**I wrote this post in DECEMBER, and literally have been procrastinating posting it due to ONE room that I did not deem photograph ready until this afternoon.**
Although we STILL have a few ongoing projects (a few small things to paint, a serious need for a dining room sideboard, and some new bathroom fixtures), the apartment is looking pretty finished! Very exciting. The Norwegian’s mother oh so graciously bought us a beautiful living room rug a few weeks ago, and it is unbelievable how much it brought the entire living space together. So, keeping in mind that we still have a ways to go, here is the (semi) finished product!
I am going to give before, during and after photos just because it is shocking how crazy this place used to look (mostly DURING the remodel).
Before (as the super small guestroom!)
And then we removed the doorway to the hallway and tore the wall down between the guest room and the dining room…
Before the contractors could redo the walls and floor, there was (OF COURSE) endless wall paper scraping.
After (from the door, and from the living room)
first room to get new floors!
Before (used to be the kitchen)
During (I wish you could know how hard it was to remove the tiles from these walls, but you would have to ask the Norwegian who was in charge of that god awful task….)
This was the LAST room to get floors! I helped put in the last six(ish) boards (the Norwegian and the Norwegian brother-in-law had to do the very last board since that is always the trickiest).
After (now the guestroom!)
**Ok so we got a new duvet for the master bedroom since these photos, and I just made up the guestroom and now I am slightly frustrated that both rooms have the same bedding for this post! You will have to believe me when I say I did NOT make one bed and then lazily move the cover to the other room and make the next bed with the SAME DUVET just for photos!**
With the cute little light on!
On the right is a closet with mirror doors, left side is a fold open desk, Montana bedside table and a lamp (which I LOVE, a gift from the Norwegian’s brother-in-law that will one day take its rightful place on our dining room sideboard). We had a sliding door put in to save space!
And finally, the bathroom! Which is the only room in the apartment we didn’t make major changes to (yet!). So far, we’ve only had inset lighting put into the ceiling (like the spot lights in the hallway). We will keep the tiles the same, but change the sink, toilet, cabinetry and POSSIBLY the tub.
And that’s the tour! It has been a TON of hard work, but ridiculously rewarding. Numerous times (now that we are mostly finished) we’ve looked at each other from across the apartment and been like wow, we are so lucky…. I feel especially fortunate and calm when in the kitchen looking out the window. We take pictures from the dining room table or the kitchen window all the time, but I will just share one of the sunrise now. (Please note that the time stamp on this is 9:15am… and this was a few weeks ago so the sun comes up even LATER now!) Can you spot the cruise ship?
**Updated view photos from TODAY, February 7. We have so much more light now! And the snow helps as well.**
The waterside view from the dining room and kitchen…
and the Holmenkollen side from the living room.
the 9th floor of the Golden Nook
- Nathaniel Hawthorne (my god in HEAVEN I hated The Scarlett Letter, but I do really enjoy this quote about October so fine, at least you did something right, Mr. Hawthorne.)
We are having a beautiful fall here in Oslo!
For a moment, I will complain that it has been a TAD cold (like, below freezing in the rapidly darkening mornings), but in general we have had lots of sun, (relatively) inexpensive apples, fun flea markets (these only exist in spring and fall in Norway, take advantage!), and only a few terribly rainy days. I think. I tend to hole up inside our apartment or the library and eat soup and drink coffee when it rains all day, so they kind of blur together and I forget them.
Life updates: School is going well, despite my admittely slow start on my masters thesis. The fact that I know it is due in like 9 months is not helping. Weird, I just did the math, its really seven months. Scary. But, my runology class is going great! And convincing me that I need to just learn ancient Greek already and dedicate my life to dead languages. I have no idea why they interest me so….
The apartment is finished, despite all of the furnishings we would like! We sat in every single living room chair in Norway until we found the ones we wanted… only to be sent from London the wrong color!!! Infuriating. They gave us slate instead of this beautiful chartreuse green and our living room is sadtown right now with the gray couch AND chairs. Anyway, I will put up pictures when things are looking better, hopefully soon!
