Category Archives: Preparation

Packing, part 1

Today I started to pack. We leave in 10 days. I am kind of thrilled to live out of a duffel for 5 months. I normally wear the same few tank tops and cardigans every day anyway, so now I will be able to do that, but without the clutter of all my other clothes getting in the way, reminding me how little I care about fashion and how wasteful it has been to accumulate so many items that I don’t use on a regular basis.

I look forward to seeing how much I like this – or not – and whether it effects my wardrobe when I return. For the record, we are remodeling our new house to include not very much closet space in the master bedroom, which I thought was actually a good way to force me to simplify.

Today I put away the vast majority of my winter clothes as well as some leftover maternity clothes and pre-breastfeeding bras. The plan is that they will be moved directly to the new house.  I packed one box of spring and summer clothes – mostly skirts and things that need to be ironed and therefore won´t be brought along on our travels – that I can wear when we return to Oslo before we move. It isn’t too much stuff.

I am going to cull my sweats collection as well, saving a few things for project clothes – for painting, gardening, and the like.

It feels really good to edit my wardrobe. I am honestly elated to live with less during our travels, and hope it is a good experience!

Finding lots of friends in Oslo just before we go

When I first moved to Oslo, I met an amazing group of international women who let me into their tight circle right away. Within some months, however, the circle broke up a bit, with one woman moving away, one finding work and getting super busy, and one going back to school, not to mention half the group imploding because of disagreements, hurt feelings and drama.

Soon, I became pregnant and connected with a great group of women who also became mamas around the same time as I did. We were a tight group for a year, while we were all on maternity leave. Starting over a year ago, these women began to go back to work, but I had again found a small circle of women who were my go-to gals. One also had a baby. One was my first friend in Oslo. One was a new girl in town, also from Portland. One was working, so couldn’t join in too often in our lunches and walks in the park, but was happy to reconnect with the Americans on weekends and evenings.

Then, as I knew would happen, this group started to break up, through normal expat circumstances. The Portland woman returned to the US, as she had planned all along. The working gal moved away to have her baby in the US and spend her maternity year there. The other mama put her kiddo in nursery and started looking for a job.

It was, in fact, the slow disintegration of this group and the general malaise I felt about finding a new tribe that made me jump at the idea to travel for half a year. When talking with Hubby about it, we decided it was a natural break in our social life and thus a good time to break away from Oslo.

Now, I feel like a new tribe is just at my fingertips, just when I am leaving. I connected recently with another woman whom I have known for a while but just realized we have lots of common interests. Another woman from Portland and I had a great evening recently. Someone I went to middle school with wound up in Oslo and she seems super nice (our paths never really crossed in middle school). A woman with a young toddler and I bonded over natural birth and extended breastfeeding.

And yet: I am leaving.

On the one hand, it is a good omen, I feel, for connecting with great people when I get back from this trip and start over in a new city. Some of these new people have promised to connect me with people they know in Stavanger. But otherwise, I have gotten a fresh reminder that I can connect with people. I can open up, be social, put myself out there, and find people. So that is nice.

On the other hand, it makes me sad for the deeper relationships that might have developed with these women, had I not been taking this trip.

I will stay focused on the positives, though. There are a lot of amazing people out there. Instead of just Oslo, I might now be about to make connections all over the world! It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Nap dropping and long haul flights

Kiddo has started to drop her daily nap. She has never been a strict routine kind of kid, so sometimes she sleeps early, sometimes late, sometimes short, sometimes long, but lately, she has been sleeping…not at all during the day! If she doesn’t nap, she goes through an intense period of crankiness and sleepiness during the afternoon. This time of day is ripe for emotional breakdowns (for me AND her ;)). When she finally does fall asleep at night, she wakes up after 2-3 hours and is wide awake. Or sleepy but restless.

I know this is inevitable in the life of a small child, but I was looking forward to naps as a break for all of us while traveling. For example, during a 10 hour plane ride, she would sleep for at least 2 of those hours, perhaps more. With no daily naps, she could be awake for 10 straight hours on a plane. Dear heavens, how will we cope?!

