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Welcome Aida!

Stavanger is in bloom and the season has officially started when one of the broken column statues (http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_Column) witnessed the arrival of the first cruise ship!

The Aida Stella docked at Stavanger port yesterday for the afternoon and its thousands of passengers quickly took over the cobbled streets of the city center.

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The sight of the ship next to the little houses is pretty impressive.

Even the swans raced for it to go and check it out…

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The cruise had just been baptized in Germany at the start of this first journey and took its passengers to Denmark and Norway. After leaving Stavanger, it set off for England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

I’ve always wondered what cruise holidays are like. Are the majority of the passengers really 70+ and are you constantly submitted to cheesy animation programs?

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Maybe one day, when I feel I can surpass this preconceived idea, I will give it a try and maybe conclude that it wasn’t just preconceived…

I noticed something else while standing on the quay; the Dalai Lama and some other important people apparently have stood there as well. I couldn’t make out the other names on the foot prints as people where having a chat right on the spot and I didn’t want to intrude and ask to see what’s under their feet…

I’ll go check it out next time!

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Last night, my husband and I went to our first Internations get-together in Stavanger. We had a wonderful time at Alf & Werner and enjoyed meeting new people.

So wherever you are around the world, join Internations and find the like-minded people around you. It’s fun!

The agenda is slowly filling up with meetings and events and I’m loving the life in Stavanger so far.

Time to go out and enjoy the northern sun. See you around!

 

SUSHI!

Last night I chaperoned my husband to the oil museum for a presentation on oil field stuff.

The museum is definitely not as big as it looks from outside and how I thought it would be.

The presentation itself was just a commercial pitch on services and technologies offered by one of the petroleum companies and thus not very useful to any of the attendees. (Except maybe for the students who got a free sense of belonging and hopes for future recruitment contacts)
We had left the home without having dinner, planned to have a small snack there and then see if we’d be hungry to eat something more later on.
However, the animals* had already gotten to the snacks by the time we arrived, so we left with a craving for food.
After considering several options of eating out, my husband suddenly felt like pizza take-away and I could “pick up whatever I like”.
A sudden rush of happiness surged over me…..Alarm bells ringing in my head, stronger heartbeats, butterflies in the stomach…..:SUSHI!!!!!
Here was my chance, after a long time of abstinence (my husband doesn’t eat sushi, so the occasions to eat it are few) to walk into that sushi bar – one of the 5 or 6 in the street we were walking in (Norway loves sushi) and order some colorful and deliciously fresh pieces of wonder!
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Well it had been a long time to taste such fresh and gorgeous pieces of sushi (Not in Egypt, not in Greece, not in Belgium…)
For those of you who want to know: I brought them from “Sabi Sushi”, a place that also seems to be highly recommended on Tripadvisor – as the sign inside says.
You can even order online (www.sabi.no) or through smartphone/ipad. Enjoy the feast!
Now this was in no way intended to be a commercial pitch for sushi, I just had to share the bliss.
As my husband reminded me: I live to eat and he eats to live.
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*animals: those greedy, stingy pricks that trash a buffet and stuff themselves to the brim, just because it’s free and they won’t find any food elsewhere on the planet.

One sweet morning

The results of my first baking experiment was a very sweet breakfast; little vanilla & chocolate cheesecake cupcakes and a coconut milk cake.

The mini cupcakes turned out quite alright, but sadly lacked the WOW-factor.

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Probably because I replaced the mascarpone (which I sadly didn’t find in the nearest supermarket) by some kind of vanilla texture which didn’t do the cute little cups justice.

The coconut milk cake was “absolutely delicious” , quoted by my loving husband and I definitely recommend it to anyone! I let the coconut syrup soak in overnight and it turned out to be a gorgeously moist sensation.

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All-in-all a rather satisfying experience and definitely worth repeating. I just don’t want to overdo it, or I’ll be blogging about the latest dieting trends very soon.

In the meantime it has been confirmed once more that applying for positions on the Norwegian job-boards is useless, unless the description is in English, as the mails this morning pretty much state the same: read your CV with interest blablabla, Scandinavian language skills blablabla, good luck.

I am going in for a talk at the guiding company next week to at least have something to do during the summer months; meet new people, get to know more about the history of Stavanger and share the knowledge. That doesn’t seem too bad, right?

And by the end of summer, we should be fluent in Norwegian to apply for a permanent job.

The interactive Norwegian cd-rom from the library has brought out the child in me. It has a series of funny little games to remember the basics; it’s a good laugh and it works.

On a more serious note, I’ve found the free courses of NTNU and Pavei a very good way to start. They offer well-structured lessons with grammar, vocab and exercises.

Actually, I’ll have another piece of cake and get back to it!

Have a positive day!

On a roll…..

Yesterday, I went to meet the lovely people at the chamber of commerce for some extra advice. (Do make an appointment if you plan to do the same)

I learned the following; to not waste your time applying for hundreds of jobs posted in Norwegian and translated in Google chrome or with another app. The rule is that if the vacancy is posted in Norwegian, it requires Norwegian skills most of the time.

