lunsj candy bar as a snack. ;-)  

June 16, 2015

Norway's best medicine

So much of Norwegian culture is revolved around the outdoors. Generally speaking, the Norwegians are very outdoors-y people as they like to gå på tur (go on a hike), visit the coast, go camping in their hytte up in the mountains and of course, skiing. I think it is common for foreigners to kindly make fun of Norway and its regard to "curing" oneself with time in nature, or if you really want to get crazy, take a paracet and gå på tur. ;-)

Norway's best medicine comes from the great outdoors - which it has a lot to offer as it's a very "wild" country. There's plenty of forests, cool, crisp, fresh air, mountains, nearly everyone takes advantage of good weather days and soaks up the sun, and the beaches are amazing in summer months - all the more reason to eat lots of ice cream in the summer!

For me and part of my "feeling better" plan, I've been trying to do as the Norwegians do and spend some time with good ole Mother Nature. Evidence shows that spending time in nature is beneficial to health and wellness, so why not try it? I rarely go hiking here, there and everywhere as the nordmenn do, but I have taken up gardening as a hobby and I absolutely love it. It's calming, relaxing and it's a wonderful feeling of accomplishment to know I'm growing my own food.

Unfortunately, slugs have eaten some of my vegetables, but I'm still learning and after asking some family for advice I feel like I'm prepared to deal with slugs for next year's garden. I already have ideas to extend my garden next year as there's one side of our yard I haven't even thought of using until recently, which means more veggies and berry bushes next year! :-)

Cherries! 

Strawberries.

I have various berry plants.
Maybe next year I can make some
black berry cobbler from this! :-) 

I couldn't forget about my cat and planted
her some catnip. :-) 

Onions in a raised garden.

Tomatoes with eggshells added to the garden bed
to deter slugs - YUCK! 

And I did plant some flowers just for
decoration. 






 Source: Phillips, A. (2011, July 1). A Walk in the Woods. American Scientist, 301-301.

May 30, 2015

The very merry month of May

May is usually a very busy month. There are several days to celebrate in the month of May. hence why I haven't posted in a few weeks.

There has been 17. mai....

The beautiful daughter in her bunad. 

Us together at the local school. 

Mine and Arild's 3rd anniversary....
(WOO HOO!)
My 26th birthday......
and I actually had a Kentucky Derby themed birthday party! 

Apples made into roses. MMMM Food art. 

Horse shaped Kentucky Hot Brown, rose apples and alcohol free
mint juleps. 

Centerpiece. 

And me enjoying my mint julep. :-) 



Very pleased with the gifts I received! 


The 3rd anniversary of me living in Norway....

Strolling through Brekkeparken.

Colorful tulips! 



My Norskprøve 3 or A2/B1 exam... 
which I hope I passed!

study study study

Because I like making various things in my free time, I've attempted to start selling my own homemade products. I have started my own Facebook page with various things I've made so far. Feel free to check it out in the link below if you wish! 
                                                              Tøff Cookie



And I have now been hired for my first job in Norway!

Perhaps most importantly I have finally had an epiphany and I feel so much better and more at ease with myself. I've realized what I'm looking for isn't sleep, or time, or space, or work, or this or that. It's to just feel some sort of peace with myself. It's common sense really, but it took me quite some time to figure that out.

I've finally started thinking, 'Hmmm....I think I've got this!' when it comes to living in Norway and feeling like I can actually do something here and learning the language. For 3 years I've been more along the lines of thinking, 'What am I doing again?' and last year had been particularly rough as I've felt very hopeless many times to say the very least. Now I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm certain it's not an oncoming train. :-)

What a busy, busy month! 



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

Mattilbud

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. :-)