15 February, 2010

Christmas in Norway!

So, yeah. Epic fail on my part. Christmas post the day after Valentine's Day. Shame on me...

On the one hand, this means I'm keeping busy!

Christmas in Norway was the best experience ever. It was so nice to be relaxed and at home with family--especially being able to see family I haven't seen in such a long time! Matt, Linda, Ben and Sondre are all doing great, as evidenced by the pictures, and it was truly wonderful of them to host me for three weeks of winter break!

I arrived just a few days before Christmas, my flight made an ordeal by a freak snow storm the day before, which delayed my first flight enough that I almost didn't make my connection! But I did, luckily, and it was all good! My baggage, however, was not as fast as me, and so arrived a few days later.

Christmas was absolutely special in Norway. Never have I experienced a Christmas which was so movie-perfect: snow outside, fire going constantly, the small children running about, the cookies, the candy, the stockings, the tree, the fun and family! Christmas Eve was held at Linda's mom's house, the highlight of which was Sondre making an appearance as Santa while sitting on Matt's shoulders! Christmas Day dinner was at the farm, and the whole family was there. The entire thing was wonderful: let me count the ways...

* Benjamin is not taller than me (yet: okay, the kid has like an inch to go...)
* We got to ride Lise's horse "King" (the Norwegian equivalent which I can barely say, much less spell)
* We went ice skating!
* I did not have to go skiing! Yes!
* I got a real Norwegian buff (it's like a magical scarf)!
* I saw Peter Northug make Tour de Ski history--and I enjoyed it!
* I got green chile stew, because Matt keeps his larder well stocked!
* We visited the Swedish cabin, where...
* I got to ride the snowmobile!
* I also had the honor of telling Ben and Sondre exciting bedtime stories of Doctor Who, Star Wars, Supernatural, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These were awesome bonding times.
* Sondre and I watched Doctor Who episodes fanatically.
* Matt and I watched Supernatural episodes fanatically.
* Matt and I visited Nidaros Cathedral--the awesomest place in Norway!
* Matt, Linda and I had a night on the town to see the new Sherlock Holmes!
* I learned a few Norwegian words, which I have since forgot. As I pronounced them incorrectly, anyway, I'm sure it doesn't matter.
* I now have a mighty fine hat, which has a Norwegian flag on it.
* New Years was spent with Americans and Aberdonians! Matt and Linda's "English" friends are (half) from Aberdeen! Small world, much?
* Ben and Sondre were schooled in the art of stage fencing by myself. Hopefully the obvious telegraphing built into the swordplay style will prevent them from killing each other. But I make no promises.

And, most importantly, I survived -32 degrees Celsius (that's -26 F!!!) weather! The weirdest bits had to be when the moisture inside my nose froze solid. Weirdest sensation ever. Also, seeing Linda's eyelashes freeze so that it looked like she had white mascara on was awesome. It was just way too cold. On the plus side, I wasn't made to go outside basically at all.

So Norway was spent basking in the three hours of sunshine per day, learning to build fires out of wet wood, wrestling with Ben and Sondre, making beer bread, and soaking up every enjoyable minute of family time. Just as I got used to driving on the right side of the road again, however, I had to go back!

Pictures to follow, and in the next installment: Desiree's trip to Aberdeen!