Many moons ago, when I first moved to Norway and telephone calls were much too expensive for my budget, I was forced to write letters. Sit down, put pen to paper and write. That however, was not the hardest part. It was the waiting. It could take weeks, sometimes months to receive a letter in return. I felt far away, isolated, living in a garden of exile.
Facebook, FaceTime, Skype and Messenger are what now connect me (and everyone else) with the outside world. They enable us to feel close to people far away, which in turn makes the world seem smaller.
After living twenty-seven years in Norway, my husband and I recently bought a condo in my home state of New Jersey. The plan is to use it as a vacation home. Fly back and forth several times a year. Most of my family and a lot of my friends live there. Plus three Grandchildren! The condo is located at the Jersey Shore, about 25 minutes from the beach and two hours from NYC. Just perfect! Happy! Happy! Me.
But… Nothing is ever easy!
We just got back from our first mini-vacation to our new place and this is how it went…
We had a one hour drive to the airport (early in the morning). Fifty minute flight to Oslo. One hour wait before boarding. The flight across the Atlantic took approximately seven hours. We landed at 1:30pm in Newark NJ. Not bad.
I have a US passport, my husband has a Norwegian one. He has always been able to follow me through the US Citizens only line, at the Customs and Border Protection counter. Not anymore. Instead, we could either split up or both go through the Non US Citizens line. Knowing I’d have to wait for him anyway, I went with him.
The Non US Citizens line was long and slow. It took crawling at a snails pace, forever, to see why. Out of fifteen counters there were only four open. People were yelling to the officers guarding the line that they were missing their connecting flights. Babies and small children crying deliriously after long flights and their parents, tired and stressed trying to manage them. Elderly people pleading for assistance. I also noticed a pregnant woman looking drained and pale, inching her way through the line. We stood there like animals waiting to get in out of the cold. Welcome to America!
In the end, it took two hours for us to get through. I planned on saying something to the officer at the counter about the long wait, but after seeing how grumpy and unfriendly he was, I chickened out. It took another couple of hours to get through the airport and car rental agency. Of course we got stuck in traffic, so what should have been a one hour drive, took two. That’s like sixteen hours from door to door.
We stayed for one fun-filled week before heading back.
Our flight left the gate on time at 7:00pm. We sat on the runway for quite a while before returning to the gate, to fix an electrical problem. A short time later, with the problem fixed, something happened that I have never in all my years of travel seen before. Some of the passengers wanted off the plane! I don’t know if they were spooked because of the electrical problem or what… But they got off and then we had to wait for their luggage to be removed. We finally took off just after 10:00pm. It was a smooth eight hour flight.
Needless to say we missed our connecting fight and had to wait seven hours in Frankfort, Germany for the next flight home! In the end it took twenty-six hours to get home, which is more than double the time it should take.
Arriving safely is what really matters… And we’re going back in August :)
The word ecstatic means: Feeling or expressing overwhelming happiness or joyful excitement, and that is what I’m doing here today.
I haven’t posted in a very long time. I’m not sure anyone out there remembers this site or will even read this post, but that doesn’t matter.
Let me explain… I do not consider myself a writer.
I am a reader.
I wrote a book that did not come from talent or imagination. It was just me telling my life story, punctuation, spelling errors and all. I started this blog to publicise that book, but soon found myself happier reading other blogs than writing one myself. So I stopped.
Now why am I sitting here today?… Writing. Good question!
The only answer I can think of is excitement. I’m so excited, I can’t sit still and I want to shout from the roof top.
I’m going to England!
I’ve been there before. Many times actually, but this time is different. This time I’m going on a ‘literary pilgrimage’.
My parents are coming to Norway (where I live) for a visit, this Spring. My mother suggested that maybe her and I could take a little trip, an excursion while they are here. My first thought was Paris but then a friend soon put another idea into my head. Her and her daughter had just purchased cheap tickets to London and asked if we would like to travel with them.
