Friday 30 November 2012

So, about Norway then...

The house I live in now.
See the snow on the roof??
As promised I am going to show you a few photos of where I live now and what I have done over the past few days. Don't expect too many photos though, there are only two, but I promise there will be more coming up in the next few days/weeks/months. 

So, what did I do from Wednesday onwards? On Wednesday morning I went down to work again where I was to meet a new colleague/union representative. He is actually the person who has found me my new place and was about to do a lot more for me. 

First of all he drove me to the police station where I needed to get my residency permit. I had to wait, since there were two sets of people ahead of me, but once I got to the desk, I soon had my residency permit. In the books I have it says that I need to renew it every five years, but I think recent law changes have resulted in me having a residency permit for life! In other words: I don't have to renew it, unless I leave the country for a period of more than 6 months. 

After I phoned up J, he came and picked me up and drove me to the tax office. It doubles up as a town register as well, so that was two things in one! I applied for my skattekort (tax card) and registered as a new inhabitant in Haugesund. We were then told that the social security number and tax card will take about three weeks. Which causes a few difficulties. I need to give my ssn to my boss for paycheck purposes and I need to give it to the bank in order to be able to open a bank account! So, I will have to wait three weeks before I can open an account. Ah well, I can still use my Dutch account.

From what I can gather, I will have all you can see that
has windows in
Then, yesterday morning the moving lorry from the Netherlands arrived. It should have gone to a storage facility, but it was extremely hard to agree with the storage holder about the time and in the end J stepped in again and suggested a different and free place. So, instead of the storage facility close by, my stuff is now about an hour away in a former bus garage, owned by the company and not doing much. There were a couple of things I didn't leave there though: my tv and my matresses. They are now clogging up my temporary room. Hopefully I will be able to move in tomorrow and then I think my landlord has offered me the use of his van to actually collect the things I want (Christmas stuff for example, clothes, linen, a little food and several more things)

Today I finally got a phone and even though it's only a pre-paid thing, they made an incredible fuss, even wanting to see ID! Ridiculous. Jason Bourne would have been in trouble before he had left the airport!! Anyway. This afternoon I also made an appointment with a doctor. No, nothing serious, I just need a doctor's note that I can drive: he/she will check my eyes and ears, see if I am sane enough (I guess) and then hopefully give me the note. After that I need to go back to the police and get my driver's note, which is an addition to my driver's licence and allows me to drive professionally!

In a nutshell...

Thursday 29 November 2012

The monsters

Cowering under the bed
Now, I will update you all about my exploits tomorrow, where I will hopefully have some photos to show you as well, but I thought it would be nice to show you how my monsters have taken to living with my friend. She is actually such a good friend, she is sending me photos on a regular basis! Which I love of course. 

A few days later, it was an empty house though
Now I might have told you that I went over to see them before I left for Norway. I was unable to find Wuppie, since he had hidden under the blankets and Linette was even harder to find: she was cowering under the guest bed.

Keeping a keen eye on Mickey, not trusting him much
Since then though, they are getting better and 'mingling' more with the family. Wuppie hangs out with Mickey, albeit at a safe distance and Linette has actually come down to spend a quiet evening on Pepperfly's lap. Unless she moves of course, in which case Linette is scared off again. 

Where I live now there is a cat, but since it's mostly an outside cat, she is extremely skittish. She is very beautiful though: very bushy. If I get the chance I will take a photo, but I have a funny feeling that will be hard!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

T is for...


When I went to Canada in October of 2011, I had to change planes in Chicago. I had to wait a long time. A very long time! And when I have to wait, I get bored and start looking around me. And this is what I found: the sign for 'severe weather' and the little picture of a tornado.

I have seen some bad weather in my time: a green and yellow sky heralding a massive thunderstorm, snow storms, rain and wind storms, but fortunately I have never seen or been in a tornado! Now, the most famous person ever caught up in a tornado was of course Miss Galen (Dorothy to her friends) and her little dog Toto, as told by Frank L Baum.

