New Haircut!

After (at least) four months of not cutting my hair, and after a couple of months of not taking care of it at all, it was definitely about time for a haircut. I had only planned on getting a trim to get rid of all my split ends, but on the spur of the moment I decided that a new city called for a new style. I’ve had bangs before – and Andy missed them even more than I did – but these bangs are in such a different shape that they don’t look similar to me at all. I almost feel like I’m looking at a new person in the mirror, which is kind of fun. It seems appropriate that I look different considering all the changes that are happening in our lives right now.

Earlier today there was a get-together for new professors and significant others at the president’s house on campus. So I got a chance to meet some of the people that will be working with Andy, while showing off my new bangs for the first time. These kind of events often turn out being sort of stiff and formal, but I actually had a lot of fun – and the food was delicious!

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New Haircut
New haircut, instagram pictures
{And a couple of phone pictures from my Instagram account}

On a random side-note: There have been so much talk about ice cold winters that I subconsciously expect it to be chilly every time I walk out the door. But today it was at least 85 degrees outside, and I almost wished it was cooler. Well, until I remembered that I should probably enjoy it while it lasts. This is Minnesota, after all.

Indian Food and Saturday Night

I have gotten completely addicted to Indian food lately. It’s always been one of my favorites, but now it’s moved up to first place. We stocked up on Tikka Masala and Korma sauce, and since then that’s the only thing I’ve wanted for dinner. It is absolutely delicious with basmati rice and naan bread; and it doesn’t take very long to make at all. Just boil the rice, chop up the chicken, fry it for five minutes and add the sauce. We also bought a boxed meal (one of those that comes with everything but the meat) of butter chicken that I’m excited to try. Now if only all these sauces could be good for you too.

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This Saturday we opened a bottle of wine with dinner and decided to go out for downtown in our new hometown. So far we’ve mostly been unpacking and getting settled, and Andy has been preparing for his new job, but we figured it was time to do a little exploring. We have to get out and meet new people, and it’s kind of weird to actively try to think of places to make new friends. Every time I moved before it was because of school, and that’s an easy place to be social; you don’t have to go out of your way to start up a conversation and everyone’s about the same age as you. But this time meeting people is pretty much up to us, and it’s not going to happen if we sit at home by ourselves.

Turns out it wasn’t as hard as we thought. The first bar we went to had live music and a great atmosphere. We grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered two beers. By the time we had finished them we were already in the middle of a conversation with the three people sitting to our left. So, if everyone in the Moorhead/Fargo area are as friendly as the people we met this weekend, then I doubt we’ll have any trouble.

It turned out to be a very fun night. Probably a little too fun. After two months of never drinking more than a beer or two at a time my body wasn’t exactly prepared for a night out. Soooo, I woke up the next morning with a hangover and spent the day eating Burger King and ice cream and watching Lost Girl on Netflix. But it was worth it!

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{A couple of post-wine instagram pictures :) Cheers! }

Day 2 – New Orleans

Waking up on Tuesday morning, knowing I was in a city I’ve wanted to visit for years, felt amazing. And it didn’t hurt that our tiny little hotel room was gorgeous. The main room didn’t hold much more than our bed, two nightstands, a tv, and a dresser, but it was all in very good quality. And the bathroom was almost as big as the bedroom, with a large shower and marble surfaces. Our door took us into a little backyard with tables and chairs, a staircase to the second floor, and a gate to the street outside. Everything was so different from a normal hotel, and it was the perfect place to start our tip. Our only complaint was that there is no parking lot. I doubt you’ll find any hotels with parking lots downtown, but we didn’t know that ahead of time and were a little disappointed to have to walk the six blocks from the parking deck when all we wanted to do was get dressed and go. Oh, and we stayed at Inn On St. Peter, btw.

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{Our little backyard – picture source}

After a visit to the car and applying lots of sunscreen (it was HOT outside) we walked down to the French Market; one of the places you definitely have to see if you’re ever in New Orleans. We mostly walked along Royal street, and I took a ton of pictures. The whole street seemed to be very focused on art and there were galleries and people selling their paintings on the street everywhere. The pictures in one window really caught my eye and we stopped by Craig Tracy’s gallery, where the artist only did body paint. It was run by his brother, who told us a lot about the work. There was also a really cool video playing that showed the artist painting several of the pictures we could see in the store. He doesn’t paint pictures, only humans, then lines them up perfectly and takes a picture.

