Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Out & About

Oslo finally caved and gave me a sunny day. So I took a walk with the ol' camera (actually I carry it around in a new satchel I bought for my passport, so it will be with me at all times now...)

A walk around the fjord. I love these boats...

The Opera House. It's beautiful. You can walk all over it and up to the top.

Frogner Park. Very pretty.

Vigeland Sculpture Garden in Frogner Park. All nudes, all the time...

Love these fall-ish flowers.

After scouring the internets for a list of Oslo farmers markets, I found one in a nearby town called Drammen. So we took a short train ride out. It was really quaint and pretty. Ate some delicious waffles with jam, and bought a pumpkin and some great veggies. There's a farmers market in Oslo I'll hit up this weekend, then they're every other weekend or so through December. Anyway, I liked this bridge in Drammen.

Observations about Oslo so far: I like it. It's quaint. It's pretty. It's relatively small for a big city. The city center reminds me of Boston, sans the hills (sweet). The streets go in circles, not a nice grid, so I've had to keep the map handy. It'll be awhile before I have them down. The public transportation is awesome. Going out to a restaurant is ridiculously expensive, so that will have to be a treat every once in awhile. Even lunch is really expensive. Drinks are also expensive, so the duty free shop at the airport will be our friend.

Groceries are actually moderately priced, so that's good. We've been eating at home, and eating very healthy. And walking as much as we did in Portland (a ton). 

There's an H&M on what seems like every other block (love). And the clothes are priced fairly. IKEA has a free bus that will take you out to the store, since a lot of people don't have cars. I'll be utilizing the IKEA bus once we get into our apartment!

Other than that, people have been friendly and helpful when you ask them questions, so that's nice. Everyone seems to be a big fan of wearing boots. And there are quite a few brunettes in Oslo, contrary to popular belief. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of blondes. But I am happy to not stick out like a sore thumb with my dark hair.

I'm now in London for the next few days. My fabulous friend Jamie gave me the heads up that she would be working in London this week, so I'm visiting her for a few days. Round trip from Oslo: $95. Flight time: less than two hours. And this is why we're in Europe!

Friday, September 24, 2010

We Made It

Whew...we made it to Oslo. After a couple of jet-lagged days, things are great so far. Seems like there is a lot to do in this city, it's very pretty, it's on the sea, and people seem friendly and helpful so far. Plus, it isn't cold yet!

Now for some catching up.

The past few weeks were all over the place - Portland, visiting OK & TX, and journeying to Oslo. So, without further adieu, here we go...

Leaving P-town: was very sad. We had a rockin' viking-themed going away party, where we chilled at rontoms for hours, visited the food carts at 12th & Hawthorne (thank you Whiffie's fried pies, the fry cart, and the little merry-go-round that Ken, Sam, and Josh took a ride on), and ended the night with a visit to the Jolly Roger next to the food carts. We always joked about visiting the JR since it's next to a restaurant we like and the food carts we frequent only on the wildest of nights out. Divey, yes. But they played video requests all night, and I can't think of anything better than breaking it down to Motownphilly after a few rounds of rontoms' Aviation gimlets, Krogstad Aquavit (we tasted this as part of the Norwegian theme - very anise-y, doesn't go down very smoothly...), a fried pie, and fries.

Pics from the glorious evening...

All vikinged-up with Sam. Sam is awesome. And he's in an awesome band called No Kind of Rider, with four other awesome guys. You should check them out here.  You're welcome, Sam. All three people that read this blog are going to be breaking down your door.

Josh and Laura getting into the spirit. Laura's braids were perfect for the helmet. We really aren't sure what we're going to do without our Josh and Laura fix every few days. Probably cry. A lot.

T$, Jake, and Holli - some of our first friends in Portland!

With two of my favorite ladies, Laura and Kate.

The merry-go-round in the food cart pod on Hawthorne. Genius.

End of the night Motownphilly madness at the Jolly Roger.

Besides feasting and having fun with friends, our last days in P-town were spent cleaning out our apartment and organizing everything for the movers (six bodyguard-size movers in a 600 sq ft apartment - hilarious!), and soaking in all the last moments for a couple of years...bittersweet for sure.

Visit to the Middle (aka OK & TX): to say goodbye to family and friends, and for Jamie and Doug's wedding, which was beautiful. My high school reunion ended up being the same weekend we were in town, so that was a nice coincidence. Good times in the homeland!

Loved getting to see all the girls at Jame's wedding.

Congrats to Doug and Jamie! What a lovely couple.

10-year (yikes!) high school reunion with Denise and Matt. It was fun to catch up with everyone. Holy cow I look semi-tan. That won't last long here!

Family pics in the park by the talented Becki Goodhue.

The Journey to Oslo: was long. And we're still recovering. It's only been three days, but we've done quite a bit of exploring and just snagged an awesome apartment today. Our stuff doesn't arrive from Portland for another month, so we're staying in the temporary housing until then. Oslo is a beautiful city, and I think we're going to love it. We're learning the ropes, thanks to Ken's very nice HR person at work, my funny/cool Norwegian friend Ingvar who I met in grad school in Oregon, and the nice apartment finders who helped us get our place. We just have to laugh at ourselves when we don't know the difference between laundry detergent and fabric softener, or if the package of meat we see is beef. Pics of the Oslo adventures are coming next week! Promise.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So, What Will You Be Doing?

That's the question I've been asked by many when it comes to what my plans are now that I'm funemployed. And I always respond with sort of a shrug. Because I don't know, and don't really care I guess?

I'll admit, when I went for a run during lunch back in my employment days, and people were walking the streets of my neighborhood in the sunshine at 1pm, I'd always wonder what the heck they were doing, and why they weren't stuck inside under fluorescent lighting like the rest of us...

But you know what?

I've probably been working harder than I did at work for the past week.

We did get a mini vacation in NY for our international orientation meeting. And I did get a lovely break to hang out with my fun cousin Steph who came for a visit over Labor Day weekend.

But every other day between those breaks, I've been working my buns off, running 5,000 errands, clearing out anything we aren't shipping, recycling, selling, replacing, updating addresses, etc, etc, etc. And I'm certainly not complaining. No makeup before 7pm and manual labor are treating me just fine.

I've also been lunching and dinnering and drinking with my friends who I'll miss dearly.

So, there. That's what I'm doing now that I'm not working. And I wouldn't change a thing.