This was the letter T for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Tuesday 27 November 2012


Last view of the Netherlands for a while
It was early this morning: 3.30am early. But since I needed to catch the 8am flight and nowadays you need to be at the airport almost three days before flying, we wanted to be on time. After a small breakfast at the airport (I couldn't eat at home: it was 4am!), we made our way to the gate. I shed a few tears and I think my parents did too. I know it is hard for them: two daughters abroad. After saying our goodbyes I went through and of course the beeping went off again. Always the same: my bra. I had to go back, take off my shoes and cardigan and try again. But again: beep! They searched me and then decided I needed a bit more thorough search and then they took me to a little fold-out room (!), where I had to lift my shirt so they could see there wasn't anything but the bra that caused the beeping.

I made it on the way to the gate and with five minutes till boarding (it was a ten minute walk) I had to wait over half an hour before boarding, since the crew hadn't shown up yet! But they finally arrived, we boarded and about 20 minutes late we were in the air. Half full: it could have fit in a bus! We did arrive on time though, so that was good.

The coastal bus
From Stavanger airport I made it to Stavanger bus terminal where I then had to wait nearly two hours before the bus to Haugesund. It was worth it though: beautiful landscape, glorious weather and a great journey. Two hours later I made it to the Haugesund busstation. And there I found out it wasn't only the busterminal for travellers, it was also the busterminal for drivers and buses! In other words: I don't have far to go to work: 900 meters or little over half a mile.

View from the ferry
As I was at the busstation anyway, I thought I would meet my new boss. No point in going back and forth all the time. I met several of the people working at the office, but don't ask me to recite their names, I think I can only come up with one. My excuse: tiredness, Norwegian pronounciation and just plain terrible remembering names in general. Always have and I try to repeat names and still come up quite short. Anyway...

After that I called the owner of the house and we agreed to meet in 25 minutes. He said it would be about 5 minutes to his home, but he didn't count the fact it was uphill most of the way, that I am in no way anywhere near in good condition and that I had about 30 kg with me! I had to rest half way up and we arrived almost simultaneously. 

My luggage
My 'home' until the weekend consists of the guest room, a guest bathroom, a small living room and I can use their kitchen. I will just consider this to be a holiday, with added work! I will be fine and this Sunday at the latest I will be in my new home. So, tonight will be my first night in Norway, starting my new life. Wish me luck!!

Monday 26 November 2012


Another early day for us, since today was the day the move was actually going to take place. At least as far as my belongings were concerned. At 8am, me and my parents were already at work to finish off the last few little things that needed doing. By 9am two more people had joined us and at 9.10am the moving lorry arrived. 

First it was time for coffee and after that we all started to load the lorry as soon as we could. And I must say, an hour later it was finished. Everything was on board and we were just enjoying a last coffee before the lorry driver would be off. Then my father yelled from upstairs: we forgot something! Turned out to be my printer that had been waiting all that time! Fortunately the lorry wasn't gone yet and we were able to get it on. It left soon after. (And then we found something else we forgot, that's life!)

On its way to Norway already!
After that it was time for me to go to the town hall to officially emigrate. I couldn't do it before, because it has to happen as late as possible. Twenty minutes later it was official. I am no longer a citizen of the Netherlands! When I returned home, two cars were full to the brim with more stuff for the skip, so me and my friend C drove down there to get rid of everything. She left soon after coming back home again, while my parents and me continued cleaning and clearing. By the time it was 2.30pm however, we had all but finished. 

So sad to see the empty house
I said goodbye to the neighbours, locked up the house and we drove to the housing association, where I had to hand over the keys. We thing the house and garden are clean enough, but it will be up to the housing association to agree with us and then give me back the deposit (with interest). I think I should be alright. 

We were back at my parents' at 4pm, all three of us tired and weary, although we all felt better after a nice shower. Tomorrow will be another early day, since tomorrow will be the day I fly to Stavanger! So exciting!!!