I am employed! Kind of. I am nannying three days a week for the Norwegian’s adorable 9 month old nephew, Sigurd. It is seriously my dream come true to be paid Norwegian money to babysit. He is a joy. Today we read lots of books, played with toys as well as “non toys” (why are babies SO determined to try and play with wires, electrical sockets, and anything at all dangerous? so confusing). Anyway today we had highly supervised play time with his current favorite “non toy”, the curtains. He was seriously laughing hysterically at the plain white curtains… very precious and confusing. In the afternoon we went to feed the ducks the uneaten bread of his older brother’s breakfast! Okay, I actually fed the ducks while Sigurd napped. I also had to somewhat speedily stroll him away from 1. SWANS (goodness they are so aggressive and mean to the other ducks!), 2. PIGEONS - a woman came to the huge pond and sat RIGHT next to me (where I was calmly reading thesis stuff like a good little student) and threw birdseed around until I was sufficiently scared a pigeon would fly into the stroller and 3. a yippy little dog who would’ve woken Sigurd up if he wasnt such a good and sound little sleeper. I swear, the duck pond was more relaxing than it is sounding right now….
What else have I been up to? Baking things like homemade oreos (danger… you WILL eat these until you feel ill… http://www.bakerella.com/homemade-oreos/).
Learning Norwegian! It is really coming along. I have a serious problem differentiating “o” sounds and “u” sounds, but I am learning! Only studying a non spoken language throughout highschool AND college is kind of biting me in the butt right now.
Playing vball…I made the D4 team! Last year I was on the D5 team. Just like last year, it is tons of fun and essential in forcing me to work out. Yay for team sports!
Making elaborate lists of fiction books I would like to read but have limited access to as well as time to read them. (I HAVE discovered that I can download books on my ipad and read while walking. It is wonderful slash dangerous). Even though I already have too many, does anyone have suggestions for the best fiction book ever?! I am embarrassed to say I read the hunger games trilogy and then nearly went into a depression upon finishing it. I enjoyed them SO SO SO MUCH. It was like friends moving away when I finished. God, I am lame.
I’ve also found this website, goodreads.com, and it is great! I have actually been a member for at least a year, but didn’t investigate it until recently. Anyway you can rate all of the books you’ve read and then it gives your recommendations based on your choices. So great. You can also see what your friends have read and are reading, the stars/reviews they gave each book, and popular lists people have made! (Best Books Ever, Best Books of the 20th century, Best Books of 2010, etc). Seriously great.
Obessisively bookmarking recipes from food blogs that I may or may not ever make.
(side note, http://mimithorisson.com/ is the most gorgeous blog EVER, and makes me want to move to southern France IMMEDIATELY and live there forever).
Changing my ipad screen saver to different fall images All. The. Time.
Learning about RUNES!!! Check out this cool 7th century writing tablet with a pseudo-runic (actually etruscan) alphabet. Oh yes. Super cool stuff.
Staring at images like this and wondering HOW people are SO AWESOME. (These are actually Nasa hubble telescope images made into a mosaic of the starry night! SO COOL!)
Witnessing impromptu FIREWORKS from our ninth floor apartment on a Saturday night. These were much cooler than my ipad camera is letting on… not sure why I am even posting such a sad picture.
Saving pictures of tiny koalas from imgur.com because… well I mean look at him!
Finding lady bugs on my bike before riding to class! This is a sign of good LUCK, isn’t it?!
And always, always cloud watching here in Oslo, where clouds are CRAZY due to the whole fjord situation. This picture is from September and I don’t think it really captures how ridiculously menacing this rain storm was on my way to volleyball one evening. The clouds were SO WEIRD. They kind of look like a down comforter to me in this picture which I think accurately reflects my personality and love affair with naps….
Making delicious chicken, avocado, tomato, feta and corn salads and then photographing them in my very fancy bowl because that is normal.
Another fake food blog photo to show you a super easy and super delicious chicken drumstick recipe. (http://www.recipe.com/oven-fried-parmesan-chicken-1/)
Aren’t those star pasta thingies CUTE? I got half a kilo for 8 kroner!!! (less than a dollar) at Grønland market, and cooked them in water flavored with chicken bullion, they were yummyyyy.
That is about all! I wish I could put up apartment pictures but it is just not QUITE there yet… After a few more projects I will definitely post some since our beautiful, light and airy space makes me oh so happy every day :)
Another procrastination post… but I promise things of substance are to come.
Sooo I was looking through my pictures the other day and realized whenever I find something cool online I save it, and then hardly ever go back to look at them. I’ve decided to put them all here!
I have no idea how to cite pictures from the internet, these are all found from random google searches or imgur.com (unless otherwise stated). Please no one sue me. I am pretty sure not enough people read this for me to be taking any fame/money from anyone….
1. Photo cred, my newsfeed
2. Imgur! Story of mine and the Norwegian’s life (seriously, on group reunions my friends all fight over who has to sleep with me, meaning everyone is desperate not to, GOD I am a terrible bedmate and have NO control over it due to the whole being unconscious thing. sad).
