Thursday, December 29, 2005


It happens every year. It can almost be described as a tradition now. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the quicksiver crawling below 30 degrees celsius for a few days.. And it does look nice when it is so cold. We now have the stereotype Christmas card outside the windows here. Which makes it very nice to sit in and look out...

And not so nice to be out. Even spending 30 seconds outside to capture this moment without a hat and gloves, can best be described as extremely painful... But it is strange how much I want to be outside when the temperatures are like this and I can't be outside. Then when the weather gets warmer it suddenly isn't so important to get out after all. Just like how much I can't wait to go jogging when I am sick. That urge usually mysteriously dissappears along with the cold, too..

Going out to parties is also quite a project in tempratures like this. Every hope of looking just a tiny bit elegant is effectively crushed when you need two pairs of wool-tights and at least the same amount of woolen socks and sweaters to keep the worst biting cold out. Good thing then, that the temperatures have a couple of days to rise before the big New Years party that's coming up!

Relaxing Christmas for Santa

Christmas time. Relaxing time. I had forgotten how good it was just to sit around and do nothing, and not feel guilty about it! However, too long of doing nothing has made me a little restless, so I need to find something to do soon, something fun like drawing, reading books (that are not school books), sawing clothes, go skiing.. oh, there is tons to do if i think about it!

To say that I have just done nothing, is, however, not quite true. On Christmas Eve I did actually work, since that is the day that Santa does work... My debut as Santa Claus went quite well, if I dare say so myself. The little girl was only two and a half years old, and quite skeptical of this strange-looking creature with a very orange face and long white beard. But after a while, and after seeing what was in my bag – the skepticism turned into facination and a big smile. At the end she almost gave Santa a hug.

Outside looks like a Christmas card, and I can see light and blue sky – and hints of a round and yellow object, which I wagely recall is called a sun. In addition to that, it has snowed and snowed and snowed – and then snowed some more, so it looks beautiful outside now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Når en Pepperkake-Baker...

It is many years since I last built a pepperkake-hus. But this year I made a really strong comeback, and built my most complicated house ever! Of course I didn't build it all by myself, such complicated projects require good team work. And we really had a good team - with a group of pepperkake-masters from the class and Silje's mom, who is a real expert and has written a book on how to make great pepperkake houses!

And MPCT students as we are, we created the "World Peace Palace" in pepperkaker, with entries from different parts of the world. And this is what the palace looks like:


And after:

I will include some more pictures of the making of - and the result of our masterpiece for those of you who can't go to see it on display at the Pepperkakehus-utstilling in Tromsø Kulturhus...

The Amigo

Norwegian Vinmonopol prices are not good news for student economy. That means desperate solutions, which I would definitely call the cheapest red wine on the market - The Amigo.

Since the good singing times around the bonfire in Finnkroken, the Amigo has followed us through thick and thin through the whole semester - as a true friend should.

But unfortunately, the Amigo doesn't taste too good. Not even after a couple of glasses can it hide the fact that it is probably more suitable as a handbag than it is for drinking. However, now in these Christmas times I think the Amigo has found its true calling

- it tastes quite good in Gløgg!

Monday, December 12, 2005

New Job

Ho ho ho ho ho

Yesterday my Mom informed me that she had gotten me a job for Christmas. Oh, exciting, I could earn some money during the vacation, I thought. But no.. It wasn't that kind of job. My neighbors granddaughter is coming home for Christmas, and they need someone as Santa Claus.

So I am booked for 5 pm on Christmas Eve! My career as Santa Claus is officially just about to take off. If anybody else need a Santa for the big day, just let me know and I will see if Rudolf and I can squeeze you in the schedule.

Ho ho for now

Friday, December 09, 2005

Speechmaking turns Fun

This day started with me having to do one of my least favorite activities. Holding a speech in front of about 100 people in Tromsø city centre, with a microphone. But the fact that the audience were all from 6 to 12 years old and that I didn't have to write the speech myself helped a lot. It was actually almost fun! And good practice for my new job that I start after Christmas... Probably good to get as much practice at talking in front of huge crowds of people as possible before that...

