Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We spent Christmas in Denmark, and it went by way too fast, the way it often is with vacations. Silja had a blast hanging out with all her many big and small cousins, and I suppose that was the greatest gift for me this time around. Somebody need to invent a travel machine, so it's possible to go instantly back and forth between places: Snap we are Vienna, snap checking in for coffee in Fredericia and snap dinner with the grand parents in Reykjavik... Imagine that. Till that is taken care of, we'll continue to treasure those kinds of moments with extra care as they are long in between for us.
Due to the upcoming craziness of thesis deadline, packing and moving us and our stuff halfway across the world, this trip was more quiet than usual (I didn't see any old friends as I normally do, but we are coming back in April on our way to Boston, and count me in for a date then if you happen to read this!) but it was great with a little breather.
We came back to Wien late last night with a little one who started throwing up in the middle of the night, a messy apartment, a library late fee and stacks of papers waiting to be 'dealt with'. Bvaah. Every day life again -- which is not that bad after all, it's just the transition from fun days together with dear ones to that everyday jumble. We have spent the day scrubbing the place down, which all of a sudden has a strange temporary feel to it now that we are past Christmas. We got three months left in Vienna.

A very belated merry Christmas to you. Glædelig jul/Gleðileg Jól!

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Advent Calender

Isn't it lovely? We got one work day left on Monday, and then it's vacation time, and boy are we counting down!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Punsch oder Melange?

Vienna is absolutely stunning at Christmas time. We walked through the city center Saturday afternoon and opted for the less crowded side streets and ended up in a local coffee house with music and cake and melange. So very Viennese!

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Monday, December 5, 2011


Last week our little Wiener kid said her first word in German: Nein!

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Freitag, Samstag

Watching Elf Friday night and two little half Danes making cookies Saturday afternoon. This weekend is oozing of Christmas, and it's an awfully nice end to a busy week.
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

And so it begins

My christmas mood has steadily been building up over the past couple of weeks, and although it's a bit sooner than when I usually allow myself to start, I pulled the box with Christmas decorations out this weekend, and welcomed little nisser, angels and glitter to our home. And my Christmas happy self was very pleased to attend the Swedish Christmas bazaar this weekend, where we enjoyed Glögg and the Lucia procession with beautiful Swedish music in company with new Danish/German friends. (I love the Swedish language, and wish I was not so hopelessly bad in understanding it).
Happy first of advent.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

People and Cafes

Some of the people whom I met with this week included an American behavioral therapist, a French campaign manager and a Greek researcher. They had asked me to meet them at different cafes in town, so that I could interview them on issues related to my thesis. All three places were new to me and completely different in style and atmosphere. Weidinger Cafe is an old smoky coffee house, which interior (and clientele?) hasn't changed for the past 30 years or more. It was like stepping into a time warp. I took a picture on my phone because I was so stunned. The following day I went to Cafe Gaga:rin, which played loud electronics and served a lunch plate with vegan, organic food based on the pay as you wish principle (and it was goood!). The third meeting happened on the more mainstream Point of Sale near Naschmarkt.
I know very little about the people I meet beforehand, but to sit there and wait for them at places they have suggested I suppose say a great deal of them already. People and cafes could totally be an anthropological study on its own. And that of course also made me think which cafe I would suggest if I were in that situation. I probably would choose this one... Which cafe [are] you?
Judging people based on their choice of cafe is obviously quite simplistic. I think all three selected the place because of its proximity to either work or home. Nevertheless the city is full of coffeehouse, cafes and bars, so why those particular ones? I'm intrigued.

I still need to find one more man to interview. If you happen to know someone, perhaps you can pass the information on. I'd be happy to pick the cafe, or just show up without being too judgmental. I promise.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011


"There is no better way to understand just how amazing humans are than the front row seat a child gives you to observe it all unfold from scratch each and every day, from literal square zero. Children give the first four years of your life back to you."
Currently phones and hats (in various forms) are hot hot stuff...

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Glühwein

It's the season for steaming Glühwein and toasted chestnuts, and it's uuhh so cozy. The first Christkindlmarkts opened today, and we stopped by the one at Altes AKH and snacked our way through brezerls, samosas, amazing Tyrollean pastry (which name I forgot) and toasted in Glühwein and hot chocolate to stay warm. You might as well make the most of it, when you're there... (And I had a carrot for dessert when we came home.)

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Monday, November 7, 2011


Today is a good day. I finished my oral exam (which involuntarily got postponed by a week), and can now focus on getting this thesis done. A splash of color to celebrate. These days I'm drinking a lot of coffee with the nicest, most interesting expats and listen to their stories of living in Vienna. It gives me a lot reflect upon in terms of our own current and future situation.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today is a national holiday in Austria, and so this afternoon we packed a bag with bread for the ducks, home-made peanut butter cookies and tea for us and ventured out to my favorite park in Vienna out in the 18th district, Türkenschanzpark. If you are in Vienna, and have not already been there you need to go! I love the hilly landscape and all the different trees, which looks spectacular all together during fall.
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Family and Fall

Just a real quick post about the latest here. Silja thankfully recovered quite quickly, and Bjarni was able to change his return flight and came back five days before planned (relief!). He was celebrated with balloons, strawberry cake, and two happy family members who had missed him, upon his return.
Having our little unit complete again and not dealing with all that dissertation craziness, things are returning to normal, which is GREAT! I am currently trying to catch up on my studies, preparing for next week's exam, while the other two are having a laid back time; I came back the other afternoon to a completely quiet apartment. I suppose jetlag goes well with a little one, who is still a little more tired than usual after being sick.

