Category Archives: Stories in general
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 :)
Magma Geopark is an area of unique geology. The geopark is located in southwest Norway and is a member of the European and Global Geopark Networks. These networks are under auspices of UNESCO. I live in this area.
Yesterday my husband and I met up with friends in the next town over, called Sokndal. Our goal was to find the abandoned titanic, iron/ore mines at Blåfjell (Blue Mountain), which were mined between 1863 to 1876 and where a total of 90,000 tons of ore was exported. We followed an old railway trail, which was once used to move the ore from 106 m above sea level to the coast about 8 km away.
The nature was breathtakingly beautiful, too beautiful not to share…
Before reaching the mines we passed Ruggesteinen, which is a large “rocking stone”. It is a huge block of anorthosite that fell from a steep slope. When it came to a halt it was balanced on small rocks, which makes it possible to move slightly -if you push on the right place.
We found some other interesting things along the way as well…
We also came across an abandoned movie-set used in the filming of a Norwegian historical murder mystery called, Skumringslandet. The English title is The Veil of Twilight and is set in 1349. The production ran into problems when two of its men were swept out to sea and drowned while filming scenes along the coast, during a storm. The film has yet to be released.
Finally we came to the mines, which had chains across the entrances and signs saying, Enter at your own risk. We of course entered but didn’t stay long. It was dark, damp and I was suddenly afraid there may be bats lurking…
it was a nice Sunday!
Summer is suppose to be warm and sunny! Right?
Growing up on the Jersey Shore we had our share of bad weather, but summers were always spent at the beach, or in the pool. We’d pack up our winter clothes in May and wouldn’t need them again before at least October. I remember how hard it was getting use to wearing shoes again in the fall, when school started. I have such fond memories of how summer is suppose to be…
Now I live on an island off the southwest coast of Norway, where summer is about as predictable as the stock-market. This week alone we’ve had two days with a cold wind, one warm day, one day that started terrible and ended nice. That happens a lot, it’s gray and damp all day and then the sun comes out, just as we’re heading for bed… Today it’s raining.
There is however, one sure sign that summer has arrived here in my little corner of the world. The salmon are swimming in from the ocean and up into the rivers to spawn. To do this, they must swim through the sound and directly past my house. For the next month (with a special license) we are allowed to set nets from Sunday night until Thursday afternoon. This is a big deal for the locals, who check their nets several times a day and then gossip over who’s catching the most. I’ve seen two salmon hop through the water, just since I’ve been sitting here writing this post. (There’s a window right behind my computer screen).
Much to my husbands dismay we’re heading for Scotland next week and that means he’ll have to take a break from fishing. My son is enrolled in a week-long bagpiping course at the National Bagpipe Centre in Glasgow. I’m not exactly sure how an American/Norwegian teenager got interested in bagpiping, he just did.
And I doubt we’ll find summer in Scotland either…
I feel like it was just Christmas, I blinked and now it’s March!
Time really does fly… In five years, I will have lived half my life in Norway!
While Norway is my home now and I have no regrets, New Jersey is where I come from and where my loyalties will always reside.
I follow a blog called, It’s All About Purple. It’s written by Debbie, in New Jersey (we went to school together). I’m especially fond of this blog because it always makes me feel at “home” and somehow -a little closer to New Jersey.
Yesterday’s post especially pulled on my heartstrings.
In late September 2012 Super-Storm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City NJ, which was already mostly underwater due to a full moon and high tides. The storm slammed the New Jersey coastline with 90 mph winds. Registered only as a category 1 on a scale of five, it packed astoundingly low barometric pressure, which gave it tremendous energy to push water inland. The storm caused massive power outages, that went on for weeks. People were left stranded and some dead. It destroyed tens of thousands of businesses and homes. It ripped away parts of our famous boardwalks and blew the sand from our beaches. It was the nightmare you never think will really happen.
All over the world devastating disasters such as this strike and we feel tremendous sorrow. Unfortunately, as the media buzz around them dies so does our interest. That’s why with summer on the way, I just want to shout out, “I haven’t forgotten about you New Jersey and I’m rooting for you to come back, bigger and better than ever!”
Read Debbie’s post and see pictures (not of devastation, only the beauty) of our Jersey Shore, here.
As we stand on the threshold of 2013, I’m sure we’re all thinking the same thing –New Year, new start.
After stuffing myself silly in honor of Christmas this past week, I went to the gym last night. I got a tremendous cramp in my right side while attempting to run on the treadmill and spinning made me nauseous. I left having burned off maybe five, of the fifty Christmas cookies I’ve eaten. I once again went to bed vowing to give up sugar.
It’s my vow every year and yet the longest I’ve ever gone without eating sugar is two weeks back in 1997 (and thats probably because I was sick). Sugar is my weakness, it’s my addiction.
I lived down the street from a little bakery when I was pregnant with my first child and would go there at least twice -okay, three times a week to buy cake. I’d always buy a chocolate/vanilla marble, buttercream cake and eat the whole thing myself. For nine months I ate three cakes a week, before giving birth to a sweet little girl. Sugar and spice, thats what little girls are made of… Right?
My stomach would never allow me to do that today, but I still eat way more than I should.
Because of time and other commitments I’ve also recently announced that I need to give up blogging. But as you can see, that seems to be another addiction…
I may not be commenting as much, but I still read posts as often as I can and will continue to post myself on occasion. I know its a you follow me, I’ll follow you, world out there but I need to put that aside. Forget about stats and do what I can, when I can. Instead of vowing to give up sugar this year, I’m going to vow to cut back -way back and to blog without pressure.
