August 10, 2015

Planted






Green things and ridiculous, but oh so very cool and lightweight 90's dresses make me happy. 
|Dress- Thrifted|Sandals-Saltwaters|Bag-Vintage Dooney & Bourke


August 8, 2015

Norway Pt 1: A Ferry of Unfortunate Events





Norway was just... magic.

You guys, the most accurate description of my first seconds in Norway is love at first sight. Time stopped, the stars aligned, and my breath was taken away. I flew into Bergen (or Arendale if you prefer... ;-) )on June 16th and as my plane began to land I took a deep breath and it was like I was breathing for the first time. The last few days in Iceland had been rainy, and gloomy, and humid, but Norway was brilliantly bright, and vibrant, and so friggin green! There were trees everywhere. The area I live in here in California is fairly open and wide, but surrounded all around by hills and mountains. Iceland was waaaaay more open than I've ever been and I didn't really love it. There were beautiful hills and mountains in Iceland but my first three weeks were in never ending fields of grass. So flying into Norway was absolutely a culture shock. There were mountains and hills and trees as far as the eye could see and as thick as molasses. There was something about it that instantly felt like home, like this was the thing I'd always been missing. It was love at first sight.







I stayed in a really weird hostel a few blocks from the harbour and my first order of business was to walk through the vendors selling various seafood and odd little trinkets. There were bars and restaurants who's patrons were basking in the evening sun and it was glorious! And then I met a fellow American lady who was also staying in my hostel, and we decided to pal around that evening, and this was a terrible decision. She spent the whole two hours we were together telling me about her illicit affair with a married man and I couldn't even pretend to be okay with that, which made the weird Chinese dinner, which she insisted on us getting (I mean I wanted to go to the Norwegian Fish Market because Norway...), a pretty awkward one. Consequently she was from Florida, so it really makes sense, but still...





While my heart was instantly won over by Norway, there were a series of now comedic failures that began right away. The first being the unfortunate pal I found, quickly followed by no one  in Norway accepting the pre-paid credit card I brought. Which I had done as a protection thing, but I got a crappy one and well, it made life hellish for my entire trip. Not only did no one accept it, there were also only two banks in the whole country I could use to make cash withdrawals. And because I am a bone head I didn't bother to check for the nearest one of those banks where I could make a withdrawal before getting to the ferry station with all my luggage.





Let me back up a bit here and state three facts up front: 1. I brought way. too. much. crap. with me.  2. I am a terrible solo traveller (for reals, because there are even better/worse stories coming). 3. Norway is friggin expensive. Everyone warned me of this, but I did not take that to heart. So when I left Iceland I exchanged my remaining Icelandic Krona to NOK which totaled about $100.  I'm not amazing at math or money management in American money, so I spent the entire trip being super duper cautious about my spending. So upon arrival in Norway and being shocked to find a tall Starbucks (at one of the two Starbucks in all of Norway) frappuccino was the equivalent of $15!!!!!  (which I forwent for obvious reasons) I went to dinner with my weird pal where I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu at $25. Then, with much concern over my remaining cash I made sure the ferry station took my card (I cannot emphasis enough that you should not bring American Express to Europe!), which they did, so I shrugged it off, pocketed the remainder of my Krone, and went to bed. The next morning I got up early to go buy my ferry ticket and who should also being going to do so, but my weird pal! So we walked together and we bought our tickets. Except they didn't take my card. I mean they claimed they did, but it would not accept my card. So I was short. My weird pal spotted me the money and I asked the ferry ticket man if he knew where any of the two banks I could use were, but he did not. This is where I made the idiotic mistake of not googling it once I got back to my hostel, but I assumed that if the banks were near, he'd have known. Turns out I later found that both banks were a mere ten minute walk away...






I killed time before heading back to my hostel to shower and pack, by walking around Bergen and falling head over heels in love with the small portion I got to explore of that city. I had enough money left to buy myself a coffee from McDonalds ($7!!!), but that was it. So I packed my bags and went to the ferry terminal to deposit my bags in a locker and roam the city for the next five hours. Except lockers cost money. Money I didn't have. And there was no wifi for me to connect to to try and search out an ATM. And America was asleep so I couldn't call and have my mom google it (though let me assure you, this did happen eventually). So there I sat with all my crap, stuck in the ferry terminal. Fun Fact: Bathrooms cost money in Norway. And I had only had a cup of coffee. I pondered my options, but they were to either to grab my belongings and hope I was walking in the right direction of an ATM I could use, or sit and wait. I waited for most the time, but eventually tried my other option to no avail. And I needed to pee something fierce. And the Game of Thrones books don't distract you from nature's call.  Finally it was ferry boarding time and I made sure I was one of the first people on board. And guess what? The snack bar didn't take my card!






