May 17 in Oslo & Gothenburg, SW (May)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lost in Translation

First let me say, we speak almost no Norsk. Luckily, many Norwegians speak English.

Shortly after arriving, I went to the local grocery to buy soap. (FYI...This particular grocery is smaller than most US convenient stores!) I surveyed the liquid body wash, as I did not see any 'cake' soap available. My choices were Jergens for approx 25K and ASAN for appox 13K. I opted for the ASAN not only because it was cheaper, but it said 'Sensitive' on the label. I thought the sensitive would be nice because we could use it on JR, if needed. Prior to checking out, I asked the clerk - a young guy in his 20s - if what I was buying was 'body wash' and he said 'yes'.

When I arrived back to the flat, I noticed that the ASAN cost was actually 49K. I felt a little ripped off, but whatever. I guess the bottle had been placed on the wrong shelf. It must be some pretty good stuff!

When I used the wash, it didn't have much smell. It actually smelled kinda 'generic', like the shampoo you use to get chlorine out of your hair. I noted that I would not buy it again.

A couple of weeks later, I saw this odd commercial (in Norsk, of course). It flashed different female torsos, and in front of the 'private' area flashed different pieces of paper with a drawings of all the different ways you can shave/trim your pubes - -yes, pubic hair! I rewound the commercial (thank goodness for technology) and called David in to see.

Yes, our 'Sensitive' body wash was actually feminine wash. I imagine the young guy at the grocery must have thought I was some perverted (older) American broad trying to hit on him!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We're Here!

We arrived in Oslo the morning of August 2. The kids did great during the flight - sleeping the entire night. Everything went smoothly, dispite having more luggage than hands!

Our landlord, Siri, met us at the airport (waving a Norwegian flag) and took us to our new home. Our 'flat' is located on the edge of the city, near the University of Oslo and close to all forms of public transportation. (The interior looks like an ad for IKEA! It's also full of original watercolor art by Siri's father and sister.) Behind our building is a huge grassy park with a playground, and we have a view of it along with the mountains & fjord. It really couldn't be more perfect.

Siri did everything possible to make our transition smooth, including having a toddler bed for JR, a crib for Ev, highchairs for both kids, food in the fridge, etc! More than we ever expected. She also came over every night the first week to ensure we were getting settled. She quickly became our (young) Norwegian mom, and we feel so lucky to have her!

Since we've been here, we've taken many adventures to the local parks & playgrounds - with picnic lunches in tow! Everything here is very expensive, so we are taking advantage of all the 'free' outdoor offerings - while the weather is nice. On average, the temp has been in the 70s - with some days being in the 80s & others rainy and cool. Each day is an adventure. We make a point to get out every day, regardless of the weather. Trips to the grocery store are daily. We eat lots of PB&J...Not only because it's quick, easy & cheap, but because it's delicious! The jam is chunky & the bread is full of seeds & nuts...YUM!

We've all adjusted better than expected. JR is still testing his boundaries - seeing what he all he can get away with! We are going to try to get him in a local preschool so he can have regular play time with kids his age. I know he misses that! Evie is happy as a clam as long as she eats every 3 hours! We had to change her formula upon arrival, which has disturbed her system a bit. She never complains though. We want to get her on vegetables, but you cannot buy assorted baby food flavors here. I guess we will have to puree our own until visitors from the US can bring us a supply.

We've found that nothing here is 'easy'. Americans are very spoiled with 'convenience'. It has taken me 3 1/2 weeks to get a cell phone. Although everyone here has one, no one can tell you how to get one, how to set it up, etc. Folks are happy to help, but only give enough info to get you to the next 'step'. I'm seriously thinking of writing a 'Guide to Norway' for future Fulbrighters!

Speaking of Fulbrighters...We have become friendly with the other two roving scholars and their families. One couple has two kids (5 & 8). JR absolutely adores them, and they are great with both he & Ev.

I'm going to attempt to post pics of our flat as well as some from our outings - including visits to Frogner/Vigeland park, Sognsvann lake (where JR skinny dipped, like a true Norwegian), berry picking in the woods, etc.

I'll try to post updates on a regular basis, so visit our blog often!