I’m always happiest in the summer. I want to say its because of the nice weather, but we don’t always get the nicest weather here in Norway. Warm sunny days pop up randomly but can never be counted on. What we do get, is plenty of daylight. While the north of Norway basks in twenty-four-hours of it, we here in the South get about four hours of dusk, to which we call night. I get super charged by the light and run around like the Duracell Bunny all summer long.
As you may have guessed, by the end of summer I’m more than ready to go into winter hibernation. Especially since our long days of daylight turn into long days of darkness. I get through these months mostly in pajama pants, with plenty of books and lots of vitamin D. (Exercise and eating healthy also helps).
As the days steadily get shorter and the kids head back to school, I can feel my energy already starting to deplete. I’ve been sending children to school without a break since 1982, and with only twenty months to go, I’m eager to put that part of life behind me!
My book came out in April and its been nonstop since then with blogging, promoting and travel. I’m happy to report an excerpt from the book was recently highlighted in the Foreign Exchange Newsletter and put up on their Expat Exchange web sight. Feel free to go in and push the fb like button or tweet it. Thank you!
Which brings me to the next order of business, I promised a book giveaway. The lovely Emily (granddaughter) took time away from her painting to pull a name for me…
And the winner is Crazytraintotinkytown which is a great blog, that comes to us all the way from Turkey… Yay!
Later this week my daughter and grandson are coming from America for a visit. Its not often I get both of my daughters in the same country. I’ve therefore decided to take a short break from blogging and enjoy every minute I can with them. I hope you all enjoy your week as much as I know I’ll enjoy mine. -Maggie
I know my last post was about life getting back to ‘normal’ after a long and exciting summer, but summer’s not quite over yet. I still have two trips to take…
First, I’m going on a mystery trip to Scotland. The reason I call it a mystery trip, is because I’m going to meet a group of writers, I don’t really know. We will be discussing a joint venture, I know nothing about. I’m not even quite sure why I’m going, all I know is something in Scotland is beckoning. More to come on that…
I am also going on a trip to Dublin, with my husband, four of his old football (soccer) buddies and their wives. This trip is strictly for pleasure. More to come on this trip too…
What I can tell you about now, is my trip ‘home’ to New Jersey. I still call Jersey home because it’s where I come from, it’s where my family lives and where all my childhood friends are. No matter how long I’m gone it always feels familiar and I still sound like I belong there. Now you’re probably thinking… What?
I’m talking, or should I say, ‘tawking’ about my language and Jersey attitude. Living in a foreign country, talking ‘their’ language, with an accent and not having a clue how to joke around, mostly leaves me feeling like an outsider. Not the case in Jersey…
A few more reasons I like visiting Jersey in the summer are, warm weather, something you canNOT count on in Norway. Shopping, there is 0% tax on clothes in NJ and 22% on clothes in Norway. I could sit here all day telling you reasons I love the Garden State, but guess what?
Norway is my home now, it’s where my father, husband and two of my sons were born. I have three children and three grandchildren living there (two of my children and two grandchildren live in the US). I have friends that feel like family and my two pets, Khloe and Mia are there. The house my husband built and the home we built together are there. I feel safe in Norway and have soon lived there half of my life (six more years). I guess I have two homes…
What do you think, is home where you come from, or where you’ve gone?
Have you ever had trouble making up your mind? It looks like this flower did. I took this picture in my garden.
Do you ever feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Well, this guy does. I took this picture in Monterosso Italy.
Have you ever had a submarine sandwich? Jersey Mike’s are the best! I took this picture in Brick, New Jersey.
Is there anything better than a cup of tea with an old friend? This is my friend Annie, we met in kindergarden. This picture was taken on her front porch in Jersey.
Is there anything more precious than a baby? I would have to say, no. I took this picture of my granddaughter last week in Norway.
Have you ever seen pink and purple water? It always amazes me. I took this picture a few weeks ago from my kitchen window in Norway.
How about orange water? This picture was taken at midnight. Don’t you just love Norwegian sunsets!
A quiet summer at home, well that was the intention…
The only plans my husband and I had this summer were to paint the house and work in the garden. After finishing up a lot earlier than expected and in desperate need of sun, we decided to spend a week in Italy.
Some friends have talked us into taking a long-weekend in Dublin, at the end of August. I’ve been invited to join a group of women-writers, meeting in Scotland the weekend before that, and now a trip to America has unexpectedly dropped into our lives.
My husband was asked by his company to give up a week of his vacation and go to Houston on business. Of course he agreed to do it, as long as they were willing to buy a ticket for me too. I then decided to trade in my ticket to Houston for a ticket to New Jersey, which is where I come from.