Also, I am quite excited because I finally had a great idea for my thesis topic! An idea which means that I could include my interest for sports. Wonderful! So today I have sent an e-mail, and I am hoping for a positive response from the organization. Of course I expect them to be quite as excited as me about this wonderful idea, and have checked my e-mail every five minutes after I sent it (which was like 20 min ago...), to see if they replied yet. So far nothing, but I am keeping my hopes up :)

Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Peaceniks in Poland

When I got an SMS from Stian on my way to school a couple of months ago saying "We're going to Gdansk. Ready?", my initial reaction was 1) hm, that's a cafe I've never heard of, and 2) so typical that they decided to go to a cafe now that I finally got to school...

Now I know that Gdansk is not a cafe in Tromsø at all, but rather a city on the Polish "Riviera" to which Norwegian has amazingly cheap flights. So on November 29th, after submitting our written exams; Silje, Stian, Scott, Marjaana, Rachel, and I, escaped from the dark north for a few days to see what this city had to offer.

And I have to say I was positively surprised! Gdansk is not the gray and boring city I expected, but it has a beautiful old street and some amazing small cafes with great, old interior. Also, Poland is (not surprisingly) a lot cheaper than Norway. So we got to eat several courses dinner each day, drink cheap beer and wine, and of course do some shopping. The plan before we went was to spend one day at a spa, but unfortunately there were none of those in Gdansk. However, we found a hotel with massages, and another one with steamroom and sauna, so Thursday was a very relaxing day.

We stayed at a hostel called the Baltic Hostel, in a huge, dark and a little scary building not far from the old part of the city. This hostel promised us no less than a free witch breakfast! However, when we came home late from the city one night, we got a little suspicios that it might not be only the breakfast that was a little "witchy" about this hostel... (see picture for proof). Also, the coffee machine that suddlenly turned on in the middle of the night was a little bit spooky. Otherwise, the Baltic Hostel was alright, at least after they remembered to turn the warm water heater on on the second day of our stay.

I will try to post all the pictures from the trip here as soon as I figure out how (those technical obstacles you know...)

On the way back from Gdansk, Rachel and I stayed at Berit's and her boyfriend's place in Oslo for a couple of days. I have to say that they really have my dream appartment there in Grünerløkka. In Oslo I also got to meet some friends from home and from Lillehammer, and it was so great to see them again!! I feel a little far away up here in Tromsø..

And also I found out that the stores in Oslo are open on Sundays now before Christmas.. Oh, how devestating.. So of course I managed to get rid of some more money there, because the Tromsø climate and also the chilly wind in Gdansk has made me painfully aware that I need a warm winter jacket. And the Polish jacket fashion wasn't really for me... I also found it quite surprising that they expected me to buy my own buttons and saw them on the jacket. well, that's all for now.


Sunday, November 27, 2005


After reading for my gender-exam, I have discovered what must be the most genious consept ever invented - Segat. For those of you not familiar with the language in peaceful, Malaysian societies, I will fill you in on this one. It might come in handy.

When a person in this society doesn't feel like doing something, they don't have to. They can just say Segat, which basically means "I don't feel like it". This it considered a good enough reason, and nobody will ask further questions.

So now I am going to Poland, ready to forget all about gender power, decision making, peace, war, international law, armed conflict and UN resolutions in a spa i Gdansk.

While carefully considering whether to segat the oral exam of course.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Stuck in Stakkevollan

First off I just have to say that I have found the best drink bar ever! Artur is the King! Try the "Spanish Strawberry" there...

This morning I got to see most of the North side of the island. I didn't plan to, it just happened... I was trying to get to the Uni as early as possible since I still had a lot to write. I just had to go to the post office first. So I planned everything carefully. Go to ICA five to ten, just pick up the package from the post office at 10 sharp, and then run straight to the bus.

But this was apparantly not the day for time saving plans. First I was just running around ICA not quite sure why I was there or what I was looking for. This made me a couple of minutes late for the post office, where half of Tromsø had decided to make an early apperance. I was number 21 in line - and that was not including the business costumers that get to sneak in line. My carefully planned, effective day did not get off to a good start. It could only go one way from here...

..or could it? determined to make up for lost time, I decided to take the first possible bus. 42 goes to the Uni, right..? right...? eh...? I was optimistic until I saw the Uni fly by, and the bus made no attempt to get near it. After a while I understood that it was not going to go by on the way back either. So the busdriver let me off at the end station, and I was stuck in Stakkevollan till bus 20 came and saved me..

Well, quite enough about my day. Time to go get ready to meet Santa at the Finnish party.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Snowmen and rain-dances

I knew it was too good to last. The winter I mean. The rain is back. I heard it as soon as I got out the door this morning. A strange sound. I guess in the few days the rain was gone, I blocked it out of my mind, and it took me a couple of seconds to understand. The rain is back.