Craig Tracy gallery in New Orleans
{I found one I might even want to hang on my own wall at some point, but I forgot to take a picture}

I liked the buildings everywhere even more than the art; they were exactly how I had imagined they would be. It was like walking straight into some of the pictures I had seen of New Orleans. I loved the black wrought-iron details on all the balconies and how there were flowers and plants hanging over almost all of them. In some places you could even see lots and lots of Marti Gras beads, even though it was hardly the right time of the year. And the street musicians set the mood perfectly.

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Street in New Orleans

The French Market was a lot of fun, and we ended up walking the length of it twice. People rent areas of the market to sell their things, and it is so popular that it is very hard to get a spot. Andy absolutely loved this one stall that sold hundreds of Lego figures while I was trying to talk myself out of buying one of the wrap dresses that were sold just about everywhere (and I managed to leave without one). Afterward we walked along the water past Café Du Monde to a place with an amazing view of the cathedral and the horse-drawn carriages outside. We had planned on buying beignets from Café Du Monde, since they are supposed to be amazing, but we didn’t know that they only take cash. We headed back toward the hotel and stopped to listen to some amazing street musicians out in front of the cathedral. Their music seemed to me to be perfectly “New Orleans”, at least the way I had imagined it. Jazzy with a little bit of soul thrown in, I think. When we finally got back to the hotel we had walked in the heat for a good three hours, and we were pretty exhausted.

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{This guy had bought all of the Lego sets that these figures were in! He kept the sets for himself and sold the figures}

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{Who knew you could rent your own haunted apartment?}

After walking through the south-east part of the French District for about an hour or so, we ended up at Pierre Maspero’s for a light lunch. We got a small bowl of gumbo and a plate of fried alligator with a special dipping sauce. We had never tried alligator before, but we had seen it advertised all over the French Market food court and figured we needed to give it a try. The waitress described the taste as “half chicken, half sea food”, which I think was pretty accurate, especially if you add “with a healthy dash of sea water” to the description. Andy thought it was good, but I could only stomach a couple of bites. The only thing that made it edible to me were the delicious spices it was fried in, and with the larger pieces even that wasn’t enough to cover up the taste of seawater.

By the way, you might remember that this was right in the middle of the World Cup, and Andy wasn’t thrilled about not being able to see all the games while we were travelling. I wasn’t especially sympathetic… But this lunch was right at the time that US lost to Belgium, which was disappointing enough that we headed back to the hotel for a couple of beers. We had bought a six-pack at a nearby gas station and realized that you really can buy hard liquor everywhere in New Orleans. They had several shelves of it behind the counter (which is kind of funny considering you can’t even buy alcohol at grocery stores here in Minnesota). I guess it is considered the party capital of North America for a reason.

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{Gumbo and fried alligator for lunch, and my jambalaya for dinner}

We ate dinner at Arnaud’s Remoulade on Bourbon street. We were craving all kinds of seafood and decided on jambalaya and stuffed crab, which we shared. We almost always split our meals while we’re travelling so that both of us get to try more than one new dish. I love trying local food no matter where I am – and I can never decide on just one thing – so this is a perfect solution. For dessert we went back to Café Du Monde (with cash in hand this time) to try their beignets before we went out for drinks. We were surprised that they were open 24 hours, but there were plenty of people there when we arrived. And if everything is as mouthwateringly delicious as those hot beignets were then that makes perfect sense! Oh, and since they were only $2.75 for three we had to talk ourselves out of getting more. Btw, beignets are french doughnuts covered in tons of powdered sugar, and you have to try one!

The last stop of the night was the original Tropical Isle (there are several of them on Bourbon street) to try their signature drink, the Hand Grenade – a melon flavored drink served in a bright green plastic container with a hand grenade on the bottom. There was actually a sign in their bar saying that their drink was trademarked and that they would pay $250 to any person who reports any other bar, except for the 5 different Tropical Isle bars, for using the name “Hand Grenade” on one of their drinks. So I guess they take it pretty seriously. It was delicious, though! Even better than the Hurricane we tried the night before. And much stronger than you first think – it actually doesn’t taste very strongly of alcohol.

The band was on break when we got there and we only stayed until they came back. Turns out they weren’t exactly amazing – unlike many of the other bands we saw. So, after spending some more time on Bourbon street, we headed back home. We were tired and a little tipsy, but mostly just incredibly happy to be exactly where we were!


BTW: I’m sorry that these posts about our trip end up being so long, but I just can’t help myself. We were constantly doing things, and there very few things I feel like leaving out – although they might be more fun for me than for you :P

The End of a Long Road Trip

We’re in our new apartment in Moorhead, Minnesota! We actually got the keys this past Tuesday.

