Apologies for not updating this blog as much as I would have liked. There’s been a lot I’ve been meaning to share on here, but it looks like that hasn’t been happening. I’ve been a little busier with classes than expected, but I’m nearly there now. I can’t believe how fast this semester’s fl0wn by! Hopefully you’ll start to see more posts on here in the coming weeks (I especially want to write about my impressions on Norwegian education)!
But first—I want to update you on something quite exciting! My first White Christmas!
Having lived in Australia for most my life, I can tell you that snow is quite a fascinating thing for me still. Sure I’ve gone skiing a few times, been hailed on, but nothing really compares to the feeling I’ve had these past few days.
A few days ago, it started to snow. The temperature dropped to below zero and stopped the powder from melting. A soft blanket of white has covered all the trees, rooves, cars, fences and footpaths. The snow crunches under your feet as your walk and glistens under the daylight. The whole city is white and the tall mountains surrounding the city resemble something you might see on a Christmas card.
To top it off, the sky these past two days has nearly been cloudless, so the colours of sky bounce off the white mountain peaks. During the day, a whole palette of colours blend, including blues, peaches, and soft oranges. All under the beacon of the low rising sun of gold.
It’s pretty difficult for me to describe the sensation I’m experiencing, but it really is quite magical. And to think that this has happened at the beginning of December, with Christmas just around the corner! You really get a feel for the ‘Season’s Greetings’ much more than you would back in Australia. Nearly every shop has neatly presented decorations in their windows, and others have candles on the pavement just outside their doors. You can also see all sorts of decorations through the windows.
On Saturday I caught up some friends and we headed into the city centre where thousands of people gathered for an event called ‘Lysfest’ (light festival). It involved the lighting of a giant Christmas tree, carols (both in Norwegian and English, although many of the Norwegian ones had melodies the same as the English tunes), handing out of gingerbread cookies, glow lights and most impressively, big torches that everybody could hold and wave around. It lit the whole area up and you could feel the warmth from all the flames amidst the snow cold air. All topped off with some spectacular fireworks.
After the event, we walked back to my friends’ place where we brought along all sorts of Norwegian Christmas-related food and drinks to try out. The shelves at supermarkets start to include Christmas related products, including chips, lollies and soft drink. I got to sample things like gløgg (mulled wine, but non-alcoholic) which you can add raisins and almonds too, brus (soft drink) and julepotetgull (Christmas chips, although they tasted pretty much ordinary ones)!
We then started to craft all sorts of simple and ingenious decorations to hang on the tree. I’m not very good with arts and craft but it was certainly fun having a go! We made chains, heart baskets, snowflakes, and I even made a spiral from a circle cut out and labelled it a juleslanger (Christmas snake) from down under.
Afterwards we moved to the kitchen and started to bake pepperkaker (gingerbread) from pre-prepared dough which you could be from the supermarket. My friend, skilled in the art of food craft, prepared icing sugar which we used to make all sorts of fun patterns. We baked, ate a few, got sick from too much dough and sugar and had a fun night overall.
I must admit that I’ve never really thought much of Christmas back home. I’ve always been jealous of my friends who had big family lunches and dinners, so this is probably the first time I’ve really felt this ‘Christmas Spirit’. I’m looking forward to seeing what the weeks ahead have in store for me!
And of course, when I left my friends’ place to head home, it started to snow. Just for me.