Ok, another week, and once again, it took this long to write...but really, you folks didn't miss much. This past weekend we did some shopping at a really cool place on the island of Sotra. Unfortunately Saturday night, Karoline and I got the stomach flu. But, we survived and we are on our way again.
Alf is coming on Monday, and we are all pretty excited! The weather has been absolutely beautiful here in Bergen, and we are hoping that it sticks around for Easter. The sun has been shining and it's been in the 50 to 60 degrees F...absolutely tropical for here! The bad news is that it's supposed to start raining again next Tuesday or Wednesday, exactly when we are supposed to be heading to the mountains for skiing and sunshine. Bridget keeps telling me that the sun will be shining outside of Bergen and I am hoping she is right!
School is going along...What Was I Thinking trying to learn a new language at my age??? What is the phrase...old dog...new tricks...don't mix??? Yes, well, for those of you reading, I will tell you I am struggling along. Norwegian grammar...stinks!! I have been told English is harder to learn, but not for me...I already know it! Well, most of my philosophies in life these days come from Disney movies, and I just have to think like Dory from Finding Nemo: 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming...'
The girls are doing fine. Going to barnehage...speaking the language...learning to drive me crazy in two languages...Karoline keeps learning more and more new words. For Easter we are going to make an extreme effort...ok, I AM going to make an extreme effort to speak only Norwegian for the week, and I think we will see how Karoline does in a completely Norwegian environment. I think she speaks more Norwegian in the barne hage than I realize, but once I get there, she reverts to English.
Here are a few pics from my life...Enjoy!!
The sun was shining and we took to the outdoors like true Norwegians! Here are the girls first on our balcony coloring in the evening sun, and later that same day, over at Farmor's house (Alf's mom) enjoying saft-is, or as we Americans like to say, popsicles! And a shot of the flowers that are blooming everywhere!
Another sunshine day!! Somebody up there must like us! My whiny girls persuaded Bridget for a free dinner and we once again got outside afterwards to enjoy the sun still up...these pics were taken after 6pm at night! The hearts on the sidewalk, both girls made those special for Alf! Look at Lukas go! William jumped out of the shot, but he was playing soccer in the fifth picture...darn kid is too fast!!
It's been a while...there really hasn't been much going on so I haven't wrote. I probably should be doing more telling folks about life in Norway...will have keep that in mind when I am surfing the internet.
Life is going along here. At the language school, I am required to take three exams, each progressively harder to see how I am progressing in the language. The final test, if I pass, would mean the end of attending the school. This week I took Test 1, and I have no idea how I did. It tested me it three areas: listening, reading, and writing. Personally, I am hoping something like a 70%, if they grade it. I guess I probably am more interested to see if I am making any progress at all. In the mean time, I go everyday and try to do the homework.
The girls are doing great. They both seem to really like the new barnehage building, and with the weather warming up a bit, they have been outside more and more. We have had crazy weather here; snow flurries one minute, pouring rain the next, and wind that blows and stops, blows and stops. Today we had beautiful weather with the sun shining and a bit on the chilly side. With the new barnehage being closer to our apartment building, I walked today to get the girls, and we enjoyed a nice slow walk back in the sunshine. We are all three excited for summer and the hope of warmer weather!
Alf is coming in less than two weeks! We can't wait! My task before he gets here is to find ski's for Elisabeth, and to make sure we know where Beate's and Marius's skis are. I am not having much luck. (I hate to say it, but I did tell Alf to buy the darn skis at Christmas when we had a pair right in our hands.) But, that is that, and we, meaning me, now have to try to find skis...without spending a bunch of money on something that we are only going to use for a week. Good luck to me, right??
I have a few pic's to share. Like I said, life hasn't really been that exciting, but Alf asks me to share every life, so...here you all are!!
The first picture is of my 'morning schedule' that I created to try to get the girl's to be more independent in the morning...it works...if they look at it! The next two pics are of Elisabeth, Karoline and William at the big shopping center on Sotra, which is an island outside Bergen. The sun was shining, and a group was set up and singing right outside the center. Karoline was shaking her money maker...!! The next two pics are of the girl's borrowed bedroom...this was a request from Tate, and I hope he can see where the girls sleep! The sixth picture is taken of the balcony today...nothing is prettier than Bergen in the sun!! And the last shot is a request from Alf: here is everyday life, honey...Karoline playing in the tub!!
