Friday, October 31, 2008


Qba, originally uploaded by Jon Olav.

Chatting with Andrew, Synne and Jon Olav after a day of working at AHO.

Earlier this week...

First Snow Oct. 29, 2008

I posted pictures of the first snow on Flickr. What a surprise to wake up to... It’s gone now, but is was fun for a day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Commute

Ferry time in Oslo is like train time in New England. Time to have a bite, get a little work or reading done, and time to prepare for a day in the city.

I am doing better. I had a good cry and moved on. As if life wasn’t complicated and expensive enough, a tree fell in our New Haven yard and damaged our neighbor’s property. We are trying to deal with that from afar. B may have to fly back this week to help take care of it... No one was hurt - that’s the important thing.

My work is coming along nicely. I have various project, conference and exhibition proposals due this week. I’m excited by the prospects of these new projects and I will be more descriptive when details are a bit firmer.

Yesterday I mailed 1 small package and 7 letters. The total postage came to 240kr - that’s $35 in today’s exchange rate. The postage amounted to much more than the actual value of the contents. Ah, well, back to work.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Worry Knot

I think I’m finally putting my finger on it. I have been experiencing an on again off again anxiety since our trip to Italy. I have been dismissing it as basic displacement, but I think it is more complicated than that. In that time, I have been glued to the US newspapers and news sites, reading every item on the collapse of the economy and the 2008 election. The Fulbright organizations are thorough and clear, in their forms and orientation materials, about the ups and downs that scholars go through in their moves to other countries. They are also specific on the process and methods of extracting scholars from countries that enter into civil war or a similar crisis. There wasn’t anything in the documents about crisis in your own country, or state, or neighborhood. We simply look on from afar.

The news for New Haven is bleak. As our current Mayor said, when the state of Connecticut gets a cold, New Haven gets pneumonia. Right now it looks like Connecticut has a cold that is becoming a sinus infection. My friends and family are OK. No one is losing their house or job, yet (that I know of…) But their businesses are affected and I worry. Our bank and mortgage company have changed hands and I worry. We are 10 days away from the most important election in decades and I worry. Transition to another country is difficult for all members of my family and I worry. Just taking a family of three to the movies here is about $100 and I worry.

I also think about Dad. We are approaching the one year anniversary of his death and it occupies my mind. I’m glad that I will be far away at Thanksgiving. I need the distance and solitude to process this grief.

So here’s my strategy: A total news fast. I don’t know if it will help or work, but it will free up a goodly chunk of time that I can use for something else (yoga, meditation, art, cleaning…) I also plan to have a really good cry. Maybe now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Hair Cut

There is a part of downtown Oslo called Grönland that consists of mostly Indian, Pakistani and Middle Eastern shops and businesses. We had other errands in that part of town one day when I saw some barbershops advertising women’s cuts for 150 kroner (about $25). I’ve been dreading getting my hair cut here. The typical salon price for a cut (no color, etc.) is about 600 kroner (almost $100). I thought I might have to go for a year or so without getting a cut, but then I thought I’d give one of these shops a try. I picked one at random (eek) and went in. He knew no English, so we used a little hand gesturing and Norwegian and managed to get what I needed across.

I went into the Indian sweet shop next door to get a samosa and a homemade kulfi popsicle to eat while I waited my turn. I was clearly the most exotic thing to ever come into the shop for a cut, but after a while the men just went about their business chatting in hindi or urdu or something. He was like Edward Scissorhands - compulsively snipping with the scissors, even when there was no hair involved. There was no styling, lotions, mousses, or shampooing and when I left, my hair was not looking it best. I knew I had to give a condition and a wash to find out the true results. You be the judge.

Haircut and dinner - total cost = 185 kroner ($30) - that is a real deal in Oslo! Actually, that would be a pretty good deal in New Haven.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Room with a View

Full Moon over Oslo Fjord

No matter how difficult things seem at times, the location of our sanctuary bathes us in peace and tranquility. You can breathe it in and the quietude flows through your veins. I felt a stream of calm rise over me as I walked home from the bus last night and I gazed out over the water. Every time I look out a window of this house, I smile and take a deep breath. When I woke at seven this morning, it was still dark and the full moon was hanging over the far shore of the fjord. Bright yellow. Just floating there. I thought, “Should I wake everyone to see this?” No. I kept it to myself. I let them sleep.

Bottle Creek Sunsets

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Nobel Peace Prize...

The Fulbright Norway office gets 5 or so tickets to the Peace Prize Ceremony every year and they have a lottery among all the grantees. I GOT ONE!!! So, I will be attending this years' ceremony! The winner(s) will be announced on October 10th.

The Nobel Peace Prize – The award ceremony

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in a solemn ceremony in the Oslo City Hall on December 10. Seated on the podium are the Laureate, the Nobel Committee and its permanent secretary. Maintaining a tradition that goes back to 1905, the ceremony is attended by members of the Royal Family. The rows of seats behind the Royal Family are occupied by representatives of the Government, the Storting, the Corps Diplomatique and other specially invited guests.


Firenze, Italia (Florence, Italy)

I have uploaded the pictures from the trip to Florence and it already seems a distant dream. We visited the Uffizi, the Duomo, Palazzo Pitti, the Boboli Gardens, Pisa, Fiesole, and much more. There are no pictures allowed in the Ufizzi and the exterior corridor was under construction, so I did not take pictures there except for one sign.

I will get around to adding descriptions to the photos - eventually. The problem with taking so many photos is that you really have to stay on top of editing and uploading or you quickly get behind. I have also uploaded pictures from our visit to the Folk Museum in Oslo a couple of weeks ago - when Nick was here. And I have more to edit and upload - Sunday walks, more commute, Intermedia, etc.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We are back and...

thoroughly exhausted from walking and looking at art, design, architecture, archeology, and antiques for 5-10 hrs per day. We filled our eyes with the Renaissance - Botticelli, Leonardo, Michaelangelo, etc. A. kept up with us the whole time as we dragged her on buses, trains, taxis, etc. We had a very good time, but it seems weird to be coming back to Norway instead of New Haven. There’s actually a New York Times article today about our street in New Haven. There are lots of pictures and descriptions of all lovely neighbors and I even get a brief mention in one of the paragraphs. Reading it makes me homesick and a bit lonely...

While we were in Florence would do the sites by day and after August fell alseep about 9 or so, we would turn on BBC World News and watch the US unravel. In the past week or so our mortgage company (Washington Mutual) has gone under and now our bank (Wachovia) is either being taken over by Citigroup or Wells Fargo. Being this far away is a bit scary and impotent - what can we do? what do we need to do? what happens if...?

Today, I’m restoring order in the house for back to school and back to work week. I’ll do a blog post on Italy with pictures in the next couple of days and another on Italians and their cell phones on the Mobile Misuse Blog - what a trip...