Friday, August 10, 2007

The Move

It all started with Allan, a geologist at NTNU (Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, or Norwegian University of Science and Technology). He emailed me last year searching for a faculty member at WWU who would be willing to write a letter of support for his sabbatical which he will be taking fall 2008. He found my webpage and saw that we have an uncanny amount of interests in common, and we struck up a friendship via email. When he discovered that I have a half year of sabbatical myself coming up, he encouraged me to come to Norway.

Moving to Norway, however, was simply impossible. I could visit for a month or two, MAYBE, but how can one pack up a house, make arrangements for 70 chickens, 2 cats, 2 cockatiels, and a dog, and find a place to live for 6 months so far from home? The problems associated with such madness were huge -- it was simply impossible.

Nevertheless, it was fun to dream, and soon I found myself communicating with the chair of the Math Center at NTNU, and Pam began doing a bit of poking around herself. Quite unexpectedly, she applied and interviewed for a job at an international school, and was promptly offered a job teaching 5th grade at ThIS, Trondheim International School. Then the math chair wrote with possible projects I could help with, all of which sounded incredibly fun, and she also had found us an apartment owned by a faculty member who would be taking his sabbatical at Princeton this year. The apartment was close to the university and close to Pam's school, and was inexpensive by Norwegian standards.

After a couple weeks of nervous deliberation, we accepted, not knowing how we would solve the countless impossible problems yet remaining. And yet -- everything began clicking into place very neatly and very quickly. We found homes for all of the animals. We found a reliable family wanting to rent our house starting at the exact time we'd be leaving. I bought our plane tickets and now it was very real.


Heather and Chris took our chickens.

The two weeks leading up to the move were extremely hectic. The family moving in to our house had all of their own things, so we needed to empty the house and move everything into storage. We kept a positive attitude: this would be a good opportunity to rid ourselves of much of the junk that accumulated over the years, which with a family of 5 was rather impressive.

I was teaching summer term with only one week between the end of classes and the planned move. I also had a week-long trip to Spain for a math/art conference during summer term. During my trip, Pam began in earnest packing up the house, boxing up dishes pots and pans, emptying drawers, filling boxes. When I returned, she left for a week for a previously planned trip to Michigan to pick up the kids visiting their grandparents. I finished up the term, including grading end-of-the-term projects and final exams, all while earnestly packing. I also ran a garage sale, not an easy task to do alone but we had a lot of good stuff we needed to dispose of quickly

Steve's got a very big truck --everyone needs a friend with a big truck! Here we are heading for the dump.

Thank goodness for our friends! When Pam returned, we had only a week to finish. We called in a lot of favors, and every day that last week we had the Stedmans, the Christiansens, Shannon, David, Laura, and others over helping to move boxes and furniture, and start deep cleaning.

Chris and Jim carry out a dresser.

The kids' passports had not yet arrived though we applied for them 3 months ago. We set up an emergency appointment with the regional passport center in Seattle, and two days before the move we used up very valuable packing time with a full day's trip to get passports. When we arrived, they found that our passports were complete and due to arrive at our house Friday at noon. If were willing to wait, they would issue us new one, and rather than risk something happening with FedEx, we waited, and with great relief we left Seattle, passports in hand.


On the final Friday, I was up at 6:30 a.m. to begin work. At noon, the FedEx truck pulled up, and what do you know? Our passports had arrived. The trip to Seattle was unneccessary.

I worked straight through the day without a break until 1:00 a.m. when it was time to wake up the kids and head out to catch the bus to the airport. Pam was flying to Norway at noon Saturday to begin orientation at her school, while the kids and I had to catch a 6:15 a.m. flight (also Saturday) to Florida for a family reunion about a Disney cruise ship. Marcia and Shannon were over early to help Pam with the final moving and in fact stayed long after she'd left to finish up. Two sets of cleaners came in, as well as countless friends getting the house in top shape ... I don't think it's ever looked so good! Just in time to move, of course.

THANK YOU FRIENDS! We think of you every day and wish you were here to share the excitement!

Steve, Marcia, and Boomer's sister Gypsy.

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