February 24, 2015

Down with the sickness (the perks and downfall of being sick in Norway)

I'm feeling a little nostalgic today after listening to some music my husband had on MTV Rocks. It takes me back about 10 or more years, hence the title of a Disturbed song as my blog post title. (It's now sometimes embarrassing to admit to some of my former music taste.)

Usually I feel indestructible and very healthy. I've now been sick 3 times in 2 months. I'm pretty sure I haven't helped matters any because I hate being sick and I really make a terrible sick person. I just want to deny it as long as possible and keep going, which in turn probably makes me sick longer as I just won't take a break. This makes my 5th day of possible flu, though I am feeling better. Even though I was feeling pretty cruddy last week, I was thinking 2 things. How much it is good I'm in Norway and I felt like this and how much I wish I were in America feeling like this. It's a lovely torn feeling.

One day at the end of last week I was feeling somewhat better and I finally woke up with some energy. I kept thinking of all my contagious germs being everywhere and my husband and daughter were going to catch whatever I have. So I cleaned the house from top to bottom. I wiped the counters, loaded the dishwasher, put dishes away, scrubbed the table, swept the floors, steam mopped the floors and then I realized I didn't feel so great anymore and was totally out of breath. All the while Arild was telling me to sit down. Relax. Go to bed. Rest. I refused to listen and only thought, Where are Clorox wipes when you need them???? Where is the Chloroseptic throat spray, Tylenol cold and flu, Vick's shower tablets, Puffs Plus, Campbell's chicken noodle soup, etc. when you need it? If I were in the States I would have gotten my $10 flu vaccine at Kroger, Walmart, etc.

And so with that, I have been adding to my never ending "What to buy in America" shopping list.

On the otherhand, I've been thinking of how great it is to be in Norway while being down with the flu. No, there's no huge buffet of over the counter medications so you can take home a cocktail of over the counter comforts. The pharmacy has what it has on display, otherwise you need a prescription. If you're not a "high risk" patient, a flu shot will cost quite a bit out of pocket. And chlorox wipes, or disinfecting cleaning wipes, well, I haven't seen anything here so far, but if anyone else has please let me know where I can find some. (I have recently discovered they can be ordered from vitacost.com)

Had I been in the workforce in Norway, I wouldn't be welcome at work when I was sick and I would be encouraged to stay home. Generally, one working in Norway can take several days off work with pay while sick and without a doctor's note at that. This can be done several times a year if necessary. The benefits of Norwegian workforce and an affordable universal healthcare make it more comforting and reassuring when we get down with the occasional sickness.

There's not a worry about having to push yourself to go to work while sick for fear of not getting paid while you're sick or missing too many days. I've been there and had to work while sick and I realize many Americans have to do this. It's incredibly sad when you think about it.

To prepare myself for my family's upcoming inevitable sicknesses (as Pia is starting barnehage/daycare in the autumn and we all know kids are germ factories), I'm loading up on some American comforts during our next trip.

February 15, 2015

Alle hjerters dag

Also known as Valentine's Day, February 14th is what Norwegians sometimes call Alle Hjerters Dag.

I've never really been too big on celebrating Valentine's Day. It's just a commercialized holiday anyways. My hubs and I are sort of anti-gift giving for most holidays. We give chocolate and make homemade cards. I think that's sweeter than anything else actually and if we just ignored the holiday completely, I'd be ok with that too. I'd just go out and buy my own chocolate. ;-)

Since we're anti-celebratory, we went to the local dump at my own request. I really just wanted to make room in our over crowded storage room and Saturday was of course a good day to do that.

I love being dumped on Valentine's! 
The day just kept getting better and better. This was my first trip to the local dumping site and I discovered a "bytterom" where one can go and just donate stuff so someone else can take it if they wish. That is my kind of place! :-)

I was shocked to find so many very NEW looking books for toddlers and even a book of dinosaur puzzles which looked as if it had never been used! I even found a book for myself, J.K. Rowling's The Casual Vacancy or Den tomme stolen på norsk. How exciting! Pia was thrilled and so was I!

No creases in the book binding or anything! 