Sunday 25 November 2012

How to move...

My living room
It was 8am on Saturday morning when the first people arrived to help me clean, clear and carry. Which was a good thing, since even though we had done a lot on Friday and I had carried all those boxes down on Friday night, there was still an awful lot to do. My father was his pessimistic self: 'we will never make it' and I (who look a lot like my Dad in lots of respects) was more like: 'we will make it'.

Quite a bit of furniture made its way to the dump, in fact the trailer was stacked so high, I was a bit worried about police stopping them! Mostly it was furniture that was old, or decrepid or both. Plus carpet tiles, linoleum and lots more bits and bobs. By the time that was gone, the place already looked a lot emptier. Of course that didn't last, because we had to move all the furniture from upstairs to downstairs. I was still packing some boxes, I was helping with shifting things, I was getting lunch. My colleagues, friends and family in the mean time did a lot of heavy lifting and carrying. My friend Pepperfly and her husband took two wardrobes and a bed apart. My friend C carried all the heavy bookboxes down and was on my case to all the paperwork that still needed sorting.

Hard at work to make some art
In the mean time my Mum kept on cleaning, with the help of someone or other. The fridge was being collected, the washer was being stuffed in a car, as was the drier. Carpets were taken up, I nearly drowned someone (I had shouted to look out, when I emptied a hot water bottle through the window), my Mum kept cleaning and making coffee for the troops.

When I went home with C last night, I was completely pooped, even though I probably did the least amount of work! After some good pancakes and three glasses of lovely wine (it could have been vinegar, but it contained alcohol, so I was happy), both me and C hit the sack, we were both done with for the day.

Guess what this is...
Today was a bit different. Yes, I woke up early, but was able to read a book before family mayhem started. Then we spent a big part of the morning doing crafts, using small plastic thingies to make an image, then ironing over it (C's hubby) and ending up with a lovely little momento. I made a tulip and the Norwegian flag. It was a great way to spend the morning. Four of us (trying to) doing that and one watching television. And then later that afternoon, despite the storm, they took me to my parents. I will see C again tomorrow, when the mover will arrive. It's getting really close now!

Saturday 24 November 2012

Up and down

30 boxes and crates: very tiring work!
If there is one thing that is guaranteed to make me fitter, it probably is a house with stairs like I have now. Nothing against them at all, unless you have over 40 boxes upstairs that need to be downstairs! Which I had.  So, yesterday after my parents left, I watched the final episode of Masterchef Australia (and yea, Andy won!), had some breadrolls and milk and went back to work. 

In between I got phone calls from people about my washing machine and my fridge/freezer and I am happy to report: both of them have been sold and will be picked up tomorrow! More room to move about!!! But I also went up and down that staircase, carrying box after box after box. In the end over 30 boxes made it down there, some heavier than others. There are still some book boxes upstairs, but I ran out of room to put them, so that will have to wait until the fridge has been picked up.

In two hours time colleagues will be arriving and I hope to have all the flooring tiles out of the smallest room and outside, ready to be taken to the tip. The shed needs emptying and upstairs is still a bit of a warzone, but I am making progress and with all the other help coming, I should be fine. With the empasis on should of course!

Friday 23 November 2012


I spent the night at my parents' place and actually went to bed early. I was pooped! I am not that used to being on my feet all day long and I felt it! Of course, going to bed early also means waking up early and this morning was no exception: I got up at 6am.

Today more packing is needed, although I am glad to say, the kitchen is nearly done. Only a few bits and bobs (otherwise known as plates and stuff) still need to be packed. Upstairs most of it is also packed already, bar a lot of smaller things. And then it just needs tidying up a lot upstairs, so we can get ready to clean the lot.

My Mum is coming with me this morning to continue to clean. My Dad will come over this afternoon and probably do a lot of the electrical stuff and removing from walls stuff. But I am hopeful that by the time it's Saturday, it will mostly be fluent clearing and cleaning. Fortunately several friends and colleagues are coming over to help, so it should make it a bit easier on the three of us.

