Tag Archives: musings

Saying Goodbye and Feeling Forgotten

The time has come for goodbyes. The things I am doing and the people I am seeing will stay in Oslo, and I will move away.

I have been doing pretty well with it up until now. I have been going to old haunts – the petting farm at Ekeberg, the beach on Bygdøy, the park, the shopping haunts in Grunerløkka – and meeting friends for drinks and playdates and lunches. When I do these things, I try to enjoy them fully for what they are and not spend too much time thinking: “this is last time I will be doing this” or “if I do this again I will not be coming from my awesome apartment but a hotel or something.” And my friends have been acting in just the way I want. They have been sad and expressive. One friend who is close but not that close offered her couch to me for whenever I want to come to town – “we will make it work.” I felt loved and wanted – and those are good things to feel!

Then last night I saw a friend of mine whom I don’t see very often, but when I do we have a great time and we have lots in common – especially our parenting styles, which gives me a lot of comfort since I often feel like the odd women out around here. We had a nice evening, with great discussions and a glass of wine and some food. As she walked me a block in my direction, she ended with something like, “Well, have fun in Stavanger and maybe I will see you there someday.” I don’t know why this has overturned all the positive “grieving” I have been doing about leaving Oslo. Suddenly I don’t feel like people are going to miss me at all. I feel like their lives are going on and that person they saw sometimes isn’t gonna be around anymore. It doesn’t feel nice.

I am pretty sure she would like to see me if I am back again. I am also fairly certain she didn’t mean any sort of subtext when she said that – that it is just weird to say goodbye to someone when you really don’t know when you will see her next.

I think what this brought up for me was the feeling that I am the one who is losing in this situation. (Of course, I am winning too, to extend the metaphor – a new house, a set of grandparents nearby, a garden, etc.) Still: the world I have been in will move on without me and I will relocate. I have to start over, and they get to continue seeing their friends, visiting the familiar places and being here – the place I am used to.

The exciting part of moving, of course, is just that: starting again!

When I was studying abroad in college, I had recently broke off my first serious relationship (and started a new one – pffff), and used the opportunity of being around totally new people in a new place to introduce myself as a nickname that I had never used before. I had tried it once in 5th grade on a trip to California – those people still address me as that in cards. You know what? I didn’t like it. I felt like a fake. Sometimes people would say the nickname and I wouldn’t turn around, and there would be this awkward moment where I had to pretend I was spaced out.

I think this is a reminder to me that starting over in a new place doesn’t have to be more meaningful than it already is. I don’t have to change things about myself just because I have the opportunity. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t embrace the change. And none of this means that the friends I have from Oslo will disappear. I have phone, texts, emails, and everything. If I make the effort (and so do they), these friends can still be in my life. 

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Starting the move to Stavanger

The time has come that we have fewer days left in Oslo that I think I can deal with. Like, instead of months, or even weeks, I feel like we have days. Just days. Like, 9 days for sure, and a few more that might happen if we need to or want to or can manage.

NINE DAYS?

Are you kidding me?

When did this happen?

I feel NOT good about this. In fact, I feel sick about this. Yesterday, I flew with Kiddo and Hubby drove with Poodle to Stavanger, from Oslo. We are getting keys to the temporary apartment, and we have fishing rights on the river nearby early next week, and we were going to rent out our Oslo apartment through airbnb but had to cancel, so the plan is that we will be here until next Monday, which is about 10 days. Then we go back to Oslo for 9 days, and spend the next essentially 6 weeks at the summer cabin, and then a week in Italy with my parents, and then…Stavanger?

Because of all these feelings that arose when I realized how few days we have left in Oslo, I was bitter and surly to Hubby yesterday. I didn’t want to go to Stavanger, but I didn’t want to stay in Oslo alone with Kiddo and no backup (I have a health issue that I will probably write about soon that makes that scary). I knew I was upsetting him, but I couldn’t help myself. I was trying to be kind to myself, to honor the feeling, to be honest with him, but at the base of all that, I was just pissed off. 

Let´s spend just a moment on that. Why, when this has been coming for so long – I mean really since I met Hubby I knew we would probably end up in Stavanger so he could work with the family business – why do I feel so upset about this?

This is what I come up with:

  • Change is stressful.
  • Oslo is so nice this time of year.
  • My friend just had a baby and I want to see her a lot.
  • Friends in general.
  • Barbeques and beer and stuff in the park?!
  • Our apartment is amazing and we have been keeping it cleaner and I love being back in one place after so much traveling.

But Stavanger will be undeniably great on paper.

