One, for example, is that Bergen is a beautiful city that I am thoroughly enjoying, either with others or entirely on my own. I feel I'm wise to know that when the sun is shining in this city, you drop what you are doing and go outside to enjoy it. Just about every person that I've met here has been keen to point out that it rains about 220 days per year in Bergen, on average. That's a big, BIG change from my previous life in sunny Southern California, so I made a point to take pictures during some August sunshine in the city center.
|The Bryggen, Bergen's iconic spot. Admire the blue, cloudless sky!|
|All the boats and water at the Bryggen.|
|The main square in Bergen Sentrum.|
This is where I usually spend time and money on the weekends.
Another great thing about living in Norway is the berries. Honestly, I've eaten the most delicious strawberries that have ever tickled my tastebuds in this country. They have more flavor than I could have ever dreamed of in the States. The only drawback is that they don't keep for more than a day (two if you're lucky), so you have to pretty much eat them up the moment you get them. While I was wandering around in Bergen and snapped the pictures above, I also stopped near the famous fish market because there were tons of fresh, locally grown produce being sold at the stands. I stopped, had an entirely Norwegian exchange of words (really, it wasn't much, but I'm still proud), nearly knocked over an ENTIRE palate of cherries, bought my raspberries (bringebær, in Norwegian), and wandered the city devouring my new purchase.
These raspberries were grown in Sogn, not far from where Stian is from, and they were DELICIOUS. I paid 39 Kroner, which (I can't believe I'm going admit this) is 7 US Dollars. For this!:
|Mmm Mmm Mmm.|
There was a few more in there to begin with, I only remembered to take the picture after I had eaten some. While I LOVE raspberries (bringebær), Stian prefers strawberries (jordbær), so when I met up with him to share my Norwegian exchange and my purchase, he only ate about 5 raspberries in total. I was hoping he would eat more since there were quite a few in the basket and I had more than my share already! We were in the city and I couldn't just shove them in my purse and shop with them (that would be a messy disaster). I offered some to the woman that cut Stian's hair, and she politely declined. Gosh, so many berries! And because I paid SEVEN USD for them, I refused to let them go to waste.
So I ate them. All of them. I dropped one on the floor and Stian ate five, meaning I ate all but six raspberries. I also ate them fast because there was this fantastic dress staring me down in a window nearby that I desperately needed to try on. On my way into the fitting room I looked at the price tag - which is generally something I DON'T do....ever (which is how I accidentally bought a laundry basket for 100 US dollars, and this time, I'm NOT exaggerating), and anyway, I looked at the price tag only to find out it was 1100 Kroner - about 200 USD. I put it back on the rack and walked out of the store with a major stomach ache - I'm not sure if it was the disappointment in leaving such a gorgeous, totally unnecessary dress behind, or the fact that I ate an incredible amount of raspberries at warp speed, but either way, it was time to go home and leave the expensive city center for others to explore.
The last great reason for being in Norway: I have time to read again!!!! I love to read, but over the last 2 or more years, Stian and I have spent all our free time talking on Skype, leaving very little time pick up a book, let alone finish it. I've been here only a few weeks and have finally finished the book I've been reading for.....hmm, I don't even remember when I started it. When I finished it, I went the local library, got a library card and got a new book from the English section. Yippee! And at work, we have a small staff library to share books, and upon a good recommendation from a coworker, I took home yet ANOTHER book. I'm currently reading 2.5 books (one is a dictionary), and LOVING it!! I've missed reading. I've missed getting lost in a story, and I've missed snuggling up in bed with a good book and a warm blanket.
|The 2.5 books I'm reading... HAPPILY! :)|
Life is good.
Oh, and yeah yeah, being out of the long-distance relationship and into a normal routine and life is probably the greatest part of being here. :)