Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Julebord (Christmas Party) Roundup!

Since we had our last two Christmas parties this past weekend, I figured it was a good time to do a Julebord (Christmas Party) Round-up to remember them all.

The season kicked off with Jason's work group Christmas party right after our Expat American Thanksgiving (read here). The following weekend, Dec. 7-9 we tackled three Christmas parties in three nights.

The first we had was my ConocoPhillips Subsurface Christmas Party. The event took place on a boat (bust into song - "I'm on a boat!") in the Stavanger harbor.

The managers kicked off the evening by wearing bathrobes and singing a specially written song for everyone. There was a Norwegian heritage behind the white bathrobes (something about a little girl in white maybe, I can't recall). It was pretty entertaining!

Jason got to meet a lot of my coworkers and we enjoyed visiting with all of them and having our first traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner - pinnekjøtt (salted and dried, smoked lamb ribs), kålrotstappe (mashed rutabaga sometimes mixed with carrots and/or potatoes), and riskrem (rice porridge mixed with cream and served with a red berry sauce). They also served fish soup which was delicious, but everyone told us it's highly unusual to serve fish soup and pinnekjøtt together...

After dinner they did the traditional men's and women's toasts. A man gets up and speaks for a bit to toast the women followed by a woman doing the same to toast for the men. Both speeches were very funny and we enjoyed them!

We stayed and visited with some of my coworkers after dinner until it was time to head back to our apartment. Here our some of the girls in my work group  (the lighting wasn't very good unfortunately) and our beautiful walk home to the apartment.

The following evening Jason had another Christmas dinner, but for employees only with another work group. He was under strict instructions to take pictures. You can see from below how well he took my instructions. ;-)

Sunday night we had a less formal julebord with some of our expat friends and a few locals. Siri, a Norwegian, volunteered to teach Erica how to make pinnekjøtt and the rest of us brought other traditional side dished to go along with the meal.

Our pinnekjøtt that evening was much less salty and we enjoyed it a bit more than Friday night's. Jason and I tackled making the kålrotstappe and riskrem. I give us a B+ on our efforts. And it was my turn to fail at picture taking. I got a couple - of the empty dishes after everyone had eaten. Guess they thought our efforts still tasted pretty good!

That Tuesday, Dec. 11 Jason attended another Christmas Party with the North Sea Baptist Men's Group. It worked out well that I had the Norwegian Christmas Traditions cooking making event that same night (read here).

That next weekend we attended the ConocoPhillips contractor Christmas party. Basically, most of the vendors that we use on a daily basis pool together to provide a party to us, the operator, as a way of showing their appreciation for us using their services and working with them. Sounds like a sweet deal to me! ;-)

The buffet dinner here had the same traditional Christmas food, but fortunately they also had pork and seafood (you can only have so much salty lamb in one Christmas season no matter how good it tastes!).

We enjoyed the evening of dancing and visiting with some of my coworkers and other ConocoPhillips operations people.

This weekend was our last round of Christmas parties! Friday night I attended the ConocoPhillips Young Professionals dinner with some of my lady coworkers. (Guests were not allowed to attend so Jason got an evening off from all the parties!)

Us ladies got ready together and then had Thad drive us over (thanks Thad!) to Charles & De in Sandnes where the dinner was located.

The food was absolutely delicious! I skipped the salad with raw salmon, but thoroughly enjoyed the main course - reindeer with potatoes and root vegetables. Dessert was a white chocolate mousse with sorbet. Yum! (Sorry the pics are not the best - just be happy I even took them before I scarfed down the deliciousness!)

Afterwards a bus took us back to Stavanger where they had tables reserved at one of the bars for our group. I skipped out on the bar portion and headed back to the apartment for a full night's rest. Yep, I pulled the "I'm pregnant and going to sleep" card. ;-)

Saturday was our last Christmas party hosted by Fernando (a coworker of Jason's) and his wife Carina. There were a few Baker Hughes people as well as some of the host couple's friends from the International School where their kids all attend.

Fernando and Carina are from Argentina and had visited their family there the previous week. Carina made sure to get the ingredients to make authentic Argentinean empanadas that were absolutely divine! Carina went all out and also made a traditional casserole with ham, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese baked together. Dessert was homemade cupcakes with dulce de leche icing and the traditional Norwegian kransekake. Everything we ate was incredibly delicious!

The party was also a White Elephant Gift Exchange - a new thing for some of the Norwegian attendees. Jason and I bought our Christmas gifts for the white elephant exchange the previous weekend at the Egersund Christmas Markets.

We brought an incredibly ugly troll doll (like there is a good looking troll doll!?) that we figured was a perfect Norwegian white elephant gift. Our second was a coffee mug and coffee from the market along with an angel Christmas tree ornament.

The exchange was a blast and unbelievably the troll doll got stolen the most times by the group!! One of the Norwegians said it would be a great addition to his winter cabin and his kids would love it. Who knew!

There were some pretty hilarious gifts - a 50 Shades of Grey tassle toy, a bacon wallet (which Israel actually loved!), and the troll doll - along with some more usable gifts. We ended up with a candle and an angel box.

The Kirnbauer's home was incredibly welcoming and friendly and we loved getting to meet some new people and see their beautiful house!

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