Luckily, I suspected this coming, and captured some of the Kodak moments, when the city looked like a Christmas Card, on film (or memory card to be totally precise). And last night, André, Scott, Marjaana, Rachel and I made the first snowman of the season. It turned out great :)

And here are evidences of the Winterwonderland that we had yesterday. Would you believe that on the picture on the right it is not yet 4 o'clock in the afternoon... Yep, the dark times are here!

Well, after a good nights sleep I am ready to attack the exam again. During exam-times I often don't sleep too well, because I always dream about exam-problems.. So this time I thought I'd try the cheese-trick (for those of you who haven't read Marjaana's blog, there is a rumor that eating cheese before going to bed will cause strange dreams..) And I think it actually is something true to that rumor. Because I dreamed about being at this huge, old pub where we danced Indian dances.

Come to think of it, it must have been rain-dances

Thursday, November 17, 2005

So close

Back in the library.. Trying to write something on my exam, but somehow it seems more fun to write something on my blog. Not that there is so much to write. Exam times aren’t the most exiting times.

But yesterday it was confirmed – Norway isn't going to the World Championships in football. I am not that surprised. The game wasn’t that good, but it was fun to have a football/beer break from exams (after all, I have been working on the exam for a whole day!). And over-tired as I was, I was practically laughing all through the first half, and struggling to stay awake during the second. You would think the Oscar nominations were up soon, the way some of those players were acting..

In the papers today, it sounds like we were pretty close to the World Cup after all. They say we would have scored, maybe won, if it wasn't for the Chec goalie. Too bad goalies have always been a part of football... But still; so close...

Well, I really have to read some more gender stuff now. Are women more peaceful than men? Will the world be more peaceful if more women enter politics?

Opinions are gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

White exam-times

Ok, I guess it's time for a new update on life here in the dark north. Hm.

I woke up to something great this morning. Or not really. I woke up because of a terrible noise from the construction workers outside. But then I looked out the window, and it was all forgotten... Because there was SNOW on the ground!!

I have to say that the white stuff covering the ground really saved my day. Because this was not exactly the day I have been looking forward to - exam distribution day. Oh. But it is amazing how much brighter everything looks with a little snow on the ground.

The questions weren't as hard as I had feared. Knock on wood. I should be careful saying that, after all I didn't think the last ones looked so hard either, before I got stuck after a couple of days. But I think I have learned my lesson. This will be OK. This will be interesting. This will be fun (OK, maybe shouldn't stretch it too far..)

So I guess the next couple of weeks will be spent with my nose in the book and eyes on the computer keyboard. But still, I think we'll have time to throw in some fun as well. After all, there is the soccer game tomorrow, Harry Potter on Friday, and the Finnish party on Saturday.

Yeah, everything looks a little brighter with some snow on the ground.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fear and Pain

Today, I have participated in an experiment. Topic to be examined: fear and pain!

But nothing sounds too scary if it requires an hour break from the beloved reading room... And the posibility to win 1 million on a Flax lottery ticket as reward, is also good for a student with a typical student economy.

The experiment was, actually, not as scary as it might sound. It was very relaxing, I alomst fell asleep there for a second. I was taken into a room that contained not much more than four bare walls and a nice, comfortable stressless chair! I sat down, and got some sensor-thingys put around my eyes, a "helmet" on my head that held in place a little tube that would blow puffs of air into my eye, and some lovely big headphones to let me hear some scary sounds. Too bad there wasn't a mirror in there. Or then again - maybe not.. Then the experiment started. Very suddenly. I got a sound in my ear, and a puff of air in my eye. And I jumped almost half a meter up from my chair, before starting giggeling like a teenager. But after that it just got kind of boring. I guess I just got more used to the sound, like a good old fashioned Pavlovian dog.

How they are going to analyze fear and pain out of that is a mystery to me, but luckily for the world I am not a psychology-experiment-analysist.

But it was a good hour break from the reading room. Unfortunately, my student economy is still in bad shape.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Weekend Review

So, yesterday I thought I had figured out how to put pictures on this blog site. Well, apparently not. One picture came out, but the other two desided to give me a hard time.. So I am trying again. A few technical challenges are not going to stop me! Nonono...