The Ferry ride from Bergen to Sogndal was five hours long. I'd already been waiting for five hours. I was hungry and tired and pretty sure my kidneys would never forgive me, but let me tell you, the moment I got on that boat, I totally forgot my growling stomach (and also I found leftover airport snacks at the bottom of my backpack -_-) . I love boats in general (the best sleeps I've ever had were on boats), but holy cow guys, this trip was... well, magic. It was foggy and grey the further out to sea we got. The wind blew my hair and skirt, and I was misted by salt water and all it's healing qualities. The thing about Norway is this: no matter how bad things got, Norway did it's best to make everything better.








This will sound super duper weird and mystical, but it's the best I've got. My dad's side of the family is Norwegian and we've always been very proud of that heritage. My mom's side of the family is a mix of European and Slavic peasantry, and I love it, but all of us have always had a stronger tie to our Norwegian ancestry. I never in a million years thought I would actually get to go to Norway, and had no idea what to expect. So when I got there I was kind of shocked by the atmosphere. I have never felt more welcomed or at home in a place in all my life. It literally was almost like a duh factor. Of course I belong here, these are my people. They were nice and friendly, but understood personal space. They laughed, and sang, and made art from wool. They liked their traditional folk costume, and didn't mind being suffocated by trees. They really, really. love. Christmas. The ocean was important, but so was the land. A storm blew in that day and suddenly the blinding sunshine was traded for a beautiful gloomy horizon. I got romantical and stood on the ferry deck imagining my ancient ancestors looking out over the same ocean, going off to conquer new lands, and taking in their own land. The high rising mountains of the fjords, the water springing from every rock it could, the lush rolling hills, and steep craggy rocks covered in trees. I closed my eyes and breathed in every smell trying to imprint them forever in my memory. I wanted my family to be there with me, getting to understand this odd sensation of belonging.




I passed waterfalls and never ending forests, fields of hay and fields of flowers, making my way to my home for the next month and falling more and more in love the further we went. Maybe this was all because I was delusionally hungry. Maybe I needed more sleep. But in the first 24 hours of being in Norway I could already feel new blossoms growing in the rich soil Iceland had left behind. For the first time in years I knew who I was and I loved that person. I'm getting misty thinking about those first few hours. It was like Norway was my wise and ancient grandmother, offering the warmest, most loving hug, while bestowing knowledge about my past so I could run fervently into my future.




July 13, 2015

Wallflower


It's a well known fact that I am the world's biggest wimp in the heat. I mean if it gets above 65F I'm already done. I just don't do hot. So life gets pretty miserable fast in So Cal. Honestly this Summer hasn't be so bad so far, but we did have a spell of nasty horrid heat the first week of the month. I made this button front crop top (that needs work, but is fine for now) out of a cotton bedsheet, and oh man does it make hot and sweaty me feel so much more put together! This skirt is an antique one I altered and again is 100% cotton, so it's been my go to outfit for the particularly hot days.

Hat-Thrifted, Shoes-Thrifted, Top- Me Made, Skirt- Thrifted, altered 



July 5, 2015

Oh Say Can You See?


Last July 4th I was in Norway hiking in a fjord 




This 4th I was at home eating grilled burgers and swimming in the pool. 


They're both pretty amazing.

Hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day!

Blouse- Thrifted, Skirt- Antique, altered by me, Shoes- Swedish Hasbeens

June 16, 2015

Iceland Pt. 2

66* North. My house in CA is at 33*.

View from the Coffee Shop

Frida's artistic rendering of everyone

That green building is the coffee shop

Frida (r) and her friend going to play hopscotch.

I just loved this place so much. 

Frosti was only 3 months old and a huge baby! He was also one of the sweetest babes I've ever had the pleasure of watching.


Vitamin D

Þingeyri completely changed my entire perspective on Iceland.  The moment I left the farm there was an instant sense of relief. I slept a little on the bus ride, and for the first time felt at ease. At the Bus Station in Reykjavik I went to buy a day pass and started talking to the nice old man selling hot dogs, candies, and bus passes. He asked me about my adventures so far and I gave him a little tiny synopsis of my experience and he apologized and asked me where I was headed and I told him Thingeyri. He smiled and just lit up about how beautiful it was and how nice the people there were. I bummed around Reykjavik for a few hours and then boarded a plane headed North. The flight was so incredibly short (maybe 30 minutes), and I had been told finding a group of people to hitch a ride from would be simple. Except I was the only one on my plane ride and arrived at an empty airport. I'd already burst into tears at the Reykjavik airport, and on the verge of another wave I called a Taxi and waited freaking out that I didn't have enough cash to pay for the hour long ride from the Ísafjörður Airport to Thingeyri. A middle aged woman picked me up eventually and I showed her the cash I had dreading hearing her tell me it wasn't enough. She smiled a nearly toothless smile and told me not to worry. As we made our way through ancient fjords still covered in snow in June she asked me all about my life and travels and guys, I just lost it. I started sobbing and crying and telling her all the horrors of my former hosts and how I hadn't been able to do almost any of the sight seeing I wanted to do, and that my grandma had died barely a month ago, and on and on and on I went about how terrible the last three-five weeks of my life were. And she just listened and rubbed my arm and squeezed my hand and was just wonderful. I don't even know her name, but she was absolutely the one person I needed at that moment. I kept apologizing for the tears and she just smiled and said not to apologize, obviously I needed this.

