It´s refreshing to be back in Bucharest, where most of my family and friends live, I let myself be dragged into its moist grip, I venture in it like in the arms of a lover.
As I do it, I´m trying to get a grasp of myself in the mirrors of the city. I sometimes catch a glimpse of my old self, familiar gestures go through me with the violence of an ambush. I go to the same places and although they smell the same, they bring me in a slight state of faint.
Christmas in Norway is entirely destined to family. Whereas in Romania you´re expected to be at home during the day, but can choose go out for a drink with friends in the evening, in Norway, most places are closed and the city turns into a ghost town. It´s literally like in Oliver Twist, you can walk around peeping inside people´s apartments and see them dining and feasting and you´ll feel like the loneliest person alive. Continue reading
I was inspired by Amsterdamming´s amazing post on our mother country and thought I´d drop you a couple of words on our national day. Romania is the country of my birth, the one that outlines my outer frame, as well as my innermost parts of my soul.
If you’re in Oslo during summer, you have to dine at Nodee! They have a lovely terrace, amazing Asian food and heating lamps, too! We took my mother and aunt there a couple of weeks ago to celebrate their getaway from work, a demanding grandchild and duties in general. And they loved it to bits!
Since we´re on a holiday in Bucharest for some days now, we decided to invite my family out for a better meal. Choosing a restaurant would normally sound like a nice and simple task, but proved to be a mine field this time. Not this one, not that other one, not in the city centre, ´cause the buildings are crumbling down, not traditional food, ´cause it´s not properly cooked, but not Italian, either, ´cause you don´t go to town to eat spaghetti, you get the point… The whole thing turned into a quarrel and I and my father no longer speak for the moment. Democracy was never the strong point in our family.
We´re back in Bucharest and it´s great! 😉 Haven´t been on a holiday since last year, except for a short 3 days´ break in Vienna at the beginning of January. In addition to that, Romania is really nice this time of the year- the accacia trees are in bloom, the temperature is warm, but not steamy and everything is green.
We got here on Wednesday about midnight, my brother and sister-in-law picked us up at the airport and we had some drinks at our auntie´s place where we´re staying this time. They´d bought some corn puffs and my mother had made some roast potatoes and chicken, so we had a late night dinner, too.
Yesterday we woke up late- it had poured all morning and the air was fresh, but warm, just the way I like it. 😉 We had coffee and breakfast at Origo, where we´re regulars when in town. They have the best coffee ever. Afterwards we walked for a bit and grabbed a cab to my brother´s place to catch up with mom and babysit our niece while she was going to the dentist.
We´re back from a lovely weekend in Vienna with my family and had so much fun they should have made a movie about us. A “telenovela”, to be more specific, because we´re so refreshingly crazy the whole bunch of us! 😉 At times I felt I was starring in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, it was THAT cliche! I had been looking forward to the trip for a while and at the same time I was a bit nervous- three generations under the same roof, need I say more?! Many personalities, to put it mildly- a 2 years old toddler who screams when she doesn´t get what she wants, a brother who´s reluctant to new experiences, a father who likes to call the shots, but unfortunately, so do I. You can only imagine. 😉
On the third day of Christmas we were invited to a family gathering at Våler, where Vuong´s sister recently moved with her husband and child. Although the Trans are Buddhists, they do find a day around Christmas to get together, eat good food and do some catching up. And yesterday was that day. 🙂
Since interethnic marriages are not very common in Norwegian-Vietnamese communities, that´s given us some heart-ache along the years. In the end we all had to admit we were stuck with each other and make the best of it. So now we meet once in a while and smooth things over for the sake of our nephew, who is one gorgeous and lovable little guy!
Today we went for a walk in the woods and had the best time ever! Sammy was super happy and so was Benjamin, who slid like a pro! After taking in the fresh air and the amazing landscape, we felt our cheeks flush with blood and our feet ache with cold. So we went in for cakes and coffee. Take a look!
Although I didn´t work a day last week and only a couple of hours this morning, today is my first official holiday. I can finally unwind, do the rest of the preparations and start enjoying myself. Vuong bought the tree and set it up yesterday, we were able to find one of the decoration boxes (out of two), I managed to make some cookies and will bake some more today. I also bought the last gifts and will make some chutney and sugar coated almonds as go-to gifts. 😉
It snowed a tiny bit yesterday and although it turned the sidewalks slippery, it also means the ground is not entirely bare. 😉 White Christmas this year, too! A couple of trips to the woods with Sam are mandatory and so is ice-skating in the city center, if it´s open for renting skates.
Yesterday we celebrated Christmas with our friends Franck and Marion and his kids. We had a lavish brunch of yummy pancakes, scrambled eggs, ham and all the cheese and marmalades you could think of, followed by the gift-opening session where Sam gets to tear the paper once the wrapping comes off. 😉 It was a lot of fun and we felt like being with our second family. What else would you call very good friends, if not family?:-) On our way back, we had a stroll in the Sankthanshaugen park with Sam and it was delightful! All the pretty lights, the snow and the majestic buildings, plus people playing with their children and dogs in the snow..
In the evening I saw “Boyhood” with a friend at the cinema. What a fantastic movie! I´ll write a review soon, but you need to see it if you have the chance! Afterwards we had a chat over a couple of beers and a yummy pizza at Hell´s Kitchen, absolutely recommended.;-)
I hope you enjoy my pictures and that they bring you in the mood for Christmas. 😉
Living abroad means seeing less of the ones we love. I meet with my family 1-3 times a year. This year I was in Romania for a week in February (when my father was mostly in the hospital for a minor intervention) and 2 days in June (we were in Belgrade for a friend´s wedding ), when I didn´t get to see my brother since he was working and we didn’t have time to travel all the way to Bucharest.
A couple of weeks ago I started feeling seriously homesick. I´m in the middle of a trial now and I´ll need a couple of weeks after that to do my accountancy and put my affairs in order, so it wasn´t the best time to travel. Besides, I didn´t feel like leaving V alone with Sammy for a week since the dog needs his walks and he´s a full-time job if you have him alone. Thus I decided to ask mom if she wanted to come visit. After persuading pops that he would make a wonderful nanny for my niece for a couple of days, I bought the tickets and started counting days. 😉 You see, mom is babysitting my two-year old niece while my brother and his wife are at work; you have to be three in order to be accepted at a regular kindergarten in Romania.
Friday was my day off so I woke up early with V in order to tidy up a bit and prepare the apartment for my mother´s arrival. 😉 I then worked for an hour, bought a nice bouquet of flowers and went to the airport to pick her up. She hasn´t travelled a lot on her own, my father usually leads on, so I didn´t want her to find this journey any more stressful than necessary. 😉 We found each other and, overwhelmed with joy, took the train back to Oslo, going straight home to unpack and unwind. She brought us wine, smoked ham and cheese (cascaval), baked eggplants (ready to turn into a salad by adding mayo and stuff), pretzels (my fave!) and some pufuleti (snacks made out of maize flour). I was so happy I started dancing the moment I put Aretha Franklin on the turntable. 😉