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Christmas in Norway

The first time I spent my Christmas here in Norway, I was mesmerized.

The season begins with baking some cookies or they call it “pepperkake” or ginger bread in English on a snowy December.

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Then, I can hear the banging of the bottles on “Vinmonopolet” or The Wine Monopoly that sounds like jingle bells during Christmas season. The store is full of a bunch of people busy buying and packing their Christmas gifts. I remember when I was a kid in the Philippines: we never asked what we wanted for Christmas presents. We just hung our plastic bags on the window waiting for Santa Claus to come. Then the next morning we would receive apples, oranges and a chocolate Cloud 9.

In Norway there are kids, receiving gadgets as young as two years old. According to NRK’s (Norwegian Broadcasting Station) last year’s survey, on the top list that people’s wish list for Christmas are: clothes, tablet, laptop, mobile phone and travel. They are spending a lot, buying Christmas presents to their families.

Here in Norway, they are starting hanging Christmas decorations in December of  course. In the Philippines we used to have it from September up to January  and even until the Three Kings celebration.

In Norway, they have the “lille julaften” on the 23rd of December, in which its part of their tradition to watch this very short movie called “Grevinnen og hovmesteren” or Dinner for one. Has been sent every Christmas in Norway since 1980.

The Christmas Eve is on the 24th of December and they call it  “julaften”.  You have to dress well during Christmas. For dinner, they have ribs as the most common main dish, christmas sausage and meatballs. On the western part of Norway, they have “pinnekjøtt” or stick meat. It’s a sheep lamb which is salted and hung, and eventually smoked before hanging. I remember I tasted smoked salmon on Christmas too, and took a shot of aquavit. A rice porridge with almond for dessert.  After dinner then it’s the opening of the gifts waiting under the big Christmas tree, and sometimes “julenisse” or Santa Claus is coming to deliver the gifts. They have this term called “romjul”. It’s a period between Christmas and New Year. At this time, they are still enjoying the spirit of Christmas just like visiting family and friends and having dinner together.

White Christmas

When I was still living in the Philippines listening to the lyrics of a song “Let it snow, Let it snow” I dreamed of a snowy white Christmas. In Norway, my dream of a White Christmas came true.

Commute

Commuting in Norway

Oil and gas is one of Norway’s natural resources and the country’s best treasure. Norway is on the list of the most expensive countries in the world.

If you have a car in Norway it’s really expensive. You are going to pay for the toll road or they call it “bompenger” almost everywhere in  the country. And there are a lot  of camera boxes that checks your driving speed and when you drive over the speed limit you’ll get a fine. I’ve heard that a car owners spends at around 1/3 of their income for car expenses, like annual fee, insurance, service to keep up the guarantee valid, and fuel expense.

Therefore, some people choose not to have a car but be a commuter rather.

Commuting in Norway is far different from Philippines.

The first time I took the bus from Oslo airport going to Stryn, I waited more than 6 hours. I missed my bus at 10:20, so the next bus was 16:00. Every thing in here is scheduled including the hairdresser. Unlike in the Philippines, you just have to stand anywhere, and wave your hand, then jeepneys will just stop, every second.

It wasn’t so easy for me to adjust from the start especially when at that time I lived in the countryside. When I went to study the Norwegian language course, I had to walk from home to school for 45 minutes or maybe an hour during Winter. There’s no motorcycle, jeepney, and bus to take from where I lived. As far as I can remember, there were school buses for the students, but only for the students. And the room for that bus is only enough for the students per se and I am not one of them. At that time I went to my language course thrice a week. They said it’s a good exercise, but for us first timer Asians? Hmm, Maybe 🙂

Okay, so then I got a job. My workplace is really far from where we lived, and so I have to take a train (NSB). The train goes every hour at least from Askim to National Theatre, then I have to take a tram from there to my workplace. It was fascinating to think that when the train arrives, I have the enough time to walk and wait a little bit to the tram stop. And that was organized! There are times that the train gets late for some reason but not that often as I witnessed until this train strike happens. There are taxis in Norway too, of course. The prices varies on which county you are from and if you are going to take it during the daytime or nighttime.

If you are living within the city or at least nearby the city, it is really easy to commute here in Norway. Having transportation schedules help me in disciplining my self for preparation time. I like how organized and on time they are when it comes to commuting.

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Wedding Bells

It’s been two years since the last time I published an article. It was a long time ago, isn’t it?

After the engagement which you can read here we’ve talked about the wedding preparations of course. And then, after a year we discovered that we are going to be a parent. Oh yes! Well, during the engagement this little prince for sure was on the making 🙂 He wanted to join the wedding preparation and be on the wedding! Yeah hey!