However, since our trip went so incredibly well I probably should have expected this streak of bad luck we’ve been having. I’m not even kidding, we had better luck than anyone should be allowed to have. We would drive into a parking lot in a national park, and of course it is overflowing with lines running out into the road since it’s July and the worst possible time to visit. But right as we drove in someone would leave and give us their spot. This happened so many times. And Yellowstone was especially full when we got there. It was the weekend and we were sure we wouldn’t find a spot in any of the campgrounds. But there were last minute cancellations and we made reservations in two different places. And the one night we didn’t have anywhere to stay we drove for about 15 minutes, to the outside of the park, and camped for free in the national forest. It doesn’t get much better than free.

Anyway. My point is that everything went so well that it almost wasn’t a surprise when everything started going wrong on our last day of driving, when we were almost home. We woke up to pouring rain and got a late start with a very wet tent stuffed into the back of our car. You’d think that would have happened a few times on our five week trip, but this was actually a first. It then continued raining all day. The rain wasn’t even the worst; for some reason I was just in a horrible mood. Our only luck of the day was finding a free park to camp in for the night about thirty minutes outside of Moorhead – in the wrong direction, of course.

It actually rained a bit while we were in Yellowstone too, but it was such an amazing day that it did nothing at all to dampen our mood.
rain and bison in Yellowstone

The next day we found out that we had to wait another day to move in, right when my back finally started acting up from being stuck in a car for so long. And then u-haul told us that our things were actually not being stored in their warehouse here, as they had told us, but that there were still back in Athens. So we actually won’t get our furniture until this Monday, and the cable company can’t install our internet until the 21st (which is why I’m currently writing this at Starbucks). And on top of having to camp out in an empty apartment for a week, it was also not exactly move-in ready. There were a bunch of different things that needed to get fixed, but most of them were simple things that have been taken care of by now (after a bit of gentle nagging).

Phew! Sorry about all the complaining, but I just had to vent for a little bit. Because, despite of it all I’m actually pretty excited to be here. Things could definitely have gone much better, but there were some bright spots in the last few days too. Andy got a great office at the school he’ll be teaching at, and the secretary took us back to her place and let us borrow an inflatable mattress – she even gave us vegetables from her own garden! And one of Andy’s coworkers invited us to a really nice dinner at her place a couple of days ago.

So, we are currently spending our days checking off items of our seamlessly endless to-do list, while taking time off to relax and getting to know our new city. It’s a cute little place with everything we need close by, and I am already starting to look forward to our very first white winter!
Us at the grand prismatic springs in Yellowstone.

Day 1 – Traveling to New Orleans

I have a notebook where I have taken notes of what we did almost every day of our trip. I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and I figured it would be helpful if I wanted to make a scrapbook when we’re done. So I’ve made a new blog category, “road trip diary”, where I’ll be writing about our trip in the order it happened, and include some of the pictures we took along the way. I think an online diary of our trip is something I will love looking back on years from now. And maybe you’ll enjoy it too.


On Monday, June 30th, we first drove from Athens to Montgomery, AL, with a short stop in Auburn to see the Jordan-Hare stadium. In Montgomery we sightseed for over an hour, seeing Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King was a pastor and where the famous bus riot took place. We also stopped by the First White House of the Confederacy, which was a great little (free) museum that we both really enjoyed. The entire neighborhood is full of history and gorgeous buildings, and definitely worth seeing.

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Afterwards we looked up a local place to eat and ended up at Mrs. B’s Home Cooking. I have to admit that both the neighborhood and house-converted-to-restaurant looked pretty sketchy, but the food was amazing (homemade southern soul food) and the servings much too large to finish. When we were done we continued our drive to New Orleans for the night. This was definitely a place we’d both really been looking forward to seeing, and it didn’t disappoint!

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Our hotel on St. Peter street was only two blocks away from Bourbon street – probably the most famous street in New Orleans. On our way down there we noticed that it was still completely quiet even a block away, so we figured it must be dead since it was only a Monday night. Turns out that sounds just don’t carry well through the tall stone buildings (all stuck together), because Bourbon street was anything but empty. There are more bars than you can count, and every single one has their doors open with music streaming into the street, while employees try to entice you to stop by with cheesy lines like “couples get in free!” (along with everyone else). It was one of the most colorful streets I have ever seen, both in the literal sense and with regard to all the people drinking in public. A bartender told us that New Orleans is one of three places where you can legally drink in public (which is why all the bars had signs saying “drinks to go”), the other two being Key West and part of the Las Vegas strip – so we have now been to all three!

