Friday, July 15, 2011

Quiet is the New Loud

Things are quiet here on the eastern front.  The entire city takes vacation in July, and all the Norwegians head out to their vacation homes on the southern coast of Norway (Sørdlandet).  

I heard it was quiet around here in July, but this is unbelievable.  I love it.  My favorite things so far are dodging fewer people during runs, hearing far fewer cars and scooters zooming down our street, having the shared laundry room in our building all to myself, and gleaning the sale racks at H&M with tons of elbow room, as opposed to pushing through the usual troves of skinny blondes.

Ken and I decided that, since we put up with the harsh winter here, we wanted to stick around for the beginning of the summer.  He also has a client that requires him to work most of July.  So, we're just laying low and enjoying the ghost town around us.  We have visitors coming next weekend, and then we'll head out on some Scandi adventures in late July and early August.  Then the travel doesn't really slow down until the end of October.

So here's to the low-key times!

We did have a busy 4th of July weekend, with a Dutch wine tasting at the home of our awesome Dutch friends, Daan and Anne, an absolutely beautiful paella dinner at Nader and Mel's for Mel's birthday, the American 4th of July celebration at the park, and our own 4th of July gathering at our apartment.  

A few pics...
4th of July in the park with Linda and Connie.  It was so odd to see booths with normal food (why don't those people have restaurants in this city??) and to hear so many American accents in public.  It actually felt like we were home for an afternoon.

We grilled at our place on the 4th, and it was so nice to have friends who wanted to celebrate with us!  Anne, Connie, Silje, and Linda chatted amongst our massive flag (thanks Henrik!).  I decided cooking was more important than decor, so it was this and some little flags my mom sent for the food (thanks Mom!).  Good enough.

Just one year ago, I never in my life would've thought to make something like this.  Who have I become?  Oh domesticity...

Pretty Agnes and Ellie showing America some love.  Mel and her little ones got all red, white, and blued up for the occasion too - it was awesome.

So, patriotism aside, we're really just chilling around here.  

We're losing daylight each day now, but the long nights are still going strong.  We took a nice night walk this week, and I snapped at few pics around 10:30pm sans flash.

This sculpture has baffled me since we move here.  Have to find out what it means at some point.

St. Hanshaugen park.

So glad everyone keeps up their flower boxes - just makes the city so nice.  I had some pansies in mine for a solid two months, then they shriveled up for some reason.  So, I'll resume plant-killing when we return from our travels.

Great wildflowers everywhere.

Moment of Zen for the week:  finding A&W root beer for 20 kr per can (around $3.50).  Root beer is a rare find here, and it's usually 30 kr for something not so great.  I was a root beer snob back in the U.S. (Virgil's microbrew...mmm).  But here, I'll take an A&W any day.  You better believe I had two root beer floats last week (one of which was following an amazing rib-smoking lunch by Ken).  No photos.  They didn't last long!