Thursday, 28 June 2012

Saturday after TriLoppet we went for a walk at a gay parade/festival in Loring Park. Afterward we went to "The Strip Club" in St. Paul for steaks to celebrate the announcement of Michael's new job. 

Sunday was wonderful as well, we started out with bread rolls from a bakery - that could almost with Danish ones - , orange juice, coffee, and Mads og Monopolet. Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful! After breakfast we biked to Fort Snelling and back. On our way we passed a Swedish Midsommer event in Minnehaha Park, had fish tacos in the shade and went on towards Fort Snelling. Spent some time there and then biked back along Minnehaha Creek.
Our 46 km trip
Lock and Dam No 1, 13 km
Historic Fort Snelling, 22 km

After 35 km I was getting tired and impatient to be home -
 a pit stop at a beach on Cedar Lake at 42 km helped a bit.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Work cultural clash, short remarks

So a couple of weeks ago we were out with a German girl, she has been here 3 years and as her visa expires she'll have to leave by the end of July. She is a teacher so she has vacation now and will be traveling in July. She was telling us how her boyfriend who lives in Germany was not able to come visit her because his company does vacation 3 weeks in August and he thus is not able to get time off any other time during the summer. Our (or my) response to that was ‘Oh my God,that is sooo crazy! How can that be? How can they force him to take three weeks of vacation in August? That is terrible! I could not live with that” etc. etc..
Then on Friday night we went to one of my colleague’s home to have dinner with her and her husband and Carrie and her husband. There we learnt that Americans have two weeks of vacation A YEAR and that it, many places, is frowned upon to take both weeks (or any vacation at all)… I guess the German way does not sound so bad compared to that… I am amazed that this is reality in the States. Even though Michael is a little more understanding (I guess we do reduce productivity or effectively during June, July, and August as we all take turns going on vacation), I do not think he would want it any other way (at least not the American way).

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Tri Loppet

Saturday Michael participated in TriLoppet: 8 km canoe or kayak, 5 km run, and 8 km mtb. It was a last minute thing: a friend's canoe partner hurt her shoulder and decided on Thursday that she wasn't racing Saturday. Michael, of course, was up for the challenge. I acted as photographer, key, phone, and money holder. At least 7 people from the orienteering club participated and there were a couple of other spectators as well. 

We were out kayaking with Justin and Molly (who should have raced together) last weekend and then Michael was out with Justin on Thursday, but that was about it for training before the race. Nevertheless Michael and Justin were the 6th boat (i.e. 10 people before them) out of the water after about 40 minutes. After the 5 km Justin was down to no. 5 and Michael 6. On the mountain bike Justin passes another couple of people and finishes second. One other guy finishes and I see Michael being passed by a guy without t-shirt on the last hill 50 meters before the finish line. Michael is the 5th to finish, however the 3rd was a relay (i.e. not in the same competition), and it turns out that the jerk who passed Michael (after he'd drafted behind Michael the last part of the course) had been skipping corners so he was disqualified and thus Michael was 3rd overall… Wooohooo! (I am so not surprised, but still very proud). 

Minutes before the mstart
The start
Synchrone strokes (most of the time)
Getting tired...

Justin and Michael, out of the water, the 5 km begins with an uphill. 

Michael at the finish line
Justin and Michael

Friday, 22 June 2012

Walker Art Center

Thursday nights there is free admission to Walker Art Center, a contemporary museum on the other side of Loring Park (i.e. 7 min walk from our place). Also their resto is open for dinner, serving small fancy creative platters. We went there yesterday, had a nice light dinner, toured the museum and their sculpture gardens and had a dessert on the balcony with a view of Downtown. 

Dinner with a view
Sculpture garden-flowers...
Coffee and dessert with the Basilica in the background.  
A fountain in Loring Park

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A phone call and a postcard

Today is the longest day of the year - and my dad's birthday - Tillykke Farmand! 

Yesterday I got this postcard from my parents, I love it and miss it !!! I thanked my dad when I called him earlier to congratulate him on his birthday, he had no idea he had sent me a card ;-D Thanks mum ;-D

An American Pig Farm and the 'European way of eating'...

3 day old piglets

Amy, Sam, Carrie, and I
Friday I visited a pig farm with Carrie, Amy, and Sam from MDH. It was very interesting – the piglets were sooo cute!!!

Afterwards we had lunch in a nearby town. Here I learnt that there is an ‘American way of eating’ a well as a ‘European way of Eating’… I never knew. The girls told me that Americans apparently eat as Danish children do…. They cut their food as we would do: knife in the right hand and the fork in the left, but then they put the knife down, move their fork from the left to the right hand and eat with only their fork… If they then need to cut some more, they move the fork back to the left hand, pick up the knife, cut, put it down again, move the fork back to the right hand and continue eating… Very weird! I have never noticed this! I forgot to ask if eg. Obama would eat like that as well – or if he eats the European - and more sophisticated – way. 