In Stavanger, I will have access to a place that is my own. In half a year I will have a house with a garden, something I have dreamed about for a long time! But I will be trading in my real city life of walking absolutely everywhere for a life where you can walk, but will probably drive. I hope we will bike more often, though.

I can make friends – this I know! But it is undeniably stressful. (Of course, it is also beautiful when you connect with someone for the first time!) It is hard, as an introvert, to put myself out there. I feel too different. I feel like a crazy person, like who could possibly jive with me?  When I moved to Oslo I fell into some amazing friendships literally within days. But I was younger then; I had lots of time. Specifically, I didn’t have a child who is age appropriately dependent on me and who I parent in a way that is respectful to that. Also, I feel like being a stay at home mom in socialist Norway makes me some sort of pariah, or at least a veritable freak.

Also, I am the kind of person who wants a handful of people that are really close. I don’t want hoards. I don’t want to befriend the entire English speaking population of Stavanger (let alone the whole Norwegian population, jeez!). I want a few great chums. I don’t look forward to the part when you weed through people whom you might get along with but might not.

Anyway, this is why I am apprehensive and irritated about the move. 

I guess it is normal? Unless you thrive on change and love meeting new people, you probably dislike moving, and even if you are those things maybe the other aspects of moving are unappealing. I think it is not a natural human thing – to move so many miles from one place to another (says the person who has done four major moves in my life already!).

I am making some deals with myself to ease the move and motivate myself to get out there:

  • Sign up for a class – anything! Guitar or painting or drawing or I don’t care, just: something. (I had Norwegian class in Oslo that put me in touch with the first and best friendships I have!)
  • Find fun places to work out – a park, a running route, something where I can get my blood flowing and maybe run into other people who are out doing the same things.
  • Connect on Facebook and social media to people with similar interests – I am already doing this with an international moms group and a group that is interested in traditional foods.
  • As much as I don’t like them, try out all the playgroups I can find.
  • Also, try out all the åpen barnehager or open daycares that I can find.
  • Find a book club.
  • Get a library card and join stuff at the library.
  • But: don’t overload myself all at once or I will just burn out and feel horrible. If I don’t feel like doing anything that day – don’t!
  • Spent lots of time with my in-laws, because they are family and can help out and know the town and love me for me.
  • Spent lots of time with Hubby, because haven’t we always said that at the very basic core, we just need each other?
  • Remember to breathe! Life is for living, not for stressing about!

Here is to trying, forgiving myself, loving everybody, and living in the moment. I will need a lot of all of that in the weeks to come!

Bye bye, USA!

We are leaving the US!

It is gone by so quickly.

Yesterday we spent the day doing something that is hopefully nice for the people back home taking care of our schtuff. We ate froyo instead of dinner, and spent the day at the mall. We got a swim in, though, before the sunset.

It was a nice day.

We have a big day planned for today: beach in the morning, zoo in the afternoon. In the evening, we take a red eye to New Zealand for the next two weeks, before we are off to Australia and then Asia. Big changes are underfoot. I am not sure how I feel about the trip slipping away from under my feet already. All the more reason to try to enjoy it as much as I can, every second!

Mahalo, Hawaii! See you soon, I hope!

Kiddo, the Introvert

We always said this trip was about escaping winter. It wasn’t about visiting museums or eating in fancy restaurants, although we have done each of those. It wasn’t even about learning about other cultures, or exploring the meaning of being a tourist, although I hope those will be elements of our experience. At the core, we wanted to save the feeling of summer: warm breezes, fresh produce and not forcing Kiddo into layers of clothes that she hated.

We figured our main goals were: sun, beaches, zoos/aquariums/farms, tasty but easy food, and weeks upon weeks of enjoying each other´s company.

What we forgot to factor in is that our little girl does not want to do these kinds activities constantly, even if she is generally a fan. We enjoyed days of beach time, and were worried she would hate it when we had to travel, or when we decided to spend the day on a car trip. But she was happy with the change of scenery. Even though she doesn’t love sitting in the car, she is more and more able to do so. Sure, sometimes it is while watching videos on the iPad, but other times she is content to just lookout of the window, or listening to music, or chatting with me in all iterations of her new favorite phrases. In fact, sitting in the car for a while after not doing it recently can be a nice change of scene in itself.

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21st Century car trip Kiddo

At zoos, she is usually taken with one animal the most, and could care less about some of them. But we are usually into at least trying to get a glimpse at everything, so we take her dutifully to each exhibit. She gives a little in that respect, and we give a little by spending 30 minutes in front of the Hyacinth Macaw exhibit. The result? We all get a nice afternoon at the zoo.