Miss Pia surrounded by her "new" books  and dinosaur puzzle.

After my excitement over the free books, I was finally able to get some pallets. I have been wanting to do pallet projects for so long and I really look forward to finally doing some.

When we arrived home, I fixed our dinner. Yeah, eating out is nice, but come on, we're in Norway. It's expensive. It would have been crowded because every man in a relationship would either be wanting to try and impress his other half or that other half would request to eat at a restaurant. It's really a bad day to eat at a restaurant if you ask me.

Anyways, I made quesadillas. I've recently bought a package of Toro's fruktsuppe or fruit soup. I figured it was worth a try and I made some cinnamon sugar tortillas to go with it. My verdict on the fruit soup is, it's just not for me. I kept imagining drinking the fruit syrup from a can of fruit while eating it and I just couldn't do it. 

Quesadilla. Fruit soup and cinna-sugar tortillas. 

For dessert I made chocolate mousse and the raspberry chocolate cake was store bought. Only half the cake is shown because I am openly guilty of stress eating and half of the cake was eaten the previous day. My gift to my hubs was writing him several letters to open throughout the year during certain situations. Good situations. Bad situations. Whatever. I was scanning through Pinterest for ideas and I landed on this "Open when..." idea and just decided on my own topics.

Pia made her pappa a little card which turns her hands into a heart when opened.

I really think some of the sweetest stories are told from the least romantic people. That's kind of why I'm against showering with gifts and other "romantic" things. I was reading on Brain Pickings yesterday and I found a quote which perfectly sums up how I feel about this whole ordeal. I think Tom Stoppard said it absolutely correct when he said,

 "Carnal knowledge. It’s what lovers trust each other with. Knowledge of each other, not of the flesh but through the flesh, knowledge of self, the real him, the real her...Carnal knowledge. Personal, final, uncompromised. Knowing, being known. I revere that. Having that is being rich, you can be generous about what’s shared — she walks, she talks, she laughs, she lends a sympathetic ear, she kicks off her shoes and dances on the tables, she’s everybody’s and it don’t mean a thing, let them eat cake; knowledge is something else, the undealt card, and while it’s held it makes you free-and-easy and nice to know, and when it’s gone everything is pain. Every single thing.

Mine and the hubs' style is more like this. Writing to each other, Homemade cards. Talking and talking and talking. It's just showing we love one another with our time and being completely open, honest with one another just to know what's really inside these wrinkly brains of ours.

Disclaimer: The picture below is SUPER staged. My table is never that clean and dessert (if it doesn't come from a crinkly package) is just plopped on a plate, not served on a platter!

Oh and last, but not least, my card from The World's Most Romantic Man in the World......

What it actually says, "When YOU'RE not with me A PAIN
runs through my heart." Awww, so so sweet. 

To be perfectly honest, this was absolutely the best Valentine's Day I have ever had!

Just subtly putting this out there.... now on Facebook!

February 10, 2015

Domino's has made it to Norge!

Hubby's cooking!

I love it when my husband cooks dinner. And by that I mean eating at a restaurant or ordering a pizza. ;-)

Domino's is new to Norway and it has now opened its 3rd restaurant here in Skien. While we have McDonalds, Subway and Burger King in Norway, it's nice to also have a Domino's to the chain of American restaurants here. It makes me feel a tad bit better about the food culture that I miss so much! :-) 

It was especially nice to order what I wanted online and have hubby pick it up on his way home from work today. Though, because our Skien Domino's has had a grand opening it was very busy with a long waiting time, so I'm pleased with ordering online instead of in the store.

The Norwegian Domino's menu follows after the Icelandic menu, but from what I've seen a lot of the options are the same. You can order sides such as chicken wings, bread sticks, cheese sticks, cinnamon sticks and even chocolate sticks. MMMMM! My husband always looks forward to ordering breadsticks from pizza restaurants in America, so this evening he was enjoying his breadsticks and said to me, "It's almost like we're in America!" That was nice to hear. 

If interested, here is the Dominos Norge link.

Welcome Domino's! Maybe Taco Bell can make an appearance next? Ah, a girl can dream, can't she? 