Well, I am ready to put my shoes on and hit the road home.

Thursday 22 November 2012

The list of things to do

The list of things to do doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. In fact it seems to get longer by the day! Which is annoying to say the least. Mind you, the big things are now crossed off: I quit my job and my current home, I found a new home for me and for my cats (thanks to new and old friends), I dealt with financial and other things and basically that list is done.

The list about the house however gets longer and longer. And I have decided to make a proper list of it, because breaking it down in little pieces is better than just saying: the house needs to be empty and clean. Because that will take forever. 

Fortunately my parents will be coming over today and help me do a lot of those small niggly things. And the more small niggly things I can cross off, the bigger my smile will get. Then on Saturday, family, friends and colleagues will come over and help me get everything organised, cleaned and cleared away. 

It is getting more and more exciting every day now. Only five more nights, four of those will be spent at my parents' and one of them at my friend C's house. In other words: last night was the last time I slept in my 'old' home! Yesterday was also the last time I worked for Connexxion Tours, even though I am still officially in their employ (that doesn't stop until the end of November). I handed in my keys and other stuff that needed handing in and that was it. Nearly 14 years (3 months short) have gone by in a flash. 

However, the list and the chores first now.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

S is for...


When I was in Oslo in April of this year, I visited the 'Storting' or the Parliament. A lovely building smack bang in the center of Oslo. And because it was Saturday they had some guided tours going. It didn't cost anything, but there were only three of them that day. I managed to get on the second tour.

The first thing we had to do was go through security, leave bags and coats (but not cameras fortunately) and wait for the guide. She was a lovely young woman who spoke perfect English and since most people on the tour, including the Norwegians themselves, spoke good English, the tour was done in English and Norwegian was only used for one family with some young teens.

The former Upper House, no longer in use as such
We got to see the original constitution (yellowish photo), the Lower House (compare to House of Commons), the former Upper House (compare to House of Lords) and got explanations about kings, politics and the building itself.

It was a very interesting tour that gave a little insight into Norwegian politics. So, if you are ever in the area: try and take a tour (Saturdays only).

This is the letter S for ABC Wednesday. Why not join?

Tuesday 20 November 2012


Amerigo (the horse), a Black Peter with the big book and
of course: Sinterklaas himself!
The thing to do in this period in the Netherlands is put out your shoe. Any shoe will do, as long as you put some hay or a carrot or some sugar lumps in it and you sing a song. Then you go to bed. And the next morning, Sinterklaas will have had one of his Black Peters put a little present in the shoe. Of course the hay, carrot or sugar is gone: given to Amerigo, Sinterklaas' faithful white horse.

I didn't sing on Saturday night, nor did I put my shoe out. I don't have any hay, carrots or sugar lumps in the house either. But on Sunday morning I found 4 chocolate letters in my shoes!! One of the letters was of an M, my initial and there was another one starting with a J, my last name's initial. But there were also two letters that had nothing to do with my name!

And I started thinking. Perhaps one of the Black Peters mistook my home for somebody else's! Possibly my brother's house. Because I knew for a fact that all the letters I had in my shoes were initials of my nephew and nieces! So I thought: why not take them to them! Which I did. 

Well, I was told by the girls that I shouldn't sing that night to say thank you: I might get more presents that weren't meant for me! Which was clever thinking I must say. It's just: this morning four more letters appeared! None of which fit my name!! I had better get my thinking cap on again...

Monday 19 November 2012

Oh bother!

I am the proud owner of two alarm clocks. One on the left side of my king size bed and the other one on the right side. One is set to radio, the other one to the annoying beep beep beep. The radio helps me wake up easy and slowly. The annoying one just wakes me up. This week I sleep on the beep side. 

I set both alarms for 4am this morning and sure enough, at 4am, the radio started. And a minute later the beeping as well. I knocked the beeping and calmed down the radio (right before the 4am news) and went back to sleep. Another ten minutes would be nice and I could still make it into work easily.

