I couldn't have done without.
So, I'd like to thank the academy -style monologues aside, today was just what I needed. Harald and I got up this morning, I made us both a nice hot breakfast and we headed into town to run some errands and spend some time together, just the two of us.
About an hour into our day together, he caught me grinning and beaming while just walking down the sidewalks, holding hands with him. When he asked me what I was so happy about, I replied honestly:
"Everything. It sounds corny and whatever, but right now, today, I feel the presence of such joy in my heart. I've missed that feeling. It's amazing..."
And wouldn't you know it, right after I said this, the church bells downtown starting chiming to the tune of "The Doxology" while we walked by.
The timing of the universe, right?
Today, I did some great things...some of which I managed to take pictures of to share on the blogosphere with you all before I enjoyed them fully...first on our list of stops in town today was a place I always feel at home, no matter what city or country I'm in...
The Haugesund public library...
The view from the second floor, where the English-language collection is that I patronize...
"Read! Read!" the sign implores you! (with the cute Valentine's display even...)
The super neat wall that begins the young adult section of the collection, which then feeds into the children's library. The word in red, in approximately the center is "love" for all you non-Weegies...
And the haul that followed said trip. I'm reading Catcher in the Rye again because I haven't read it since I was about 15 years old (that's closing up on ten years here, folks!) and don't think I really appreciated the glory that is Salinger then. Two of these just plain looked interesting, and the collection of stories edited by Jefferey Eugenides is something I've been waiting to track down for a while, neat huh?
After our library adventure (where I convinced Harald to find a book to read to...miracle!) we headed to my favorite cafe downtown to get my much coveted soy chai latte....this I did not get a picture of. I was too busy enjoying time with the Hubs and slurping it down to think about my camera. oops.
We then proceeded to stroll up and down the main drag in Haugesund; which was as hopping as a February Saturday afternoon could be, everyone bundled up and trying not to slip on the hard-packed ice over the cobblestones...we listened to a street musician with an accordion for a while (one of my personal favorites!), then popped over to a sale at a clothing boutique...now by now most of you are at very least aware of how expensive everything is in Norway if you don't live it on a day to day basis. So understandably, a good sale, we're talking not good by Norway standards, but just plain good, is reason to get excited and shop!
That being established, I managed to track down a pretty salmon-colored scarf, an LBD (little.black.dress, kids), a summery knit dress for wamer weather to come, and a lovely printed tunic all for...drumroll please:
225 NOK! (that's less than $40.00!)
Wowza. Even the MIL exclaimed when I showed her my finds and the receipt when we got home, because it was such a good deal.
After the boost one naturally gets from scoring a great deal on cute digs, the Hubs and I headed over to the butcher shop to see if we could dig up a kilo or two of raw bones for puppy treats. Not only did we end up with a nice big bag of ribs with gobs of marbled meat and creamy fat still on the bones, but the butcher sliced them up in managable pieces, packed them up properly, and gave them to us for free, since, as he explained; "I just throw them out anyway. Enjoy!"
(Our dogs are respectively in bone-induced comas at the moment, in case you were wondering how those items of the day were received.)
We managed to get Harald at spot at the hairdressers to tame his mane, popped up to the Asian grocery store and picked up supplies for making spring rolls (not sure how that will go, to be honest!), then headed home. Harald got what has to be the best looking haircut I've seen on him, and I got to make curried veggies and noodles before starting a V-day bakefest with my sister-in-law.
First though I had to go through a little driving lesson conducted by none other than the Hubs himself.
That's right folks, my very first time behind the wheel of a standard transmission car.
Shocking, and a little ridiculous that I've been driving for just shy of ten years and have never once attempted to drive anything other than a car with automatic transmission, I know. But now, I've made up my mind to learn so it's easier to get along here in the land of clutch-endowed vehicles. And damn if I don't wish I hadn't learned sooner...
Even though there was a fair amount of shrieking to be had by yours truly in that short hour of practice, I was assured that I did very well for being a stick-virgin (that just sounded dirty, didn't it?) and just needed to keep at it to really get comfortable.
I'm not going to lie to you all, this driving lesson while it did not put a damper on my overall great day, was still pretty stressful and slightly terrifying.
By the time we decided to call it quits for the day, I felt confident in my shifting while cruising along, but not at all with my ability to start and stop the movement of the car or transition into reverse without stalling out.
Clearly, I need more practice...
So, back to the bakefest that followed that interesting driving hour: in Norway, Mother's Day is also tomorrow, so we baked just over two dozen cupcakes, a batch that spell out God Mors Dag,(Happy Mother's Day) and a batch that spell out God V-Dag (Happy V-Day) with conversation hearts, a letter per cupcake. And during my tedious candy-letter-forming time, my SIL created some pretty damn adorable treats too...
After baking commenced, a group of us settled in and watched Moulin Rouge on television before we all went our separate ways towards bed, which brings us up to the moment for the day.
Like I mentioned before, today was just what the doctor ordered for yours truly. Even though it was filled with fairly mundane and ordinary events, the sequence and quality of them was just perfect, and renewed my sense of hope and joy that I some how lost track of earlier in the week.
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Remind your loved ones how much they mean to you, and enjoy your day, no matter how ordinary it might seem.