For those of you who do not know, I live on a small island off the southwest coast of Norway. Although I was not born here, I do believe it is where I belong. I tried to fight it, but is there any use in fighting fate?
Unless its pouring (which happens – not complaining) I walk my two dogs Khloe and Mia everyday. Our goal is always Skadberg Sanden, which is a little beach about a kilometer down the road.
Unless the weather is exceptionally fine, I mostly find myself alone here. And that makes it a perfect spot to think, or scream into the wind, “Why am I here?”
I feel closer to God and better in touch with myself in this place. It is also the ground where my ancestors walked and that makes me feel less foreign, in this my adopted land.
There’s a charming old house standing close to the dunes, which is particularly special to me. I was no more than eleven the first time I saw it and can remember thinking how beautiful it was. I visited Norway often when I was young and every time I saw the house, I would picture myself living there.
I don’t live there, but I live a lot closer than I really, ever thought I would.
my husband and I threw a dinner party for ten. Four times a year we get together with his old fotball (soccer) buddies and their wives for an evening of good food, fine wine and lots of reminiscing. I’m not kidding either, these guys can remember exactly who scored what goal at which game, way back in the 1970’s and 80’s!
Last night it was our turn to host. We got up early, I headed straight for the kitchen and my husband out for a bike ride, (he’s training for a race). For me a dinner party starts weeks before, as I pour over recipes and table setting ideas. Choose which wine to serve, order flowers, iron table clothes, clean the house and decide what to wear.
I always try to choose a meal I can make in advance, this way I avoid the stress of cooking while guests are already sitting in my living room. I found a recipe for Prince William’s favorite Cottage Pie in the wedding issue of People Magazine last year and figured if it was good enough for William, it would be good enough for us. Just to be sure, I gave it a trial run (very tasty). For color, I’d make a big salad with every different veggie I could find (I hate boring salads). For desert, I decided to make an apple & blueberry custard pie and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream.
I doubled all the recipes and stood cooking, chopping and baking from morning until late afternoon. Cleaned up the kitchen, set the table and got myself ready. The whole time in good company, as Mia and Khloe (my furry companions) sat by my side – waiting for something to drop. Meanwhile my husband finally got home from his ride and was quickly punished for being gone all day – with a list of things to do before our guests arrived.
One hour until count down we locked the dogs in our bedroom, so I could run the vacuum one last time. Heaven forbid someone find a dog hair, at a dinner party. Mia and Khloe are not used to being locked away, and took this very personally. They cried, barked and scratched to get out. I gave them treats, talked to them and even yelled at them to stop, which is something I never do. As my guests were coming in I could still hear them, I had to think quick or they would ruin everything!
Then I remembered… Whenever I don’t feel good and need quiet time, I’ll pop a Jane Austin film in the DVD player and lie on the sofa all day. The dogs seem to understand this and will always lie quietly next to me. I made a quick dash to the bedroom, chose Pride and Prejudice (its a long one) put it on and hoped for the best.
Sure enough, Jane Austin to the rescue! I’m pretty certain she could tame the wild beast in anyone, Khloe and Mia were as good as gold. The food was delicious, we talked about goals, injuries and penalty kicks, everyone had a great time and in reward for being good, the girls were later allowed to join the party.
That is after their film was finished, of course.
A good friend of mine from America has been here visiting for the last few days. Sadly, she had to leave yesterday and her plane was departing at 6:20. We live one hour from the airport, and she had to be there at least one hour before departure. Getting in our last hours of nonstop talking, we weren’t able to make it to bed before eleven and set the alarm clock for 4:00. Whenever I go to bed knowing I have to get up early and do something important (like driving someone to the airport) I always wake up before the alarm. I was awake at 3!
I returned home at 7:00, got my son off to school at 8:00, took the dogs and went back to bed. I woke up two hours later to a knocking sound on my window, which in turn caused the dogs to stir. I tried to ignore it and go back to sleep, but there was no convincing the dogs. Tap, tap, tap. As the fog began to clear, curiosity got the best of me and I got up to find out what all the knocking was about.
It turned out to be a little brown sparrow striking the window. At first I found it somewhat amusing, but it didn’t take long before it became quite annoying. The dogs barked at the window and chased it away several times, but the bird was not about to give up. It was almost as if the little birdie were goading them. Tap, tap, tap.
Having been gone from my computer this last week and with 250 e-mails to read, I decided to turn a deaf ear to my new feathered friend and get busy. Tap, tap, tap. But the bird was relentless. Tap, tap tap. It was time to release the hounds!
Two silky little, floppy eared, King Charles Spaniels scurried out the front door to chase the sparrow off. After a good ten minutes of barking I decided tapping had to be the lesser of two evils, and let them in. Giving up trying to work, I took a shower, did laundry, made the beds and vacuumed. Tap, tap, tap.
By now the dogs had given up and were fast asleep on the sofa. Tap, tap, tap. By mid afternoon I began to wonder if the Universe was somehow trying to relate a message to me through this tiny bird. I checked and saw all of my children had logged into facebook. Tap, tap, tap. I called my parents in America and asked about my ninety three-year-old grandmother, who is in the hospital with a collapsed lung. Tap, tap, tap. Everything seemed to be fine. Then I remembered hearing somewhere that a bird in the house meant a death in the family. Tap, tap, tap. Although he was not technically in the house I began to worry, my friend was flying back to America and my husband was flying home from a business trip. Tap, tap, tap!
I spent several hours trying to take a picture of the pesky little beast, because I figured no one would ever believe my story. The bird obviously didn’t want its picture taken because every time I tried, it would fly away to another window. I chased the damn thing from window to window snapping endless pictures of tail feathers flying off. If anyone saw me they would probably think I was crazy. Tap, tap, tap!
My persistence finally paid off and I got two good pictures of the bird and fifty-three pictures of various windows around my house. Tap, tap, tap. By the end of the day my friend had arrived safely in America and my husband safely home. The bird finally stopped tapping as dark set in, sometime around nine o’clock in the evening. I went to bed exhausted and thinking if the Universe was in fact sending me a message, it was probably that I was cuckoo. Tap, tap, tap.