Monday, December 25, 2006
Merry Christmas from Maryland!
Our long anticipated flight home was delayed in Rekjavik because of a howling blizzard. I love snow, but when it interferes with my travel plans home, it is not appreciated. We were afraid that we would have to camp out in the airport all night instead of enjoying our nice cozy beds at home, but after six hours of waiting they boarded the plane and sent us on our way. Petra and I were met at the airport by three overjoyed people: Mom, Dad, and Paul. We have spent some wonderful days here at home enjoying family, friends, and mom's wonderful food. We were planning on going to Maine to spend Christmas with Paul's family, so we had our own family "Christmas" on Friday. Unfortunately my dad had a bad cold, and by Sunday he was still quite sick so we had to cancel our trip to Maine and just Pet and Paul went up.
Today, Christmas day, we have just been relaxing and goofing around with my mom and dad. I gave my dog Tinka a bath for her Christmas present (I don't think she enjoyed her Christmas gift as much as the rest of us; she was starting to aquire quite the scent!). I showed my mom and dad some of the pictures of my trip to Africa. I think they were a little homesick for the good old Malawi days, and they enjoyed seeing the African floura and fauna. My mom and I have been doing some cooking today too. I made bread and my mom made our traditional Danish Christmas meal of nut roast, potatoes, rodkal and of coarse risalamande. It is great to be back in a first-world kitchen, after cooking over the open fires in Tanzania. Nothing beats cleanliness and an electric oven.
I have missed my family so much these past months. Often I would sit and make up long lists of what I could do during Christmas, but now I don't really care what I do, all that matters is that I am with my family. It is so great to be back home. Have a great Christmas!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I'm back in the land of gross consumerism from the poor, yet happy continent of Africa.
Believe me, it was total culture shock to walk down a crowded Danish walking street and see all of the stores with an endless variety of non-essentials. People bustled about the shops trying to figure out what to buy for Christmas for the friend who has everything. You could see them puzzling over whether to buy a silver plated toothpick holder or an electric knee warmer for their loved ones. There was no end to the foolishness.
The Tanzanians were so content and happy all of the time, even when they had no running water or electricity. It didn't matter that they ate ugali and beans three times a day (if they could even afford more than one meal), they still always had a smile on their faces and a song on their lips.
It makes you ponder sometimes what you really need to be happy. It doesn't matter how many possessions or money you have, you can still be discontented. The only source of true contentment can come from God. Have you found the Source of true contentment?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
This weekend we accepted an offer to go to stay with Robby's relitives near Oslo. Robby's Bestemor made it her mission in life for us to eat as much wonderful Norsk food as possible, not barring the delishious Norsk brown cheese. When she found out that I like to eat with chopsticks, she searched around until she produced enough chopsticks for all four of us to eat haystacks on Sabbath "Chinese style". It took quite a bit longer than normal to eat, but the crowning glory was when we consumed our icecream and fruit salad with our sticks! Needless to say the grandparents were quite amused!
Sabbath afternoon we went for a nice walk, then after sundown worship we went swimming and participated in a vigorous water soccer game, then we discovered some floating excercise mats that were perfect for balancing acts!
On Sunday we drove into Oslo where we stopped by the famous Norwegian ski jump. Sadly we were unable to see the great view, or for that matter the ski jump because of the fog. We snapped a few photos into the grey mist, then headed back into the center of town. Robby droped Petra, Paul and I off in Oslo for further sight seeing. We went to three museums: A Norsk folk housing museum, a viking ship museum, and the Kon Tiki museum. They were all very awesome, but we agreed that the best was the Kon Tiki museum. We are convinced that we will have to make ourselves a reed raft and sail around the world (who needs a house anyway?).
At the Norsk folk museum we were able to see one of the famous Stave churches of Norge. It is hard to believe that it was built hundereds of years ago, and yet is still so beautiful.
After some great sightseeing, Paul took us to an awesome Indian restaurant. The food was superb, and the company splended.
Monday morning we saw Paul off at the train station, then Pet and I went into Oslo again. This time we went to the Fram museum, all about arctic exploration. It was very cool. It was also cool literally, they had the temperature like that of the arctic, so that when you walked in you were met with a gust of cold air. Then Pet and I meandered our way back to the center of town. We got lost only once (we wouldn't be Pet and Martina if we didn't have a least one directional difficulty), but that lead to a beautiful view of some sail boats in the harbor, so it wasn't a bad thing. We enjoyed some fresh bread from a local bakery, then said our last goodbyes before I had to come back to Skotselv.
It was very sad to part from Petra again, but it was made sweet knowing that soon we will be together at Christmas.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Life is good. Norway's great. Eat with chopsticks. I'm enjoying my position of dictatorship as Petra and Paul's chaparone on all of our adventures. It was a great surprise that they came to Norway to visit. Above all, God is awesome