Bourbon street during the day, when all the bars are stocking up on alcohol (it’s closed to cars at night).
Bourbon Street New Orleans

Our first stop was Pat O’s to try out their specialty drink, the Hurricane. It was delicious, but dangerously strong with 4 cl of rum in each cup. They came up with the drink back when there was a shortage of whiskey because of the war, and they were forced to buy 50 boxes of rum in order to get just one box of whiskey and scotch. In other words, they had more rum than they knew what to do with and needed to come up with a strong drink to get rid of it all.

We decided to walk the street while finishing our drink, and I was almost overwhelmed by all the different impressions. Even on a Monday night many of the bars had live music and a lot of what we heard was really good. Other places advertised for karaoke, DJ’s, or even strippers… We ended up at Famous Door on our second walk of the street, which had a great band that played old classics we both knew and sang along with. I think I could have kept walking all night, though; there was more than enough entertainment. When the bar closed for the night we moved on up the street to “The World Famous” Cats Meow; a karaoke bar that stayed open until 6 am every night. We didn’t have the guts to go on stage since most of the singers were impressively good – especially the guy working there who sang every other song to keep the guests entertained.

It was a great day, and I think we finally passed out some time around 3 am.

Week 3 Of Our US Road Trip

Getting internet access – or even a decent network connection – has been incredibly difficult while we’ve been on the road. And the few times we spent the night in a hotel we were usually so exhausted that we passed out well before midnight. That’s what we get for being busy from 8 am to 9 pm almost every day, but it is a good kind of busy. The kind that makes you sleep like a rock every night, no matter how uncomfortable you might be on your thin sleeping pad. And for once in my life I’m waking up feeling fully rested even if it’s only 7 o’clock in the morning. So we’re definitely doing well. Incredibly well.

I quickly realized that camping and road tripping is a very acquired taste. It’s not very comfortable. You get dirty, sweaty, and cramped in a small tent and a small car. Some times you get stressed out because there is so much you want to see and do and hardly any time to just relax. Then there are endless hours of driving where you’re torn between the excitement of getting somewhere and being tired of being in the car. But at the end of the day I think I have gotten much better at just enjoying the moment. Being uncomfortable doesn’t bother me, I have learned to dress comfortably instead of fashionably (I think I have worn makeup only three times since we left Athens), and the lack of signal and hours of driving have given us plenty of time to just be together and talk, or listen to music, or think and just enjoy the change of scenery around us.

Right now we’re taking two full days off from traveling and have no other plans than relaxing. Andy’s uncle has a cabin at June Lake, only two hours away from Yosemite National Park, and he’s been generous enough to lend it to us for as long as we want. The weather here is gorgeous and we’re currently sitting outside a cute little deli in town, drinking coffee and taking advantage of their internet. We’ve used our electronics very little on this trip, but I think we’ve earned a couple of days of phones, computers, and tvs.

We took this picture in Los Angeles exactly a week ago, when we drove up the mountain to see the Hollywood sign.
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I would love it if you followed me on Instagram (@tmvikholt), where I’m posting pictures from our trip.

Moving From Athens, GA

Last week (not this past one) was absolutely exhausting. We spent almost every waking moment packing; or thinking and talking about packing. So we were tired both mentally and physically, trying to get everything in order. The few hours we took off we spent with friends who we won’t see again for a long time.

We had finally decided on u-boxes instead of a moving truck – so that we didn’t have to drive it to Minnesota – and we had to pick up our pods last Friday morning. Since we had been packing a bit every single day for two weeks, we figured we would be more than prepared, but that’s not how it went. Everything started going wrong from the day before. We quickly realized that we wouldn’t get everything packed in time for the next morning, so we did as much as we could and only slept for three hours before picking up the boxes at 7 am. At noon we were finally ready to start loading our first u-box, after a thirty minute nap, and it took us over five hours to fill it up by ourselves. Then we had to take it back to u-haul’s store to pick up our second box. We also realized that we hadn’t eaten anything but a breakfast bar and quarter of a watermelon all day, so it was definitely time to order some pizza.

Two of our friends saved the day by helping us out with the second box and the heaviest furniture. But even with their help we weren’t finished until past 11 at night. At which point we had accepted that we had miscalculated and there was no possible way that all of our stuff would fit. The guest room bed and a living room chair had to go. And we still had a few boxes and random things that we had to take back to u-haul to pack in our first box the next morning (at 7 am, yet again). We weren’t done packing those things until 3 am. So, as you can imagine it was all just a giant hassle.

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself Friday night:
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The weirdest thing about it all was that after two nights of only getting three hours of sleep, 20 hours of almost non-stop packing, and spending two more hours at u-haul on Saturday morning, we were still not very sleepy. I was so thrilled to be done that I was suddenly wide awake. We celebrated with breakfast at Burger king before we went home and decided to sleep for another four hours after all.

