Saturday, February 26, 2011

Music and a bit more...

This past week has been winter break here in wintery Oslo. Gaute had to work the first part of the week (including a mini business trip to Bergen on Tuesday). Our plan was to be here until Wednesday or maybe Thursday and then head up to our cabin. But, you know, it just didn't work out quite like we'd planned. I discovered last week that Anders and Johan needed to renew their Norwegian passports, and that Espen and Johan needed to renew their American passports. The Norwegian ones aren't such a big deal, but to renew the American passports, we have to make an appointment at the American Embassy (only on weekdays before 12), and both Gaute and I have to appear in person with the kids. So, I managed to get an appointment for Wednesday (not really, but we got in regardless), and set about getting everything we needed in order. It is such a hassle! You have to go a special place downtown to get special pictures taken (at $40 a pop). Then when you finally show up at the embassy, they make you wait outside the gate until they finally walk over to see what you want. Then one adult and one child are allowed into the little guard booth, where you go through security control that is - literally - worse than anything you experience at the airport. They check your hands for any residue explosives, every little piece of anything you have in your pockets has to come out, before you walk through the metal detector. Then you have to leave your purse at the guard booth when you go inside. Everytime I'm there I consider giving up my American citizenship!

But, I never will do that, despite the fact that I need to go to the police station every 2 years and wait in line for at least 2 hours to get a visa stamped into my passport. And this year, when I went down to do it, they said that I didn't have enough pages left in my passport. It costs $80 to get more pages put in my passport, and $100 to get a new passport, so I decided to go for it. Since I'm over 16, I don't have to show up at the embassy in person, but I had to go get a cashier's check and a $40 picture before I sent my application in.

And - the Nordic Skiing World Championships started here in Oslo on Thursday. I realize that it is probably not primetime programming in the U.S., but it is here. And it's in Oslo this year! The last time the World Championships were in Oslo was in 1982. So, we kind of felt like it was stupid to leave Oslo right when the excitement was starting...

I've been on my computer a lot this week, and I've been listening to a lot of music. I decided to make a playlist of stuff that I've been listening to most lately. Because I'm SURE everyone is dying to know. So, here it is:

  1. We Used to Wait - Arcade Fire (I love this whole album, and I've been listening to it a lot ever since I bought it in September. I love the fact that it won a Grammy for Best Album of the Year.)
  2. Rambling Man - Laura Marling (A great folk singer from England. She used to date one of the guys from Mumford and Sons and has played with them a lot.)
  3. Hull i Himmelen - John Olav Nilsen og Gjengen - (Trying to get some great Norwegian music out to an American audience. This isn't their newest song, but I think it's their best.)
  4. Howlin' for You - The Black Keys (Another great album with lots of good songs.)
  5. Devil Town - Bright Eyes (I first heard this song, with Tony Lucca singing, on Friday Night Lights, my new favorite show. I love this version, and I love Bright Eyes.)
  6. San Jose - Joe Purdy (This is so good...)
  7. Save Yourself - Sharon Van Etten (Another great female singer, American this time.)
  8. Crash Years - The New Pornographers (This song makes me happy.)
  9. The Girl and the Robot - Røyksopp (This is a Norwegian electronic band. Robyn, a Swede, is singing on this song. She has become very popular with her latest albums, but I love this song best. Listening to her music a lot lately, because Gaute, Espen and I are going to see her in concert in March. Her live shows are supposed to be incredible, so I'm excited!)
  10. Monster - Kanye West (I don't listen to a lot of hip-hop, but I love Kanye West's music. He acts like a complete idiot (his tweets are very entertaining...), but I think he makes consistently great music, and this album is really, really good.)
I made this playlist on iTunes, too, so you can head over there and here a bit of these songs. Just open this link in iTunes and you're good to go.

There is one more song I would have loved to have put on this playlist, but it's not available on iTunes. Here it is on my blog, though! It's called Warrior Song, and the artist is Ingrid Olava (another Norwegian). It's lovely.