Monday, November 07, 2011

One month!

This post was supposed to be up on Saturday, but I just didn't get around to it. I tend to become lazier than usual over the weekends - it's weird, I know! 

We made it through our first month in Stavanger! We are enjoying our time here, and are slowly getting used to the city and to living in Europe  - I have to pinch myself every time I say that, just to make sure I am not dreaming! The first few weeks we were here, everything seemed dream-like - it was as if we were not part of the city life, and were looking over it from above. It was almost like an out of body experience. That has changed now. Now, we feel like we belong here, like we are part of the city, and that we can call it home. And Stavanger is a very welcoming town. Almost everyone speaks English and are generally patient with you, when they find out that you don't speak Norwegian. There is a fairly large expat community that is very active, and very helpful. There is even a small Indian community in town. The mass transit system is great, and one doesn't need to drive anywhere. And most importantly, everyone here seems for the most part, happy and contended with their lives. Maybe it's because they live in a beautiful town with so much to do (when it is not raining that is), or it could be because of the oil revenues that the city rakes in, or because of the socialized health care system, or because the country has consistently been ranked in the top five countries to be a woman in (this year, according to the World Economic Forum, it is ranked number 2*). Whatever it is, I hope it rubs off on us :-)

We do get homesick sometimes. Funny, how the idea of home is so amorphous and malleable for people like us - Mr. Sunshine once called our lifestyle a nomadic one. Any place can become home. Both of us have families in India, so home is rightfully where our parents are, but lately when I think of home, I think of Houston. Where Mr. Sunshine and I set up our first home together, where we forged some of our strongest friendships, and where we discovered our love for Mexican food. We miss being able to go to Kroger at 7 PM to pick up wine for dinner. Wine in Stavanger can only be sold by one retailer, which closes shop at 5 PM on weekdays, and 3 on the Saturdays. Everything is closed on Sundays. Even grocery stores. We miss being able to drive to Walmart at 4 in the morning to pick up suitcases, or bikes, or whatever one would need at 4 AM. We miss the array of cheap, but oh-so-delicious ethnic food that Houston has to offer. Most importantly we miss our friends, who made our time in Houston so much more fun. We miss you, come see us soon! 

Ms. and Mr. Sunshine

Hausmann, RicardoLaura D. Tyson and Saadia Zahidi. 2011. " The Global Gender Gap Report 2011" World Economic Forum Report, available at


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