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it takes a fool to remain sane
Started a new blog. This time in Norwegian. Guess many of you won't understand what is written on it, but thought I'd share it with you anyway:
kanelboller.livejournal.com/
I'll keep both journals active. Yay! Happy 2011 :)

-We went camping. My very first time. Everything went great during the process of building the tent, until we bumped into the word "grommet". Not cool when you read the instructions a thousand times and you don't really get the message. Gladly, we managed to build it after an hour working on it. 
-We went to Sommerfesten på Giske. 8 hours on the road to enjoy more than 12 hours of concerts. Favorites: Susanne Sunfør, Tom McRae and last but not least, the amazing DAMIEN RICE. His songs are so beautiful I can barely stand it. We did 520 km from Oslo to Ålesund. An amazing nature with majestic mountains and fjords that went perfect with the poetic and raw songs of Mr. Rice. It was our one and only soundtrack the whole way. 
-I finally got to visit Geiranger. Once I got to Geirangerfjorden I had to close my eyes for a few seconds. Too much beauty to take in at once. It didn't even seem real. Now that I'm thinking about it, was that real? Makes me wonder.
-We walked Besseggen. 15 km, 8 hours...We even climbed a freaking mountain. Probably one of the most intense experiences of my life, which will be described on my next post. Hopefully, soon.
Meanwhile, feel free to watch our video around Norway. It doesn't really show much but you can have an idea of what it was like to enjoy these 17 days of Summer.

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Totally addicted to "The Pacific". And now I can finally watch it without popping up the question: "Where do I know him from?" 5 times per episode. I was starting to believe Joseph Mazello was a soulmate from a past life, but thanks to Wikipedia, I found out he played the little boy in "Jurassic Park". What explains why I had the feeling we were childhood friends the first time I saw him on this show. I have only one more episode to watch, and then finito. No more "The Pacific" for me. No more "LOST". Can we say cold turkey? I need a replacement NOW!!
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Guess what? Spring is finally here, or should I say Summer? No matter what season this is, it's been HOT! Don't be fooled by the photo above. I felt like reminiscing last Christmas. I'm no longer hibernating. Hurra! After the coldest and darkest and longest winter I have ever experienced, I confess it's been hard to face the sudden excess of light. The way things are going, I'll be getting the Twilight sparkling skin next winter. I got used to the darkness too much. The Spring scenery is so rich and vivid that I can hardly take it. It's too much beauty for my poor eyes.
 
We were rewarded with a month filled with holidays. On May 13th, it was the Ascension Day. The National Day of Norway was very well celebrated on May 17th. And that leads me to the Whit Monday which was a few days ago.  Since we had plenty of free time, we did a lot of baking, walking, sitting around and getting in touch with our Spanish roots (we don't have). If you wanna know which Tapas place to go to while in Oslo, just call us. We've been growing fond of eating "aperitivos" while sipping on Cava and other fancy drinks, that we might open our own business. Nah, we'll just stick with eating and drinking, til we become two big fat drunk balls.

On a different note, Norway ranked best country to have children. One more reason to get started with the production of mini "HenGis", right? Not yet! I do love kids. Plus, having a one year maternity leave, paid, wouldn't be a bad idea right now...But I'd rather enjoy the married life a little longer, cause I can't seem to get enough of the two of us :)
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 P.S. I posted this entry 2 weeks ago, and forgot to share it with friends, cause I'm quite rusty when it comes to LJ. New update:  I've recently recovered from the cold turkey, we keep up with the Tapas tradition and I just gave birth to a pimple on the top of my nose. 
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Smögen, Sweden (August, 2009)

Off and on, I think about updating. But this thought quickly vanishes once I realize how many things I have to do. In a way this is good. I'm not a big fan of sitting around and doing nothing. On the other hand, time has been flying by. The next thing I know I'll be posting about menopause symptoms, followed by my first appointment with a geriatrician.
In order not to leave blank pages on my "Autobiography blog", these would've been the subjects, if I had actually updated you guys on what's been going on in my life.

- I have a full-time job!! (April 2009)
- I passed the most advanced Norwegian test there is!! (April 2009)
- We moved out!! (June 2009)
- I'm an auntie!! (July 2009)
- I started working out!! (September 2009)

Just to balance this out, I'll share a few negative points also.
I still feel a bit like Chewbacca when interacting with the locals. I feel like I speak Shyriiwook instead of Norwegian, even with all the compliments I get regarding my "Norsk" skills.
I did not have the chance to travel last Summer. While everyone was away on vacation, I was stuck at the Embassy. Being envious of those who were out there enjoying their journeys would always cease, as soon as I'd remember how hard it is for a foreigner like me to get a full-time job in this country.
Enough with this. Let me just share that I've just seen "District 9" and I seriously believe I will have a nightmare that involves alien claws and cat food :/
Opera
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As I sit here and type this post, I'm forced to listen to my husband repeatedly shout the word ass in Portuguese because he likes the sound of it. He learned it this morning, during breakfast. It's a bit like me (but in a more mature way). When I learn a new Norwegian word, I use it at least 10 times a day in a sentence, and he always figures out that it's a new word in my poor vocabulary.