Apply only for posts written in English, they are pretty rare, but if you do come across one, your chances will be much higher.

Spend the time you saved by the above to learn the language. With a little bit of dedication, you can be fluent after 6 months.

We know already that it takes a Norwegian an average of 6 months to find a job and if you don’t speak Β the language it will take much longer in most cases, which means: you DO have the time to study or it will just be a waste.

Another link to a free online Norwegian course by the University of Trondheim:

http://www.ntnu.edu/now/intro

At the library you can also find language courses and rent them out for 8 weeks at once.

I went for a membership yesterday, free of charge and it was easy to subscribe. (I used my European driving license)

I came out with a Norwegian interactive CD-rom and a book on baking cakes!

I thought I’d satisfy the domesticated housewife in me and give it a go. I have this strange idea that making cupcakes – no matter how big the mess you make – looks cute. πŸ™‚

The book I borrowed is called “Saved by Cake” by Mariam Keyes; she was in a depression when she started baking and it’s written in a funny, idiot-proof kind of way.

So if you’re getting frustrated by job-hunting, get baking!

I’m happy about all of you who sent me messages talking about your similar experiences. It’s nice to make new friends!

In the meantime, make sure your CV is up to Norwegian standards (brief and to the point) and use the info about your additional qualities for your cover letter.

So that’s all you need to do: create a new CV, apply only to vacancies posted in English, study Norwegian and bake a cake or two!

Good luck πŸ˜‰

Identity thief with white cheddar seasoning.

Went to see “Identity thief” at the Kino Stavanger yesterday.

I thought it would be hilariously funny, but unfortunately, it was only a bit funny…sometimes… and the rest of it was pretty boring.

What I’ve discovered is:

– The cinema halls have a comfortable temperature; no freezing to death as in many movie theaters elsewhere.

– Norwegians love their candy and specially licorice and lots of it! (Salty or sweet, soft or hard and in all colors or shapes)

– Another trend I haven’t seen anywhere else before: popcorn seasoning.

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Buy your popcorn and then choose from a variety of seasonings to add for free.

So although Norwegians in general look rather fit and slim (I’m guessing power-walks, jogging, hiking and skiing!), they do have a sweet tooth.

The numerous T.V.- shows about who can bake the best cakes, cupcakes, macaroons, meringue tarts etc. confirm that.

So do try this part of the culture, but never one without the other; a delicious piece of cake with a jog around the lake will do fine πŸ™‚

When you go jogging though, don’t forget the woolen underwear, hats, gloves and all other accessories, because the newspaper announces “ISKALD” (ice cold) until after Easter. I’ve started to love the very accurate hourly weather forecast on http://www.yr.no (not only for Norway, but worldwide and very precise!)

I specifically enjoy the “feels like” feature, which incorporates effects of wind and other conditions…Always fun to know it will be minus 8 (feels like minus 16)!

Right now it’s 0 degrees (feels like -7).

After an hour it will be 1 (feels like -6).

I am definitely waiting for 2 (feels like -5) before going out! πŸ™‚

Old Stavanger

We finally bought ourselves the wind-and waterproof jackets that we need to wear to endure Stavanger weather.

On the bottom of the bag I found the brand’s quote and it inspired me:

“Where mountains touch the sky and water reaches land, is where we live, create and dream.”

And guess what, we couldn’t stop enduring. We felt so comfortable and warm that we walked for 4 hours, without entering heated places to “recharge”.

Our jackets are bright red and orange, you can’t really miss us now! If you see us walking around town, come and say hi πŸ™‚

We visited the old part of town “Gamle Stavanger”. It’s a really charming area with its cobbled streets and wooden houses.

We walked up to the Concert hall, which is a modern construction that stands in fascinating contrast to the cute little wooden homes and made our way back to the center passing some of the bigger ships docked on Strandkaien.

For dinner, we decided to take a trip back to Cairo and ate at “Shawerma Kairo”. We concluded it wasn’t really worth the trip to Egypt – although the food was fine- and vowed to eat in more Norwegians places.

On our discovery, we passed the hermetic museum and the maritime museum and the place that gives information on all museums….there’s still so much to see!

Check the pictures of our warm walk here:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151315503095598.1073741828.554625597&type=1

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Learning the language.

As job offers come in easier when you master Norwegian, it is best to start learning right away!
The language seems pretty funny at first.
One of my friends said it sounds like talking IKEA. That made me laugh!
I also feel it’s a bit like talking with a hot potato in your mouth. (I know you will try it next time you eat potatoes!)
I’ve been looking into courses and places to learn this magnificent lingo and there are many options.
Unfortunately many are rather expensive.
I will take a course with my husband in his company after Easter, but I’m afraid 1.5 hours twice a week won’t bring significantly fast improvement.
The Johannes Learning center offers different types of courses, including an online one for 1655 NOK/month.
http://www.velkommentiljohannes.no
I’ve also found lots of free courses and tutorials on YouTube, such as this one here that I particularly like. Every lesson just takes a few minutes of your time and it’s pretty helpful to get the hang of the basics!
So hot potatoes for dinner tonight and repeat after me : hvordan gΓ₯r det?

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