Friday was Teresas birthday, so we made her a lush 1-2-3 choclate cake! After eating that and taking funny tests on the internet (for those of you who didn't know, my mental age is apparently 28, and I am 74% blond..), the celebrations continued in the livingroom in the Peace House. And then I finally got to play Twister, which I have only seen in the movies before.. that was fun!

Saturday can be summed up in three words; shopping, chinese and movies. Marjaana and I made frozen eggrolls for dinner on Friday, and decided that even though they were quite good, we should go to a Chinese place to have some real ones for lunch on Saturday. So we found one of the two Chinese restaurants that are in this city, and I realized it is (probably) owned by my landlord or her family! And they had good eggrolls. Better than ICA!

Saturday was also "Den Store Kinodagen" with movie tickets for half price! And since cheap movie tickets (or cheap anything for that matter) is not something you get every day here in Norway, this amazing offer had to be taken advantage of.. So we got in a line a mile long (apparantly not the only ones going crazy with the opportunity to save a few kroner), ready to buy tickets to "Brødrene Grimm". Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones with that idea either, it was sold out. We vere kind of put on the spot, because the line behind us was even longer than the one in front of us had been. So we could do nothing but trust the ticket lady when she meant that Elisabethtown would be The Movie to see... Orlando Bloom might be good looking, but he sure can't act. And when the plot is the typical love story that has been filmed 110568 times before, that was bad. As you can see, Marjaana and I already suspected that right after bying the tickets...

OK, so the pictures didn't get where they were supposed to be. But at least they are there.. I have to be happy with every progress, these technical difficulties have to be tackled step by step. Så det så!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Sun and Blue Sky

For those of you who haven't been to Tromsø, I thought I should show you some pictures. And as you can see, the rain has finally stopped, and the sun is out. Or at least the snow on the mountains is glowing. So even if the sun doesn't come over the mountain top anymore, I know it's trying, and after months and months of rain, that's good enough for me...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dark times and tractor inventions

Tuesday was definitely a day of new experiences. On my first trip to sparsley populated Inner Troms on my first day of my Redd Barna volunteer career, I became an expert on Angola, realized that children make the funniest remarks and ask the hardest questions, discovered that chicken cooked in peanut butter tastes quite...good actually (!), and got my first experience of what the dark months will actually feel like. Ok, I’ll take it step by step..

I got up at 5.40 (Zzzzzzz) this morning, after hitting the snooze button only once. The mission: to go to Bardu with Rachel (my roommate, classmate and fellow Redd Barna volunteer) and Bjørn-Richard (Redd Barna boss) to teach the children in schools there about how children in Kosovo and Angola live. This was mine and Rachel’s first of hopefully many fun and interesting school visits. The kids were so cute, and asked so many interesting, but also hard questions. Where were tractors invented? Uhm, sorry.. don’t know.. But the kids also made us chicken cooked in peanut butter, apparantly an Angolan speciality, which – believe it or not – was really, really good. Also, I had another new experience: learning by doing is probably the (scariest but) best way to learn. I never tought I would admit... So, all in all, I guess – mission: successful.

On the way home, I realized what I have feared for some time now. The Dark Months are sneaking up on me faster than I care to think of. And it’s DARK! Darker then I could imagine. We were driving, I was tired, and it got darker and darker outside the car. Finally, it was like driving into a big, black bag. Naturally, I thought – it’s getting late. So imagine my shock when I looked at the time: 3.20 PM!!! And it will only get darker from here.. ah.. that’ll be interesting.

Where tractors were invented I could probably find out somewhere. But why one kid thought that clay huts with grass roof might work in Bergen but not in Bardu, I guess I will never quite figure out.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Paris of the North

So, what happened to me this year? What am I doing here, in this place almost as far north as you could possibly go without ending up on the North Pole? What is going on in this city, so nicely labelled The Paris of the North?

Sick and tired of studying and exam times, I stated that it was time to take a year off. Time to get a job, make some money, and travel to a place where the sun never sets. Oh yeah, dream on. Change of plans. Big time. Started a Master Program in Peace and Conflict Transformation, still living off of Lånekassen, and moved to a place where the rain never seems to stop pouring. But I love it here!

And in a few months time – this will be a place where the sun never sets. Everything good comes to those who wait...

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Blog Bug

Finally, I have discovered the amazing world of blogspots... So, let's see if I get this to work!
Then you can read about all the exciting (and not so exciting) things that are going on here in the rainful Paris of the North. Just give me a day or two. Three at the most.. in the meantime: have fun :)