Ethiopian dinner

Wednesday evening we had a ’post-trip-dinner’ with five of the people we went to Boundary Waters with. We went to an Etiopian resto on Snelling avenue in St. Paul. Amazing place. Exciting with exotic food. We shared this tasting platter with Jamal and Kim. There is no cutlery, you just eat your food by scooping it up with the bread/pancake-ish thing on the smaller plate on the left in the picture. 

Visit from Denmark

Last weekend Bente and Hans came to visit. It was great to see some familiar faces again. We went to a rooftop resto for dinner and drinks – steak, sushi, and not very impressive mojitos. Afterwards we showed them Downtown Minneapolis from a cycle taxi…

Saturday we went to the weekly Farmer’s market, walked the stone arch bridge, visited the Mill City Museum, and went to the balcony of the Guthrie Theater. It was 30+ degrees and awful. 

For lunch we bought a bunch of things from a grocery store and made a picnic in the shade near Cedar Lake. 

The city was teeming with life and free activities that weekend and that evening we went to a blues (and barbecue) festival and another festival with many different venues scattered all over the city, we went to the Stone Arch Bridge and saw a ‘psychedelic parade’. 

Sunday we had breakfast at French Meadow on Lyndale and later, after Michaels parents had left, Michael and I went to a street festival on Lyndale Avenue. It was 38 degrees though, and thus impossible (for me) to be outdoor. We therefore fled to the movie theatre to get some a/c. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Laura's adventure

The day after our trip to Boundary Waters I went to Boston with Karen. We arrived a bit before noon on Tuesday and Karen showed me the city, we went on the Freedom Trail, the Public Library, Beacon Hill and tons of other stuff. The city was old(er than what I am used to in Minneapolis) and beautiful. Tuesday night we went out with some of Karen’s friends. 

Wednesday I visited Harvard, Fenway, and explored the city on my own, Wednesday evening we went out with Karen’s colleagues. Thursday afternoon I took the bus to New York and checked in at a Hostel on West 55th street between 9th and 8th avenue, close to Central Park. WOW! Just the cap ride from the bus stop to the hostel… Amaazing!

Next day was busy, ticked a lot of this off my list: Central Park, Rockerfeller Tower, Times Square, Ground Zero, Brooklyn Bridge, Staten Island Ferry, and The Statue of Liberty, pyvh… The day ended around 4 am with dinner and clubbing with Nancy and friends.. Pyyyyvh… I only had 3 days in New York, so I woke up at 8, had breakfast in Central Park with one of my roommates and then I went to the UN to see Ban-Ki Moon (he was not there though), Tompkins Square Park to have a slice of pizza, see art, and listen to music, and then I headed towards Soho - which I would not recommend if you are freaked/agry’d out about too many people. After an hour or so of napping Nancy came and we went back to the Tompkins Square area and had a late dinner and a drink.

Saturday ended early Sunday morning so I didn’t wake up until late Sunday (i.e. 10ish), I checked out and went to Harlem where I found a nice café with live music where I had a cappuccino and a good time! Then lunch with Nancy at Shake Shack and then I took the bus towards Washington DC where Vicky waited for me. We had a late dinner at a Mexican place and then she walked me to her friend’s place where I would stay. I ran out of money Sunday evening at the Mexican resto both on my credit card and on my phone so Monday morning I spent a while trying to get my phone up and running again. When that was all sorted out I went to the Mall, had lunch with Vicky at the Indian American Smithsonian, then we rented bikes and toured the Mall: Washington Monument, the White House, Lincoln memoriam, Korean War Memorial, Thomas Jefferson memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial, World War II memorial and then we went to Arlington Cemetery. I had dinner near Dupont Circle and afterwards I took the bike down to the White House and the rest of the Mall to see the monuments at night. Tuesday was my 2nd and last day, I went to Georgetown where I had a cupcake, a macchiato, and went shopping with Vicky. Afterward we cycled toward the White house and had the best crapcake at the Old Ebbitt. Then a short visit to the Holocaust museum and then I had to leave for the airport…

White House

Nancy and I
Dancing (and filming) at a Lebanese club in NY

Breakfast at Paramount in Boston

Blueberry beer at BeerWorks near Fenway Park

Frozen margaritas with Karen and co. in Boston
Nice lunch café near Harvard

Beautiful public gardens near Fenway
Cannoli, a must have from North End, Boston

Another must-have in Boston: New
England Clam Chowder

New York:


Friday, 1 June 2012