On a different note fall in Vienna is looking its most beautiful at the moment. Despite the gloomy weather all the different colors are absolutely stunning.

That's it for now. Happy Weekend!

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frauen Power

I came across the Frauen Power tea in a store recently, and bought it sort of jokingly to be prepared for two weeks home alone, while Bjarni is in LA. We got another week to go, and it's gone pretty smooth thus far, except today Silja is sick. Again. Ugh! This is the 3rd time in two months. Last time was otitis, and now it seems like some virus is being passed around in Kindergarten. Poor little kid! She's been tied to my hip today. We tried to make a collage with the free stickers you now get at the local grocery store, when I ran out of other hip- and fever friendly things to do. It turned out to be a project more for the mommy though (who nevertheless got into it..)
When not ill, she is currently busy finding and trying on her cousins' pink shoes that have been handed down to her. They almost fit now. I hope she's into pink shoes again tomorrow; otherwise I definitely need more Frauen Power.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Vilhjalmsson

After five years and a LOT of hard work, Bjarni defended his dissertation at USC yesterday. Because of our move to Austria he has not and will not participate in the university's commencement ceremony, which is a darn shame, but if he would it would look something like this.

(This is actually our good friend Rehana a couple of years back, which explains the sort of long hair on Bjarni...)

Two weeks of single parenting, preparing for an oral exam and doing thesis related fieldwork all at once is not giving me much time to reflect on this mile stone in his and our lives, but it has been a strange turning point in our lives for the past couple of years and I feel strange not to address that briefly now that this "chapter" comes to an end.

It was the PhD that made me leave my home country and embark on a life style abroad, which I have grown to appreciate immensely. Moving to the US additionally resulted in us getting married way sooner than I would otherwise have anticipated. Obviously a PhD is a document and a title, which is the fruit of Bjarni's hard labor -- and I'm truly amazed by the effort and commitment it has taken on his part -- and I suppose in addition to that, on a more personal level, it has been a process of lots of very big decisions between the two of us, and managing new lives in US and Austria having mainly each other to rely on. And so I'm a woman with a lot more experience and insight (and possibly a few grey hairs?) thanks to this fancy new title of my husband.

I remember when I in 2006 got my passport back from the American embassy in Denmark with a visa valid till 2011, and that seemed so far away in the future. Well, here we are now. Closing this chapter and starting a new one.

Cheers to my clever and admiringly ambitious husband!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Lately (according to my phone)

Sometimes at night when we take a break from working/studying, we end up searching for apartments in Boston. Mostly to get a feel for the different neighborhoods, and what apartments in our price range look like. Bjarni can get subsumed in Google maps/Google Earth, and have to show me bike trails, playgrounds, distances from here to there and what not. Three minutes into the map explorations I'm lost, and start doing other things, like playing around with my phone and Instagram (pretending I'm still paying attention..). Although I'm not the most dedicated person to examine and prepare for a new place in that way, it's kind of crazy how one can prepare. We can for example find an apartment ad online with an address, go to Google street view and "walk down" the street to see how the surroundings look like in that particular area, although we are practically sitting on the other side of the world. Pretty neat, I think.
Today was proof-reading of Bjarni's dissertation and tending to a kid with fever. Again. She was put to bed tonight fever-free, so fingers crossed, it'll stay that way tonight and tomorrow.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Silja. In Motion.

I was filming Silja a little bit throughout the day yesterday, initially to show my sister Helle her walking around, but got a little carried away when I was sitting with all the little pieces at the computer, and decided to combine them all, so that our families in both Denmark and Iceland can get a feel for her current state of being, since it's going so super fast. So here she is, 14 months and on a constant move.

(Music by Mae: A melody, a memory)

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Impromptu Picnic

Bjarni's dissertation writing mode has gone into its final week of craziness. Oh, and are we all counting down for this to be done with now. For a while we have been on a tight and calculated schedule of you-take-the-kid-so-I-can-get-this-done and vice versa, leaving very limited time for all of us to do something together. So when Bjarni called yesterday, to see if we should pick up Silja together that was a sure yes from my side, and resulted in an impromptu picnic on our way home, on her little napping blanket, we were bringing home to wash. Half an hour together by the Donau Kanal with cakes and a happy kid and I think we are good to go for this last week. Bring it on!
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Inside Outside

Pictures from the weekend that started out with a sick kid with fever, which resulted in staying indoors and an Italian cake baking project with fresh figs that turned out amaazing, and ended with a healthy baby (yay!) and a trip to the park.
And PS. I'm still dreaming of hammocks... We are currently discussing whether or not the hammock project would work in Boston. To ship or not ship a hammock?

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