Except for seeing a show and afternoon tea, London didn’t tempt me. Knowing however, that my mother didn’t care where we went, a thought crossed my mind. The same thought that crosses my mind whenever I think of England. Jane Austen.
Jane Austen has long been my favorite author. I’ve read all her books and although pleasurable, not an easy task. At least not for an American like myself. It’s like reading in another language, new and romantic. I love everything about them. While there is plenty of plot and adventure, they are genteelly written and domestically structured around marriage. They are about women.
If you have never attempted to read one of Jane Austen’s novels, you should, or at least see one of the many films based on them. I’ve seen both the Hollywood and BBC versions, (many times over) neither of which disappoint.
For me it’s not just her writing, but the author herself that entices. I want to walk where she has walked. And that is exactly what I am going to do come June, with a trip to Bath and Chawton cottage.
We will be taking a bus trip from London to Bath, stopping off at Stonehenge. Jane Austen lived several years in Bath. Here we will see the Roman Baths, take afternoon tea and of course visit the Jane Austen Centre.
We will also visit Chawton. I have a friend living near London named Claire, who has kindly offered to drive us. We will visit the village and cottage where Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life. The literary shrine where six of our greatest novels were first written or given their final form.
I can already hear the birds singing and I’m ecstatic…
A list of my favorite Austen books, in order:
- Sense and Sensibility
- Persuasion (surprise)
- Pride and Prejudice (usually the most popular)
- Mansfield Park
- Northanger Abbey
Start reading, Mom!
My daughter ran the NYC marathon… Imagine that!
Originally posted on Marshall Campus Rec:
Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope you guys are enjoying the frigid temperatures that we are experiencing right now. Take from a girl who was in Florida 3 days ago, this cold is for the birds.
I have wanted to get around to typing up this post for the last 2 weeks, but with all the travelling, it has been put on the back burner. I finally made it, today is the day.
On Sunday, November 2nd I ran the New York City marathon! I had been looking forward to it for about 8 months, since I found out I got in way back in March. The NYC marathon is set up as a lottery, so you put your name in and you find out if you were accepted months later. There are a lot of people who don’t get in and try for years and years, so when I managed to…
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The American flag flying in Norway on the 4th of July. Pups in the yard. Grandkids on the trampoline.
Here’s to the summer of twenty-fourteen!
Everyone’s doing it… even here in Norway.
Running that is :)
Originally posted on Marshall Campus Rec:
As summer is in full swing, I think many of you are out travelling the world. I hope you are enjoying your vacations and getting the most out of them. I recently travelled to the majestic country of Norway for 2 weeks to enjoy nature, eat amazing food, and well… just relax for awhile.
While I was there I had the opportunity to travel to a small coastal town called Farsund to run a half marathon. The original plan was to run the Rock and Roll half in Oslo, but it was cancelled, so I was happy to find that I had another opportunity much closer to where I was staying in Egersund, Norway.
I have run 3 marathons including Marshall and Chicago (twice! Love that city!) and I am happy to say that I have been accepted into the 2014 New York marathon, and I’m running the Disney marathon…
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It’s funny how we can affect people we didn’t even know… Thanks, Terry Anne and good luck with your book!
Originally posted on notesonaboardingpass:
I have to admit, being announced as a writer at the recent #FIGT conference was a proud moment. It had long been a dream of mine and my eventual epiphany was inspired by a borrowed book. That book would eventually lead me to a writing retreat in Tuscany, led by Jo Parfitt. At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, it changed my life.
I’ve always been envious of people who are diligently committed to their writing, as opposed to simply proclaiming their wish to be a writer, as I had done for years. Having lived and travelled for twenty-three years in countries strung across the globe, I have nevertheless written every step of the way. Though up until now, those experiences have languished in my journals, begging to be released. They attest to adventures such as safari by camel in Rajasthan, truffle hunting in the Arabian desert…
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Oh this shiny new computer…
There just isn’t nothing cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don’t need a writing tutor,
‘Cause there ain’t a single thing that it can’t do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file, underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct.
So I’ll have a whole book written by tonight
Just as soon as I can think of what to write.