Tomorrow morning I’m heading home to the Garden State, for a whole week with family and friends. (Plus shopping, no tax on clothes in NJ). When I get back, my new baby granddaughter will be coming to stay with me, while my daughter and her family go to Lego Land in Denmark. There’s nothing like cuddling with a new born.
Leave me a comment if you’re interested in winning a free copy of my book, Fly Away Home. At the end of August, I’ll pull one name out of a hat, contact the winner, and send the book anywhere in the world.
Sense and Sensibility is my favorite Jane Austen novel however, I’ve decided to read Persuasion, because Anne Elliot is my favorite Austen heroine. I’m also very fond of Elizabeth Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice. Which one will you read?
I’ll be gone for the next two weeks, but am leaving you with these awesome pictures, people have posted on Facebook. I hope you’re all having a great summer…
I love tea and have been wanting to do a post about it for quite some time now. It’s my addiction and I cannot make it through the day without it. I brew a pot every morning and am still drinking long after its cooled off, I’ll drink it at any temperature, but never spoil it by adding milk or sugar. My favorite is green tea with mint, but I’ll drink all sorts. In good times and bad, I’m always comforted with tea. So if you ever come to visit, you can be sure I’ll serve tea.
Back in June, a good friend and fellow tea drinker named Marita, (who at this very moment is on her way to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro!) informed me of a tea party that was being held at a local lighthouse. As most of you already know, I live on an island in Norway and there is a light house out on the very tip, called Eigerøy Fyr.
The tea party was being hosted by a Canadian artist, calligrapher, Asian scholar, and tea historian named Bryan Mulvihill. He travels the world talking about tea and its origins some 4,000 years ago, in China. He also talks about the global journey of this precious commodity and how almost every culture has a tea tradition.
He has served tea in a palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice and in a greenhouse in Kew Gardens, London. He has also served tea at International art fairs, local community centers, Buddhist temples and Jewish synagogues. He has served to as many as 17,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl, during the World Festival of Sacred Music in 1999, and to as little as twenty people at Eigerøy Fyr in Egersund, Norway.
Marita and I took the 2km. hike out to the lighthouse on a winding path that ran both up and down green hills dotted with grazing sheep. Wind and rain pushing and pulling us all the way. Once we arrived, we were served four different teas, in tiny porcelain cups. Each of them tasted light and refreshing, with a flowery sweet aroma.
A few weeks later I received an e-mail from a Norwegian named Christi, living in Ningbo, China. She heard about my book and wanted to congratulate me, she would soon be coming home to Egersund for the summer, and asked to visit.
She came by last week, we had a delightful chat and to my surprise, she brought white tea, all the way home from China. There were two shiny bags inside a small canister, one held tea leaves, the other small rose buds, used in flavoring the tea. The canister was then covered in a silky green kimono.
Yesterday, I decided to share my good fortune with another friend named Anja.
As the sun shone down on a lazy Saturday afternoon, two friends whiled away the hours…
Enjoying fresh strawberries, sweet cake and a delicious Chinese nectar
In Anja’s beautiful rose garden, in Norway.
The tea was fantastic! Thanks again, Christi.
Cinque Terre – part 2
We chose to stay in Monterosso because it had the nicest and largest beach but with the four other villages beckoning, there was little time for sitting idle on this trip…
The five villages are strung along nine kilometers of cliffside footpaths and overlook the crystal blue water of the Ligurian Sea. The trails wind through olive groves and dry-stone-walled vineyards and are scattered with tourists, from all over the world.
We picked up the first trail in Monterosso and headed towards Vernazza. This is supposedly the most challenging hike of them all. It was 3Km of dusty uphill trails and steep steps that never seemed to end. Even though we started out early in the day, the temperature was a muggy, 27 degrees Celsius and it took us almost two hours to reach our destination. As I caught my first glimpse of Vernazza in the distance, it was love at first sight.
Vernazza turned out to be my favorite of all the villages. Maybe it was the three musicians who greeted us at the end of the trail playing ‘Amore’. Perhaps it was the sign that read ‘Bar’ pointing us directly into the village, or possibly the bell tower, chiming in the distance. We dawdled through crooked streets lined with colorful old houses and made our way down to the grotto. Here we lost all track of time, as we sat beside the sea watching boat loads of tourists coming and going. We drank local wine and ate crispy thin ‘real’ Italian pizza.
Afterwards, we took the train back to Monterosso and spent our ‘only’ afternoon on the beach before getting ready for dinner.
The next day we took the train back to Vernazza and continued on the path, towards the third village of Corniglia. We got a late start and the temperature was already hovering around 30. This hike was 4Km and took almost two hours. Corniglia is at the top of a steep hill, on flat land and no matter which way you come from you’ll have to head upward at some point. We headed up on the way in, and arrived drenched in sweat.
