Monthly Archives: October 2012
I’m here today, sipping a glass of sweet iced tea and ready to give my definition of a real honest to goodness Jersey girl. I’d also like to pay tribute to all those girls like myself, who’s path led them elsewhere. (You know who you are)
Any girl born in the state of New Jersey can call herself a Jersey girl and I won’t argue with that.
When I moved to Norway with my three young children back in 1989 our lives took a drastic turn.
There were few expats and no international school in our area. If we ever expected to fit in, we had no choice but to learn a new language. There were no more Sunday dinners at grandma’s house, because she now lived thousands of miles away. We soon found ourselves saying goodbye to things we never imagined living without..
There would be no more picnics or fireworks on the Forth of July. No more Valentine’s Day-mailbox in the children’s classroom. No wearing green on St. Patricks Day and no turkey on Thanksgiving. Of course I could always make a turkey dinner on the last Thursday of November but with the kids in school, my husband at work and no parade on TV, it wasn’t the same.
There were no more presents on Christmas Day, because the packages were all given out and opened on Christmas Eve. No more Easter Bunny. It was now the Easter Chicken leaving Easter candy for the children in large paper-mache eggs, and then everyone goes skiing for the day. Mother’s Day was now in March and Father’s day in November.
My children took it all in stride, until they found out there was NO Halloween!
“Fear not,” I explained. “Instead of Halloween there is a tradition here called Lossi. On December 12th all the children dress in costume, go door to door singing Christmas songs and receive treats from their neighbors.”
By the time December 12th rolled around it was dark and freezing in Norway. This meant covering up their costumes with layers of sweaters and jackets, and carrying flashlights. I can still remember my kids that first Lossi, all excited and carrying plastic pumpkins they’d brought over from America to collect their loot in. They didn’t even let their disappointment show when they came home to find their pumpkins stuffed with nothing but tangerines.
That was over twenty years ago. There’s still no Halloween in our town, but they have started to sell real pumpkins and more people are giving out candy instead of tangerines for Lossi now. I guess thats progress.
Halloween is unfortunately not the only thing approaching my home-state of New Jersey this year. Prayers go out to all my friends and family as they brace themselves for the wrath of Hurricane Sandy.
I’m a lucky girl, I won’t deny it. I married my soul mate and together we have six wonderful children and five grandchildren to be proud of. We live in a nice house with a beautiful view of the sea. And we travel the world as often as we can. Does this make my life perfect? No.
Like most people I too have my crosses to bear and first up on my poor-me-list, migraines. I got my first migraine sixteen years ago and have had at least one every month since. For those of you who don’t know the difference between a migraine and a headache, let me explain.
A migraine is when your head pounds like a jackhammer until your neck gives out and refuses to hold it up. You are unable to function in any capacity and just when you think it can’t get any worse, you start throwing up. The only thing that helps me is prescription migraine medicine. The side effects from this type of medicine are not good. I feel drowsy, weak, thirsty and achy. My migraines usually last forty-eight hours and then on the third day I basically feel as if I’ve been run over by a truck.
I’ve learned through the years to pick myself up, dust myself off and start over as-quick-as-possible! Three days a month is enough to lose and sitting around feeling sorry for myself doesn’t help anything. Believe me I’ve tried.
This week I was really unlucky. After lying on the sofa for two days with a migraine, I got up to get my son off to school and pulled my back out. Ouch! Which ended up stealing another couple days…
This morning I felt a lot better physically, but that poor-me-feeling was hanging heavy in the air. Before it got the chance to capture me in its tight warm arms and pull me down for another day, I got dressed and took off for the gym. (I’m not always this strong, but I try)
I turn on my iPod and run on the treadmill (today it was more like a slow jog) or I go spinning, until I feel strong and alive again.
All I can do is keep running and spinning until I’m seized by another migraine.
See that picture there? That’s my name on a HUGE wall of names. Names of people who ran the Chicago Marathon on October 7th. I STILL find it hard to believe that my name is on that wall. That I was one of such a determined group of people just blows me away.
