Saturday, 28 July 2012

Seriously... I'm Kidding

Seriously... I'm Kidding
By: Ellen DeGeneres

Outer back cover: Oh, hi. I'm so glad you decided to turn the book over. Inside you will find and assortment of wonderful things - words, pictures, advice, tidbits, morsels, shenanigans, and, in some copies, four hundred dollars cash. So you might want to buy a few.
I don't have enough room on this back cover to tell you all the reasons why you should buy this book, but I can tell you this and it's a guarantee: If you buy it, you will feel better, look better, be happier, grow taller, lose weight, get a promotion at work, have shinier hair, and fall madly, deeply in love.

I absolutely love Ellen DeGeneres and I've been wanting to read this book since the first time Ellen talked about it on her tv-show, so when EG sent me this copy as a gift I was super happy!

You know how it is with celebrities, they don't seem like "real"people in a way because they're on TV all the time and you can't really imagine seeing them in real life, but after reading this book I can kind of imagine Ellen being the type of person I can just hang out with, she seems like any "normal" person.

Ellen always makes me smile. The book made me laugh out loud a few times, I was sat smiling the entire time I read it, and I would definitely recommend it, I would also love to read the other books by Ellen; My Point...And I Do Have One and The Funny Thing Is...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Work "change" already?

The last few weeks I've been getting some more training and responsibilities at work. Instead of just filling in merchandise in the store I've been learning some more warehouse duties, like receiving the deliveries from our suppliers, counting it, registering what we get into our system, writing the suppliers or the head office e-mails if something isn't quite right, etc. So I spend 6am to about 11am filling in merchandise and stuff and then I help out with the other warehouse duties.

I'm loving it! It's nice to get some more hours and I'm also learning lots of new things. Counting and registering the new merchandise also makes me know what I should focus on getting out in the shop the next morning. I'm also getting to do some office-type-work, which is wonderful since I've been wanting to do that since I did my RSA in England. It's a nice way to start on the office work, and finding out if I actually like it, since I've never done that before. I get to ease into it and at the same time I'm actually getting some experience so that it will be easier for me to get an office job at a later time if I still want one.

There are some of the guys that works in the warehouse, not filling in merchandise, that's leaving soon and one of the guys hinted that the warehouse manager might ask me to just go full time in just the warehouse part instead of filling in merchandise in the mornings and then do the other warehouse stuff, since I'm learning it all. I'm not sure what I'll reply... I'm liking finishing work early and not working Saturdays and I'm kind of scared about doing just the office stuff and deliveries on my own (but I'm always worried about new responsibilities), but at the same time it would be great to not have to get up so early and get to do more office-style work... But I'm getting ahead of myself, the warehouse manager hasn't asked me yet and I do enjoy the way it is now where I get to do both. Doing both also means that I get to work as long hours as I want and having the opportunity of making more money instead of having work-hours "set in stone", I also don't have to be there handing out heavy deliveries to customers on my own, although I know I could always get someone from the store to help me out if that happens.

I'll let you know what happens.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Language trouble...

Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are so closely linked that we can all just speak our own language to each other and still understand each other. Of course it depends a bit on dialects (Norwegian, especially, changes A LOT throughout the country) and accents but if we all focus and listen then it's usually okay.

A lot of Swedes come over to Norway to work, the Norwegian Krone is stronger than the Swedish Krona. Most of the Swedes in Norway is in Oslo and so if you visit Oslo you will hear a lot of Swedish as well as Norwegian. There are actually a lot of Swedes at my work.

Which is where my problem lies....

I can of course understand some Swedish, there were some Swedish tv-series and movies that I used to watch when I was younger but they had Norwegian subtitles as well, but my Swedish isn't very good. There are two Swedes that I work closely with at work, and occasionally I struggle to understand them. Maybe it's because there aren't any Swedish people in Vestnes where I'm from, and so I'm not really that used to hearing Swedish around me. I feel really guilty about it though. Whenever I have to ask them to repeat what they're saying multiple times just because I have no idea what a Swedish word that they used in that sentence means I feel really bad. I feel like I should be able to understand them better.

Maybe you're thinking "Why don't they start speaking Norwegian if they live in Norway?". It would probably be easy for them to do so since the languages are so closely linked, and some of them DO change some of their words to the Norwegian ones (the ones that are REALLY different from  Norwegian), but then at the same time there isn't any point for them to change to Norwegian since we're meant to understand them anyway. Would a Norwegian living in Sweden start speaking Swedish? I think a lot of Norwegians would answer no to that. If I moved to Sweden I probably would start speaking Swedish, or maybe just speak "half and half", just change some of the words to Swedish, I don't know, I don't have any plans about moving to Sweden and it's not something I can know for sure unless it happens.

