8 large suitcase + 4 carryons = 12 bags of pain. To the shuttle bus in Ferndale, to the baggage counter in Seattle, to the hotel in Orlando, to the cruise ship in Cape Canaveral, back to the airport in Orlando, and finally from the baggage claim in Trondheim, it was far too many rented carts and baggage handlers to tip! People on the cruise ship were looking at me thinking "That's an excessive amount of luggage for a 4 day cruise..."
But at last, the kids and I were greeted at the airport on Friday by Pam, Allan, Allan’s youngest son Max (7 years old, Peter’s age) and Max’s hamster. Finally, after a year of emailing back and forth with Allan, I got to meet him in person. He is very easy to talk to, and we were instantly like old friends. He drives a diesel Mercedes minibus -- quite large! The odometer rolled over 400,000 km on the 40 minute drive from the airport to the city.
He offered to take us to his summer home on the isle of Froya, a 3 hour drive to the west coast of Norway in spectacularly beautiful country (actually, the ‘o’ in ‘Froya’ has a slash through it, it is one of three vowels we don’t have in English and it feels weird to pronounce these vowels). The offer was a great honor and very very tempting, but the kids were quite exhausted after being awake for 24 hours, 20 hours of which were spent in transit, Pam needed to get ready for school, we had a school potluck to attend Saturday night, and we needed very much to settle into our new apartment and wind down, so we reluctantly needed to decline.