Sunday, September 04, 2005

Party Weekend

This has been a busy weekend for us. We had TWO parties to go to, and for a change of pace: One of them was a party hosted by, and attended by, Norwegians! Yes, we partied with real, live Norwegian people.

Friday night our apartment building had a gathering for residents. It was hosted by two very nice ladies who live in the building. It was to be outside, but it rained all day Friday, so it was moved inside, to one of the empty office spaces that still have yet to be rented in our complex.

We have a really nice time! Upon arrival, we were plied with wine and ham, and then later in the evening we were plied with more wine, ham, potato salad and aquavit. I like aquavit. Alot. Then we were offered carrot cake (yumm!) and coffee, and more aquavit. Everyone spoke Norwegian, of which I got about 1/8th of the conversation (they talk FAST) but everyone was also very kind and spoke English to us as well. Norwegians can be very standoffish in a group or crowd situation, but once they identify you as one of them, or part of their group, they will bend over backwards to make you comfortable. And they will get you drunk, and they will party with abandon. I just wish I had not waited three years to find this out. But, yes, in three years of living in Norway, this is our first all Norwegian party. That is kind of a sad realization. I wish I had reached out more, and maybe been a bit more fearless in my reaching out to new people. But it is hard to push through the barrier of foreigness, and most people (even me) retreat back to what they know best.

The biggest topic of conversation was the horrific happenings on the Gulf Coast and why on earth did it take four days for any sort of relief effort to get underway? In Norway the government would have been there with relief within hours, though, honestly, here, a mandatory evacuation is just that, MANDATORY, and they would have had everybody bussed out hours before the storm, bar none. (I still don't get how they called the New Orleans evacuation mandatory, yet so many people remained behind. Why couldn't they have gotten busses in to get them out? Why did they allow them to stay?)
I tried, I tried REALLY hard to just not lambast Bush et. al. in a fiery speech of disgust and hatred, and settled for just saying that I didn't want to get all political, but that people in the US were not at all happy with the circumstances and there will be some very hard questions being asked very soon. I was proud of myself for tempering my response, when my soapbox was just looking at me, from there in the corner, waiting for me to stand on it and speechify all night as to exactly why George Bush is number one on my list to enter the Pantheon of Suck. (This will be enlarged upon in a future post.)

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and after a bit of a slow start due to hangovers from aquavit and ham, we went to a barbecue hosted by the spouse's association of Rich's company. 70 people showed up, the largest turnout we have ever had. We had chicken and burgers and shish kebabs and salads of every description, and about 12 different desserts. One woman, who is from Alabama, bless her, made my absolute favorite dessert in the whole world, Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake. (Except in this recipe, they add coffee to the icing, which is a no-no. No coffee, please! Buttermilk!) That cake is a traditional Southern recipe and I was so damn glad to have it, I could have just cried. I saw it on the dessert table and just started jumping up and down with glee, it's instantly recognizable sitting there in its 11 x 13 glass baking dish. (Everyone makes it the same way. It's just how it IS.) It brings back so many memories of my childhood, and she made it just like I remember it from home. GOD it was good. And, contrary to what I thought, buttermilk is available here, it's called kefir. Who knew? So now I can make my own sheet cake and make it true to home. (It's the cinnamon and the buttermilk that give it the flavor and texture I love so much).

Um, ahem, dessert aside, the party was alot of fun too. All expats, from everywhere you can think of: England, Mexico, the US, France, Thailand, Japan, India, the Middle East. All speaking English, yeay!

Today is Sunday, no parties today, we are being lazy. And watching CNN for the continuing coverage of the Gulf Coast.

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