I’m almost always in charge of the camera and its not because I take better pictures, I’m a control freak (there, I said it). On this particular day my husband was in dire need of a ‘stone cold Pils’ – beer (private joke) and wouldn’t wait up, while I stopped every five minutes to take pictures. There was no need to fear, as I simply followed the sweat drops leading directly towards him. (What can I say, we’re from Norway and not used to the heat).
Corniglia is the only village not immediately on water and although it was oozing with charm, we were tired and roasting. We found a shady, outside cafe and rehydrated the afternoon away. Afterwards we walked down 400 steps to the train station, thankful we weren’t going in the opposite direction!
We couldn’t walk between Corniglia and the forth village of Manarola because the trail was closed. Torrential rains which caused flooding and mudslides in October 2011, created massive damage to the area and they’re still making repairs. Instead, we took the train all the way to the fifth village of Riomaggiore the next day, and then hiked back to Manarola.
Riomaggiore is an old village situated in a small valley planted with vineyards. Shutter clad buildings are jam-packed between steep narrow alleys and stony flights of steps. We explored the village, bought a few souvenirs and had a nice lunch before setting off to Manarola on the ‘Via dell’Amore’ an Italian lover’s lane.
This was definitely not a hike, but more of a stroll. The path was flat and paved, with benches to sit and kiss on. The view was magnificent and all along the path people seal their love by hanging padlocks and love letters …
This is ours:
It only took 25 minutes for us to walk the 1Km to Manarola. The village is situated in a deep narrow valley and stands on a rocky promontory, that rises directly from the sea. Bright colored buildings are packed both side by side, and on top of one another. Being both hot and tired, I agreed to take the boat back to Monterosso (I’m not a big fan of boats). We missed the one that left at five and had to wait an hour for the next one and were not alone. As we stood in line on a rocky bank along the sea, people starting diving into the water to cool off. Some had bathing suits under there clothes, while others just dove in with their clothes on. Of course my husband had to join in on the fun, clothing and all. It was definitely a Kodak moment but wouldn’t you know, my camera died!
The boat ride back to Monterosso was fabulous and cool, and seeing the villages from the water was a whole other expierence.
We’re not done yet…
I love summer, its my favorite time of the year. There are no guarantees the weather will be nice in Norway, but thats why we have airplanes to carry us off in search of the sun. When my children were little we always went to my parents house in New Jersey. There the weather was always warm and the kids enjoyed the swimming pool in my parents yard, while their mother enjoyed the air conditioned shopping malls (just kidding…).
Now the children are grown and my husband and I like to travel around and see new places. This years vacation spot is, Cinque Terra. Whats interesting, is how I found this location… I casually stumbled across the picture above on Naomi Baltuck’s blog, Writing Between the Lines and immediately commented, Where is this place? Three days later our trip was booked! I’m sure once you read about “the five lands” on the Italian Riviera, you’ll be dying to go too…
Blogging has been quite rewarding lately, not only did I find this year’s vacation spot, but I’ve also had three blog awards bestowed on me. First was the Versatile Blogger Award which I received from Beth’s blog, it’s a whole new world. Beth is one of those people who feels like a good friend, even though we’ve never met. The second is a Liebster Award from Robin Coyle her blog is, The writing Life of Robin. Robin has a great style and her blog is overflowing with writing tips. Since I already have a Versatile Blogger and a Liebster Award, I’m going to jump right over to the third one which is the Sunshine Award. I was nominated for this one by Paula’s blog, stuff I tell my sister. Paula is also a delightful person and her blog is a warm and cozy place to visit. Check them out, you won’t regret it!
The Sunshine Award guidelines are:
- Link the award to the person who gave it to you.
- Answer the questions that come with it.
- Pass it along to other bloggers and let them know they have received it.
Here are the blogs I nominate, (I tried to see who already had the award, but that was a lot of work and then I got my lists confused, so I’m just randomly throwing some names out there. If you already have it, then I’m sorry. If you don’t have it and your name is not on the list, just take it, I’ll never tell…)
2. Expat Alien
4. Expat Lingo
- Favorite color- When the sky is solid blue, thats my favorite color.
- Favorite animal- Thats a toss up between Mia and Khloe…
- Favorite number- That has to be six, because I have six kids.
- Favorite non-alcoholic drink- Easy! Tea (warm or cold).
- Facebook or Twitter- Definitely Facebook (thats where all my real friends are)
- My passion- Everyone will expect me to say writing, but its scrapbooking.
- Giving or receiving- I love to buy gifts but when people ask me what I want, I always answer, “I don’t know.”
- Favorite pattern- Hmm… Burberry plaid.
- Favorite day of the week- Without a doubt Friday night, I love having the weekend in front of me.
- Favorite flower- After living in Holland for three years, I have to say tulips.
