Thursday, June 28, 2012

Outdoor Play / Hakkebakkeskogen

This week a good friend of mine visited with her daughters, and we went to see an outdoor play: Hakkebakkeskogen. The play is written by Thorbjørn Egner, one of Norways most known children's authors. The story is about a group of animals who decide to take action to stop the "eating of one another", so that everybody can live in peace and be safe.
It was published as a children's book in 1955, and it has been read and played over and over ever since. In our small town, it has become a summer tradition to perform this play in the city park, and it's a huge hit.  It's a "wandering" show, which means that spectators move to a new spot in the park for every scene. This creates lots of suspense and fun for the kids, who rush after the actors to be on the front row.
Gjøvik Sommerteater, with its producer/director, musician and actors, do a great job.  They have slightly changed the text to suit the local dialect, and there is lots of humor that only the adult spectators understand... Kids and grown-ups have a fun time! And, even if it rains, it doesn't matter, because it's summer, it's warm, and as Norwegians, we dress accordingly to weather :-)
Jeg hadde nettopp besøk av en god venninne og døtrene hennes.  Vi fikk med oss Hakkebakkeskogen på Gjøvik Gård, noe jeg vil anbefale til alle som har mulighet. Thorbjørn Egners historie om dyra som bestemmer seg for å få slutt på "at man spiser hverandre". Det lages en lov som gjør at alle kan leve i fred og være trygge. 
Stykket spilles to ganger om dagen til og med 1. juli. Forestillingen er lagt opp som et vandreteater, hvor vi flytter oss til stadig nye steder i parken. Både barn og voksne har det gøy, for her er replikker og humor lagt på flere nivå!
Se Gjøvik Sommerteater for mer informasjon.

The baker - hare and his apprentice 
Bakermester Harepus (Leif Anders Wenzel) og bakergutten (Janka Stensvold Henriksen) 

The mean fox 
Mikkel Rev (Marianne Steinsrud)

Grandma Mouse  
Bestemor skogmus (Hans Esben Gihle) 

Grandma Mouse (with the hat on)
Bestemor Skogmus (med hatten på)

Kids enjoying the show!

Mrs Bear  
Bamsemor ( Linda Renate Lauritzen Fossen)

Everybody rushing to the next scene (Morten Mouse's house)
Alle løper til neste scene (Morten Skogmus' hus)

Mr Bear
Bamsefar (Leif Anders Wenzel)

Lots of fun and suspense!
Dette er gøy, og spennende!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Picture of the day: Baby Girl

Looking into old pictures these days.  This is my first baby, about 7 months old, 
and the photo was taken 15 years ago.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Last day of school

My two eldest children, 12 years ago.
Well, yes.  Today was the very last day of this school year, and I'm in that strange happy-sad mood that comes with thinking about time passing by... I can't believe how much these children change in so short a time span.  It feels like yesterday when I was a new mother, and last night I attended the nice, festive and somewhat melancholic graduation for my eldest daughter, who has now finished 10 years of school. How is that possible?
The day before it was pretty much the same at  my eldest son's graduation from primary school (7 years).
They were nicely dressed up for the occasion, she in traditional, national costume, and he in his black suit, and they both looked so grown up...
Each of them played the piano in front of everybody at their seremony, and I was so  proud, listening to their music and the following applause.
Teachers, students and parents held speeches,flowers and diplomas were given on stage, and there were lots of hugs, and a few tears here and there...
For my two youngest children, there is just the end of a school year and the beginning of a long summer holiday, but for these two, an era is over, and another one is about to start in a few months.
By the end of August, I'll have one child in high school, on in junior high, one in primary and one in preschool. Different stages of life, but all of them still under my wings for a few more years.
Life really is short.
And childhood even more so.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Picture of the day: Norwegian countryside

Early summer in the Norwegian countryside. Picture taken about a month ago, through the car window.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Picture of the day: Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde, the large open space in the heart of Paris. It was designed as the "Place Louis XV" and later renamed,  it was were the Guillotine stood during the French Revolution of 1789, and since 1836 it has the Egyptian obelisk in its center.
The square has beautiful fountains, fancy street lights and it's framed by big statues representing important French cities.
To the west of the square, the entrance of the famous Champs Elysées street, and to the east, the Tuileries Garden leading to the Louvre museum.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Book Review: Métronome by Lorant Deutsch

Another French book on my "TBR mountain", the reading challenge I'm doing this year: Métronome by Lorant Deutsch, published in 2009.
I picked up this one in Saint-Etienne last year, because I wanted to learn more about the history of Paris, France.  I didn't know anything about the book or the author, just thought it was a great idea, to tell the history of Paris, through selected Metro (subway) stations. There are 20 chapters, one for each century since the beginning of our era.
The knowledge of this man is incredible.  He is truly passionate about Paris, and he is able to transmit this to his readers.
It's  not a typical history book,  and he omits the most obvious, the stories you probably already have heard.  On the other hand, you get a lot of anecdotes, interesting facts and funny details about the city, and he tells us where to look for those remaining bricks, walls, even buildiings, that most people just pass  without knowing the story behind them...
This book was entertaining to read, but also very informative and useful to me, as I'm planning new group trips to Paris. 
As for now, I don't know that there exists an English translation. Hopefully there will be one!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Picture of the day: The Louvre