I’d like to thank my friends Maddie and Kathy for kindly bestowing me with the Super Sweet blogging Award (it was fate). I’d also like to apologize and thank everyone for all the awards I never found the time to properly acknowledge this year. It is all of you, that I would like to pass this award on to.
Silliness aside, I hope with all my heart that 2013 turns out to be a great year for all mankind. Happy New Year!
Being snowed in can be quite exhausting and that’s why I went to bed early last night. With my husband away, I allowed the pups (Mia and Khloe) to join me. After two cups of tea and four episodes of Gossip Girl (I watch strictly for the fashion) it was lights out. This was about the same time as the new storm that was predicted hit. It blew with all its might until early morning. The windows shook and the house whistled, as mighty gusts lashed against it. I woke up this morning expecting to find more snow but instead, freezing sleet and bad news is what I found.
At an Elementary School in Connecticut over a dozen people were shot and killed, twenty of them were young children. I can’t even imagine the pain their parents are going through and my heart breaks for them. America is not the only place where tragedy happens when a gun falls into the hands of a sick individual. In the summer of 2011, Anders Brevik went on a shooting spree, killing sixty-nine teenagers, all attending a youth camp on an island near Oslo, Norway.
There’s been much debate on Facebook over the right to bear arms, today. I read in one post that people sell guns at garage sales in Florida! I think its time for people to sit back and take stock of what’s really important here…
The sleet has turned to rain, the wind has died down and the snow is melting. It’s a sad and somber day.
Yesterday morning I woke up to snow and since we live at the bottom of a private road, no one would be coming anytime soon to dig me out. I made the best of it with a good book and plenty of hot tea.
Last night a friend called to tell me there was another storm on the way. Afterwards my husband called from an oil platform in the North Sea to tell me his helicopter had already been cancelled and he wouldn’t be coming home before Monday!
Feeling cooped up and worried about my empty refrigerator, I decided to take a walk up the road to get some air and check the mailbox. (my mailbox is about a quarter of a mile up the road). All my neighbors live at the top, there are only empty summer cottages and boat houses down by the water, where I live. Trekking up, the snow felt crisp and frosty beneath my feet, not too slippery and this gave me an idea…
I decided to try to get my car up the hill. I have good winter tires and four-wheel drive (but that didn’t stop me from spinning off the road last winter). I gave it gas, went zooming upwards and then made the mistake of trying to shift gears, half way up. The car lost momentum while shifting and the tires began to spin on the ice under the snow. I backed up (or down in this case) and tried again. This time I stayed in first and floored it all the way!
I parked the car at the top and walked home. This morning I bundled up, walked back up the hill to my car and drove to the store. I ended up buying five bags of heavy groceries and therefore, had no choice but to drive down again. Throughout the night strong winds had blown even more snow onto the road…
I held my breath and kept a light foot on the brake as I drove down through the snow drifts.
I don’t think I’ll be brave enough or that it’s even possible to get the car up again. But I have tea and plenty of chocolate in the house now, so who cares… I’ll be alright.
I’m stuck inside today…
We got at least eight inches of snow dumped on us last night and I can’t get my car out of the garage. We live at the bottom of a very large hill and since it’s a private road, no one will be coming to plow. It’s even too slippery for me to walk up. My husband is out on an oil platform in the North Sea and my son is visiting friends in the Netherlands, so they can’t help. I tried to shovel a path for the dogs, because the snow was too deep for them to walk in. The snow was heavy, but after an hour of hard work I manage to dig out a little spot for them.
Right now, I’m just sitting here watching the boats go by…
But I guess it’s time to build a fire, make some tea and settle down with a good book, or maybe I’ll pop on a Jane Austen film…
It may just be a good day after all.
I was a shy girl, who grew into a guarded teenager. I never had the nerve to try out, or join anything at school. I was afraid of failure and being made fun of, that’s why my only goal was to blend in with the crowd. I probably never even raised my hand at school and I’m sure half of the people there didn’t even know my name. Don’t get me wrong – I had friends, but never wandered outside my circle. I played it safe at all times.
I grew up and although I gained some confidence in becoming a mom, I still worried about what other people thought and kept my head down. On the heels of a nasty divorce, I left America and started a new life in Norway (not because I was brave). After visiting numerous times throughout my life, I thought I knew what it would be like to live there. I was wrong.
Learning a new language and adjusting to a foreign culture is hard. I felt more like a refugee in this small local town, than an expat. My children didn’t seem to have any problem; They turned into little Norwegians overnight. Again, I kept pretty much to myself and tried not to be noticed. I knew there were people who thought I was unfriendly, when really I was just scared. Afraid of saying something wrong, afraid of being judged.
Only in a close group of friends was I able to open up and be myself, or as much of myself as I could be – talking another language…
My husband is the complete opposite. Once a local football hero (back in the day) he never cares what anyone thinks and oozes confidence. He’s dragged me kicking and screaming to events, in which I was forced to smile and meet new people. Together we have done things I never imagined myself doing…
Like cycling through France.
Sleeping in an igloo.
Hiking 2.4 miles up to the top of Pulpit Rock (Preikestolen).
And publishing a book.
The whole time I was writing Fly Away Home, I never, EVER thought anyone other than family would read it. Why would they? I wasn’t a writer, or anyone famous, just a woman trying to explain her side of things.
There’s no hiding now…