fatherhood (pappa to a 6 month old baby boy)

ImageSince it´s always us women who put our emotions out in the open, this time, I wanted to pick on my husband´s thoughts on new fatherhood as inspired by this blog A Cup of Jo :) I was actually a bit surprised that he agreed that I write about this because he is naturally very reserved and shy.  But his insights and understanding of things have always fascinated me and I am glad I´m able to share some of it here :)

These are some insights the husband shared with me tonight :

1.  He thought Martin is cute and amazing but that deep love for an additional family member did not surface right away.

2.  Spending time alone with Martin the first few months was sometimes frustrating for him because he had a hard time understanding his cries.

3.  Changing diapers was not as bad as he thought it would be.

4.   He says shifting sleeping patterns was not so bad.

5.  He claims Mr. Bojangles (Radka Toneff version) calms Martin down.  He likes this song and wants to introduce Martin to “proper music” :)

6.  He was a bit confused who I was referring to because I was also calling Martin “baby or sweetheart” which is what I call him as well.

7.  He tries to be rational about Martin´s cries while I am more affected by it.  When Martin sometimes lets out a sharp cry in the night, I would let out a cry too and he would pacify me first before he pacifies Martin.

8.  He would be totally disappointed if Martin grows up not liking Lego :(

9.  He hopes Martin continues to have a curious mind as he gets older.

10.  He hopes that Martin grows up absorbing the best of his mamma and pappa´s cultures.

Thank you, Andre, for allowing me to pick on your mind tonight and for openly sharing these thoughts :)

Fårikål (four-ee-call), the Norwegian autumn dish

Får-i-kål (lamb-in-cabbage) is what the Norwegians make at this time of the year to welcome autumn.  The sheep come down from the mountains at this time after grazing on lush mountain grass the whole summer and that makes them the perfect victims for this stew.  I´m gonna stop there with the visual so as not to dampen your appetite for this dish.

True to its name, this dish is exactly made of these two key ingredients–lamb and cabbage.  Place in the lamb first, cabbage, then salt and whole peppercorns and repeat the layers until you´ve used up the lamb meat.  I suppose all Norwegian homes own a deep cauldron to boil this dish in.  Just leave the layers to boil for a good two hours without stirring and you´re done.  This is best paired with boiled potatoes and a nice cold beer or a small glass of aquavit (liquor made from potato mixed with herbs and spices).

Fårikål is just one of the many Norwegian traditional dishes.  I can easily fill up my calendar with Norwegian traditional food you make at just certain times of the year.  Isn’t that fascinating?

Norwegian traditions still amaze me even after almost half a decade of living here.  I am awed at how they have preserved and still practice these traditions.  I guess nationalism is more defined when the country is small and has not been colonized by another country that is totally different in culture.  Norway has both been under Denmark and Sweden so its culture remained very Scandinavian even during those years.

So, in keeping up with Norwegian tradition, we had fårikål tonight.  And being the Filipina that I am, I sheepishly (pun intended) asked my husband if I can eat the leftovers with rice tomorrow.  This dish is very reminiscent of pochero during sunday lunches at home in Bacolod.

Weather you like it…or not!

It is both amazing and fascinating to experience the four seasons the first time after having lived in a tropical country for the most part of my life.

I prepared myself for the worst  when I moved here.  Norway was so foreign and far that I assumed it was probably like north pole cold here during winter.  Aside from the language adjustment, the weather was probably the next big thing I needed to hurdle and get used to.

I’ve never read or listen to weather forecasts in the Philippines.  There wasn’t really a need for it since regardless of it being sunny, rainy,cloudy and stormy, the temperature remains the same throughout the day.  You wear the same type of clothes the whole year round,a sweater or two and that´s it, you´re gonna breeze through Philippine climate like an expert.

When I moved to Norway, I got addicted to the weather updates.  Go ask my husband and he´s gonna tell you how glued I am to the TV when the weather forecasts are showed.  The weather tab on my pc is always open and it often dictates and decides my plans for the succeeding days or what to do in the weekends.

It made me realize how we are truly influenced by our environment, how our whole life revolves around these conditions we do not have any control of.   And yet, we still complain, day in and day out :)

The Norwegians though, being used to long,harsh winters and crazy, rainy summers, have this to say : “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.” With that, I keep my mouth shut, put on my layers,go out with a smile on my face and think about sunny and warm Philippines.  ;)

Brown Cheese, please!

BrunostIt took me quite a while to eat this stuff and it took even longer to blog about it.  I think the skepticism lies behind the fact that it´s brown, I mean, come on, a cheese that´s brown in color?  It is made from whey which is a by product when making cheese.  The brown color surfaces when the milk sugars caramelizes, thus giving this cheese that distinct color.

I started eating it when I tried it with waffles.  A  fresh-from-the-wafflemaker waffle tastes very good with this.  It literally melts in your mouth.  The transition from waffle to bread took a while but since this “cheese” is always a part of our grocery list, I knew that I had to take that step one day.  And I did, and never looked back since :)

I was thinking I should introduce it as a caramel block instead so people will just devour it right away and not look doubtfully at it when introduced as a cheese. It does actually taste like dessert because it´s sweet and caramel like in texture.  I usually have this on my last slice of bread topped with strawberry jam and the husband and I would always refer to it as our dessert.  Just think of it as condensed milk in your pandesal :)

Why the EU wants Norway to become a member

The real reason why the EU has been very eager in having Norway as a member.  The map shows us Norway and Sweden dangling like two cherries.