The Louvre Museum in Paris. I took the picture on Good Friday this year, and the view is seen from the Sully wing, towards the Tuileries Garden and The Champs Elysées. During my time at the Ecole the Louvre (the Louvre School), I spent lots of time, almost daily, wandering around  the different galleries, and when I go to Paris, I usually pay a visit to this amazing building, the world's largest museum, which used to be the Royal Palace of Paris.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Book Review: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

I recently read this 2010 novel by Nicholas Sparks, one of my favorite authors.  
It is about Katie, a mysterious woman who suddenly moves to a small town in North Carolina. There are lots of questions surrounding her.
Why is she here? What did she leave? Why is she all alone?  
She slowly builds new relationships, with her somewhat strange neighbor Jo, the storeowner Alex, two young children, but she won't let anybody in on her big secret.
The novel treats the theme of domestic abuse, and it does so in a way that we are pulled into the story, and towards the end, you won't be able to put down the book, just as it usually is with Nicholas Sparks' books.

The novel is part of my "Mount TBR Reading Challenge".

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: Mandela by Peter Hain

Author Peter Hain grew up in South Africa, born to anti-Apartheid parents, who were banned from the country and had to flee to England when Hain was still a young boy.  He continued the struggle in England, and he has written numerous books on South Africa and Apartheid. 
One year after visiting South Africa for the first time, I've finally read the book I picked up there: Mandela by Peter Hain, published in 2010. (The book is on my Mount TBR reading challenge list.)
It's an extremely well written biography, and on the same time it's a book that provides invaluable information on the culture, history and politics of Nelson Mandela's South Africa .
I won't even try to make a blog post about this amazing man, this highly educated and sophisticated man who spent his life fighting against injustice and segregation. I couldn't, I wouldn't know where to start and what to leave out.  But, I'll say this: What amazes me the most about this man, is not his career or the way he was able to sustain  27 year of imprisonment and then become the president of his nation.   No, what makes me admire him the most,  is how he was able to forgive those who tortured and kept him locked up, those who suppressed and killed his people. He learned the Afrikaans language, the language spoken by a large group of the white population in South Africa, he spent a lot of time in jail reading their literature, their poetry, their history.  He wanted to understand them, and he was able to understand them and also forgive them.  When he became president, or, in fact years before, he decided that the new South Africa had to be built on the spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness, not the spirit of revenge. He acknowledged that they were all South Africans, no matter the color or mother language, and he truly understood that the country needed them all.
He was able to gain the trust and respect from not only the black South Africans, but also from the white minority, as they fully understood what a grand man he truly is. 
Well, all this is wonderfully portrayed in this book, and even though I well remember the days of "Free Nelson Mandela" and the moment he was released from prison, it's almost like I never got any of it, not until now. When I read about him taking the wows as South Africa's president, well, I cried. 
And, I'm happy that I got to see several of the now historic places last year, from Mandela's own house in Soweto, to the former prison in Johannesburg, now South Africa's Constitutional Court and the new Freedom Park in Pretoria, built to honor South Africans of all races and of all times. 
Peter Hain should continue his work, write and talk, because knowledge has to be nurtured in this noisy, superficial world, and history has to be continously retold to the new generations, so that we learn from it and move on in a better direction. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Venus of Milo

Venus of Milo  is by far the most known statue of the Louvre Museum in Paris, and definitively one of the world's most famous as well. The slightly larger-than-life statue was discovered in the sea outside the Greek island of Milos in 1820. She was probably made around year 100 BC
There are many reasons to why she has become so famous.  One of them, and the most important by my opinion, is that we're talking about a real, original Greek marble statue.  Most of the marble statues we know of from the classical period are not originals, but Roman copies, made up to several hundred years later. Most classical Greek sculptures were made of bronze, not marble, and when the Romans  conquered Greece, they made marble copies of many of the statues, before  the originals were melted and turned into weapons. Well, Venus, or rather Aphrodite of Milo is one of these very rare originals we can still enjoy from ancient Greece. You should  go and see her if you're ever in Paris. And, don't really mind the crowds.  Just see her, and then move on.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Picture of the Day: Summer in Norway

Last Sunday, by the lake Mjøsa.  The beach was still empty, since most people hadn't realized that summer was already here, in May, which is sort of early for Norway. My daughter is enjoying the warm sand on the beach, and a little bit later, after the picture was taken, she went swimming in the lake.