Friday, December 3, 2010

The (9 hour) Christmas Party

Okay yesterday I had my first Norwegian Christmas Party.  It was organised by Rune and Hege.  It consisted only of the team that I work with which is all in all maybe about.. 20+ people?  Unsure.  The Christmas Party was.. interesting.  It started off at 5:30pm in the office, everyone started to drink.  I got given a can of beer.  Of course I didn't finish it.  Everyone was really dressed up.  Most if not all the guys were wearing suits.  I was the only person just wearing a formal black long sleeved shirt.  The women also dressed well, seemed like pink frocks are pretty common.

So, 5:30pm it started.  We waited for the karaoke taxi (mini van).  Yes they have them here.  They probably exist elsewhere too.  I think we caught it about 6:30pm from work.  It took us to Årvoll.  Here's the location.  It's about 10kms away from Lysaker.

Nico mostly hogged the mic in the taxi.  It seems like he likes the limelight, and hogging a lot of things.

The place where the Christmas dinner was held was actually a farm house.  The moment I stepped into the house I could smell the animals that used to be there.  It went away after a while.  Each of us were given responsibilities, and our "team" was supposed to bring out the food, so that's what we did.  We brought food out that was provided by some food catering company.  The food was potato, corned beef, gravy, brussel sprouts, carrots, and broccoli.  There was also a lot of alcohol (red wine, cognac, beer) and the insanely strong coffee that Norwegians are well known for.  I had my coffee with ice cream.  There was also cakes but I didn't really try all of that.  What else was there, right after we had our first serving of dinner one of the work guys played on the piano and everyone sang Norwegian songs, of course I have no idea what they were singing but I'm assuming it's Christmas related.  It was a bit loud. :)

After dinner we had some trivia game and we came in 2nd for that.  I found out a baby whale drinks about 500 litres of milk a day and a human being drinks about 1 litre of snot a day.  Oh and an adult crocodile can go 2 years without eating.

Well after that we had musical chairs, each team was supposed to send up 3 persons and I was one of them, it was like a knock out tournament.  In the end it was down to me and Nico and even though we both got on the chair his bum was bigger than mine so alas I didn't win but it was nice to hear others cheer for me. :)  I'm surprised I made it that far actually, Norwegians are pretty rough and they were very competitive but maybe it's only the people who I work with.  Anyway, there were 2 rounds after that and I was in the last round too and that was pretty well, interesting.  When it comes down to 2 people they do things like hold on to the chair.

The last game was a bit of a bummer, you're supposed to blow up a balloon (2 people each from each team from the final 2 teams) and put it inbetween you then run through the kitchen, through the coat hanging area and back to the dining room, it was a bit silly.  And at this point because of all the booze people in one team were bursting the other team's balloon because they were slower at blowing them!

In between the games there were people talking all the time.  I talked to a few people and they gave me interesting views of Australia.  One of them said Australia is really backward in terms of society, the words "racist" and "gender inequality" were some words used.  Hey this isn't me saying it's someone who has been there 4 years.  Surprisingly a huge chunk of the team are married/partnered (Apparently it's normal now to have kids out of wedlock, but that's another story) and have kids.  Many of the persons I've talked to have travelled quite a bit to Asia, Australia and Europe.  Also very different backgrounds, one's family is from Iran, another one's from the US, another one was in the army for 5 years and was sent to Iran so there's a bit of variety there.  I remember it was 1:30am and I was overhearing this discussion on functional programming and I thought wow, such geeks we are.

Anyway there was a lot of talking going on, dancing on tables, drink spillage and loud behaviour generally. :)  I was asking why was it ok to have the Christmas party on a Thursday, it would make more sense to have it on a Friday but apparently it's normal because over in Norway they want you to keep your Fridays.  So what happens is everyone goes home late after the party and then turns up late at work on the Friday!  Which was what I did.  The government also takes more tax from your income in July and takes less tax from you at the end of the year so that you would "save" your money, apparently.  Now that's what I call being a control freak(tm).  None of the older generation would question it.

So come 2:30am we finally packed up.  We only had the place till 2am, so we over exceeded.  Many people had already left at this point, there was maybe about 10 of us left.  It was freezing when we got out.  Thomas and I caught a cab and everyone else caught a bus.  So now I'm home recollecting last night's events.

And thus was my first Norwegian Christmas Party (Apparently there was an after Christmas party at that point but I didn't go).

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