Tuesday 31 January 2012


Nothing to do with Norwegian!
I just liked the photo...
When I decided I would need to learn Norwegian in order for me to move to Norway, I looked on the internet and found one that seemed not to be too dear, yet would still teach me something. I bought it, a few days later it arrived and ever since then I have been studying. During work mind, never in my free time! (That's the beauty of being a busdriver: I have plenty of time left while waiting for children who swim or do pe). The cd's were discarded quite early on. They were really annoying me no end. They would ask a question and by the time I had finished translating, they would have already given the answer. Pressing the pause button didn't help: the whole machine would then go haywire and I would have to start all over again.

I bought myself some school supplies, so I would be able to write down what I needed to write down: the rules of Norwegian grammar, words and words and words and of course the little assignments. Occasionally I would have to translate a sentence in Norwegian and think: I can't do that and I would invariably do it and even get it correct!

Now, the thing with this course is, it's an English Norwegian course. So, everything is explained in English. My English is reasonably okay, but when people start talking of infinitives, bare infinitives, articles, nouns and the lot, that gets quite confusing. Because I will need to translate it into Dutch before I can translate it any further. I think my grammar booklet is full of made-up Dutch names for things. At least I understand what I am going on about. Most of the time...

Sometimes though I get stuck. Like when I learnt about big bigger biggest. Which turned out not to be about that at all, but was all about adjectives and their endings regarding the nouns they were with. Or like when I had to learn about auxiliary verbs and couldn't for the life of me grasp what they were (I have since had a brainwave and know they are hulpwerkwoorden).

Fortunately I have friends. And one in particular who can help me out when I am in a tight spot. She should be anyway, since she is a Dutch teacher! If ever I really get stuck, I will get onto her, babble something on her voicemail and she will try to make sense of my babble and send me an answer. Lovely!

Now I just need to learn how to pronounce it all...

Monday 30 January 2012


He is getting on a bit. In human years he is nearing one hundred, in cat years he is nearing 14. He sits on my lap a lot and even if I move about, he will stay put. He has never been the most clever of cats, unless it comes to food and in that case he is a genius.

On Saturday, as I was watching television, he didn't sit on my lap, but slept on the chest near the central heating. I guess he was dreaming, because as I was glancing over, I saw him slide off the chest in quite an undignified manner. I think it shocked him too and it probably hurt him as well, as he was limping!

The limp didn't last long though. As soon as I had picked him up to examine the leg, he settled in my arms and then stayed on my lap for a further 3 hours.

You have to love him!

Sunday 29 January 2012


When I wrote about Sherlock a week or so ago, I got a reaction from Carolina, who told me there might be another series worth watching on the BBC: Mrs Brown's Boys. A series concerning an Irish mammy and her children. According to her it was a really good series and since we tend to like similar sort of shows... But then I saw what it was about and thought: no, this is not my type of show. Of course, only reading the blurb doesn't necessarily mean anything and in order to be faithful, I decided to have a little look.

Well, there was a penguin and a very pregnant woman. And there was Mrs Brown herself. She swore. A lot! And it was hilarious! It took all my effort not to pee my pants. Literally!! I wrote back to Carolina saying how much I had loved the show. On Monday she gave me a heads-up about the episode that evening and we got to emailing back and forth about how we would love to see the first series. So I ordered it on dvd. Together with Sherlock and Doctor Who. It arrived on Friday and this weekend I watched Mrs Brown's Boys and Sherlock. I added some tea and cookies and I had a near perfect weekend! 

Thursday 26 January 2012


When I first heard this ‘new’ category, I thought, what on earth could I do that would reflect the word new? And then I spent a night at my cousin’s and her youngest daughter had just gotten a new little hamster. Bingo!

On Sunday morning daughter wanted to hold Rose (the hamster’s name), but couldn’t get her out of the cage, so I volunteered to help. I gave her to daughter, but once Rose started moving around, she didn’t like that too much and handed her back to me. So, she moved around on me, I stuck her in my cardigan’s pocket, she tried getting up my sleeve and daughter kept moving about to keep track of Rose. It was adorable, even if she did bite me (Rose that is, not daughter).

Just one thing to remember: when you’ve had any chocolate sprinkles for breakfast (like I did) and you find one after you handle a hamster, don’t think it’s a chocolate sprinkle. I thought it was a chocolate sprinkle, stuck it in my mouth and realised it was hamster poo. Good thing it was tiny…

This is my third entry for Photo Theme for Thursday. Why not join?

