Category Archives: celebrate

Norwegian Christmas: Part 1

God Jul! (Merry Christmas!)
This month we will be dedicating several blog posts to Christmas – and specifically Christmas in Norway.
We had our first official Christmas celebration on Saturday evening, as we were invited to dinner with two local couples. It was a great evening of traditional (and delicious!) Christmas food and good conversation.
Pinnekjøtt is a very traditional meat (lamb) eaten at Christmas in Norway. It starts with a curing process (salting and drying). The next step varies by region, but our hosts steamed it. Zack and I were honestly a bit nervous, but we both really liked it!
We are so thankful for friends that introduce us to the customs and traditions of this country. It’s fun to learn and experience everything!






sausages and pinnekjøtt


Post-turkey Wrap-up

Last week was exhausting but great. We worked hard, setting up tables, creating centerpieces, translating food descriptions, and making enough food for a LOT of people.

Thursday turned out well. We got to dine with 42 of our friends. We introduced them to all of our families’ traditional Thanksgiving foods. While some weren’t that different, I have a feeling a few may have seemed odd. In particular, we saw interesting reactions from the sweet potato soufflé, cornbread dressing, heavenly hash (mandarin oranges, pineapple, coconut, marshmallows, and sour cream – yeah, that does seem weird!), and green bean casserole.
But overall, a lot of food was consumed, and it seemed that everyone enjoyed themselves. Looking forward to next year… after we rest up!
Zack preparing turkeys
Daniel was amazed at the amount of dressing
we prepared!
Cooking, cooking, and more cooking! We were thankful
to have access to a large kitchen all week.
Zack prepared homemade cranberry sauce.
All I can say is – yum!
Macaroni and cheese – the boys both
requested this
So much food!
My friend Hege prepared one of the turkeys –
and her presentation put ours to shame!






Thanksgiving Prep

We decided that a good way to share one of our favorite holidays with some our friends here (and help ward off any holiday blues) was by holding an American Thanksgiving dinner.

It all started well. Just a few friends in our home. But much akin to one’s stomach after Round 3 of turkey and dressing, it slowly began to grow.
Last count had us in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 people. Thankfully, a local church is letting us use their facilities.
We’ve roasted two turkeys already, with two more to go. Tables are set. Sweet potatoes are mashed and awaiting their sweet topping. A large pan of cornbread dressing is ready to go in the oven.
I’ll check back in soon and let you all know how it went!



365 Days Later

A year ago, we woke early at a hotel by the airport, boarded a shuttle bus, and then made our way onto an airplane. We said good-bye to our home country and anxiously prepared for our first field assignment.Two flights later, we we arrived in what would be our home for the next 3.5 months: the beautiful and big city of Vancouver.

I remember that first day in Vancouver. We were exhausted, nervous, a little sad, and very much overwhelmed. We boarded the (wrong) SkyTrain towards our apartment in Surrey, and finally made it there. We were excited about the cool views from a very hip high-rise apartment. We were hungry. We needed to go grocery shopping. We didn’t know where anything was. We wandered aimlessly, searching for what would become our routine: grocery stores, shops, restaurants, coffee, etc. While it wasn’t always easy, we really enjoyed our short time in Canada.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we left our normal. And yet in some ways, it seems like even longer than that!

A few photos from our journey out of the US a year ago…






syttende mai

The seventeenth of May (syttende mai) is Norway’s National Day, or Constitution Day.

Our city is not that big and the celebration was HUGE, so I can’t imagine what it must be like in a big city like Oslo! The day includes two parades, bands, music, lots of food, traditional clothing (bundad), cook-outs, flags, and so much fun.
*Each area of Norway has its own traditional design for the bunad. You can visit THIS SITE to check them out. We live in Vestfold.
Here are a few pictures from the day. It was incredible, overwhelming, and unforgettable!















Christmas was great – sorry we’re late!

I always have the best intentions, and then I get behind on things. I can’t believe it is almost the middle of January and I haven’t even posted about Christmas!

This was our first Christmas away from extended family. It was weird, of course. Most of our normal routines and traditions were replaced with new ones. But it was also sweet and simple and full of great memories.
We went to a Norwegian church service a couple of days before Christmas. We picked up a few words here and there. And we followed the main stuff. How sweet it was to hear the beautiful language and pray that we will be able to understand even more by next Christmas!
Ready for the Norwegian Christmas service
On Christmas Eve, we made the trek to Grouse Mountain to enjoy their Christmas festivities. The boys had fun ice skating. We went on a sleigh ride, had lunch, explored a bit in the snow, and watched some Christmas cartoons.

That evening, we opened a few packages we had received in the mail, and opened gifts via FaceTime with some of our family. Then we had dinner at our local Indian restaurant – delicious!

Taste of Punjab

Christmas morning was filled with gifts, the reading of the Christmas story, FaceTime & Skype calls with family, and a big breakfast.

The boys gave Zack a new scarf
Big hugs for thoughtful gifts – sweet brothers!

We hosted 8 others in our home for a big Christmas lunch. It was a wonderful time of food and friends: a great way to spend our first non-US Christmas Day!

Snow Business

We spent a few hours at Grouse Mountain this past week. It was BEAUTIFUL! Being from Georgia, we would get excited if we saw a dusting of snow on the ground. So imagine our delight when we stepped of the gondola and found snow that was often knee-high on Zack (who is 6’5″!).
The boys went ice skating. We saw reindeer and visited Santa. We checked out a gingerbread display. Some friends met us later in the morning and we had lunch and explored some of the scenery (and threw quite a few snowballs!).