With smiles and patience and an iDevice, I am sure 🙂

Starting our goodbyes

Yesterday was the last day of Kiddo´s music class. We have been going for a year now – so more than half of Kiddo´s life! I brought Hubby since he no longer has a job to go to. It was fun for him to see Kiddo in action. She sure loves music.

Even before we left I started the monologue about how it was the last time. I guess I would do this in my head even without a kid to explain it to, but the act of vocalizing it makes it that much more real, “Today we are going to go see Bente for the last time//Maybe Bente will let us play the drums today once more before we go//We don’t want to be late for our last class.” And then during the class, everything felt like, “Oh, this is probably the last time I will hear this song!” “This is the last time I will sit in this chair!” Very final. Not necessarily in a bad way, but like a chapter ending, and trying to enjoy the last words on a page.

I got an intense bittersweet feeling when the class was coming to a close. Bente, the teacher, came over to wish us well, give us some recommendations for music teachers in Stavanger, and to hug us and see us off. I know she has a lot of students, but surely she also must know that for me/us, her hour-long music class was a huge part of Kiddo´s babyhood. I will always remember it fondly. I hope it is just the beginning of Kiddo´s relationship with music.

Last night was goodbye to the ladies of my book club. I will see a lot of them again, so that felt less final. In the coming days though, there will be dozens more goodbyes and last times. Last time at the Turkish grocer. Last time at the Wednesday playgroup. Last time running in Frogner Park in the winter. I have to do my best to enjoy the ride and not spend all my time thinking about the sadness connected to leaving a place. Plus, much of this stuff we will get to do in the spring, when we return for some weeks to put our place on the market and do the dirty work of moving. This is, however, our last November in Oslo. Maybe that will help me get through the dreariness of it!

Getting ready

Gah! I am excited and nervous. Mostly excited. Oddly, I am not worried about Kiddo. She doesn’t eat much, but she still nurses, so I think she will get enough food. She doesn’t have any sleep requirements, no bedtime routine, just me and her nummies (nursing) – and we are coming along! She doesn’t need a lot of toys. Isn´t used to plastic monstrosities. She doesn’t have too obnoxious toddler habits like biting or hitting. The worst one is probably mild screaming, but I will take that above any sort of violence. And she loves the iPad or any electronic device so the (more than I can count on two hands) plane ride(s) should be fine!

Right now we are trying to get everything settled before departure. Seeing friends. Packing up some of our clothes so we can let out our apartment through airbnb. Organizing a cleaning service and on the ground person to coordinate that. Figuring out if we sell the car or store it somewhere until we get back. Packing. Finding and booking hotels for the first destinations. Reserving car rentals for some locations. Making a list of restaurants we want to try and things we want to go. Forwarding our mail. Eating everything out of our freezer. Giving our plants out to friends. The list goes on.

And on top of it all, we bought a house for when we come back from our trip. So…we are trying to work with someone on the remodeling that is going to happen while we are away. They start tearing the old stuff out…today! Crazy days!

Just a fitting start to this new adventure!

About us

There are three of us: Hubby, me, and kiddo. Hubby is Norwegian. I am American. Kiddo is both, and will be 22 months when we take off.

One day in July 2012, we were off for a run while Babbo (grandma) watched Kiddo. We were talking about our future, how life is short, summer is great, and Kiddo loves being outside… Before I knew what was happening, we had decided that Hubby would quit his job and that we would pack up and travel for the winter. Hubby would start working in the family business when he got back, so there wouldn’t be job stress involved. I am a SAHM so I go where Kiddo goes. Within a week, the resignation was sent and planning had begun!

This is our crazy year. Next November 1st, we will have visited at least six countries, possibly a few more, weathered over a dozen long haul flights with a 2 year old, and spent most of our savings (yikes!), but hopefully, had the best year of our life to date. Jump in with us!