Sunday 22 January 2012

Scandinavia Fair

I have been to several emigration fairs over the last few years and the answers I got to any of my questions regarding finding jobs in Canada and/or trying to move out there, were always met with: Yes, it is possible, but will be very difficult. So, when I did move my sight from Canada to Norway it was very much because the chances were a great deal higher in Norway than they ever were in Canada. And when I went to the Scandinavia Fair on Saturday, I got confirmation after confirmation.

I had rented a car specially, so I could go when I wanted instead of having to depend on public transport and had arrived just after half past nine. The doors had just about opened when I went in and started my hunt for information. Now, most of the stands were by communities in the country side who are dealing with severe lack of people and are trying to find people to come live in their communities. Then there was the European Job Center (Eures) with its Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counterparts, the Social Security Office of the Netherlands, the Tax Office of the Netherlands, some moving companies, some foody type thingiemebobs and some translation companies.

All in all, there were plenty of stands for me to browse and talk to people. I had taken a few cv's with me, in English, so if they wanted one, I could give them one. I filled out forms, talked to people, got brochures and leaflets, filled out some more forms and was very happy about all the positive sounds I got. There was actually one that said (and I quote): "You are a busdriver and a woman? Twice as good!" The only negative sound I kept on hearing was the fact that I would need to speak Norwegian. Well, you good people of Norway: I am working hard on it, don't you worry!

I left just before three in the afternoon, with a bag full of brochures, a head full of information and a happy heart. To be continued...

Thursday 19 January 2012


When I was about eleven or twelve, all the girls in my class had 'best friends', apart from me and one other girl. So, the other girls set us up on a 'best friend date'. I was supposed to go over to H's house and there we would play. That way we too would become best friends and all the girls in the class were properly set up.

Off I went to H's house to play. But horror of horrors, she wanted me to play with dolls! Barbie dolls! How was I supposed to know how to play with dolls? I never did at home. I played with my brother's lego or his racing set. I read books and I knitted. But most of all I played outside with other neighbourhood children. We roamed the neighbourhood, we played Jail ball, Hide and Seek, Potato in the Pan, Softball, we climbed trees, raced shopping carts, fell in ditches, off bike racks or cycled somewhere. I certainly never played with dolls!

There was however one very important member in our household. It wasn't a doll but a teddy bear. And without this teddy bear I couldn't sleep. My father has turned the car around on one occasion to go get it. We bought a replacement bear that itched. But usually I just made sure I had it with me. And I still have it. It's very battered and bruised and definitely needs to see a doctor, but he's still here. Sitting on my bedside table in his little pink and orange bikini I knitted him.

By the way, me and H never hit it off...

This is my second entry for Photo Theme Thursday. Why not join?

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Open wide!

My semi-annual appointment with the dentist was yesterday. It's always great fun. I sit in the waiting room trying to read at least one comic (usually the Donald Duck magazine), before I am called in to take my seat in one of those uncomfortable reclining chairs. Then the dental assistant starts cleaning my teeth, which yesterday lasted all of two minutes, including me spitting half way through. Then the dentist himself comes over, gives me a sort of limp handshake (it's not quite limp, but it's not firm either, it's a bit wishy-washy), asks whether there were any problems, pokes about in my mouth a bit and sends me on my merry way.

Of course last year followed somewhat of a different course when he found two cavities (for the first time ever I hasten to add), so I even though I wasn't nervous as such, I wasn't 100% certain about the outcome.

So, I read Quest magazine (couldn't be bothered to get up to find the Donald Duck), got called in, got my teeth cleaned and then poked and was sent on my merry way. In the mean time I answered their questions about Norway, I told the dentist I don't grind my teeth at night, but I do chew on breadcrumbs for hours with my front teeth and made an appointment for July. All in the space of 15 minutes.

Dentist schmentist...

Monday 16 January 2012


If anybody out there thinks the only people capable of making good television are the Americans, think again! Because the British know a thing or two about good tv as well. As you may know I love Doctor Who since it's rebirth earlier this century and have watched most episodes at least four times now. But this post is not about Doctor Who, it is about Sherlock as in Sherlock Holmes!