The feel of Spring might actually be in the air! The rain has descended upon Bergen, and we haven't seen the sun for a few days now. Our snowsuits are clean and hanging in the closet and the rain outfits are getting a run for their money. As tempting as it is on the rainy days, it just isn't Norwegian to sit around the house, or apartment in our case, with the tv going and relaxing on the couch...no, no...a good Norwegian grabs their rain suits and heads out into nature!! Which is exactly what we did on Sunday. Bridget and Trond called in the morning and suggested we get out and get in a good walk...mind you, as I am talking on the phone, its pouring cats and dogs and horses and pigs outside! But, off we were, and lucky us, it stopped raining for pretty much our whole walk! We went to Fjﳰan>sanger, which is on the same mountain as Lﳰan>vstakken, but not really...don't ask, I don't know how the heck they can tell the difference...it's all the same mountain!!! Anyways, we had a great time with picking up sticks and rocks and looking for trolls in the skogen (woods.) With the rain, run off from the mountain was plentiful and the kids had to stop and play in it. Nothing is more fun than throwing rocks into walking and tossing sticks in. As we stood and watched our kids, I noticed that almost every kid on the trail (including Bridget!) had to toss in a rock or two as they passed by!
Things are going well here. School is going along...I probably should add a page where I write in only Norwegian...not sure how many people would actually benefit from that though. The girls are doing well...Elisabeth has been working pretty hard on her reading, and we are moving right along with our 'word families' and numbers going forward and back. And who knew how many patterns there are in this world! Karoline tags right along, and LOVES working out of the preschool workbook I brought with us, although she doesn't like the directions I tell her, which I read right off the page, but makes up her own...that right there might give you an indication of what I am dealing with with her!
Alf comes in less than 3 weeks!! We are counting down the days (great way to practice counting backwards!) Hope you are all doing well...
My apologies to all who may have noticed that I seem to have dropped off the face of the earth as far as my webpage is concerned. It's been a tough week, and there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. It seemed especially tough with trying to adapt to a new routine and schedule. It's been quite an adjustment with getting up and out the door in time to get to the barnehage and for me to catch the bus. The new barnehage is wonderful. It's all new and shiny and pretty, and closer to the apartment. It also, however, is a completely new set up, with parking no where near the doors, and three different levels in the building to contend with. But, the girls like it and they are excited to go each day. And each new day gives us one more chance to perfect the new routine and get our ducks in a row!
In my last entry I shared that we were heading to the Bergen Aquarium with Bridget and Trond, and we did, and we had a great time. Bridget has threatned physical harm to me if don't tell everyone that she sent me her pictures THAT Sunday! No, I will accept full blame for the delay!! We had a great time, watching the penguins get fed, and seals, and Karoline showing her bravery by picking up starfish right out of the tank! The kids loved having William to play with, and were most eager to show him to run around with out the parents present!! Corrupted by girls! All in all, a great time was had, and the girls are already asking when we can go again!
Monday we had a great oppurtunity to go up into the mountains of western Norway with Gerd. We drove to Evanger, which is about 10km from Voss. Gerd had a family commitment, so the girls and I found a great picnic area and had a wonderful lunch, and then we explored a bit. It was a beautiful area, with the snow on the mountains and the water, which comes from the fjord, floating full of ice. We had to take an old single lane bridge across the water to get to the other side of town, and the girls and I couldn't resist walking across. I can't wait for Alf to come at Easter to take the girls up into the mountains to their family cottage to learn to ski and play in the snow!!
Tomorrow starts another week here. The temps have been in the high 40's-low 50's, but with lots of rain. We have been talking alot about summer here, and trying to figure out different things to see and do. The girls and I are getting very excited and very ready for winter to be over and the warm weather to be here!! By the way, in case you didn't notice, I added some links to the home page for places we have visited in here and mentioned on the website. If you would like to learn more, you can check them out. A couple of them have English links...look for the English flag!!
Another week done and gone here in good old Norway. I would love to say we did a ton of cultural activities, but, it just didn't happen. Most important was the police station, and we did get that done. We got lots of fresh air playing outside on the playground and going for some short walks. Friday was a beautiful day in Bergen, and we took advantage of it by taking the rail car up the mountain of Fl饮 from downtown. There were activities going on up there in conjunction with Winter Break, and we played on the playground, talked to the troll, called Alf so he could see us on the webcam, and ate waffles at the restaurant overlooking the whole of Bergen. Here are the pics of us playing on top of Fl饮. In the third picture, Karoline was mad because she wanted to go play right away and didn't really care for me taking pictures first; at the restaurant, we are eating waffles with blueberries on top; the last picture is taken down in Bergen at the bus station, and you can just see the white building on the very top, which is the restaurant where we ate...