February 5, 2015

Away with words

The title isn't a typo. It's just a really bad pun which I hope you get. ;-)

I have kicked my studying norsk up a notch. I'm now studying this language a couple of hours a day. Quite frankly, I am beginning to freak out about my upcoming job search in the fall. I think my worst nightmare is probably being at home with nothing to do. I fear I won't know the language well enough to find work, or I will have to settle for a job at the "bottom of the barrel." Though there isn't anything wrong with that, it's just not something I'd prefer to do. Most importantly, I just want to feel productive, like I'm doing something and I'm helping support my tiny family.

Phew! When I put it like that, it only makes my anxiety go through the roof! The only way to solve this problem is to study norsk and get over my self-consciousness of speaking norsk.

To help myself learn on the go, I've attached a small notepad to my keyring. If I hear or see a word I don't understand, I write it down and translate it.

It's simple and helps me learn some unknown words if I'm out.

Though I don't get out much these days and I don't have many words written in my mini notepad, I have found this helpful to memorize new words.

I actually found this notepad keyring on eBay for about 14 kroner or so ($2) if anyone else is interested in trying this technique as well. 

I apologize for the short post as I'm currently working on a longer post giving some pointers on travelling with an infant. :-)

Good evening everyone!

January 30, 2015

What's the matter with ja?

When I first met the man who'd later become my husband, I thought he had a tic or some little quirk with his speech. Of course by us just talking online and then Skype, I never caught on until I met him in person. That's when I thought he had a speech abnormality, tic, or something, but I didn't want to bring it up for fear of hurting his feelings. Anytime I'd say something, he'd inhale "yeah" in agreement with me. As it turns out, he just has a case of Norwegian-itis.

The next time we met, he did this less, so I assumed he was just less nervous this time. I didn't notice it again until after I moved to Norway and it returned. Except this time every Norwegian did it!

This is actually an ingressive sound Scandinavians make in which they inhale when they say "ja" sometimes. In some way it sounds as if they are startled or scared and gasp when saying "ja."

Here is a Youtube video I found where you can listen to the ingressive "ja" sound.

Kind of interesting to hear, right?

It's little quirks like this Norwegians don't even think about being confusing or different to foreigners. Just like for me and many other native English speakers the rolling of the R is absolutely impossible.

Wikipedia has a sound clip of the Norwegian ingressive "ja" sound as well.

I've been trying my own take on the ingressive "ja" except my husband has asked me to please stop. That is hubs code language for, "You're not doing it right, Please don't worry about making that sound ever again. People will wonder about you."

So next time you talk to a Norwegian, listen carefully as they answer with an inhaled "ja."

January 27, 2015

Welcome to Sweden

Now that my husband and I have our daughter on a schedule that is finally functioning better, we can have the evenings to ourselves. Recently we have actually finished watching the first season of Welcome to Sweden which can be seen on Netflix, but it also aired on NBC this past fall.

If you're into comedy and culture shock, this show is definitely for you. It's especially relatable for my husband and I as Sweden is very similar to Norway. We can also relate to finding both humor and frustrations in our cultural backgrounds just as the show's characters, Bruce and Emma have.

Created by Greg Poehler (Amy Poehler's brother) who also stars as Bruce, a New Yorker moving to Sweden to be reunited with his Swedish girlfriend, many cultural aspects between Scandinavia and the United States are pointed out with fun humor.Cultural changes such as taking shoes off vs. leaving them on when inside a house, clothing and "dressing American" (which I am just now catching on to), learning the language, friendliness/ warmth/ talking to strangers, modesty, and job seeking with NAV are discussed with decent humor in the show, plus many more cultural differences. Much of the culture is the same in Sweden as in Norway

Welcome to Sweden can be viewed on NBC (in America) as well as Netflix. I'm looking forward to Season 2!

And if you haven't already, those of you who regularly follow my blog can also view and follow it on Facebook by clicking this link here.

January 24, 2015

Now on Facebook

My New Norwegian Home is now on Facebook! I've been a major procrastinator about making a Facebook page for this blog, but it is up and working now. Just follow and like the link here to start following whenever I post something new!

Takk and god helg everyone! :-D