Ever since we got back from Thailand all we do is work, work, work...and then party a bit on the weekends. And the party consists of me and Henrik sitting on the sofa, watching movies and eating greasy popcorn. We are literally getting OLD together.

Here's a sneak peek of our trip. I was paying off a bet. I had to walk and dance around holding that huge beach umbrella for 5 minutes. I was close to being sent to a mental institution because of that. All in all, the trip was amazing I'll come back with pictures when I have more time.

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Where we celebrated our third year anniversary and had an extra honeymoon. Seriously. Thailand=Paradise. Pictures in a week or two. I have to write about everything I experienced here, so I dont forget one single thing about one of the best vacations I have ever had.

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The last couple of months have been amazingly hectic, what explains why I haven't posted anything. Now I have one more embassy related job to add to my CV, and I love it. It's been all about visas, passports, birth certificates, power of attorney...the list is endless. Due to my extra working hours, time passed by so fast, that the festive season came before I expected.

Christmas in Sweden: It's obviously easy to get into the Christmas spirit while in Sweden.The whole atmosphere helps you get in a "holly jolly, jingle bell" mood. They decorate every little corner of the house, what makes me want to constantly wear a Miss Santa costume to go with it. I had the feeling Santa himself was going to pay us a visit any moment. He does live close, you know?

The darkness and cold weather that take over the Nordic countries, together with the smell of pepparkakor all over the house (gingerbread biscuits), make this season cozy and dreamy. And then comes the alcohol, what increases the dreamy factor and the next thing I know I'm speaking French to imaginary reindeers. Damn Swedes, who make me drink! It takes only a couple of sips and I'm officially drunk.The bad thing is that I absolutely love glögg, their traditional X-mas drink which consists of warm wine served with raisins and almonds. When the clock hits 3 PM, and I'm done with getting to know my reindeers better, it's time to run to the TV to watch Disney cartoons. I thought it was a weird tradition at first, but I cannot live without it now. It's always the same cartoons, every year. I guess it's just one more excuse to get the family together before the meal comes. And that's when we eat like crazy. The menu consists of traditional delicacies such as meatballs, pickled herring with various sauces, salmon, sausages, potatoes...a very yummy meal that goes perfect with my favorite soda: Julmus, which can only be found at the supermarkets on Christmas and Easter.

The Scandinavian winter: I have been here for 1 year and 5 months. Two winters have passed, but the first one I experienced was nothing compared to the current one. Winter is not playing around this time. Constant below zero temperatures combined with beautiful snowy days. You know it's been snowing too much when the pedestrian by your side uses ski equipments to go to work. The surprising thing is that everything works, no matter how hard it snows. Buses, trains...chances are there will be a few minutes delay, but they always come. And to think that I believed the whole city would stop due to snowstorms. I was already fantasizing about all the days off I'd get, even before moving to Norway. I was so wrong! You know what they say around here:"There's no such thing as bad weather,just bad clothing."Apparently, I've been taking this saying too seriously. A couple of weekends ago there was a major snowstorm in Oslo. The kind of snowstorm you never forget, the flakes were all up in my nostrils and eyes, practically raping my face. I still don't know how I managed to get to the station with my eyes closed. When I was finally able to see properly I realized how crazy it was to go out in that weather. Probably for the first time in the Norwegian history, there was not even one single person out. The snowstorm scared the "nordmenn", but not the crazy latinas here who decided to go ice-skating after the happy-hour. I have to say the snow came in handy, not only did I fall down thousands of times per minute, but I also made a hole on the ice. Something tells me I should postpone the snowboarding trip I was planning to go on : /  I feel like I've turned into some sort of eskimo since I got used to this weather, but I'm still not ready for the winter sports :(
Anyways, even though I could barely open my eyes that day, I managed to take a few pretty pictures.




Snowy Saturday.Collapse )

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Henrik and I had a 12 hour sleep! We´ll definitely suffer from Sunday insomnia tonight, especially because we have to go to bed early in order to wake up early for work. I don´t hate Mondays, but I have the feeling that will change tomorrow.
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Ever since I moved here, I dedicate a few hours of my hectic days to a book. I read even while I´m standing at the bus stop in the morning, just like the strangers around me do. And to think that once I noticed that common habit around here, I made fun of them. Look at me! I joined the club! As for the books above, I read them all last Summer. One of them, in one sitting :O

After 400 hours of Norwegian classes, I can officially say that I speak the language. Can I have a round of applause? *clap clap*

