Friday, August 29, 2008

The Fubright Begins

2008 Norway Fulbright Orientation at the Nobel Institute, Oslo

This past Monday and Tuesday I attended orientation for the Norway Fulbright grantees. There are 28 of us - 14 scholars and 14 graduate students - the largest group of Norwegian Fulbrights to date. It was a chance to get to meet each other and the staff of the Norway Fulbright office in addition to learning loads of information about our host country.

As it turns out, at least two of my Fulbright colleagues are blogging the experience:

Lauren has an excellent summary of the entire orientation on her blog:

...when Norwegians lose some of their shy tendencies to make new friends (not in class, at work, or on the t-bane), what I can do to beat the winter blues without eating all the Freia chocolate products (which I already love!)...

And Kathee touches on the formal reception that was given in our honor:

...After the reception, Anne Kjelling, the Head Librarian of the Nobel Institute, gave us a tour of the building. She focused on the room where the Nobel committee deliberates and explained the process to us...

It was quite inspiring and humbling to be in the atmosphere of the Nobel Institute for two days. The whole range of emotions flowed through the days from elation and excitement to fear and inadequacy. I mentioned these feelings of inadequacy to one of the Norwegians that I met at the reception. He had been a Fulbright scholar in the US decades ago. I was anticipating having to go to the podium in front of the entire audience and announce myself. When I expressed my disbelief that I was worthy of this honor, he looked at me with a big smile and said “You sound just like a Norwegian.”

I have uploaded a few pictures of the Nobel Institute.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Pictures Posted

I have uploaded many new pictures to Flickr:

Flaskebekk Sommerfest 2008

Life in Bottle Creek (new ones added to this set)

The Commute
(new ones added to this set)

The picture above is a dessert plate that “A” made for us on our anniversary.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Life at Bottle Creek

Life at Bottle Creek

We are squeezing out every last bit of Summer... and here are the pictures to prove it. What a magical place and a magical year*...

*That doesn’t mean that uprooting your family and relocating to another country has been easy, there are difficult moments - fortunately, we don't all have them at the same time (yet.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

15 Years

Fifteen years since we married and fifteen years since my first trip to Norway. Two complex, creative types, joined in legal matrimony, recognized by most governments. I don’t think anyone thought we would make it this long (including us at times), but somehow we have made this relationship work. It has grown into a very fine and creative partnership. I adore this man. I won’t go into the whole mushy list of his fine points. I’ll just say that I am a very lucky (and grateful) woman. The side benefit, of course, has been all these visits to Norway. I lost count of them years ago... Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I couldn’t help myself, everybody else is doing it...

I don’t know who this is but she looks very smart and wise beyond her years.

These two are definitely my sisters Harriett Ann and Billie Jo.

Monday, August 18, 2008

First day of school...

Yes, that is a big happy grin on that sweet face running toward me. We could not have hoped for a better first day. “A” was very nervous yesterday and especially this morning and as usual, expressed it in her own articulate way. She said that she was both excited and scared, happy and worried. But her father and I were far more anxious than she was, though we could not let on. I burst into tears when we left her at the school.

Her teacher speaks Ny Norsk, which is a dialect from the west coast and she didn't seem to have any problem with it. But then again, why would she when she understands Swedish & Danish? She spoke Norwegian to her classmates and her teacher today - that was the thing she was most nervous about - and she met lots of girls in the class that she likes. We are so proud of her and thrilled that she has done so well with all of this change, transition and dislocation for the year. This afternoon she said that she couldn't wait to go to school tomorrow... she has never, ever, said that, ever... Fingers are crossed that school continues to go well...

Ahhhhhhh, weight lifted, now I can really get back to work...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August Here... and There

Grocery shopping in Sweden

Tomorrow will mark two weeks in the Bottle Creek House. It seems as if we have lived here for years. The plums are ripening on the tree and are some of the sweetest most delicious I have tasted. The trick is to get to them before the birds do (they got most of the cherries.) B. thinks that the pears are going to be very good, but they have another month or more on the tree before they are ripe. The apples are coming in but they are not the best in flavor or texture.

This is the time of year that we are flying back and settling into New Haven life – seems very odd not to be leaving. Our arrival back on West Rock Avenue usually signals to our neighbors the coming end of summer and a communal melancholy sets in… how will they know now? ;)

Structure is slowly coming back into our lives. Next week A. starts school and I start regularly commuting into Oslo for my project. Last Friday I made my first “test commute” to meet with Andrew and Synne, my colleagues from UiO and AHO. I stopped by the craft store on Karl Johan’s Gate to pick up a few items I needed to complete some button necklaces. We had our preliminary meeting in a Mexican restaurant in Grünerløkka.

We also did something very Norwegian this week – we drove to Sweden to stock up on groceries. By our calculations we saved several hundred dollars (even factoring in gas and tolls.) The weather has been gray, cool, and rainy for the past eleven days or so. This afternoon turned warm and sunny so I am taking advantage of some of our outdoor spaces by writing this post on the front porch overlooking the fjord.

Pictures posted:
Newly made button necklaces
My Commute (the beginning of an ongoing series)
Odds & Ends

Things I miss:
The Sunday Farmer’s Market in Westville
Sushi (my homemade & restaurant)
Talking to my friends & family (all the time... anytime...)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Being a Tourist


The temperatures have dropped back down to 20˚c (68˚ F) from 30˚c (86˚ F). We have enjoyed a number of tourist/cultural experiences over the past couple of weeks:

Oscarsborg Festning where the Norwegian Army tried to defend Oslo from the Nazi invasion. (Pictures Here)

The Botanical Gardens (Pictures Here)

The Zoological Museum (Pictures Here)

Beaching with friends on islands in the Oslo fjord

A few of the things I am beginning to miss:
Coffee to Go (just too damn expensive here...)
Meeting my girlfriends for coffee at Deja Bru or Lena's
Silk Soy Creamer
Take out food (again, just too expensive...)
Trader Joe’s
Food Labeling (I should write a whole post about this...)

Even with the incredible circumstances we have found ourselves in, at times I feel completely and utterly overwhelmed by the undertaking. I try to keep this in mind with A & B, as well, and I am trying to be extra kind and understanding.

Saturday, August 2, 2008