This year saw three more episodes (ninety minutes each) of that most famous of sleuths Sherlock. I saw the three episodes last year and when I found out there were new ones on the way, I could hardly wait. Sherlock is played by Benedict Cumberbatch and his sidekick Dr Watson is played by Martin Freeman (soon to be a Hobbit). It's slick, it's tense, it's funny and at times it's downright scary. It's based on the books by Arthur Conan Doyle, but this series is contemporary and modern. The hat of old came back this season as a sort of in-joke, which was really funny and the pipe has been replaced with nicotine patches and an urgent craving for a cigarette.

I know Martin Freeman especially is going to be busy in the near future (what with being the Hobbit and all), but I do hope they will make another series of three next year. I for one can't wait!

Sunday 15 January 2012


The still good home-made socks by my friend Pepperfly
When do you throw clothes out? When they are out of season? Or when you can hardly see the clothes for the amount of holes in them? I tend to veer more towards the second option than the first. But then again, I hardly buy the most fashionable clothes to begin with, so out of season is usually even before I've bought the stuff. Anyway...

My socks showed some severe signs of being very old. Elastic gone, holes in heels and toes and they all tended to be of a somewhat greyish disposition. So, new socks were in order. Then I needed a pair of new jeans, because the ones I do own make me look as if I am waiting for the high water to come in any second. And to top it all off, new bras would also be good, since I could balance a cup of tea on the underwires in the ones I own. Off to the shops I went.

The first shop I went in however did have nothing to do with socks, bras or jeans. Because I was also out to buy myself a new mobile phone. I have a great one, but contrary to what that really nice guy in Airdrie (Canada) told me, I can't use it in Europe. So, a new one. And a simple one at that. I don't want one with a gazillion gadgets and thingymebobs and mindbogglers. I want a phone with which I can phone and text. End of story. So, I got myself two. At a tenner each not a bad deal I thought!

Then it was off to get some bras. Which is difficult for any woman I gather, but when you don't have the smallest size, don't want any funny colours, need underwires but not too high, it's hard! The first shop I went to dutifully referred me to a speciality shop which were able to help me. It was a good thing they were on sale though, because they cost a lot!

For the jeans I thought I would go to a special jeans shop. Makes sense? Not really, since I am not one of the smallest people (width wise) and even the men's sizes didn't fit. In the end I left that shop without jeans and went to the plus size section of our local C&A. One pair of jeans and one pair of trousers. Bingo!

Fortunately the socks were the easiest. So, I decided to make it a bit more difficult for myself and choose some gloves as well. Since I couldn't make a choice between the two, I bought both pairs of gloves and 10 pairs of socks.

The money is gone again, but I can now wear black socks with little white dots without holes, a comfy bra and a comfy pair of jeans. Bliss...

Saturday 14 January 2012


Those are not allowed!
When taking cats (or dogs) from one country to another, it isn't just a case of bunging them in a pet carrier and sticking them in a car. Far from it in fact, since there are quite a few things you have to consider.

You need the right pet carrier. You ordinary wicker basket looks great, but is not acceptable on a plane. For that you need special IATA approved pet carriers made out of metal, which have to be able to be locked. Cost? Way more than your pretty wicker basket.

I don't want my photo taken!
You need a passport, but so does your pet! It needs to contain their name, their owner's name, their last vaccinations and you can even stick a photo in! Cost? Way less than your own passport.

Your pet needs all the right shots. Rabies being one of them. Now, in the Netherlands the only animals still carrying rabies are (according to the vet) bats. I don't know where the nearest bats are living, but I do know my cats have never been in contact with them. For starters, they are at home at night! But, they need the shot anyway. Some countries only want them to have the rabies shot, others (Norway amongst them) also want the proof in the puddi blood. IE, after 4 months, I need to have bloodtests done on both cats to show they have enough anti-bodies against Rabies in their blood.

Hello Miss Greeneyes
Then and only then can I take my cats on the journey to Norway. And of course I could have waited until I spoke Norwegian a bit more fluent or even until I had a job, but that would be silly. Since the bloodtest will be good for as long as they live! So, the day before yesterday I bunged both cats in a plastic pet carrier, drove to the animal clinic and got them both shot and passported (hm, somewhere in that sentence something went wrong). Which means that four months from now, they can have their bloodtests. Two weeks for the results and then I can go on my merry way to Norway. Now, is that clever thinking or what?

Thursday 12 January 2012

'Best of 2011'

I had the Photo Theme for Thursday on my blogroll on the baby for ages and forgot a bit about it. But when I looked at it again the other day, when I was using the baby, I thought: I have to remember this, because it sounds just right for me. And this week's photo theme is 'best of 2011', part 2. I missed part 1, but never mind, part 2 will be as fine!