After a week like that we were more than ready to spend the next 6 days at the beach in North Carolina with Andy’s family! Our internet here has been horrible, but we are leaving today, so I will try to post a couple more pictures tomorrow. It’s been perfect!
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Taking A Break – Friday’s Outfit

After many hours of packing this week we decided it was time for a night out. Some drinks, a cute dress, and good company was exactly what I needed – although it seriously decreased our productivity on Saturday morning. We traded boxes and tape for Netflix and hot soup. Luckily we still have over a week before we need to be out of our apartment, and I think we pretty much have everything under control. (Although I’m amazed at how many bags of trash we’ve filled so far. Where does all this stuff come from??)

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I’m in the middle of packing down almost all of my clothes, and decided that I needed to wear this dress one more time before it gets shoved into a box for a few months. I know we won’t be dressing up a lot this summer, but I’m still fighting with myself over clothes I want to bring even though I know I shouldn’t. Especially when I consider how great white would look against my future tan skin :P

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Vacation Is Over!

It was so weird to get back to the US on Monday night. First of all I was absolutely exhausted from traveling – I hate it when I end up in the middle seat on a 7 hour flight and can’t sleep for more than 5 minutes at a time. One time I woke up with the man in the window seat leaning over me, which scared me half to death. He was apparently trying to get by me without waking me up. Anyway. What was weird is that my entire vacation had been so packed full of events that I hadn’t had a single second to sit down and think about it. At the end of the three weeks I was actually pretty tired. But a good kind of tired where you know you have spent all the time you possibly can with the people you love, and you’re left with lots of happy memories that will stay with you for years. That is exactly the way I wanted this trip to go. The last month before I left had been pretty hectic, and I noticed that every time I sat down to relax ten different things would go through my mind (“remember this”, “do that”, and so on). But during the few moments I had time to lay down in the sun in Norway and just enjoy life, my mind was blank. Blank and happy. And it was amazing.

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It was pretty great to get back too, though. Especially when Andy’s smiling face met me at the airport! After we got home I only managed to stay awake for about three hours of delicious fast food (which was all I wanted after eating airplane food all day), random conversations, and a few shows on Netflix. Then I completely passed out.

The next four days have been incredibly productive. I was out of vacation mode the second I woke up on Tuesday morning (at 7:40), and ready to get started. Since then we have bought every last thing we need for our road trip this summer, we have gotten quotes from u-haul for moving, we have gotten tons of boxes from various liquor stores, I’ve helped Andy move out of his office at school (I have never seen so much paper in my life), we have stopped by Goodwill with things to give away (although I already have four new bags of clothes we don’t need), we have made a total mess of our apartment while packing, we have narrowed down where to live next semester, and we have even squeezed in a couple of long walks in the scorching hot sun.

Phew! And we have barely even gotten started.

I am also proud to say that we’ve still made time to eat well and enjoy our dinners together. I dragged Andy out of bed at 8 am on Tuesday to go grocery shopping, and we’ve filled up the fridge with healthy food and snacks. So far we’ve made jambalaya, baked cod, and a big batch of homemade salsa to snack on instead of candy (that and baby carrots). And we always make enough for lunch the next day so that we don’t have to spend any more time cooking. Tomorrow I think I’ll make salmon and a vegetable salad.
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Tonight we’re having tacos! You know, since it’s Friday. Have a great weekend!

17th Of May – Norway’s National Day

Two Saturday’s ago I got up at 6 o’clock in the morning, mostly because I was still yetlagged, but also because I was super excited to be in Norway for my first 17th of May in four years! It has always been my second favorite holiday of the year (after Christmas); probably because I was a band geek for 8 years of my life and used to do baton twirling in the parades. Now I just watch, but it’s still almost as fun.

It is also one of the few times a year that I get to wear my Bunad, a Norwegian traditional dress dating back to the 18th and 19th century. The style you were normally signifies where in the country your family is from. Oh, and it is incredibly warm and incredibly expensive!
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After getting ready I started the morning with a champagne breakfast at Madelen’s place before we walked downtown to watch the parades. There are two of them, one at 10:30 and one at 4 pm. The first one has every school in town along with both junior and main marching bands. The second is for every organization that wants to participate, which includes everything from karate to theatre to soccer. And, of course, more marching bands. And in between the parades you eat as many ice creams and hot dogs as you can stomach while visiting the travelling funfair.

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At the end of the day I went to my brother’s place to spend the night. I would normally go out, but my niece’s christening was the next morning and I didn’t think I should be hung over while carrying her up to the priest. ;)

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