I woke up at 5am! Apparently I had turned the beep alarm off and the radio doesn't really wake me up that well, especially not at 4am! Now, I needed to be on my bike at 5, so I jumped out of bed, threw on some clothes, brushed my hair, grabbed some bread rolls and made it out the door in about 8 minutes. I thought I might use the car, since that would be the quickest, until I realised I didn't have something to de-ice the windshield with, nor did I have a husband who does it for me!

Bike it was. I made it to work on time and was able to start on time as well. But it sure wasn't the best way to start the day!!

Sunday 18 November 2012

Melt down

At Pepperfly's
Pepperfly was here around 10.30am and she was willing to help me take some stuff to the second hand shop. Well, her own private second hand shop that is, since a friend of hers was involved in a church organised jumble sale! Well, giving it away to a shop that only fills its own pockets or to a church organisation that might do some good with it, I chose the latter. So, the books are all gone, the dvd's and some other stuff is gone as well, including a little cupboard (finally!). 

Then it was time to load everything up and first of course we needed to cage the two monsters, otherwise we would loose them! We caged them, and then started loading her car up. The last thing to go in were to be the cats. And I broke down and cried. Pepperfly cried along with me and we stood and hugged for a while. After I waved them off I went back in the house to get some work done. 

I went upstairs and wrote the post for yesterday, still with tears running down my cheeks. I then started one of those addictive games, but I couldn't play it. I went downstairs to find the phone and ring my parents. And I had a complete meltdown. I lost it, dropped the phone and cried like I haven't cried for years. My dad asked whether they should come over and I agreed.

A bit later as I was packing again, my phone rang: it was Pepperfly. They had enough cars, so why not have me use one for the week! They could take it over to me during the afternoon/evening and pick it up again next Saturday. Well, since my parents were coming, they could drop me off at my friends' place and then I could drive home. After having seen how the monsters were of course!!!

Later that afternoon my parents did drop me off at Pepperfly's and I was able to see how they were doing: Linette cowering under the radiator (she did that at my place for a long time as well), Wuppie under a bed somewhere. He did come out though to see me. It will take some getting used to for them, since there is also another cat in the house: a young stud called Mickey. But no fighting yet, so that was good.

Coming home last night was awful though: the house was empty. No Linette sleeping on my shoulder, no Wuppie complaining about not being allowed to go outside. But I know where they are and have a key and a car to go visit them again sometime this week.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Leaving part 2

I always knew there was a chance I wouldn't be able to take my cats with me to Norway. If one of them had failed the rabies test for example. My friend Pepperfly then said that I needn't worry: there would always be a home for them at her place. Fortunately I found out that there was no need for a rabies test anymore and both of them could come. 

Fast forward a few months and I had a job offer. Starting on December 3rd, moving a week before that. So, I phoned to ask about the procedure and was told that 'unfortunately no animals are allowed to fly to that destination from November until March'. The reason is the small plane and the non-heated hold which might result in the freezing of two loved cats! So, Pepperfly it was!

Today she came to get them. We both cried (I still am) and now they are on their way to their new (hopefully temporary) home. I know they will have the best home they could possibly get apart from my own, but still! 

I miss them!

Leaving part 1

Since I am moving to Norway I had thought to give a small leaving party for my colleagues. Normally I would have organised the drinks and the food myself, but this time I thought I would ask a colleague who has some experience in catering. That way I didn't have to worry about how much food or how much drink, I could just let go and enjoy myself. 

And I did! There were colleagues I have worked with for years, former colleagues, new colleagues and the partners of my closest colleagues. We had a few drinks (there were designated drivers), we had some food, we had laughs and I stood and chatted with everyone I think. Everybody wished me luck and asked me about the wheres, whats and hows. We reminisced about the good old days, drank a few more drinks (only cyclists left by then) and finished close to midnight.

I will miss my colleagues for their friendship and their support. 