I posted it before and it features on my annual 'Over Mara's Shoulder calendar', because I absolutely loved it! It's a hoodoo which are found (amongst others) in the Badlands of Alberta, Canada. An area which I got to enjoy thanks to my great blogfriend Kay who took her dog and her car and met up with me near Calgary. And then she drove us out to the Rockies (day one) which were really nice and then to the Badlands (day two), which made my heart race and my eyes go into overdrive! I absolutely fell in love with that part of Alberta and actually went back there a few days later to enjoy it some more!

My first entry for the Photo Theme for Thursday meme!

Sunday 8 January 2012


When dealing with high water, these windmills of old still do their bit to keep part of the country dry!
It was there! I saw it and Anvilcloud saw it too! But alas, it has somehow disappeared into cyblivion, because it's no longer there! Which of course is extremely annoying. It took quite some time to write it and find a nice photo with it. It was all about the water that has been pounding us from all sides (except the south) for the last few days. How in the north people were evacuated because of the rising water. I even made a little joke about if the dykes were to break in the part of the country I live in, my house would be completely submerged by the water. After all: I leave on the bottom of the sea. Literally! But the post has gone. And only Anvilcloud and I have read that brilliant piece of literature, that you will now never get the chance to read. Which of course is a great gap in your life, I know!

Ah well, since that didn't go the way I had planned it, I thought I might as well do something different and hope this one does come off...

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Day 3

10Rain, wind and more rain and wind were the words of the day today. And in the midst of all that rain and wind I had to go get myself some groceries. I had run out of bread and I was low on milk. And I just reminded myself I forgot the soap. Anyhow.
I also did some pre-work laundry, so I won’t have to show up to work tomorrow wearing dirty clothes, I watched the Tour de Ski (cross-country skiing) and had another slice of the really nice apple pie I made on New Year’s Eve.
Life is about to start again!

Monday 2 January 2012


Isn't it strange how on only the second day of the new year, you think: it's the same as last year! Nothing is different. The alarm went off at midday exactly (in the Netherlands every first Monday of the month the alarm goes off, so we know the sound and react when it sounds at a different time), the weather is still the same old weather and I still sit behind my computer thinking of all these great ways to spend my time and not doing much about it. It's a good thing it wasn't a resolution or I would be in trouble already!

Tomorrow will be my last day off before I am back to another bout of work. School runs probably and not much excitement. But on the plus side: my head is a haven of tranquility right now. It's actually so quiet in there right now I started having funny dreams again. I always do when I don't have anything to do really. And the one I had going from 2011 to 2012 was a doozy! Dreaming of having dinner with a lot of biathlon stars is always good, but for the first time I also spoke Norwegian in a dream. A good omen I hope...

Sunday 1 January 2012


When I first starting talking of emigrating to Canada, I was still in the middle of a massive debt. I spent more than I earned and it wasn't until I realised that Canada wasn't going to allow me in with a debt hanging on. So, I mended my ways, got rid of holidays and my car and instead of spending I was paying off that debt. But even when the debt was completely cleared I wasn't there yet, because Canada wasn't going to allow me in without any cash to my name, so the next thing to do was save. Still no holidays, still no car, but the savings added up.

Fast forward to last year. I finally had enough money to go and visit Canada and try to find a job there. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it was going to be difficult. And I was right. It was hard and difficult. And in the end it proved impossible. The job that I was looking for could be filled by some 18-year old Canadian and then the company wouldn't have to go through hoops to get me the work permit. And they probably would be cheaper too...

The day before yesterday I got an email from my agent in Canada. He had sent my resumé to most of the hotels in Edmonton (no result), had given it to people who knew people working in hotels in Edmonton (no result), was now moving onto Red Deer and still had an option in the work camps up north like Fort McMurray. I sent him an email back saying that due to the incredible response of Canadian employers (would this be sarcasm?), my age and the way things are in my current job, I had decided to say goodbye to Canada and hello to Norway. My last professional link with Canada was severed!

So, 2012 will hopefully see me move to Norway asap. Where it's cold. And dark. And they speak a different language. But, that's only in winter. In summer it's warmer. And lighter. Although they still do speak a different language... My other resolution is to loose weight by hiding it somewhere. I just have to figure out where!