Well, instead of going on and on about the training for the race, I thought I would talk a little more about the race itself.
I ran away from home this week.
I went with my husband on a business trip to Tønsberg, which is the oldest town in Norway. While he was in meetings, I explored the city and visited the Viking graves.
The following morning we went cycling on the trails outside the city. The weather was perfect.
We later drove to Andebu, to visit the wooden medieval Høyjord Stave Church. It’s presumed there was once over a thousand of these churches spread across Norway and now there are only twenty-eight left. This one dates back to 1150.
We also went to a place called Åsgårdstrand, in search of the artist Edvard Munch’s house. He is mostly known for his famous painting the scream. It was in 1889 that Edvard Munch (1863-1944) spent his first of many summers in Åsgårdstrand. He once called the little house, the most pleasant house he ever lived in. Everything inside the house is exactly as he left it.
The artist painted many of his famous masterpieces here. The Dance of Life 1899-1900 is my favorite. This painting is from the beach in Åsgårdstrand. The theme of this work is a woman in three stages of life. The young innocent, full of anticipation. The mature woman in the middle of the dance of life and the aging woman observing from the outside.
Just before it got dark last night we drove out to the southern tip of an island called Tjøme. To a place called Verdens Ende, which means, the world’s end. Standing on the rocks looking across the vast area of ocean, I really do feel as if I’m at the end of the world.
You know you’re at the world’s end when you find a telephone booth!?!
Vippefyret is a replica of a medieval lighthouse.
This could be a very dangerous place in a storm.
It may take a while for me to get home…
This weekend my daughter kissed her two young children goodbye, left her home in West Virginia and traveled to Chicago to run in a marathon.
She’s been getting up at five o’clock in the morning to run, get the children off to school and then go to work all day, for months. Her dedication does not surprise me, she’s always been dedicated to life, and everything it has to offer.
Evaluate your goals to gain,
assign a value to your pain,
give it all, leave no remains.
Nothing tried, nothing gained.
Negatives should all be told,
bogus plans cannot be sold,
make new plans, learn from the old.
VICTORY rewards the bold.
Seek out those who are end-users,
avoid the shouters and abusers,
resisting change is for losers.
Set the stage become a mover.
Champions are made not born,
express your values, shine the worn,
glue together what is torn,
Achieve your goals, be reborn.
-Michael Charles Messineo
The Atlantic Ocean was a big part of my life while growing up. You see, my dad was a commercial fisherman who fished off the coast of New Jersey. My brothers still do.
I can remember driving down to the inlet in the back seat of my parents old Buick to survey the ocean. My dad could tell just by looking whether or not he and his crew should go out. When they did go, weather permitting, they could be gone for many days.
You would think with my dad out to sea we would get a break, but no. Then it was my mother’s turn to drive down and observe the sea. We’d pull up in the car, she’d quietly look out over the ocean and say, “I better get home and start peeling potatoes, because he’s coming home.”
And she was usually right.
I live on the other side of the water now and through my window, beyond the sound there is an opening. On one side of the opening is the Norwegian coastline, on the other an island. And through that opening is the North Sea. I’ve seen this view thousands of times and yet it always looks different…
Don’t be fooled by the beauty, it’s usually quite cold and windy out there.
Going Local in Gran Canaria is the type of book that would become dog-eared in a traveler’s backpack or read feverishly by an expat moving to the island. It truly is a book that has something for everyone establishing residence or simply visiting. Matthew Hirtes manages to cover everything from starting a business and getting a mortgage to which restaurant to visit on a Saturday night, and how to get there.
The book is peppered with enjoyable stories that others have shared with the author of their personal experiences on the island. It really adds a sense of the island becoming a home, not just a vacation destination. Useful phone numbers, addresses, and websites are included, and are all details that visitors and expats to Gran Canaria so desperately need.
Cover to cover, Going Local is chock-full of everything you need to get started. Hirtes is very effective at taking his vast knowledge of the island and putting it on paper for everyone to enjoy. The first thought I had after reading it was hopping on the next flight, book in hand, to experience everything this wonderful island has to offer.
Available on Amazon