Advent Calendar – The Anticipation of Christmas.

I had an SMS from Mom today sending me an Advent hug. That brought up a great deal of good memories from my childhood for December. Each year my sister and I had an Advent Calendar and we competed over who could open the morning’s flaps first. We also had a candle, a long white one, with a mark for each day. It was placed on the breakfast table and when the day’s portion was burned, it was about time to go to school. The holiday season was also the time for orange from Palestine and Mom put one in our lunch bag of course. When we came home from school there was this Christmas smell in the house as she often had baked one of the seven traditional types of cookies or some of the assorted meat delicacies. Day by day the anticipation became stronger and the big evening closer as the were fewer and fewer flaps left.

I found a collection of net calendars at *Michelle’s Mental Clutter* Blog which brought up these memories in me. I hope Michelle excuse me for copying!

Advent Calendar 2005 – each day contains a happy Christmas memory, a holiday link, and something special!
Advent Calendar featuring daily meditations and pieces from the crèche exhibit at Washington National Cathedral
2005 Interactive Advent Calendar by Q-Creative Multimedia
World Christmas Customs Advent Calendar
Happy Holidays from Castle Arcana – daily stories and accompanying an increasingly festive holiday scene
Animated Rooney Design Christmas Advent Calendar
tibi+beens Animated Christmas Calendar

Memories are a grown up’s best friend and the anticipation for the Holliday Seasons are one of the best I think.

Advent – The Spiritual Countdown for Christmas

It’s less than 4 weeks to Christmas! Can you feel the anticipation – has Santa gotten your wish list yet? On Sunday we were starting the countdown like we do every year; the Advent concert and lightening of the Christmas Tree in the neighbourhood. My bonus child (I kind of like that expression to describe my relationship to my wife’s son :-) plays in the school’s brass band and they gave us a sentimental experience playing the Christmas songs.

Advent gives me memorable feelings about my childhood. The anticipation was in the air, in the house and everywhere for a whole month. It started with the lightening of the first candle of four on the table wreath on Sunday dinner four weeks before The Day. Father was busy at work of course, but mom and my grandmother started cooking the food and other treats preparation. Even if I was brought up on the country side a long time ago, we did not hunt for the meal, but had it brought to the house by the local butcher. From there my mom and grandma made the most delicious treats and I am always looking forward to the first day of Christmas to have some of this delights. All of this and some more were going through my head while we were at the event last Sunday. Below, you can see the band and the anticipated crowed.

The traditions and experiences from the time before Christmas vary a lot. While the Americans celebrate their most important Holliday – Thanksgiving – we are starting the Christmas countdown. Happily, influenced of my wife, I am able to experience both. My hole family, 8 people, were sitting at the table for a turkey dinner last Thursday and my red wine gravy was the top of the cream. Another quality time for me to experience, and I do count my blessings.
I’ve now downloaded the video from the consert for you to see here:

Click here if you like to read more about Advent, the wreath and the calendar I so much remember as the start of the Christmas holidays.

City on Fire – Oslo, Norway at dawn.

I had some more quality time with my wife the other day. Living in a suburb we took the express buss to work. We do not talk that much during the ride as we are waking up together. Besides, I usually read the news paper and she got her peek on the headlines too. We started at 7:30 AM and the morning broke in a lovely, colourful way. Approaching the Oslo city, the sky was on fire. We both agreed this was a wonderful view and of course as easy as always, I captured some of the fascinating scenery with my mobile phone camera. Conveniently, I used my wife as a tripod to have the very best result:

Isn’t this beautiful, powerful and electrically fascinating. Again I was thinking of Luis Armstrong: “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day”. The marked places in front are quiet and people are walking behind us rushing to work and not noticing anything but the time and getting in the office at the right time. On the left side you see Oslo Dome Church, at least the tower. The Dome was built in 1697 and the most spectacular ceremony happened last, was when our Crown Prince Håkon Marius, married the coming Queen. You find more information about the church by clicking here.

My wife and I went our separate ways, but I could not let go the wonderful view and shot some more which I gladly share with you:

Tomorrow it’s Thanksgiving, which means nothing for an ordinary Norwegian. But I married to an American, and we will have turkey on a family gathering. Stay tuned, I might share the celebration later!

Vigeland Park – not quite as erotic as you might think.

Inspired of the wonderful, sunny weather me and my wife had a trip to the famous Vigeland Park in Oslo today. We love this opportunity to a quality time together, walking around in inspirational surroundings and share thoughts from the bottom of our hearts. We are there – intensively together and deeply involved in reaching the others meaning – the time stands still, and the conversation is rinsing our minds. The thoughts we shared are of course private, but I’ll gladly share the park with you!

I make Mr. Wonka – pasted from the web – who visited the Park in December 2003, mine: “The 212 naked bodies sculpted of bronze and granite in Vigelandsparken by Gustav Vigeland is not quite as erotic as you might think. In fact, the cycles of life these sculptures depict are anything but sexual. Okay, everyone takes away his or her own personal observations and thoughts about Vigeland’s mind-boggling collection of work. But that’s what makes a visit to the park a requisite for any visit to Oslo. No one opinion about what you’ll see here is right or wrong—it’s all about personal interpretation.”

As you can see from the pics Vigeland is describing peoples natural feelings in every details as they coddles together in varies life time situations. So alive, yet in stone, they are expressively inspiring the soul of mankind. It says you can have private, intimate and stimulating conversations on a golf curse. I would say Vigeland Parks invites in the same kind of atmosphere.

Speaking about inspirational talk: You can tell this wise man is telling his history to a well listening audience. The mature man is sharing his knowledge and experience in life in a trustful and open-minded way I would say. Looking at those people – and it is “only” a sculpture – you see and feel how they all in an expressional way enjoy the lecture.

The Park is very much alive and friendly, full of people even on a relatively cold day in November. A lot of tourists from all over the world it is easy to hear, as the native tongues expression are from all parts of the world. Colourful contributions as a pleasure for you’re ears as well as eyes are making the walk around a wonderful experience each and every day you are visiting.

You will find more information about Vigeland and the park here. And of course you are welcome to take a round tour any time when you are visiting the capital of Norway!

The moon is shining so brightly

On my way from home to the office yesterday, I obeserved a lovely fall scenery – the moon was shinging so brightly. I was thinking: why worship the sun as it shines only at day when daylights after all? The sun is much braver and helpfull as shining at night! So I had to capture this fenomena and as easy as always, I used my celluar phone camera. It was 7:21 AM and to quote Louis Armstrong: “Ohhh what a beautiful morning, oh what a wonderful day”:-)

We are moving against the winter season in Norway and then the days are short and it is fairly cold. But the Norwegians saying is: “there is no such as bad weather, only bad cloths”. So we manage and really are enjoying the mysterius snow covered landskape. And of course we should ->we all are born with skies on they say:-)

How cold is it and how dark/bright is it then? Well from the net I’ve found some facts and figures from the 18th of November 2005:
UV Index: 0 Low – Wind: From NW at 5 mph – Humidity: 56% – Pressure: 30.06 in. – Dew Point: 23°F – Visibility: 6.2 miles.
And the sun set and rise: 8:22 AM – 3:39 PM.

Some may ask: Isn’t Norway the Land of the Midnight Sun? The answer is yes of course, but it is up north – on top of the world. At that part the sun is not up from November to February, but then again the sun never set in the summer time. Imagion a place where there are far below freezing in the winter and a natrual posibilety to get tanned at 2 AM. It’s a great place for candle light lovers in the winter and a place to charge you’re soule batteries day and nights in the summer time.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the mystifying country!