So then, here comes the bride 5 months inside. Lala lala. We usually sing this jokingly song in the Philippines once you’re getting married and you’re pregnant at the same time. And a lot of people is goooooing to talk about you being pregnant because you’re not married yet. Especially when you came from a “known” clan, oh yes! This is a huuuugggee concern for them. Well, well when you are pregnant yourself, you don’t have the time to think what other people think of you. They are just on the least of the list problems you have.

Anyways, here are some wedding photos and preparations we had during the celebration.

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That’s my best choice!

The wedding dress, was bought in Vilnius, Lithuania where I also celebrated my 26th birthday. It wasn’t so easy for me to choose what to wear, but luckily I’d found something that suits to my size and my pregnancy.

We have so many wedding photos taken by vibekeopheim and we are so lucky to have her as our photographer on our wedding. We had 29 guests during our wedding and that was family and friends. We exchanged speeches with each other, someone delivered their speeches too and someone surprised us with an entertainment.

Four months later, in the autumn night 1st of October, this little one wake us up. We went to the hospital, and after 5-6 hours of waiting and pushing then he came out. It was 2nd of October, 6:31 a.m when we heard his first cry. We are so proud when he got this apgar score of 10. And finally, we are now a family!

Perspective

Happy Ending Is Not An Ending-It’s a Good Start

For more than two years staying here in Norway,  I realized that every year I meet different kinds of people, been to many different places, worked with different environments, learned things in every other way, been for so much ups and downs, happiness and loneliness – to wrap it up – HAPPY GO LUCKY! But hello? Being stacked in a place without discovering new adventures in life is nothing. So keep on seeking what you really want to be – that will make you happy.

Right now, I can say I’m on my way to face the new chapter of life. I think the new stage of happiness in life, the thing called – ever after? – forever? – happy ending? I may not express how happy I am, how lucky and blessed I am for having such so many good things around me. That sometimes I even asked myself, am I worth enough to received those happiness, those good things? Do I deserved all of these? “Yes – I think I deserved those” – I said (talkin’ to my soul).

Whoever believes in once upon a time or happily ever after stories will always be waiting for the right prince riding on a white horse. And there were some who says, there is no happy ending that really exist. Its the people who made their choice and not the destiny. Okay – whatever! I would say, yes for both. I believe in happily ever after and destiny unbeliever.  You can always have those ever after/forever as long as your working it out to be in that way. If destiny exist, its not just destiny that will work out for you to be happy, you’ll make a way that destiny will work forever.

I’m not a princess who dreams to have a prince. But I do have a dream to be a princess, living with my prince without having a castle, as long as I’m with him.

I never thought of having a boyfriend here in Norway before I came here. I just thought of experiencing how life works in here. But we never know what this destiny will give us. Then, I met this guy – whom I fall in-love with. I’m not sure if if I’m going to tell you our story in here, for you to believe that this forever after exist or not, but I just want to just share our happiness. It’s not our love story neither.

LDR as they call it (long distance relationship), is really hard to bet. Yes, we are living in the same country but still, we are miles apart. We’ve been seeing each other every other month and just for a weekend. He would come on my place driving his cute car for 6-7 hours for us to spend time together. Summer vacation is an exception for that, that was the longest time we’ve spent together. We’ve been for so many ups and downs but we’ve managed to fixed everything. And of course, there’s more to come for that. That’s the ever after that every couple shall tackle.

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You know where I’m going with this. We went to Copenhagen, Denmark after Christmas or we call it “romjule” for Norwegian. We took this DFDS Seaways which is not recommendable actually. But anyways, we went to the Blue planet the Europe’s biggest aquarium. It was amazing. When we were on our way home going to the sentrum, we are on this lovely beautiful place, surrounded by the snow, sunshine, and the boats floating on the sea. He just knelled down and asked me the precious question I’ve been waiting for.

That’s the start of our happily ever after. On every love story you almost see the prince walking while the princess riding the horse going to the castle because he saved her. That’s how we thought the story would end. But in real life, its not. Being picked up by a cute car, driven to his castle over the snowy mountains for more than 7 hours is sweeter than seeing the prince walking not knowing if they really heading to that castle.

In real life, working out that happy ending is a constant thing that make us happy.

Moon in Norway

Brightness of the Moon

Got a message from a special person saying, “look at the moon tonight”. And as I looked at it, it gives me more strength. How blessed I am to be surrounded by many good things?

Despite of all the shakey scenarios, I still managed to walked through it. I am actually thankful for all those shakeable moments that made me hold on to, no matter what. That helps strengthen my faith not to worry and be patient enough.

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This moon, that shines so bright is my inspiration, to focus on every positive side of the darkness 😀