Thursday, January 31, 2013

Catching Up On Days Gone By

Well, hello. Long time no see. 

I've been neglecting you. Thinking of you often, but neglecting you nonetheless. 

I've missed writing, but have been having  a hard time deciding what to write about. With plenty of choices since (gasp!) November, I could tell you all about my Thanksgiving here with friends, my trip to Vienna, Austria for work, Christmas in California, and my lonely birthday as a sick girl who baked an entire cake only to have 1 piece and then throw it away. 

For now, I'll give you a glimpse into all of those things, but I'll have to elaborate in other posts at a later date or this post will go on for ages. 

I don't seem to have a picture of Thanksgiving, but let me tell ya, it was delightful. The food was delicious and it turned into a great party. 

At the end of November, I went to Vienna, Austria for workshop on Play Based Learning. The workshop was good, but the city was great! I was there just in time to see my first glimpse of the Christmas markets. The place was charming and I had a lovely time shopping. 

Shortly after my trip to Vienna, I got on another plane to California. I had been looking forward to this trip since we bought the tickets at the beginning of August - I missed home! 
It was perfectly warm in Los Angeles. I didn't have to wear a jacket, I got to see the beach, and I enjoyed eating on the patio with a $5 mimosa in hand (30 NOK). I'll post more about this later, but here's a few pictures: 

Manhattan Beach (my mom's picture!)

Santa Monica Pier

Patio lunch: spectacular salad and mimosa (note the sunshine). 

Most importantly, I got to spend time with my family (and combine it with eating out at some of my favorite restaurants). 

Me, younger brother, older brother, older sister

That brings us to the present. I know it's been said that this year's flu has been one of the worst - I think I have to agree. I've been sick and out of work for over a week now, but finally starting to feel better. Yesterday was my birthday, but sadly had to celebrate it on my own because the husband is away for work and I don't want to spread my germs to others....especially people I like. ;) So, after deciding there's only so much tv a girl can watch on her birthday, I decided to bake myself a cake. 

Tada! : 

While I was tempted to put candles on and sing to myself, I decided that maybe I should just eat some instead. So I had a slice and then went to bed, only to throw it all away the next morning (because who wants to eat a cake that a girl who's been sick with an ugly virus for almost 10 days made?) In any case, it kept me busy for a few hours. 

So, I know it's belated, but I want to wish you: a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. Sorry I've been MIA for so long, but I'll get back in the habit of writing again! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are You Joyful in What You Do?

I know I post a lot about learning Norwegian, but I think I've hit a milestone.

Speaking this language has become fun for me. Yep, fun.

I'm not particularly good at it, and have trouble finding words often, but it's still fun. I get joy out of successfully communicating (and isn't that the point?).

In the words of Loris Malaguzzi (the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood curriculums):

"Nothing without joy."

Words to live by.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

'Tis the Season for "Refleks"

Besides looking before you cross the street, have you ever actively taken precautions to not get hit by a car?

Sure, you generally stay on the sidewalk, don't walk in front of oncoming vehicles, and try to use the crosswalks...what else is there?

Well, the darkness is the pedestrians disadvantage, and in Norway where the darkness sticks around and street lamps aren't generally expertly placed every 50 yards, you need to do one more thing so you don't get run over. 

That extra little step is remembering your "refleks". (Husk din refleks! - A sign I've seen around town lately).   "Refleks" are little reflective pieces that you hang on your jacket, or wrap around an arm or a leg. I was most familiar with the kind you put on your bike and never before moving here did I realize that people wore them...and enthusiastically! 

Taken from Norwegian Traffic Safety
According to that website in the caption, wearing refleks reduces the risk of being hit by a car by 85%.

Stian and I were getting ready to go for a walk in the neighborhood (where there are no sidewalks and poor lighting), and took the extra 2 minutes to make sure we both had refleks on our legs and jackets before we left the house. 

My leg with "refleks"
The arm and leg bands are basically slap-bracelets (remember those?)

This is what my refleks looks like without the light hitting it:

My reflective bear is tied to the inside of my pocket so I never forget it. 

And this is what it looks like with light on it:

Stian has an oil platform refleks from work (how appropriate): 

I can't stress how important these are. Walking on a dark street with dark clothes is an accident waiting to happen. As a new driver here, I really appreciate the extra clues as to where the pedestrians are. 

Some people take it a step futher and wear neon vests with reflective stripes, but personally, I'm satisfied with arms/legs/jacket.

Children are often seen wearing the vests (especially on field trips with school): 

There is refleks clothing for animals, too. Horses, dogs, and cats are the most popular. Our cat has a reflective collar (but he's dressed in mostly white so he won't really need it until it snows): 

Sweet little Potet was having a nap on the sofa.
'Tis the season for Refleks (all the way until March or April). 


Thanks Bodø Kommune for the picture