One of the first questions you ask or get asked when you're travelling is "Where are you from?". When I was travelling and I met someone from Sweden (lots of them in Australia!) they would instantly start talking Swedish, and I would speak Norwegian. Part of me wished they would have just stuck to English.

It's kind of easier when the languages are really different, you don't have to worry about all this. I can't mix and match with English, well, not when I'm speaking to someone that doesn't know Norwegian anyway.

Danish is even worse than Swedish. It's a lot worse to understand. It sounds really strange! I'm not saying that to be mean or anything, but if I listen to someone speak in Hindi or Chinese I expect it to sound strange to me because I can't understand a single word anyway, but Danish shouldn't sound THAT strange! I feel really bad about not always understanding that as well. I struggle a lot more with that than with Swedish but luckily I don't have to listen to it as much. I want to go to Denmark but I think that if and when I do I will just take the easy way out and speak English to them. If they find out I'm Norwegian they will start talking Danish to me and I would probably have to ask them to repeat themselves 50 times.

Being realistic though I really should just stick to Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. I can't get any better at understanding it unless I try. After working with Swedish people for over a month now I can already tell I'm getting slightly better at understanding Swedish quicker.

If any Swedes or Danes reads this I would love to hear your thought about Norwegian!! Or just your thoughts about my thoughts. I would also love anybody else's thoughts of course!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Vigeland Sculpture Park

As I wrote in my last post I wanted to go back to Vigeland Sculpture Park one day when the weather was nice, today was that day!

It was nice to see so many people out enjoying the park now that the weather is finally nice again (parts of Oslo was flooded yesterday!)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Courthouse wedding

My dad got married yesterday. It was just a quick affair at the courthouse. After the long Tamil ceremony at the weekend it was very different with one that only lasted 10 minutes. I think the Tamil one is better for kids though, they don't have to be quiet and sit still, which is good as that would be very difficult for them to do for so many hours!


I think the biggest reason for my dad and his girlfriend to get married was because his girlfriend is waiting for her permanent visa (or something) and a piece of paper that she got from the Philippines stating that she isn't married was running out (it only lasts 4 months), so instead of having to fly back to the Philippines to get a new one it's easier to just get married.

At the courthouse there was me and my sister, a friend and an aunt of my dad's now wife and some colleagues of my dad's as well as one of the colleagues son. I think the little boy was happy that the ceremony only lasted about 10 minutes as well, and that the seats are much more comfortable than in a church!

After the ceremony at the courthouse we went to Vigeland sculpture park and took some pictures of them. I would like to go back to the park one day and wander around as I haven't done that in about 10 years and I've never walked aruond at my own pace and looked at all the sculptures, so the next day I'm off (or feel like it after work) and the weather is nice, I will head down and take a look around and share the pictures with you.
It stopped raining for the pictures so we were very lucky!
After we had taken some pictures we went to Christiania, a restaurant in the city for the wedding dinner. It was only my sister and me as well as my dad's wife's friend then as the others had left after the ceremony. The restaurant didn't have anything vegetarian on the menu, but when we asked them they had a lemon risotto that I could eat. I don't normally like risotto but I have to admit that that one was really nice!

After dinner we went back home and had some cake. Some more people came today for dinner and cake, but we've still got cake leftover. There is always too much cake in any party arranged by people from the place I'm from. If the cake gets eaten up it means it was too little! 

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Tamil wedding

This weekend I was in London for my friend's Tamil wedding. The wedding was over 2 days, with the ceremony and dinner on Saturday and the reception on Sunday. I've never bee to a Tamil wedding before, it was quite different from the western ones that I've been to. 

The wedding and decorations were beautiful, the bride and groom were beautiful and the guests were very pretty,I wish I owned a sari! I also really wish I had a digital SLR as the pictures would have turned out heaps better.
One thing I found really strange was how little attention people paid the ceremony. The ceremony was going on for a few hours and people were just walking around and chatting to each other and showing up when they felt like it. At the same time that was quite nice... Not having to sit still and quiet on an uncomfortable church bench for hours was really nice. I do wish I understood what was going on in the ceremony though, why they did the things they did and what the things meant etc. I should have sat down next to someone that could have explained it all to me! 
First the groom and my friend, the bride's, brother sat down together for an hour and had to do some things. Then my friend walked in with the groom's sister (and loads of other ladies) and she sat down next to the groom and they had to do some things to do with the ceremony. Then someone walked around with a sari that the guests had to bless, someone told me it was a sari from the groom's family, so I'm guessing we all had to bless it to kind of bless the union between them or something. Then my friend changed into that sari while her brother sat with the groom again while they waited.

When my friend came back there was some more ceremonial stuff and the groom gave her a necklace and at the end all the guests went up to where they were sitting and blessed them by putting some rice with some spice in it, turmeric I think, on their arms, shoulders and heads three times each. When they did that they also gave the couple gifts, but unlike most western weddings there wasn't many presents but more money gifts, which is a good way of doing it really, so that that way the couple can buy whatever they want and need instead of getting 50 coffee cans, AND it's easier to transport!

