Archive for the 'Norway' Category

Norway On My Mind

Img_1286I’ve been thinking about Norway a lot recently because it was about this time last year that I took the plunge and bought my plane ticket.  One of the things I really liked about Bergen was that it reminded me a lot of Minnesota, except with mountains, and in Norwegian.

Norway was both comfortably familiar, and interestingly foreign.

It’s strange. Had I won that job I would have been in Norway all year.  I think it would have been a good fit (it certainly would have been an adventure), but I am glad for the year I’ve had in Buffalo.   I feel a lot more grounded and focused than I felt a year ago.   The whole Norway experience felt like a crazy jostle between dream-following and careening escapism.  I’m glad that I had the experience, and that I followed a whim all the way to Norway, but I’m also glad that I no longer feel so desperate to shake things up.

I still want to shake things up, but now it feels more like putting one foot in front of the other, and making things happen.  Last year, shaking thing up felt like running as fast as I could off the nearest cliff, just to see where I would land.

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Here is a little extra bit of funniness.  When I  was looking at my Norway photos to chose some pictures for this post, I found two pictures that made me laugh.  On my last day in Norway I took day tour called “Norway in a Nutshell”.  The trip involved traveling all around the beautiful Norwegian countryside by train, boat, and bus.  On one of the legs of the trip I found myself on a funny little Harry Potter-esque train.

Before the train got crowded I took this goofy picture of myself:

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Later on, when the train was quite full, a woman stole my primo seat while I was getting something out of my bag which was in an overhead compartment.  I thought this was quite rude, so in protest and revenge I took this picture of her with no warning.  After I took the picture I apologized and pretended that it was an accident, that I hadn’t meant to take the picture.

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Heh.

I feel a little bad for posting this unflattering picture because I ended up talking to her, and she seemed pretty nice.

But this picture made me laugh today, so I decided to post it.  I guess I’m a bitch that way.  Don’t steal my seat!

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Chili Nøtter

I found the mini bar in my Norwegian hotel room irresistible.  While in the United States, I have no urge to eat the three dollar Snickers bars and the six dollar Heineken’s that the typical hotel chain stocks for the weary traveler.  When I was in Norway however, the junk food was foreign and tempting.  When I looked inside my mini fridge I saw a half dozen entirely unfamiliar candy bars.  One night, I broke down and took two items out of the mini bar.  The first thing I ate was a dark chocolate candy bar that contained marzipan and raspberry jelly.  Kind of good, but also kind of gross.  But then, oh but then!  THEN I ate some Chili Nøtters.   A chili nøtter is a peanut wrapped in a sort of cracker-like shell and then dusted with a salty chili flavor.  YUM!  I love me some chili nøtters.  Every day I was in Norway I ate a handful of nøtters, and in the airport on the way home I picked up a small package to eat later.  I was so enraptured with the chili nøtter, that once I was back in Buffalo I took some pictures with googly eyes. 

Googly eyes + food = true love.

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About a week after I returned from Norway I opened the package of chili nøtters I had purchased in the Norwegian airport.  After licking the last granules of chili dust off my fingers, I figured I had seen the end of my beloved nøtters.

Well, look at what I just found at Wegman’s (my local grocery store).

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Chili Nøtters!  Only now they are called Cajun Peanuts!

This has me thinking-  What other delights have gone unnoticed in Buffalo until now?  Are there some fjords around here that I have somehow never found?   Do Western New Yorkers, unbeknownst to me, actually speak three languages?   Is there a socialized health care system that I have managed to miss?

If the chili nøtter is actually just a readily available snack food item, perhaps I shouldn’t be so desperate to leave Buffalo.  If I can just walk into Wegman’s and buy nøtters, what else can I do around here that simply never occurred to me before?  Maybe, I shouldn’t be trying so hard to escape this seemingly mundane and nøtterless land. Maybe, I have everything I need right here.

Small World Afterall

There is a small lake in the center of Bergen very near to the concert hall where I took my audition.  On the day of my audition I noticed a large, unattractive metal contraption in the middle of the lake. I couldn’t figure out what it could possible be other than some sort of maintenance device.   The ugliness of the device seemed very out of place in an otherwise attractive part of town. 

Cut to Saturday, back in Buffalo.