People say that I speak great Norwegian, ever since I moved. Guess what? SOMETIMES PEOPLE LIE JUST SO THEY CAN BE NICE TO YOU. So I never let that affect me. I was pretty aware of the fact that I wasn´t as good as they said I was, especially when they would shower me with compliments after hearing only a couple of words from me. Besides, I am a perfectionist. Not only do I want to be able to send the message, but I also want to do it gramatically correct. I lost count of the times I talked to my co-workers, and after being done talking I would notice a grammar mistake I had made, and I would go back to them to let them know about it even though the conversation was finished 30 minutes ago. Like:"Uh, listen, when I told you about my weekend, the word order was not correct. I was supposed to put the verb before the noun, and for that I apologize." Can we say over-perfectionist and a wee bit coo coo in the head?
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Anyways, what got me confident enough to make me say that I do speak Norwegian now, was the first oral test I have ever taken in this language. The people who tested me were not supposed to say anything about the students´ oral performances, but during my exam the ladies interrupted me to say how impressed they were, and they suggested that I should take the most advanced test already cause I could handle it (equivalent to TOEFL). I am finished with the course, but now I´ll take an optional one which prepares the students to take this test I mentioned. But according to them, I´m ready to take it. I beg to differ though. She did not believe I was living here for only a year and a few months. Ego massage!! But a few minutes after the test I was back to reality. The reality that I am not good enough, especially when I bump into Norwegians who are not from Oslo. Not being negative here, just realistic.

There are so many different spoken dialects and accents in this country that is making me go paranoid. Before interacting with someone I say a little mantra for myself: "Pleeease, be from Oslo. Pleeease, be from Oslo." Nothing against the others, but the way they speak can be VERY hard to understand, especially for someone who is a newbie in the country. Sometimes I feel like I have to take an extra course in order to learn all the other Norwegian dialects. Did I tell you about the day a lady talked to me (in Norwegian) and for at least 10 minutes I could swear she was speaking French? She was from Bergen...in Norway. And you know what is funny? I attract the ones who speak the dialects I can´t understand, or who speak other Scandinavian languages. I work with two from Vestlandet (Western Norway), one from Sweden and one from Denmark. To make it short, not only do I have to learn Norwegian but I also have to learn all the other Scandinavian languages, and different Norwegian dialects. No wonder why I can tell my English is getting worse. HJELP!! I have the feeling I need a new hard drive in my brain so I can store all the languages I need :D

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Current Music: Karpe Diem- Stjerner

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I’m resuscitating my livejournal, after months of inactivity. I had the sudden urge to post something, even though I know that livejournal is pretty slow right now, and it’s been all about facebook (which I hate).
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In the last few months I got to visit a few places here and there, and went on with my Norwegian course in addition to working. I’ve been bombarded with so many tests and challenges that it’s not even funny. But that’s what the life of an immigrant is all about, isn’t it? I actually value this path of constant barriers and small tests before reaching the calm waters of stability. If I had no obstacles and got everything so easily, life would be very boring. I happen to enjoy the adrenaline that comes with every challenge, even though I freak out before facing them. I get anxious before every exam, job interviews...even a small get together with Norwegians, because I’ve reached the phase where speaking English with them is no longer acceptable. Poor Henrik who has to deal with my whining. Hey! At least I do that in Norwegian now, and that amuses him so. Besides, he thinks I’m extremely amusing when I’m nervous. Go figure! I guess he’s the only man who happens to like it when the wife is PMSing.
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On a different note, I have become a real fan of autumn, even with all the rain and bad weather. I find it to be so charming. I’ve learned to appreciate the cool air and the vivid colors. It’s so cozy to stop by a kafé and check out all the well-dressed people who pass by, while sipping a latte. "Så koselig!", like they say here. Riktig så koselig er det! :)
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This is the first time I'm in Brazil, after I moved away. It feels like I've never left. Those 10 months spent in one of the Nordic countries, were so surreal that I catch myself thinking that it was just a long dream and I'm back to reality now. But the real thing is that I've been away for a while, what made me miss lots of things from home while living the "Norwegian dream". This is the beauty of living abroad: being in contact with different countries allows us to value our own culture. The things that seemed insignificant back then when I used to live in Brazil, have a major value right now after lacking them for so long. God bless the big variety of fruit and vegetables we have here! God bless Bossa Nova! God bless Ipanema and Copacabana! Yet, I have to confess that I've been missing a couple of things about Norway. So that brings me to the bad part about having two places I call home: I'm constantly missing something or someone.

Top 5 questions that people have been asking me ever since I got here:

1)When are you and Henrik going to have babies?
This question is usually followed by hands on my belly, in order to check if the baby has already been produced.
2)Did you bring codfish with you?
Hell no! I don't blame them though. In Brazil, Norway is either known as "The codfish land" or "The A-HA land"...
3)Did you get to meet the guys from that A-HA band?
...so if they want to make a conversation about Norway they don't have much choice.
I did get to meet Maria Mena. Does that count?
4)Can you still speak Portuguese?
People tend to be joking when they ask me this one, except my 6 yr-old neighbor who actually thought she'd have to learn Norwegian in order to talk to me again.
5)How come you're wearing a jacket?
Apparently, I'm forbidden to wear winter clothes while in Brazil, even though it's winter. They assume that after experiencing below zero temperatures for such a long time, I'm constantly hot when it's not snowing.

This whole thing amuses me. I'm not bothered by the questions. I just find it sad that a few people have been treating me differently, cause they expect me to be different. I'm the same old Gigi. I just happen to have a different address now. That's all.
Off to bed. In my old bedroom. It feels good to be home again:)

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Current Music: Maria Mena- Just hold me.

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