3. Imgur! Yay for Norway randomly on the world wide web. Also I am told this is true (not that I know any of the languages).
not sure why that picture is so tiny?
4. Desperate to make this… (from http://www.howsweeteats.com/ , LOVE HER WEBSITE, favorite food blog ever).
shrimp burgers with chipotle cream and coconut peach salsa. I have no idea why that word chipotle is in there, but I think the word cream can balance it out. Recipe: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/07/shrimp-burgers-with-chipotle-cream-and-coconut-peach-salsa/
6. Imgur also… sorry for the profanity!
7. Imgur, this guy was hiking in Laos and this bug was on his hand! CRAZY. I love bugs (except for the awful ones like roaches, bees, etc.)
8. UMMM coolest way to be buried EVER. you can be a tree! (imgur)
9. Look at the happiness! (cred: http://dailypicksandflicks.com/2012/01/23/daily-picdump-371/laughing-camel-and-little-girl/)
10. Imgur from a long time ago (the Olympics!) ha haaaaaaaaaa.
11. This could absolutely have been me because I 100% write to do lists like this. From imgur!
12. Imgur inspiration about “overcoming life’s disappointments” (I think that is a title of a book my mom once read aloud to me on the phone from Okinawa during a hard time in college… Ohhh motherhood).
13. I WANT. teensy fish tank from imgur!
14. Imgur tree! I forget where this is unfortunately…
15. This picture is from the Faroe Islands. I AM DYING to go here! It was a major Viking thoroughfare during the Medieval Ages and it just seems awesome. Unfortunately it has little to offer other than history stuff and nature… sooo who wants to go with me?! This is from imgur and is a lake AND the ocean in one part of the island, so cool!
Thats all for now! YAY for the internet it is SO COOl and such a good procrastination tool!
While I SHOULD be posting about my new classes, our new apartment, my mom and brothers’ trip to Norway in July, or maybe the Dublin trip (ummmm that is more than four months overdue… depressing), those things all take a lot more time than have at this moment, and SO I will share with you this lovely dinner post.
I read a LOT of food blogs… which has inspired me to occasionally (and completely randomly) take pictures of my food while making it. And then I do nothing with it…. so this time I am posting them here! Sorry if this is super boring.
Let me also just tell you that Picasa photo editor is AWESOME. It has made my photo editing “process” so much fun. Also I am pretty sure an actual photographer would scratch their eyes out if they watched me edit these… I just randomly click buttons like “Lomo-ish” and “Cross Process” and oo and ahh until the photo looks really pretty but still resembles food.
The Norwegian was DYING for burgers with guacamole tonight. So we stopped by the closest store (sadly, also the most expensive, ICA) and got ground beef and flour. Even though we are doing a shopping trip tomorrow at Coop Obs, (I refer to this as America because it is a gigantic grocery store AND things are cheaper there, kind of like a Costco situation), I still tried to get things at ICA like cinnamon, oatmeal, conditioner, and items that are twice as expensive at ICA than Obs, simply because I have the patience of a toddler. Why am I like this? The Norwegian talked me down.
So! I laid out our ingredients.
Ground beef plus egg plus flour… really letting the meat stand on its own here.
This photo is hard evidence that true love does exist. I put BLACK PEPPER (which I hate) in the meat! Because I know that in this situation I am the super weirdo, so the Norwegian should not have to suffer. Also I can’t actually taste it when it is cooked in, so win/win!
Burgs in the pan! I love this pan. The handle is removable so its easier to wash in the sink! Genius. Also it weighs about 10,000 pounds and takes 20 minutes to heat up… but it is worth it; it cooks everything perfectly!
Now time to make the guacamole. Five small avocados, four of which looked like this:
And one looked like this!! God I hate when this happens. Avocado, get your life together. This is Oslo, you were not cheap.
Now… I am not proud of this, but one of the biggest fights the Norwegian and I have ever had is about guacamole… I believe it should be mild and creamy made with just garlic salt and lime juice, but HE thinks it should be REAL guacamole with raw onions and spicy stuff and tomatoes! Yuck.
Ok but it turns out (after a lot of friend polling and wikipedia-ing) I am dead wrong (ugh that sucks), but I cannot help the way I like my guac! Solution?
Now for the cheese! Norwegians invented the cheese cutter, which is a kitchen utensil I now cannot live without.
