David and I split on Friday, with me heading back to Bristol and him staying in London. We parted with little hanging around, a hug, a hive-five and a “stay safe”. I am not worried, as he will be seeing his mother in Paris in a week or so, and then we’ll reconvene in Amsterdam for Lindy Swop in a few weeks.
Myself? Well, first I went to Bristol to meet some long lost family: my great aunt Peggy, my second cousin Jane, her husband Ian and one of their sons, Laurence. I had a wonderful time and it was nice to spend at least one night in the comforts of a home with a home-cooked meal. (Plus, I finally got to experience an English breakfast, deliciously prepared by Jane.)
I’m sad I only got twenty-four hours and no pictures, but I do not believe that’s the last time I will see them. In fact, I plan on meeting at least one more member when I return to London next week!
But for now, I am in Oslo, Norway for a whole week visiting a friend who has so graciously opened his home to my things and me.
And let me tell you, Norway has no problem being breathtaking. Just the bus ride from the airport to Oslo was like seeing a nature photography book come to life.
Also: it is never dark here! After eating another delicious home cooked meal, this time courtesy of my wonderful host, Sean, it was 9 p.m. But outside, it looked like a gorgeous 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Monday morning, Sean went to work and I went about my morning leisurely before heading out into Oslo for some exploration. It’s quiet and peaceful. A very simple city, not as ornate as what I have come to expect from European cities. It’s kind of refreshing.
That evening, Sean showed me what Norwegian barbecue looks like in Frogner Park, which is decorated with this Norwegian artist’s statues. Honestly, I just loved the concept of the Norwegian barbecue. Basically you can purchase a disposable one for cheap and cook out in one of the city’s many parks.
Although, then all I could think of the reasons why Americans would somehow mess it up and make it illegal in the U.S.
The dinner itself was wonderful (even if we did forget small details like plates and more than one utensil each). After roaming around the statue park (but not taking many pictures due to quickly fading light), we headed back home, enjoying the wonderful Norwegian evening.
Tuesday, I took the metro up the mountain to experience more amazingly picturesque views. (Seriously, now I get why Norway is known for nature more than anything else.)
And then I got to experience the Oslo swing scene! First, there was a free solo jazz class taught by one of the Norweegies, followed by a DJ’d dance on a dock. Everyone was so friendly and it was so much fun. I met so many awesome people and had some amazing dances! Basically: Everyone needs to dance in Norway!
Afterwards, I got to meet some of Sean’s friends, Elin (a native Norwegian) and Francesca (from Italy), and with another American in tow, Alex from Dayton, OH, we went back to Sean’s place for an after-dance snack. Elin and Francesca prepared us a wonderful Norwegian meal. A simple dish of broccoli, fish and potatoes. But after traveling and eating when and wherever possible, it was a more than welcome site and I ate every bit of it.
My host, Sean, was also an organizer to Oslo City Blues gets Lucky, a blues workshop taught by, well, a guy named Lucky. And because Sean had to work, I volunteered to be a part of the party that would welcome Lucky to Oslo and keep him company until he could get settled at Sean’s place.
Of course, we had no idea when exactly he was arriving in the Oslo train station from the airport. Luckily (no pun intended), he found us!
We then spent the rest of the evening walking around Oslo with wonderful our Norwegian guide, Elin.
Friday was my second Norwegian BBQ, this time with Sean, Elin, Lucky and our new friends, Magnus. We went out to am island only give minutes away by ferry. We saw these ruins of a monastery from the 1100s and swimmers and fellow picnic goers and enjoyed each others’ company by the side of the fjord.
[Breathtaking pictures coming soon.]
The notes workshop started on Saturday in this building that Sean described to me where you could legally become a squatter. (I don’t know, that’s the most I got out of it.)
It was the best blues classes I have taken in a long time, if only because it was such a different approach to blues I was forced to reevaluate my dancing. I even got a private from Lucky. Again, very challenging, but in the most rewarding way.
A dinner preceded the party where Norwegians cooked Mexican and I ate so much I kind of hated myself for a few hours afterwards.
I really ended up bonding with Elin, Francesca and Maartje. (Not the Maartje from the Netherlands, but another sweetheart nonetheless. I am beginning to believe that all Maartjes are just beautiful people.)
Dream let me DJ first set of the blues party and I had a blast! Inspiring people to dance (any way) is so rewarding. I also experienced micro-blues for the first time. I definitely wouldn’t mind exploring that some more.
The party went on until 3 on the morning before the last stragglers left and we hobbled into our beds with smiles on our faces.
Sunday I had to leave with a heavy heart, saying goodbye to all my new friends who I just meet but felt like I have known forever. I do hope I will see them again. Maybe even return all the wonderful hospitality with my own.
Now I am back in London for one more week to follow up on some last minute details for the project before heading to Cyprus and visiting Fani!