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10 Years Between Oslo

Kristin and I got married in Oslo 10 years ago. Since a decade doesn’t come around too often, we splurged and stayed at the same hotel we stayed at 10 years ago, Grand Hotel. Grand is very old, best known as the venue for the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, Obama stayed there as with other winners, and our room was a couple of doors down from the Nobel Suite. Read more

Happy Holidays!

When I was in high school and newly immigrated to America, I hated Christmas. It was a time when I would be reminded of being an immigrant, an outsider watching from afar while natives carry on their traditions inside the closed nuclei of their families. Read more

Heading to Civilization

Today we got up at 5:15 AM to catch a boat to Tonnes on mainland. It was a short trip on a fast boat, about half an hour. Then, we waited in a smelly hole in the wall for half an hour for our bus to Stokkvågen, another hole in the wall. We changed bus there and headed for Mo-i-Rana, the closest thing to civilization around us. Read more

The Sun’s Striptease

December 22, which is 4 days from now, is Winter Solstice. For those of us living north of the equator, it’ll be the shortest day of the year. For those of us living along the Arctic Circle, the sun will not rise above the horizon. On December 22, sunrise here will be at 11:37 am, and sunset will be at 12:25 pm, making a “day” of 48 minutes. In Boston on the same day, there’ll be 9 hours between sunrise and sunset.

So you ask, I thought sun doesn’t come up north of the Arctic Circle? Read more

Why Am I So Damned Busy?

A friend of mine wrote me a long email lamenting his lack of time, and he wrote that it’s not just him but it’s a chronic problem of our time:

“..As I drifted in and out of these conversations, I kept noticing how many times people said things like: “Oh yeah, I just wish we weren’t so busy,” or “We’d love to do more of this kind of thing, but there’s just never time, you know?”, or “life just moves to quickly,” “or life just gets in the way and pretty soon five years have gone by.”

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How to Buy Happiness

When we walked by the graveyard one day, Marcus said, “you know, when you die, there is no more life. So you have to have a good life.” Very thoughtful and wise for a 6-year-old. Unless you believe in afterlife with total certainty, happiness is in fact the end game. Someone else can have more money, more power, more friends — whatever — but all that means nothing if you can convincingly say that you’re happier. Read more

Fishing with the Pros

Two days ago, I went fishing on a real fishing boat! Our next door neighbor Ove and his friend Kjell took me and another foreign resident, Pawel, to get out for a few hours on Kjell’s boat. Read more