Without Norway, this is how it looks like. On your top right is Sweden and beside it, Finland.  Ok, be honest now, what do you see? Sweden as a limp dick and Finland as its balls? Yes, 4.5 years in this country has turned me into a no nonsense, straight to the point kind of woman.  Sometimes, the reason can be as mediocre as this.  After all, image is everything. ;)

Spontaneous Saturdays

The best days are always the unplanned ones :) Norway, in my opinion is an OC country.  Everything is on time, on the dot and according to plan.  It has its advantages of course but it is nice to break that predictability sometimes and just go with the flow and just do what you feel like doing instead.

And that´s just what André and I did yesterday.  We woke up with sun streaming through our window and that got us in the mood for some “breakfast in bed” playlist on Wimp (Norway´s version of Spotify). One can´t be totally lazy though because there is no “inday” you can call and ask for breakfast.  So I stood up and made coffee with André’s Aeropress.  It´s the second time I made coffee with Aeropress and I actually made it through the whole process without messing it up.  I swear, that thing is complicated!

Spirits up and moods sunny, we decided to go to Oslo and just wander around.  We knew that there was a book festival going on and were thinking of dropping in and checking out some of the programs.

Eyvind Hellstrøm, on the left, promoting his book on making the best ice cream

Eyvind Hellstrøm, Norway´s famous Michelin star chef was promoting his book on making the best ice cream.  His reputation among Norwegians is quite varied.  I think he is a very skilled and knowledgeable chef.   Quite a character but not as boisterous and obnoxious as Gordon Ramsay.  He has quite an impressive resume and is respected in the field.  He has also sat as one of the judges in Bocuse D’or which for me is quite a feat to achieve.  I have yet to eat in Paul Bocuse´s restaurant in Lyon where they hold Bocuse D’or, so that´s another reason to go back to France.

locally produced cream cheese

While wandering around the book festival, André discovered that there was a food festival going on as well, in another part of the city.  Which was just perfect as we were getting hungry.  We are always drawn to the farmers market, with its fresh and local produce.  We bought cream cheese from one of the local farms and it tasted heavenly.

At this point, we were debating on whether to continue just wandering around or do the groceries and head home after.  It felt so nice just wandering around that we decided to just continue doing that, even if we knew that we weren´t gonna have bread for breakfast the next day.  In Norway, not having bread  is like not wearing under garments but not having bread for a day can´t be that bad, right?

Justisen, a traditional, rustic bar and resto which became known as a hang-out of lawyers and politicians due to its proximity from the govt buildings

We continued walking and ended up having an early dinner in Justisen, a small rustic resto situated in Oslo´s government area, making it a popular eating place for lawyers and politicians.  Dinner was beef stew with rice and salad.  Comparable to a pinoy meal so I was one happy pinay after that :)

We both were curious to watch Oslo 31 August so we checked the screenings and took the tram to the cinema.  It was a very good film and it aptly showed this sensitive side of Oslo which everyone is trying their best to hide.  It tells of a man who was about to get out of rehab and was presented all these scenarions where he can start anew and actually be happy, but in the end, still decided to go the other direction, on the 31 August.

Tea Lounge, a cozy bar in Grünerløkka :)

I know, we could have called it a day already but I was still in the mood to do something.  The area where we watched the movie is littered with bars, pubs and restos so we trekked to one of ‘em bars and had a drink or two.  It was a perfect ending, the bar was cozy and the music, soothing.  No drunken behaviour here, just a nice and warm tingly buzzing sensation from the mojito and appletini.

Oslo, is not a city that will wow you, not like how Paris made my jaw drop.  It is a city that grows on you, a city where you eventually would want to spend your spontaneous saturdays :)

Flytoget

Non-norwegians will effortlessly find three english words in this Norwegian word (fly, to and get) but then they will wonder why it´s written without spaces in between.  I remember sitting on the train platform, staring at the train´s name and deeply troubled why they call their airport train “fly to get”.  It does not make sense, right? Fly to get to where? to the airport? to your destination?

Funny thing is, it never really occurred to me to ask my Norwegian husband why they call it such.  Thinking about it now though, maybe I was not meant to ask him because I was meant to have a eureka moment with this word and discover for myself what it really means.

I just began taking my Norwegian classes when this word made its appearance.  Cut to how many months after– imagine the delight on my face when I finally broke the code and excitedly told my husband how i´ve finally figured this word that has been troubling me.

Ok, so let me try to explain this the best way I can.  Flytoget (flee-tawg-eh), if I were to directly translate it to english, it will mean,”the plane train”.  Fly (plane), tog (train), et (article “the”).

This is my classic story about the Norwegian language and I was thinking this would make a nice first post as this blog will chronicle my life and my musings here in the land of the midnight sun. :)