We have had the most beautiful weather in Norway, eleven days of warmth. Thats big here and this Jersey girl has appreciated every moment of it. To be able to wander in and out without a jacket, shake the mothballs off my summer clothes and drive with the window down for eleven days may seem like nothing, but believe me its something.
Don’t get me wrong, Norway can have beautiful weather, but seldom is it this nice and for so long. I think what I enjoyed most was watering my plants everyday, that’s something the rain usually takes care of. I can’t remember the last time I spent this much time in my garden and my husband managed to paint the whole house!
Its amazing how good the sun makes me feel. In the winter when its dark I can’t wait to go to bed at night and now in the bright evenings, its the furthest thing from my mind. At this time of the year we always wake up and usually go to bed with the sun still shining. For me this makes the short, dark days of winter, well worth it.
I don’t know how many days are left before the bad weather returns because I learned years ago not to check weather reports, but I do hear people talking… The temperature has already gone down a bit and there are a few clouds today, but I refuse to think about it and have decided to live in the moment.
I’ve posted pictures taken from my garden and from a window in my house, so you too can enjoy the beautiful weather in Norway…
Norway is a beautiful country, especially when its warm and the sun shines. Unfortunately, thats not too often. I live on the Southwest coast where we mostly get rain, wind and arthritis. The locals here will always joke around and say, “Last year we had summer on a Wednesday,” or “We can’t complain, last year we had two whole weeks of summer.” Everyone laughs, because what else can they do?
I come from New Jersey and am therefore well equipped to handle cold winters, a rainy spring, even a crisp fall, but summer is supposed to be warm. I remember swimming everyday, chasing the ice cream man and begging my mother to turn the air conditioner on. The one thing I could always count on was a hot summer on the Jersey Shore.
Life has now carried me to another place, where I never watch weather reports and try hard to except what I can’t change. In reward, Mother Nature will send me a beautiful day every now and then, and from the top of my wind blown hair to the bottom of my cold little toes, I appreciate it!
I’m afraid this is the week everyone will be talking about next year… “In 2012 we had summer for a full week in May.” The weather is magnificent! The sky is a solid blue and because its Norway (land of the midnight sun) daylight comes early and goes on until late in the evening.
I love working outside in the garden, but not when the weather is bad. I guess you could call me a fair weather gardener. I called a girlfriend up yesterday and asked if she would like to go with me to the Garden Center to buy summer flowers for my pots. She has the most beautiful garden and is dedicated enough to run out at two in the morning to wash the salt off her plants after a storm. She claims to have a green heart but not much of a green thumb, which isn’t true, for she has both.
We had a great time wandering about, oohing and aahing, and picking out flowers. Delirious from the unfamiliar heat, I went a little overboard and ended up buying NOK 2,300 (Norwegian Kroner) worth of flowers (you’ll have to do the math or take my word, it was a lot)! My friend also convinced me into buying two bags of cow manure to blend with the four bags of potting soil I bought.
We loaded up the car, soil and manure in the trunk, flowers packed on the back seat and floor, I put the key in, turned the ignition and… Nothing! The car was dead?! My husband was out of town, my friends husband was out sailing and it seemed everyone was out enjoying the nice weather because I couldn’t get a hold of anybody.
First we asked if anyone at the Garden Center could give us a jump, but no one had cables. We then headed to the fast food restaurant next door, where we found four young, leather clad motorcyclists sitting outside eating and asked for help (actually my friend did, she’s braver than me). They were quick to come to the rescue (of us two cougars) and tried push starting the car. It didn’t work.
Now my car was half way down the road, the power windows of course wouldn’t go down, it was hot as blazes, my flowers were wilting and I had a trunk full of manure. We walked back to the restaurant, ordered two soda’s, called a tow truck and waited.
While waiting my friend looked at me as serious as can be and said, “This is all my fault.”
“What, how can this be your fault?” I asked
“All bad things happen in three… Yesterday I ran over the hose while cutting the grass and ruined the lawnmower, last night my dildo broke and today your car died.”
I laughed so hard, I think soda ran out my nose.
You know you’re in Norway When:
- Summer comes and goes on the same day.
- There is no such thing as bad weather, just not the right clothing.
- Frozen (Grandiosa) Pizza is the National dish.
- You only hear Swedish jokes at a party.
- There is no alcohol sold or served on Election Day.
- The most popular pastime is walking.
- No one you meet smiles or says hello.
- No two towns in the whole country talk with the same dialect.
- The most popular cheese is brown.
- Everyone has to pay for the National television station, whether you watch it or not.
- mayonnaise is sold in a bag.
- Things are only sold in small sizes.
- Everything shuts down in July, because everyone’s on vacation.
- You pay more for Norwegian oil here than anywhere else in the world.
- People can (hopefully) take a joke.