Sunday, October 31, 2010
I spent the first couple of days in Oslo being shown the sights. Our first stop was the Vigelandsparken - the Vigeland Sculpture Park. The nordic folk certainly aren't afraid of a mass of naked sculptures:
and by far my favourite was one very angry baby.
The autumn leaves were beautiful (more on that later), and while it was pretty cold (I think it was around 6 degrees that day), the clear blue skies made the crispness much more manageable.
We wandered down to the harbour, found a seat in the sun and enjoyed the people, boat and bird watching.
A dreary day presented the perfect opportunity to visit one of my favourite places the world over...
A free bus to IKEA!! It only goes to IKEA - it's a bus to heaven!!
We headed down to Stavern, Ingebjorg's hometown, to spend a night at her parent's house. The two hour train ride gave me a chance to see some of the beautiful green countryside and even part of a fjord (but not a cool part, it just looked like a lake). On the menu for the even was the traditional dish of this time of year - fårikål - which literally translates to lamb and cabbage. Ingebjorg had warned me that it smelled disgusting and looked disgusting and she was absolutely right about that
but she was also right about just how delicious it was. She honestly thought I was being polite in my praising of the fårikål, but really I thought it was delectable! From the house the next day we set off for a beautiful rocky beach, home to a traditional viking burial ground.
After hiking across the stones (worried the whole way I was going to twist an ankle) we arrived at a little dug out shelter, absolutely perfect for sitting in to drink our hot chocolate and marvel at the waves crashing on the rocks.
I spent a couple of days at Ingebjorg's house while she was at work doing absolutely nothing, walking as far as the coffee shop and the post office around the corner. But I needed the rest to prepare myself for a night out with an old friend.
Henriette was in my undergraduate class, so we hadn't seen each other since 2001. We met up for incredible tapas, a few drinks at her place with some friends and then onto a bar that only played 50's music, and how could I say no to an older gentleman who asked me to dance - he had all the moves! Randomly at the bar I met two other guys who'd studied at Bond Uni at the same time...small world.
Ingebjorg and I met up with our friend Vidar who we knew from Tripoli for yet another amazing meal (I must have eaten my own body weight about three times over during the week) and then headed out to the park to take some more photos with the leaves. I love the look of joy on our faces in this one, and the whole series is up on my photo site (now with captions!) - about 2 seconds after this photo was snapped, our heads crashed into each other...
Vidar and I had more success
All in all, it was a wonderful week away, made all the better by good friends, good food and good shopping! It was very hard to get on the train back to the airport, and as soon as I landed and got in the queue for my visa, Norway felt like a whole world away.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
You just came into the world a couple of hours ago, and I can't wait to meet you in person. Your Mum and Dad are one of the greatest couples I know and they're going to be wonderful parents. With their powers combined, you're going to learn how to play cricket and soccer and dance and paint and have the most wonderful sense of humour. I'll let you know now that I'll be your often absent but totally cool Aunty Carly, and I'll bring you presents and stories from all over the world, so you'll learn about the people and places that I'm lucky enough to visit. I'm so excited that you're part our extended family that is not related by blood, but by friends who love each other like sisters, and that you'll grow up surrounded by the greatest women I know.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
The sit-ups are so cute!! What you didn't see in the video was the bucket sitting just off camera...we all know walruses would do anything for a bucket! :-)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Check them out here.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
But there's just one more day. One more day to finish off a massive report that's an important fundraising tool for next year. One more day to write down what will need to be done while I'm away. One more day to check a couple of small proposals that of course have been requested with the shortest possible notice. One more day which will include a night out with friends. One more day until I'm able to get on a plane and fly to a week of freedom!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The shopping was extremely successful, and I now have enough outfits for the working week. One of my new favourite things is this one:
At first glance it looks like a pretty normal kind of top, albeit very yellow. But when you look a bit closer at the silky edging on the collar, sleeves and hem there's something a little bit peculiar
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Perhaps related to the metaphorical stench of all the work piling up around me that's starting to go off while it's ignored as other urgent things require immediate attention, here's a video of a baby skunk.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Not a whole lot going on at the moment. I'm moving into my boss's house for a week and a bit so it will be nice to have my own space and kitchen to potter around in. Then it will be time for R&R in Oslo!! I never expected that I would get to catch up with Ingebjorg so soon after leaving Lebanon, but the timing has worked out really well. And hopefully I'll get to catch up with some friends from both undergraduate and postgraduate studies which will be a lot of fun.
In the meantime, here's a cute video - you may as well just fast forward to the last minute. Cute!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Dave met us afterwards for lunch and like a person who hasn't eaten much for a few days, I gorged myself on lettuce, pasta and a marvellous melty brownie. On the way home we stopped in at a little market place where Dave has been checking out some antique Aghan knives, and the place was a treasure trove:
I felt like Wonder Woman with one of these babies on each wrist
Notice anyone you know?
I was immensly disappointed by the following shot, not just because it's bad quality and blurry, but because I'd been wanting to take a photo of this fence that was being torn down. It used to be a UN building and the construction workers were struggling to remove the concrete fence because there was so much reo rod inside. Last time I drove past there was a big piece of machinery and men with jackhammers working on it, but today, only the pile of reo rods remained (and I didn't manage to catch the whole pile either!). Thought Dad would be impressed!
And here's a shot of what I think is typical Islamabad - nice wide roads, not much traffic, green trees and the Margalla hills in the background.
I'm still not back to 100% strengh, so this was enough for me today. Tomorrow is going to be another get out of the office and the guesthouse day, hopefully I'll actually have some decent shots to share with you!!