26 April 2009

Venner [friends]

I'm surrounded by such a wonderful group of friends already here in Oslo. Here are a few:Ane & Michael all dolled up on the way to Michael's brother's wedding.

Ane & David in Åsegata on a beautiful spring afternoon.

Karin, a pretty Swede in the sunshine.

Silje & a delicious pizza.

25 April 2009

24 April 2009

Velkommen til Oslo

_enter Norway
My first weeks in Norway have brought me so much joy. Moving in with friend, former classmate and Valle scholar Ane Tolfsen and friend Michael Nordtomme have made the transition to living in a new country almost too flawless. Daily I look out the west facing windows in our Åsengata apartment to the hill of Holmenkollen and feel thankful to live in such a comforting, amenable place.


Entering Norway as spring comes into bloom, I am struck by a certain similarity to Seattle: the city sits within, or is nestled into, the landscape beautifully. In Oslo, as in Seattle, I feel an integration with the landscape- rather than the urban environment opposing or simply observing a fantastic landscape. The landscape is at once dominating and subtle in Oslo, as in Seattle. Sitting in the courtyard of my functionalist apartment building I come across this passage, Unfolding Oslo, in the Arkitekturtriennale Oslo #1 2000:

‘Cities have normally been defined in opposition to landscape; enclosed, bounded, limited, intensive opposed to open and extensive. Does the city need to be distinct from the landscape; can a city become a landscape? The landscape and hinterlands define what it is to live in Oslo, to ski to work from one’s house for example, or to take a ferry across the fjord. It is not difficult to imagine Oslo as both an inhabited landscape or as a city.’

This passage hits on the feeling I have here: ‘the landscape and hinterlands define what it is to live in Oslo’. The cit
y seems to lack the feeling of an urban environment laid over landscape. The open space within the city seems sort of effortless, sometimes unintentional and forgotten. This may bother some, but to me it represents what happens everywhere humans have not touched, or have ceased to control.

Downtown Oslo and the Oslo fjord from Nordmarka.
Park near my apartment in Torshov.

The view from our apartment, Åsengata 40.