christmas is nice

also without snow.

I should have written “… especially without snow”, but some back in Norway may be offended. Rarely a Chrismas Eve without snow in Southern Norway, and – strangely enough – there are some people back home who actually like that white stuff.

Gunlaug and I do not like snow all that much though – may be age-related, and chose to leave home before any showed up. This winter we are staying in North Weeki Wachee, FL, USA, and although we may experience some quite cold nights in the area I do not expect to see any snow here.
(An old neighbor told me that the last time he could remember seeing real snow on the ground in the area, was an early morning about 20 years ago. It wasn't much that had fallen that night, and it was all gone an hour or so after sun-up.)

Our neighbors across the street put up the seasonal deco­ra­tions first days in December…

… and their lit-up house sure looks nice at night.
Our house looks more modest at night-time with only regular lighting at the front, but that's how we like it.
While many houses in our wider neighbor­hood are heavily deco­ra­ted with lights by now, I don't think we will put up any seasonal deco­ra­tions outside ours this year.

staying warm in our home away from home.

I cut down a tree and collected some firewood on my property the last time I was here, and branches from newly trimmed bushes also burn well. With a large and efficient open fireplace in the house, we do light up a warm and cozy fire now and then when the temperature drops in late evenings and into the night.

The regular heat-pump based air condition system works well enough on its own to keep the entire house warm throughout the coldest of nights, but having a small fire going in the living­room makes this place feel even more like home to us.
On the picture above, Gunlaug is enjoying the lit fire while being busy writing letters to friends back in Norway – not all of them are internet users.

This Saturday I brought my electric chain-saw along to help a friend get rid of some not too big tree-branches that had been downed by the wind. The operation resulted in even more firewood in my garage … we will probably light up some on Christmas Eve.

a welcome change of climate.

Have mentioned before that Gunlaug likes it here, which I of course think is great. As she now have had a few weeks to get used to all that is different in and around this place compared to at home in Norway, she seems to like it even more.

It goes without saying that Gunlaug prefers planting rose­bushes and other “goodies” in the back yard here in Florida, rather then clearing ice off of the front shield of her car before negotiating slippery roads back in Southern Norway.

She also likes spending the days driving around in the wider area north / north-east of Tampa, to see places and experience things.
Not least does she love the simple fact that we usually don't have to wear coats to be comfortable outdoors this time of year here in Florida – would be impossible in Norway.

Like me, Gunlaug is not much for visiting pure tourist-attractions. So we probably won't go to Disney­World anytime soon, despite the short distance to it from where we live here in Florida. Plenty of options well away from the regular tourist-magnets in the wider area though.

The (quite natural) fear Gunlaug had for the unknown – that she expressed quite often before we left Norway, seems to have disappeared completely.
She is enjoying every minute of our stay here in Florida. All new experiences are welcomed, and she is having a great time.
She is also looking forward to see more of the US, and meet friends of mine in other states … as we will when the winter is over and it heats up a little further north.

the right property.

Those of my US and Norwegian friends who have been here and/or know something about the place, have all said that they thought I had made a good choice in buying this very house. That is nice of them to say and good to know. But, really, the person whose opinion matters to me, is my wife.

Over the years since I bought this place, and knowing it only via pictures, videos and descriptions, Gunlaug has commented on it as if it was my place only, not hers. Not anymore…

Now she is here in person, and – as mentioned earlier – everything about the house, property and location seems to suit her to near per­fec­tion. It has become our place now, just as I have thought of it all along.

Gunlaug has begun putting her mark on the place, both indoors and outdoors, and – clearly – more is to come. It is the little things she is adding or modifying, as she has no intention to change the place.
She only wants to make our place in the sun even more cozy and well-tuned to our wants and needs than it already is, which is exactly what I hoped she would.
In one word: perfect!

That we both like the simple things in life, makes living easy. Why go out to dine when home cooked meals taste at least as good as what the best places can offer (yes, seriously).
I like to cook, and Gunlaug likes to eat the meals I'm preparing for us with what we buy at the nearest Publix.
Gunlaug may be exag­gerat­ing a little when she tells folks back home that “this is better than staying at the finest hotel”, but who am I to protest against such a desciption…

Our Christmas tree is no more that a foot tall this year, and it is very lightly decorated. Our fridge is full though, and so is the bar. All signs point towards a wonderful and quiet Christmas for the two of us this year.

sincerely  georg; sign

Weeki Wachee 17.dec.2014
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