I can hardly believe it is March already! Time has simply slipped past me. There is so much I could have shared with you over the past two months.
For instance, the delight I took in hearing the King’s New Years Eve speech and the later unmistakable feeling that we were the epicenter of a giant popcorn bowl as fireworks exploded outside of our hotel room for several hours (in an otherwise sleepy ski resort town).
Or, that I’ve come to cherish the gift of abundant candlelight as a welcome solace to gladden and cheer the long, dark winter days.
Or, my continual surprise when someone doesn’t know what zucchini is (it is called squash here). I have really, truly heard this, “What is this, cooked cucumber?” Yes, you may safely assume that Norwegians have a very different relationship with vegetables than I do as a born-and-raised Californian (it is the salad bowl of the US, right?).
Or, my great relief when I passed an admissions test to the fourth (and final) level of Norwegian classes in late January (I narrowly escaped a very kind, but rather boring teacher).
Or, the surreal experience of skiing across the frozen lake in our little slice of Oslo wilderness. I can, in fact, ski right over the spot where I swam this past summer. With little kids whizzing past me, fathers or mothers towing a formidable ski-sled carrying their babies, or dog owners gliding by with leashes attached to their waists – the evidence couldn’t be more clear – I live in Scandinavia.
Or, the first time I heard the ice literally expand in the lake. It is something like a distant crack of thunder (or maybe the crash of an avalanche?).
Or, my dubious reaction as I’ve discovered that socialist healthcare means that providers do not, ever, err on the side of caution (“101 fever with joint pain during flu season? That doesn’t really merit a visit to the doctor, rest and drink fluids”).
Or, how the sun has begun rising earlier and setting later, illuminating my whole outlook on life.
Or, how the news that I passed my one-hour practical driving test in February took about five pounds off of my shoulders (I serenely texted the news to my family as I nearly floated off of my waiting room chair).
Or, my dismay when my teacher asked me how to say something in English and I honestly couldn’t answer her! Apparently the price of my Norwegian-language immersion is temporary amnesia when it comes to my first language (I sadly can’t even get a complete sentence out in Spanish anymore. I try really hard, but, you guessed it - Norwegian comes out).
Or, the weekly pleasure I glean from volunteering as a besøksvenn (visitor friend) when I visit a lonely, elderly woman who is rather forgetful, yet always knows Bijou’s name.
Or, my heated reaction to the left political parties attitude that the state knows best in legislating family maternity leave (yes, my natural birth and breastfeeding advocacy MAY have influenced my reaction). One politician said, “Polls may show people disagree with our legislation, but with time they will see that we’ve made a wise decision and accept that it is the best for them.” For the first time in my life I can actually sympathize with Republicans! Fittingly, Norwegian political party colors are opposite to those in the US; left is red and right is blue – so maybe I’ll just stick with blue (don’t worry Norwegian readers - I can’t vote here).
Or, my joyful disbelief yesterday when my Norwegian teacher said I was ready to take the fourth level exam in April (my school will sign me up and pay for the exam, happily saving us $300!).
Or, my assent to a standard Norwegian saying “ting tar tid,” which means “things take time” (my affectionate nickname is “T to the three”). As I trudge along the path of immigration, meeting deadlines, taking tests and worrying a bit, I’ve come to accept that this is how life really is; one foot in front of the other, one day at a time. Instantaneous events are actually miracles. And while I am always glad for miracles, I’m actually doing just fine with my T’s.
Until next time,