Saturday, August 18, 2007

Our Own Personal Genie

Allan brought us his other car, a diesel Mercedes station wagon which he is most generously letting us use for the week. He gave me driving lessons and taught me what the signs mean. The strangest part of driving in Norway is that you must yield to cars on the right at intersections. That means if you’re cruising along at 50 kph on a main road and someone approaches on a side street to the right, you stop and let them go. It’s a little disconcerting both ways, it feels weird to have someone stop to let you enter the road, and you better be prompt about it or you’ll irritate the other drivers. Some roads are right-of-way roads marked with signs in the shape of yellow diamonds – on these roads you needn’t yield to cars on the right, and if you are approaching a cross-street which is a right-of-way road as there will be a yield sign.

We dropped Pam off at a major grocery store and then went to drop Allan off at his home. I mentioned we needed to find used bicycles, and he went through his garage seeing what kind of spare bikes he had. Allan has 5 children and so has gone through a lot of bikes. He had extra bikes for all three of my kids! We adjusted them and filled the tires, and he even set up with locks and bike pumps... WOW! He just so happened to have a converter from 220 to 115 volts with an American socket on it so I can charge my camera batteries.

When we picked up Pam she was shocked to see the bikes. “Where’d you get those?” she asked. “From our own personal genie, Allan!” I told her.

When we got home the kids couldn’t wait to go bike riding. We are right on a trail that goes to the grocery store and further on to the university in one direction. The other direction the paths go through a cemetery and up a hill into the woods where our neighbor Steena tells us there are millions of blueberries in season. The walkways in the apartment complex are nice a flat and make an interesting ‘city’ for the kids to drive about in.

Later, all three kids walked to the grocery store to pick up milk. Norway is extremely safe, and it is quite normal for kids as young as 5 to walk themselves home or to go exploring on their own. Maggie, Peter, and Anna absolutely loved the adventure of taking themselves to store to buy groceries. This will be very handy, I’m sure!

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