Additionally, we can´t spend everyday doing something. Kiddo is like me. She is an introvert. Needs time by herself (or with me, which at this point I think she considers alone time) to recharge. Needs mornings, afternoons, or whole days lolling about at home, watching Mickey Mouse, playing with soft dough, coloring, dancing to music, making food, etc. She doesn’t need an activity all of the time. So we need to build that into our travel plans. If we stay at a place that is also a farm, or is on the beach, or something, then hanging out on the beach or visiting animals isn’t really an activity because there isn’t the production of packing a bag, getting in a car, finding our way, parking, getting out, finding the thing we set out for, and only THEN doing that activity.

Writing that made me realize that maybe she is a bit like me in a similar way, in that, I usually have fun once I have gone out, but often I don’t feel like doing anything but staying in and amusing myself with one of my hobbies.

That means that another consideration for this trip is building in enough down time for Kiddo. It is actually a relief that we don’t have to plan days upon days upon days of kid friendly, amazing, unforgettable experiences. We can mix it up and have some adventure days, some animal days, some beach days, and lots of other days just hanging out having whatever kind of fun we feel like. 

A blissful day on Maui

Kiddo and I awoke to the smell of fresh coffee. Ahhhh, could life get better? Yes!

We lazed about a bit and headed off to Big Beach on Maui´s South Shore. We picked our lodgings based on the fact that beach front was too pricey, and if we were in the hills above Central Maui we could get anywhere on the island in about an hour and a half. Big Beach showed us that the South Shore is only about 40 minutes away. Score!

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We used our guidebook´s insights to skip the main parking lot and park along the road at the end of the beach, where it is way less busy. We had a huge slice of beach mostly to ourselves for the whole day.

I picked up shells with Kiddo for a bit and then Hubby spent the rest of the day building up and maintaining a “swimming pool” in the sand: a wall around to trap the water and an inlet to let in water that could be closed off by dumping sand from the outer wall on top of it.

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Watching them work on it, digging, enjoying the pool, watching as the water seeped back into the beach, seeing Kiddo stand up at look at her dad and the ocean and ask for, “Hey! More water! More water…please?!” and then watching her face light up when a swell came that was big enough to refill the pool reminded me of everything awesome about being a parent.

How many adults would do that kind of activity unbidden, if not to spend time with and entertain a child? I spent some of the time they were building the pool reading my book, but most of the time I watched, helped, or was otherwise in the thick of it with them. This is it, folks; this is my family, my adventure, my LIFE that is happening. We get to be side by side these little people all day long (if we are lucky, as Hubby and I are right now), watching them explore the world, learning words and expressions, communicating, seeing things for the first time, and knowing that we – their parents – are there for them all the time. I love it. I feel incredibly lucky that Kiddo gets BOTH her parents full time for the whole duration of this trip. I want to, as much as possible, live all the moments alongside both Kiddo and Hubby. We might only get to do this kind of thing once.

Anyway, we had a great day at the beach, stopped for fish tacos in Paia, got some soft serve and headed home. 

Even if our adventure ended tomorrow, I would feel happy. 

Musings on leaving my hometown

It has been amazing to be in Portland for an extended period.

When we visit for 2 weeks and a few days, once the jet lag is over, we begin the rush to get everything done, to see everyone, to sample every food and visit every store and stock up on Tulsi tea and fish oil capsules and my favorite Gap tank tops on sale…it makes my heart beat faster (in a bad way) just thinking about it!

So, even though we were shopping on this trip too, for big items for our house, it still feels leagues more relaxing. We could eat cheese sandwiches for dinner, and sit around and drink a beer and chat with my parents instead of feeling like we should be out at happy hour. And we could visit our friends for happy hour without my parents sad that they were missing time with us.

I was able to see my sister pretty often because she just moved to Portland at the end of last summer. That was amazing.

We were able to drive around Portland in a really leisurely way. It made it feel like I actually come from Portland and not just that I lived there when I was a kid. I actually know how to get around the whole city and not just from SW Portland to downtown, or from SW Portland to one place on the east side and then back again with no other stops (I am lacking talent with a sense of direction). 

Because we were there for so long, it didn’t feel like the US is some sort of caricature with big portions, big parking spots, and loud conservative talk radio spewing nonsense into the air. It felt like friendly people, dogmatic bumper stickers, lots of local and organic food, easy parking, microbrews and PBR Tallboys in hip bars, and just an all around lovely place.

What a great experience!