The workshop view

Delicious soup and carrot bread and orange corn syrup free soda

Every couple of days this boat would be out in the harbour with a group of dudes in full Viking regalia. 

Black Licorice milkshake, yes indeed!


12:06 am

This was the first time I'd ever ridden a horse.





And then she started asking about me, Like she genuinely wanted to know all these details of my life. My family, my age, my birthday, what California was like, where had I gone to school. Normally I probably would have been super suspicious and assumed she was going to rob and murder me, but I answered all her questions and pretty soon I was laughing and telling her stories. She turned the cab meter off and took me to this absolutely beautiful Garden and told me the history of the place and made me drink the glacier water that streamed in amid the plants. It was a beautiful slice of heaven on earth and I completely forgot all the woes of the past week. We left and she asked me how old I was and I told her almost 27. She got all excited and started telling me how 27 was an absolutely magical year of life and I was obviously in for an even better one. We talked without ever stopping and I will never be able to send out enough thanks to that woman. She completely set the tone for the following week and God Bless her forever. She only charged me for half the ride and beyond that I will never be able to repay her kindness. Dear Icelandic Taxi Driver Lady With No Teeth, you are loved, missed, and forever in my heart!

Lovely Ladies I got to work with.


Succulents in Iceland...

The house in the little garden reminded me of the old Spanish Style buildings in CA.

That's a Whale Jaw. Yeah.


Lupine and Fjords

Thingeyri Chapel



The place I stayed at for the next 7 days was a coffee shop in a teeny tiny fishing village. The village still dried fish on ancient open air fish dryers, there were replica viking ships in the harbour, and I lived next door to the fish packing place. You guys, it was heaven on earth. I keep saying that about this place, but honestly it was absolutely remarkable. The building the coffee shop was in (and was also my host's house) was beautiful and perfectly Nordic. My time that week was divided between babysitting two little kids named Frida and Frosti (no joke you guys!), making waffles, serving coffee and soup, cleaning out a woodshed, riding Icelandic Horses, taking long walks along the harbour, making some really wonderful friends, meeting a fellow OSU Beaver (what?!), telling stories, cooking, eating amazing food, and finally feeling like I was on the adventure I'd hoped for.  It was just so wonderful.




A junkyard playground that was absolutely so cool!



One of these names is not like the others...

Nojoke,this wax figure looks exactly like my Norwegian grandmother and is also probably a picture of my future.

I actually ate whale and it is amazing.

'Murica

Perhaps my favourite thing I saw in all of Iceland.

"Californiu"

It means "cold." In Norwegian "fart" means "speed." 

Pizza and beer.

I almost gave up coffee for this stuff. So. Damn. Good!


I flew back to Reykjavik after a week and spent three days exploring and eating a lot of Pizza (?). The World Cup had begun, the sun never set and Reykjavik was just so cool. I didn't have time to do everything I wanted and I am determined to go back someday soon. The hostel I stayed at was super nice and I shared a room with three other American's and it was actually kind of nice to have a little time with "my own people" before heading on into the world. The best part was that one of my room mates told me she too was WWOOFing in Iceland. There are only two WWOOF hosts in Iceland, one on the west coast and one on the east coast. So I asked her which one, and it was the same one I had just escaped from! She told me all the things they had told her she would do, and it was the same lies I'd been given. Except she was supposed to be there for two months. I told her my experiences and she decided real quick like that she wasn't going to suffer through it all. Luckily when she arrived in Iceland her luggage had been lost and she had to stay at a B&B near the airport and befriended the son of the owners. He told her that if things didn't work out on the farm she was supposed to be at to call him because his grandparents lived further south and hired travelers to work their farm and restaurant during the summer. Seriously talk about luck!



Pancakes! Bacon! Grassfed Butter!
Frozen Hot Chocolate. Also, all the dishes were from IKEA.

I highly recommend this restaurant! Amazing pancakes, coffee, and burgers, and the prices aren't half bad!













"Hi guys, just got back from my perm. Are my cheeks rosey enough? Alright, let's do some Miracles." 
While I had been at the farm I did manage to get into Reykjavik one day and I spent the very few hours I had there going to the Icelandic Penis Museum. Yes, it was giggle inducing, but also pretty interesting! Hands down my favourite sight was Hallsgrimkirkja, complete with Swedish Jesus. It was absolutely beautiful!

On my way to Norway! Also it pays to wear Makeup on your plane ride if the guy checking you in is mega hot so he'll knock off a whole $20 from your overweight baggage charge.
So There you have it. Iceland. Oy. Ups and downs, learning, growing, it was a journey. One year ago today I woke early, drank my last Icelandic chocolate milk (srsly guys, so friggin good), and boarded a plane for Norway. I'll start covering Norway later this month. It will need far more than 2 posts!