During the ceremony, and at the reception on Sunday, I sat on a table with some other Norwegians, it was nice since I didn't really know anyone in the wedding but it was a bit confusing at times to have to change so quickly between Norwegian and English. I also sat next to one of the groom's friends (hence the quick change between Norwegian and English) who was very nice, although I didn't think he was nice in the way that the groom wished I'd found him, haha!

On Saturday they only served vegetarian food, which was great as it meant I didn't have to ask what was in the food, I could just eat everything! Someone said it was because the priest was there and someone said that it was because it was the first day of the wedding that the food had to be vegetarian, I don't care, I could eat it and it was really yummy which was great. It was also great to get to taste so much new food! We also got snacks during the ceremony which was quite cool. I'm not really sure what the snacks was or the food or the desserts, or the strange thing we got for after dessert, but, with the exception of the thing wrapped in a leaf for after the dessert, it was all really tasty.

On Sunday at the reception my friend wore a third sari, apparently it's always supposed to be three saris in the wedding, although I don't know why. After we had some starters (more new food to try!) my friend's brother held a lovely speech and had made a video montage of the bride and groom, both were beautiful and really touching.Then the newly weds cut the cake and exchanged rings before we had some dinner. Sunday it was both vegetarian and food with meat, I can't speak for the food with meat but the vegetarian options were delicious and I got to try even more new food! I want to go to Sri Lanka now just to taste some more of the food!

While we ate the dancing started. Unlike the western weddings that I've been to the wedding couple didn't start the dancing but someone called up the names to two people that then had to dance, this went on for a few songs before everyone got on the dance floor. I have to say everyone was a much better dancer than me (so I was unbelievable happy that I didn't get called up for the "couple" dancing!), and it was so fun that it wasn't just waltzing and those dances, everyone really went all out. Also unlike the western weddings that I've been to people weren't reluctant to get up on the dance floor, you almost had to fight for a spot on it! It was so much fun, I wish I had stayed longer, but I had to get up at 4am the next morning to get my flight so I thought I should at least get a couple of hours sleep. Although, in hindsight, I probably would have been less tired if I had just stayed up all night and gone to the airport straight from the reception, only stopping to get my bag and check out of the hostel.

Before this weekend I hadn't seen my friend in about 10 years!! It was really great seeing her again even though of course we didn't get to talk that much, I really hope it won't be that long until next time! I will really try harder now to get to see her more often, it should at least be slightly easier anyway now that I live in Oslo.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Hostel 639

When I was in London this weekend for my friend's wedding (more about that in another post) I stayed at Hostel 639.

Te staff was fairly helpful but the English to most of them wasn't really good which lead to a couple of misunderstandings, but it wasn't too bad.

Since I had to get ready for the wedding I booked a single room so that I didn't have to worry about waking anyone up or being in their way or anything. There was still two bunk beds in the room that I got, but it was nice as that way I had something to put my stuff on, there was also two chairs, a desk and even a sink and shower! All that was missing was the toilet. It was really nice to have a shower in the bedroom as from what could see there wasn't any place to put your things in the shared showers. Only thing I didn't like about it was that the water pressure was WAY too low! I had to rinse my toothbrush for a whole 10 seconds after I brushed my teeth to get it clean.

The door to the room seemed a bit flimsy, I don't think it would take much to get in if you really wanted to.

They had 24 hour reception, which was really helpful since I had to check out at 4.30am. And there was always security there and they did actually check that you stayed at the hostel when you came in in the late afternoon/evening and probably in the day time if the security guy didn't recognise you.

The hostel was also right across the street from the underground so that was nice.

I had to use the computer when I got to the hostel on Friday to make sure I got my wages, it was 50pence for half an hour which isn't too bad, only one of the 5, FIVE, computers was working so I had to wait for a bit, but that was fine. When I finally got on the computer there was only the one thing I really wanted to check... For that I needed java... Of course the computer didn't have that. And the computer wouldn't let me install it either. Fun. So I asked for my money back, since I had only been on the computer for a couple of minutes trying to sort it out, but they wouldn't give it to me. But luckily the guy was nice enough to lend me his laptop so I still got to check my bank. But I still thought I should have gotten my money back since I was only on the computer for a few minutes.

Monday, 2 July 2012

After the shoes are gone...

Do you know what's great to have when you have one present that's made up of loads of little things?

A shoebox!

I don't like the stickers they put on ribbon rolls to keep it from unwinding... Makes the ribbon ugly.
The gift is for a wedding I'm going to this weekend by the way. I'm really looking forward to it. One of my closest friends, who I haven't seen in about 10 years is getting married in London. I'm looking forward to seeing my friend again and to meet the man she is marrying and seeing what their wedding will be like.


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