All the fixins! (yes, Norwegians eat their mayo out of a bag, I’ve decided to find it charming and not weird. You cut a tiny hole in corner of the bag so you can spread your mayonaise like you are icing a cake! fun).
me: Hey draw a picture with the ketchup!
him: I did. It’s the stock market. It’s very volatile right now.
Oh hello, delicious and creamy non-guacamole…
We sat down to eat at around 8:00 (SUPER late for us…) and the sky looked like this…
Crazy rainstorm coming in off the harbor! Ok then I hit an editing button called HDR-ish. THANK YOU, PICASA:
More posts to come! Once the apartment is totally clean and set up (we are getting there!) I will put up a full round of photos. :)
The apartment is ready for the exciting part of renovation to begin! This means that most of Eirik’s and my manual labor is complete (still some wall paper scraping this week, thank GOD for the wall paper steamer), and now the contractors begin putting things UP! This means walls, floors, lighting, etc.
Here is the damage.
Old guestroom/new kitchen:
60 square meters of new wood floors! It is Ash and relatively light in color.
Old kitchen/new guest bedroom! (floors to come up later this week after some plumbing work):
Living room complete with ten packs of new insulation for the apartment! Warm winters here we come!
Dining room with terrible wall unit removed:
I kind of cannot believe this is our home yet… I can see our vision of what it will look like, but not completely. I am so excited for the next few weeks to see it all come together!
Eirik and I have finally bought an apartment! In a few weeks we will live in an apartment on the 9th floor, on a street called Gullkroken, which in Norwegian, literally means “Golden Nook.”
The building is walking distance from the Smestad metro stop, which is only 2 stops from the city center (Majorstuen)! It is a bit off the beaten path, which means about an 7 minute walk to the nearest grocery store, but LOTS of nature.
We got the apartment for a really good price, but it needs a LOT of work. Eirik and I are doing all of the “tear down” work (pulling up the floors, scraping the walls, pulling out the built in units and the kitchen), but have a contractor, plumber and electrician to do all of the finishing work.
Dining Room Before Picture (notice the panel walls and semi ugly built in unit):
Dining Room view:
Room without walls, the floor, or a WALL we had removed to put in an open kitchen:
Living Room before picture:
The best part of the apartment is the view. We are on the 9th floor, so one side of the apartment faces Holmenkollen, and the other side gives a view of the water!
From the balcony:
We are switching the location of the spare bedroom and the kitchen for a number of reasons, but the most exciting (to me!) is that our new kitchen sink will have a view of the water!
We’ve chosen this new kitchen (NOT with this fan, just the white cabinetry and the light wooden countertop):
Our first official purchase for the new apartment is the light for the bedroom. We got this on a going out of business sale at a light store at Majorstuen, 70% off!
Lot of work is left to be done, but in two or three weeks we HOPE to be able to move in (cross your fingers)! In the mean time, we are working hard and VERY excited :)
Woops! Time really flies when you’re… doing whatever I have been doing for the last almost half of a year. Seriously how did that happen?
I just returned from a glorrrrious trip to Ireland (a country on my very short “to see” list for the past few years, and then just HAPPENED to be the chosen place for my program’s paid for trip this year!). I am still getting my pictures together from the trip, SO for now I shall do a quick “catch up post” which might be painfully boring, but we will just have to see for ourselves, won’t we?
Okay, let’s see. Last time I posted was freaking THANKSGIVING. That is just appalling. Since Thanksgiving, this is what has occurred in Syd World.
And that about sums it up! Except insert knitting throughout all of those things… and schoolwork of course.
Next post will be all about the delightful trip that was IRELAND, but until then I’ll leave you with some gorgeous pictures of Oslo in the spring (photo credit Sara Doolittle Llanos). Spring here is so completely beautiful I can’t even describe it. Even when its a little cold (45 or 50 F) it is SUPER sunny and being in a fjord means only light breezes (unlike Ireland’s million mile an hour winds). Of course we still have rainy days too, and its not quite as warm as I am used to in May, but over all its really gorgeous and much appreciated after Norwegian WINTER. (GOD.) And it is light until 10pm!
Thanksgiving was a total success! I honestly had so much anxiety about cooking an entire turkey on my own, but it was NOT hard. I found this website http://www.howtocookathanksgivingturkey.com/ which was great except it didn’t want me to put stuffing in the turkey… so I cheated and put stuffing in anyway. And no one got sick! (Did you know stuffing a turkey is a “health concern”?? so strange).
I woke up early to get my big bird into the oven.