Thursday 15 November 2012


Me, aged 13/14
I still remember the very first school run I did over 13 years ago. The children were horrified I wore trousers instead of a skirt. They even said it was 'ungodly'! They knew what my name meant (Bitter(ness)), but couldn't name the two bible books it came from (Exodus and the Book of Ruth). They were generally awful. 

The first two seasons I had a set group. I knew who was to be on board and who wasn't. I knew where they sat on the bus. I knew who left the dirty hankies at the side of the seat (I gave him a talking to I can tell you!). They were a great bunch of children. That was only in the mornings though. In the afternoon it was a free for all and I had some severe troubles then. I once even phoned the police, who then told me I needed to be doubly strict to get even half the result my male colleagues got! Great...

Over the years there have been ups and downs. A lovely chat with a boy who happened to catch me as I was leaving the school grounds. A girl who told me she loved being on my bus because 'it was so calm'. Returning to school within 2 minutes because they were doing I don't even recall what. The unending mess and occasional vandalism.

The last few years have been okay. The coaches are a thing of the past and we now use cattle trucks old articulated buses. I have aged a bit and as a result they seem to respect me a bit more, even if I am very strict. This morning a boy even came up to me and wished me 'good luck in Norway'. I don't know who he was, I don't know where he learned I was moving to Norway, I don't even know whether he was sincere, but it was nice nonetheless. He was also the only one, because the relationship I have with those children is not such that we would exchange things like that. 

It was my last school run today. 

Wednesday 14 November 2012

R is for...

Le Relais de la Fôret, Normandie, France (March)

Bickley Manor, London, England
When I first started this job as an international busdriver, a friend of mine told me it was 'nice to stay in a hotel'. 

Ferry Newcastle-IJmuiden (Amsterdam)
Well, okay, if it's not usual, I guess it probably is. 

Best Western Bondeheimen, Oslo, Norway
But for me, it's pretty usual and in the end all the rooms start to look alike. 

Lifjell hytte, Lifjell, Norway
And in order to show you how alike, I have taken photos of every single hotel room I stayed in this year! 

Van der Valk, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Most specifically of the beds. 

Der Wilder Mann, Aschaffenburg, Germany
So you can see how not special it is to stay in yet another hotel!

PC Goussainville, near Paris, France
The rooms start to merge into one.

Étap Chevilly Larue, Paris, France
Bedcovering for one (Norway, Germany) or two (France, UK)

Hotel Seeblick, Klietz, Germany
Out in the country or in the middle of the city.

Quellenhof, Bad Helmstedt, Germany
Cheap or expensive.

Best Western Hordaheimen, Bergen, Norway
Small rooms or big rooms.

Gersfelder Hof, Gersfeld, Germany
This is the letter R for ABC Wednesday

Hotel Kaiser, Hammelburg, Germany
Why not join?

Tuesday 13 November 2012

I remember

I was a bit older than this though!
It's strange how a memory from someone who lives on the other side of the pond brings back memories to me, but that is what happened this morning as I read Ginny Marie's blog. It wasn't as if her memories mirrored mine a great deal. As a matter of fact, there is not much similarity between them. 

When I was young and we were visiting my maternal grandparents, my brother and I would on occasion take a tour of the nearby town. My grandparents lived near the river Lek and adjacent to the village in which they lived was a small town called Nieuwpoort (not to be confused with the 'Battle of Nieuwpoort' of 1600, that one was in what is now Belgium). Nieuwpoort was and still is a small fortress town with bastions in a sort of star shape around the center of the town.

The tour we would take would lead us all around, since we would follow the fortifications and bastions all around. You could walk on top of them and then had a nice view over the town and its surroundings. After a few hours we would make our way back to my grandparents' house. 

It's not a big memory, it's not something that really stands out as very important, but it was of a time when I was young and me and my brother would do more together.

Monday 12 November 2012

The big wait

The sliding doors through which the passengers would come out
I was due to meet my Canadian friend Kay and her husband Dick today again, since they were going to take another river cruise starting from the Netherlands. I asked for time off, which I got; I wanted to loan my dad's car, which I got; and I made my way to Amsterdam.

