Tuesday, December 24, 2013

God Jul, Merry Christmas, and Happy Flag Day #2

Waiting for Christmas morning.

I've been back home in Spokane for about a week now, catching up on sleep, hanging with the family, and doing some crazy shopping.  I don't remember things being so cheap, but it's amazing what 10 months in Norway will do to your price sensitivity.  We got a little bit of snow this past weekend, so even after a good melt yesterday, there is enough on the ground to call it a semi-white Christmas.

A could have been white Christmas

After the Christmas cheer here at home with the family I'll head over to the west side of the mountains for some proper celebrating with my friends. A few days at a cabin in the mountains and then New Years Eve in Seattle should make up for a year away from some of my favorite people in the world.

And in the midst of the holiday cheer, I received my next assignment. While I am mostly in denial that I am ever leaving Norway, it is probably good to have in mind what comes next. I'll preface the announcement by saying that it may sound crazy, but it was actually number four on my list of 30 places. The location close to the West Coast of the U.S., a big enough city to keep me entertained, and a culinary scene to drool over. So without further ado, I bring you:

Tijuana, Mexico. 

Yes, there is a fair amount of drug violence and general dirtiness that comes with being a border town, but over the past few years Tijuana and Baja California have started to gain a reputation for hipness and good food. Proof? Anthony Bourdain paid a visit (see youtube episode below) and the New York Post highlighted "The New Tijuana Cool." So I'm going to live my next year plus in Norway like I'm never leaving, but when I do have to depart, I think I'll be prepared to take on Baja. 


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas from U.S. Embassy Oslo

I am way behind on the blog here, apologies, but now that I'm on vacation for a few weeks I will be able to play catch-up and post some pics and stories from the past couple of months.

In the meantime, here is a Christmas greeting from my colleagues and I at U.S. Embassy Oslo. Thanks to the work of some of the most fantastic local employees in the world, we were able to make fools out of ourselves in the name of America. Below is a cheat sheet to the Christmas words we were attempting to pronounce.

God Jul! (Merry Christmas)

From our Embassy Oslo YouTube Site: 
We challenged our American diplomats to pronounce Norwegian sayings that relate to Christmas. We think the result was pretty funny :) Please feel free to share! Happy Holidays!

Here is an unofficial translation of the words for our non-Norwegian viewers:

Kålrabistappe - Mashed rutabaga, typically enjoyed with the Christmas meal.
Dompap - Bullfinch, a type of bird.
Dorullnisse - "Toilet roll santa" - A homemade "santa decoration" made with a toilet roll.
Marsepangris - "Marzipan pig", a common Norwegian holiday candy.
Risengrynsgrøt - Rice porridge, enjoyed by many Norwegians during the holidays.
Svineribbe - Pork breast, eaten by many on Christmas night.
Størknet ribbefett - Coagulated fat from pork (we just included this because it's weird)
Fjøsnisse - A santa who lives in the barn (part of popular Christmas tales)
Sprøstekt svor - Pork rind, an important part of the Norwegian Christmas meal.
Medisterkake - A type of sausage included in most Christmas dinners.
Steketermometer - Cooking thermometer
Pepperkakemann - Gingerbreadman
Vasselina Bilopphøggers - A band that did a popular show about Christmas.
God Jul - Merry Christmas