I will post more tomorrow. We are heading for the Aquarium in Bergen today with Bridget, Trond and the boys. I will wait to get pictures from Bridget so that I have more shots to choose from.
Ha det bra fra Bergen!!
Wow, how fast a week can go when your doing nothing! We are, as I explained in my last entry, on Winter Break, meaning I have no school, and the girls have no barnehage due to the fact the facility is moving. Our top goal for the week: go to the police station, where the immigration office is to take care of my passport visa. Very important to have in order, since without it, I basically don't exist in Norway!! I can't have a bank account without it, the girls can't get medical care, and I have to pay LARGE amounts of money to go to the language school...so you see why it's imperative to get it taken care as soon as possible. The problem with going, is that you WAIT!!! Large amounts of time. So, when I knew I had to go with the girls this week, I planned and came prepared. We left the apartment first thing in the morning, drove downtown, parked at the big parking garage, and hoofed it over to the police station. Elisabeth was tired before we even left the parking garage! When we got in the door, like everything else in Norway, you take a number. The number currently being served: 23. The number I got: 75. So, we had a wait in front of us. We found ourselves a piece of the floor and we made camp! The girls brought entertainment, such as coloring books and ponies, and I brought snacks, and we made ourselves at home. We received our share of looks and snickers, but then, those people got awfully tired of waiting, and we had plenty to do! Once again, I am sure I stuck out as an 'American!'
Making ourselves at home in the waiting room of the immigration office at the police station!!
Earlier in the week, we met Bridget and the boys at the shopping center, and had ourselves a good ole' skillingsboller. If you aren't familiar with what these are yet, your not reading my entries very well!! They are basically what we would call cinnamon rolls, but they sure are good over here...Alf's favorite! And by far, Karoline and Elisabeth's as well. I hope you all notice that these ones the kids are eating are covered in good old American mini M & M's!! With some chocolate milk and some good friends, nothing is better in Norway!!
Sitting and eating skillingsboler with good friends and good drinks...SKż/span>L!! (Norwegian for Cheers!)
After we ate the boller, we headed out for a good walk to 'shake the stink' off of us. It's been a bit overwhelming to be stuck in a small apartment on the fourth floor after living in our house. Bridget brought along the bread and we found some ducks who were more than happy to get it off her hands. They all thought it was fun, as long as everyone kept their distance, meaning both kids and ducks! Karoline got stuck in the herd of them, and she wasn't too happy about that! Amazingly enough, as we walked along, there was a playground just waiting to be played on!! Amazing how those kids can sniff out a playground, but they can't put their dirty clothes in the basket! One thing I HAVE to learn over here is how to dress a Norwegian kid. I still think as an American; I let my kids put socks in the morning, and when we go out in 30-40 degree weather, I insist on a coat, hat and mittens. Here, if the calendar says it's winter, you put your kid into a 'park dress,' which I would call a snowsuit, typically one piece. And in strॲbuskser, which I probably haven't spelled right, but what we would refer to as tights in America. And every child wears them, boy and girl, all winter long...think long johns. Bridget tells me that what I would buy here in Norway for tights would more than likely have a wool blend to them. If the calendar says it's spring/summer, then you would put your kid in rainwear...think Alaskan fish boats. One more piece of the culture I need to work on!!
Notice the sun is shining! I even needed sunglasses!!
Today, being the first of March, we had a great day of with Bridget and boys again, except this time they came and visited us. This little apartment got pretty loud and pretty small with 4 small children playing like crazy! We decided we would be safer outside so we headed out and played at the little playground here in the apartment complex. Afterwards, me and the girls went on an Adventure! We drove downtown Bergen to go get Alf's mom, which the girl's call Farmor, from her workplace so that she could watch the girls while I went to the information meeting at the new barnehage building. What a trip! I love my husband...he wrote out the directions for me to get to his mom's job by memory...all 30+ steps to getting there! He expected me to memorize them so that I would know where I was going...30some steps with small children in the back...and just between you and me...there are SO many one way streets in Bergen, and I don't know what the sign looks like to tell me it's one way!!! Did I mention there are buses that run by cables in Bergen, so if you get in there way...your hamburger meat??? Long story short: I found her job, we got to her house, I went to the meeting, and it will be chaos on Monday! It's a brand new building, and there weren't even stairs to go up to the second floor where the girl's room will be!! It should be interesting to see when they open!! We had a nice evening at Farmor's house, and then we came home and everyone crashed.
We still have Friday and the weekend of Winter Break...so much time with so little to do!
Hope you all are doing well, and feel free to drop me an email!