I was at the airport bright and early. In fact so early their plane hadn't even left London yet (not helped by the fact it was delayed because of fog in Paris). Not only was I going to meet them, a fellow Dutch blogger would be there as well. And Kay had kindly shown photos of the both of us on her blog. Of course neither of us had bothered actually contacting each other and then making arrangements about meeting, so even though we were both early, we didn't see each other until we were both at the gate. And then we didn't even recognize each other!!

Anyway, as I mentioned the plane had left London late and therefore arrived in Amsterdam late. And then it took ages for the people to leave the plane, the luggage to leave the plane and the people to be reunited with their luggage. In the mean time Will and I waited and waited. We could see them both, even waved at them, but to no avail: they didn't see us! And we waited and waited. Turned out: their luggage was still in London! So, it took a bit longer before they finally came through the kissing doors (see photo) and we were able to greet them.

After that we escorted them to the train and from there to Central Amsterdam where their cruise ship was. We were allowed on board as well, but unfortunately all the delays had robbed us somewhat of time to spend together. Will had a bucket load of trains planes and automobiles and buses to catch and I had to make sure I got back before the last bus left for home, so we both left early. It was a shame, but we had a nice time anyway.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Beep beep

As I was sitting behind my computer and playing a game, all of sudden I heard 'beep beep'. A strange beep beep at that, since my computer doesn't make those kind of beep beep noises. It has lots of other beep beep noises, but not the one I heard. And then about 5 minutes later I heard it again: 'beep beep'. As I was still playing that game, I thought it was perhaps a new sound of that game.

Well, I finished the game and again I heard 'beep beep'. And it didn't really come from the computer either. It came from beneath all my papers still waiting to be filed/thrown out. But papers don't beep beep. At least, not as far as I am aware of! Again I heard the 'beep beep' and this time I dug around a bit better.

It was my cell phone. The battery is nearly empty. 'Beep beep'!

Saturday 10 November 2012


Aurélie and me. We stayed in touch for years, despite the
age gap of about 8 years!
Isn't it strange how your world of friends change? I never used to have many friends in school. As a matter of fact I only had about three and I think only one was a friend I really trusted. The other two could probably be classed as acquaintances. I was never that outgoing either, so it was quite hard for me to make friends. 

But when I looked at Facebook today, it said I had 60 friends! Sixty! How on earth did that happen? Of course, some of them are colleagues and family. Others I knew years ago and only talk to on Facebook. One of my best friends isn't a friend because I blocked her and don't know how to undo that. There are people I met through blogging (like Kay) and then Facebook and then real life. There are people I never met (most of the people in Canada), and now probably never will. There are people I never met (Norwegians), but hopefully will soon. 

So, do you want to be my friend?

Friday 9 November 2012


Homeless area in Rome
One of the more pertinent questions floating around ever since I announced I was actually going to move to Norway was: 'where are you going to live?' Mind you, that was also more or less the question before it was certain I had a job: 'do you have a place to live yet?' And every time I had to say: 'no, I don't!' I knew it was going to be difficult, finding a place to live, that would not cost me an arm and a leg, but still had some room to move around in. 

Of course my current colleagues had great ideas: why don't you pack up a big box! Or sleep on the back seat of a bus! And the best one I heard today (as one of my colleagues was being serious. Really!): if you don't get a place to stay, just go to a covered parking lot, pay for a parking ticket and put down your chair, your tv and everything else you own. Hm, not sure how that would go down in Norway...

Fortunately a new colleague of mine had other ideas and contacted me a week ago to ask me whether I needed help! Well, yes, I do! And yesterday he emailed me to say he had found a place. Not too expensive, one bedroom, fully furnished. It will do. At least temporarily, until I can find a place where I can get my own stuff again.

The main thing: I will not be homeless come November 27th and I have great colleagues (both here and there)!