YES my hand is between the skin and the meat of the bird. I am not going to lie it was gross. But that website told me to do it, AND the Tom Colicchio recipe said to do the same. I made an herb butter (with Sara’s help!) and put it in the bird, but none on the skin! Just salt and pepper to make the skin crispy.
This next picture cracks me up for some reason. Doesn’t it look like he’s saying “WHAT UP?!” or “COME AND GET IT!” with his little arms? Okay fine, I am morbid.
Yams, green beans and carrots being prepared!
The table was set beautifully! Candles were only a dollar from Grønland !
And while I finished up last minute dishes…
(with Sara’s help of course)
…the boys carved the turkey with a very helpful youtube video! Good job, Lukas and Pawel :)
Look at how well it turned out. No basting or anything! It just gets buttered, salt and peppered, and stuck in the oven.
I made menus and little napkin turkeys for the table.
Here is the full spread and me looking like I am about to eat six huge plates of food.
After STUFFING ourselves (I literally was full until midday the next day and that never happens to me), we still had pie! Sara made the pecan and I made the apple. They were so easy! A little too easy… we seriously looked at one another after making them and wondered if we are about to go down a dangerous path of extremely frequent pie eating.
Okay, this piece could be in a magazine, right?! SO EASY, I promise. For all of these recipes, I literally googled “easy ___”. http://www.momswhothink.com/easy-recipes/easy-apple-pie-recipe.html
We were so full we could barely move… and while my suggestion was that we all take naps at 7pm, others thought we should go on a walk. We decided to go down to Ulleval Stadion (a ten minute’s walk). They have decorated for Christmas and its beautiful in the evening!
Ulleval has an outdoor ice skating rink as well, so we stopped by to see how we can skate there. Turns out they have open skating every day and all day on Sundays! We caught the end of a hockey game so I took a picture for my very talented brother, Sam Buran who I miss very much back home.
Sam wanted to be a zamboni driver until age five. We hope one day he can aspire to make this dream come true.
After the walk, it was time for a Christmas movie! Which is a Thanksgiving tradition, obviously. We chose Home Alone, and moved our beds into the kitchen for viewing comfort. It was amazing.
All in all, a wonderful day and evening. I am thankful for my new life in Norway, the friends I’ve met here (especially from my flat, volleyball and my program), my family back home (and I am lucky enough to have TWO), my friends back home who I miss daily and am seeing in about a WEEK, volleyball, my earring collection, bananas, babies, the kindness of strangers, vikings, my tiny plant in my window, my down comforter, pottery, my hair straightener, and much, much more.
Next stop… CHRISTMAS!!!!!
…and there is no possible way I could be more excited. Preparations have already begun!
My last post was about Grønland in all of its glory. Well, we can give this place one more gold star because it’s where I tracked down a 6 kg WHOLE turkey. This endeavor included: a trip on Monday to the fresh meat market in Grønland’s “basar” section (and let me tell you, that place is aptly named basar if it does in fact linguistically relate to the word “bizarre”), a 15 minute conversation in broken half English/half Norwegian with a man from Croatia, two phone conversations with said man, texts with said man, and finally another trip back to Grønland Tuesday morning to pick up my huge frozen turkey. Then, my huge frozen turkey and I went to Old Norse class.
Here is the inside of the “Basar.” Palm tree, Christmas tree, it really does have it all.
I don’t eat a whole lot of meat here in Oslo (I have never been big on cooking it for myself for some reason, even though I LOVE it) but the fresh meat shop at the basar made my mouth water. Fresk Kjøtt means “Fresh Meat.”
I want to live in here:
And look at all of the steaaaaaks.
But I kept my eye on the prize, which was a 6 kg turkey for my roommates and I to enjoy tomorrow!
I have the menu totally planned out:
The only thing I TRULY feel is missing is a pumpkin pie (and my family, obviously).
We started the cooking today and everything is so organized I feel really on the ball. I made both stuffings (but they are in the fridge, to be cooked tomorrow), the turkey has been thawing in the fridge for 2 days, Sara made a pecan pie, I made the apple pie and the cranberry sauce is done. All groceries are purchased.
Filling (without top crust):
Finished (but pre-cooked!) apple pie with a Friends marathon of Thanksgiving episodes going on in the background (obviously).
Pie friends getting ready for the oven!
Finished apple pie with impulse-bought Santa popping in to say hello. Julie is being very diligent in the background while I preformed puppet shows with afore mentioned Santa.
Hmmm what else could this feast be missing? Ohhhhh napkins folded like turkeys.
Tomorrow is the big day so please wish me luck because if the turkey catches on fire/gives my roommates salmonella I will feel just horrible.