Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What It Sometimes Feels Like to Live Abroad

I'm not a runner, but in an attempt not to sit around all day, the hubby and I went for a run around a nearby lake. We ran from our apartment up to the lake and managed to get all the way around with stopping (it's about 2 km around the lake, and we live about 10 minutes walking/slow jogging from there, so all in all, it was the distance of a about a mile). For not running in months, I was impressed we didn't stop sooner.

When we completed the lap and walked a little to catch our breath, Stian suggested we sprint to the other side of the lake. I wasn't thrilled at the idea, but thought I would try anyway. I didn't get very far, stopped sprinting to catch my breath, and then started again. I was running as fast as I could. And then, with all his enthusiasm and delight (apparently he enjoyed this, and was only trying to encourage me), he said this: "run faster, love!". 

Did I run faster? No. In fact, I stopped running altogether and burst into tears. 

"I feel like such a failure!!!" (I barely managed to get that out because I was sobbing and couldn't breath from sprinting). 

Poor Stian didn't know what hit him. I absolutely took what he said the wrong way...it was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Trying to talk, catch your breath, all while simultaneously sobbing is quite complicated, and I was surprised I managed to explain myself: 

"I just...(sobbing breaths)...feel like I can't do ANYTHING here!! I'm terrible at the language, I'm trying so hard to drive - unsuccessfully!  I can't remember all of Norway's stupid road rules, and just now, I was running literally as fast as I could, and still that wasn't good enough!"

As if that wasn't enough, our lives are in a bit of an upheaval because we're renovating, and apparently I'm an expensive girl to keep around because of double visa fees that we've had to pay (nearly 8000 kroner - a whopping $1300) and driving lessons which don't come cheap either. 

It surprises me how these seemingly insignificant things in one country can create monumental stress in another. 

My solution: I told Stian that I think we both need to something fun....SOON!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Plans

I'm already jealous of all the vacation pictures I'm seeing everywhere, but wouldn't trade it for what's in store for me this summer.

Before moving to Bergen, we bought a fixer-upper apartment, and we've been doing just that: fixing it up. New walls and floors in the living room have just been put up, and after being here nearly a year, we're finally getting our very own couch and some furniture that will match. Hand-me-downs and cheap (so very cheap) buys at IKEA have been a slapped together mess this year, so I'm really looking forward to really making our house a home. Summer sales are in full swing, and we were able to get all the supplies to re-do our guest bedroom for fairly cheap, which is perfect timing because....

...we're getting some company this summer! A distant cousin from Germany (well, at the moment, France) and her boyfriend are coming to check out Bergen, followed by my parents, followed by a friend from high school.

Before the holiday, my boss asked me if I had any summer plans.

"Not particularly, just a lot of company to show around," I replied.

She responded like this: "Haha, well get used to that because for the first few years you live here you'll practically be running a hotel every summer!!"

I couldn't agree more, but don't mind in the slightest.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Facebook: Over It.

Is Facebook really worth it? 

I consider deleting it often, but feel myself paralyzed in fear at the thought of it. I can't bear the thought of not being able to contact people in the blink of an eye, see what someone's wedding looked like, what their children look like, or where they've been on their latest vacation. 

What's worse is that when I look at these pictures, I feel nothing. I'm supposed to be "connected" to these people, but who am I kidding? Most of us don't have a relationship, maybe never did, but for some reason I "care". And my question to that is "whhhhhhhyyyyyyyy?!" 

I realize I'm nosy. I like to see what other people are up to, and being so far away from my old reality, it's often the only way to stay in the loop. But there's this phrase that keeps creeping up in my brain: 

the only people you need in your life are the one's that need you in theirs

At the moment, we only "need" each other because we've been sucked into the chaotic web that is Facebook and have an uncontrollable urge to spy on each other, and willingly let others spy on us. 

I feel like my growth as an individual is hindered because of this - but then, is this where the world is headed? Is this where we've already arrived and will be staying for awhile?

The more I consider it, the more I think I could live without it. 

I'm getting rid of the app on my phone, and hopefully can make the official move to delete my account. 

Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Norsk Mat - Norwegian Food

I've been here nearly a year (time sure flies when you're having fun!) and in addition to simply tasting, I've attempted to make a variety of Norwegian food - mostly with the help of my lovely mother-in-law.

I've gotten in the habit of taking pictures of the food I taste and help to make with the intention of blogging about it...but I always end up blogging about something else. So, before my first year is up in this beautiful place,  my goal is post about some of my favorite experiences.

My most recent experience has been with something called fleskepannekaker. Literally translated, this means "pork pancakes". I had never heard of these artery clogging treats, but one night Stian asked for it for dinner. Not knowing what it was or how to make it, we had chicken and rice instead.

My in-laws came for a visit to help renovate our living room (I'll save that for another post, but I am consistently impressed with and truly thankful for their building know-how) and my mother-in-law said we were to have fleskepannekaker for dinner one night.

Here's what you can expect: crepes with bacon and jam or pure sugar.

Steps 1, 2, & 3: Make pancake batter; fry up bacon; pour bacon grease into pancake batter. (Uff da!)

Steps 4 & 5: fry pancakes and put a few pieces of bacon between each one. 

Step 6: Choose between blueberry jam (blåbær syltetøy) or sugar to fill your pancake - and maybe more bacon if you feel like 3 pieces per pancake aren't enough. 

I chose blueberry jam (because Norwegian jam is better than any I've ever tasted). 

Steps 7 & 8: Roll up your pancake with all it's goodness tucked inside; Enjoy. 

What a treat! I felt like I was bursting after my second one, but it was so good.

Vær så god!!