On Saturday night I noticed that someone had found my site by searching for "Bergen, Norway" on a blog search engine.    I became curious about what that search would unearth other than me, so I proceeded to run the same search- which lead me to a blog called Visual Norway.   Basically, as I am prone to do, I was wandering around aimlessly on the Internet.  Imagine my amusement when I saw this picture:

Fontenereparasjon_1It’s the Ugly Thing!  In the pretty lake!  Apparently, I am not the only person who found the metal thing noteworthy.  Visual Norway is the photography blog of a Norwegian man named Rune Eide.  I wrote a brief comment on his blog saying that I had been in Bergen recently, and I had noticed the "thing" and had wondered about it myself.   I had a little inward chuckle.  I think it is funny that an insignificant mystery from my trip to Norway would reappear after my return home.   

Well it gets better, because when  woke up the next morning I had an email from Rune in my inbox.  He thanked me for the comment and sent along a picture of what the metal contraption looks like now, a few weeks later:

Fountain

It’s a beautiful fountain! 

If you want to see more of Rune Eide’s lovely photography (both of these photos are his), please visit Visual Norway

I think it’s great that two completely unconnected people, on opposite sides of the world had a little interaction because of our blogs.   The Internet has made the world such a small place. A hearty Tusen Takk (thank you) to Rune for clearing up the mystery of the Ugly Thing.

The Internet is fun!

Flipped

I have been feeling pretty listless since coming home from Norway.  I am unsure where to direct the energy I had been using on practicing and fantasizing about living in a far away place.   Now, I find myself without a plausible daydream, and searching for the next bee to put into my bonnet.   I wish I knew what to do with myself.   I’m looking for a sign.

Which is why when this happened, I had to stop and take a picture.

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The other day I dropped a penny, and it landed on it’s edge.  This penny represents the most wishy-washy "sign" in all of history.  It also perfectly encapsulates my mood.

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I packed two things on my trip to Norway that enhanced the quality of my trip so much that I now feel compelled to sing their praises.

Img_1438_1If you do not own a pair of black Danskos, you need to run (not walk) to your nearest hippie shoe distributor.  I took a big chance and packed only one pair of shoes for Norway.  I wore these shoes to my audition, I walked all over Bergen in them, and they were perfectly comfortable on my long walk up a mountain.  Black Danskos are the perfect shoe, and I love them.  I have known for quite some time that my days of tippy high heel boots were behind me, but now I know that I will never again waver from clunky, matronly, absurdly practical, and oddly sexy…..clogs.

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Where Danskos are practical, the ipod is the ultimate in unnecessary, yet life changing, technology.  Traveling alone can be painfully lonely.  There were many times when I felt awkward and fidgety.  Having a little device in my pocket filled with every song I have ever owned, was the easiest and surest way to help me to relax and enjoy the moment.   Self consciousness about being alone sometimes made it difficult to enjoy what I was doing- but I discovered that when I am listening to my favorite song, I never really feel alone.  Having a personalized soundtrack playing in my mind allows me to step away from myself and my fretful worries.  While wearing my ipod, instead of feeling lonely, I would start to feel like I was in a movie about a feisty gal tromping her way around Norway looking for adventure.  And honestly, that is a pretty good movie.

Bandwagon

For the last few days I have been meaning to sit down and write some sort of final post about Norway.  I have been looking for the words to express how much I loved Bergen, and how much the trip meant to me- but the words are not coming.  Frankly, I think I am still too overwhelmed to sum up the the experience.

So enough about Norway for a little while.

Let’s talk about hockey.

Connollyafinogenovcp060505_1Hockey?  Who knew I loved hockey?- certainly not me.

I decided that today was the day to jump on the bandwagon just in case the Buffalo Sabres make it to the Stanley Cup.  After a brief lesson in the basic rules of the game, I sat down and watched my very first hockey game.  It was SO FUN!  The Sabres won in overtime.  Woohooo! 

When I lived in Philly, my friend John was fond of saying "What this town needs, is a championship parade."  With all due respect to Philadelphia and their collective sports pain, I have to say that, no, what this town needs, is a championship parade. 

And more to the point, what I need is a reason to jump up and down cheering for my home town. 

All of Buffalo is buzzing with happiness right now.  People are driving up my street, honking their car horns and shouting "Go Sabres!" out the window.   On my bike ride home I had a little thrill of civic pride- there is nothing more comforting than an entire town in a good mood.

Awwwwww.  Buffalo, you can be such a sweetie.

Cobbley

Most of the roads in Central Bergen are cobblestone, which is very attractive.  I really appreciate that the city designers stuck to the plan when they put in crosswalks.

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That is just classy.