Monday, April 27, 2009


Another milestone: our renters signed today. Nearly everything figured out now, expect for a home for our cats and a place to live i Norge.

Skogfjorden Sanger

When I ordered the Naiv. Super. book from the Norwegian language camp in Minnesota, I also ordered a CD of songs they sing at camp. They're fun, and at a good level for learning norsk. I will print up the lyrics extra-large and we can have singalongs on our cross-country drive this summer leading up to our trip to Norway.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Naiv. Super.

Got my norsk novel with english annotations ... and it's great. I took it with my to National History Day today, in which my daughter was competing (6th place in state, well done Maggie!), along with some other work to do. I never did do any work -- the novel consumed me the whole day. I read 4 chapters, which is something like 30 pages. It takes a while to read, but I can see this being extremely valuable. If it works out, the publisher also offers a mystery novel which I'll order.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Job News

Pam hadn't heard about a job yet and was becoming rather stressed out, but this morning she got verification from the principal at the international school that they will definitely have a job for her this fall -- they just don't know what it is yet. That's a big relief... now we just have to find a place to live.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Guys Flying in Norway

Insane. And awesome.

Kings of Norway

I got my bilingual story book from Astri My Astri publishing. The book and CD pack arrived beautifully packaged, tied with thick blue yarn. The book has short stories about the 57 kings and 1 queen of Norway, all the way back to Harald Fairhair, born ca. 860.

Each story is accompanied by a full page painting. The stories are fascinating, the kings are quite different: good and bad and savage and noble. It comes with a 3 CD set with the tales read in English, and in Norwegian, and some extra music. I'll play the CDs on our upcoming cross-country drive.

A beautiful package from artists in Minnesota. Thank you Astri My Astri!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Moving / Lease vs. Buy

We've signed on with a moving company. It was tiring trying to find someone willing to work with us. Many places did not return emails or phone calls -- very surprising as I would think companies would want business. The company that impressed us the most was Continental, and after comparing a few prices we signed up with them and have our load-up date set.

We've not been able to find many affordable nice apartments to lease. Most are expensive student housing. The real estate for sale is much much better, so we're expanding our search and investigating properties for sale. That means navigating the Norwegian real estate system. I've sent a couple of emails to friends and now I've contacted an agent in Norway to start the process and find out what we can afford and what payments would be. I think we can a nicer place for much lower payments if we buy, but there's considerable risk if we decide not to stay in Norway.

I found this article on how the system works: It doesn't look too bad.

My preference is still to lease, but with time running down (4 months) I better have a back-up plan in place and at least get loans and accounts set up to make a quick buy. Here goes! Something else new to learn!

We're going to need a bit of luck. Fortune favors the bold!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pimsleur Done

I finished lesson 30 today. I'm very sad it's over. Thank you Pimsleur!

In truth, I'm not quite down with them yet. I'm going to listen to the last 3 again, there were a lot of new phrases and vocabulary right at the end. These listen-and-repeat lessons I've been listening to for many many months, though, is at an end. What will take their place?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Here's a good study... Helpdesk with English and Norwegian subtitles. Watch them back and forth.


Norwegian (the last 10 seconds are missing):

Monday, April 13, 2009


Maia recommended Mummitrollet as a good children's program to watch. I found several episodes on YouTube and I'm looking forward to watching them with the kids (streaming quality, unfortunately). Maybe we can rent these when we return to Norge.

They're called the Mommins in English, and it's originally a series of Swedish pictures books written in the 40s. These "trolls" actually look like cute hippopotamuses, and they travel with their friends, trolls and non-trolls, and have adventures, apparently with deep philosophical undertones. The books were animated as a joint Japanese-Finnish venture in the 90s. You can definitely see the Japanese anime influence in the films. The cartoons fell under some criticism for commercializing these Nordic classics.

The characters were further honored in 2004 by being featured on a Finnish 10-euro coin.

Childrens Songs and Poems

Mama Lisa's World is a site with children's songs and poems from all over the world. Here's the Norwegian page. Well done! Thank you Mama Lisa!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

2nd book arrived

The second book from my order last week arrived. I've already started reading the Grammar book -- it's fascinating and answering a lot of questions I had about word use. This is a great reference, especially when dissecting song lyrics and wondering why are they using "for" in that way? or things like that. It includes 17 pages of prepositional idiomatic phrases. Oh, so many. I wish I were in the Matrix and I could just download these books directly into my brain.

The other book is a book of Norwegian Folktales. One of the reviewers said she bought it to leave out because her kid reads anything she leaves out, and that kid reminded me of Maggie. Sure enough, it was in the house less than an hour and she was tucked away in the corner reading. She read the whole book in a day. I've read just the first two stories, they are only 2-3 pages each, and fascinating. Maggie says a lot of the stories have elements from other fairy tales and even Shakespeare. (Nothing like having your 11-year old explain literary connections to you!) I think I'm going to like this book too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Grammar, Pims, and a Song

My grammar book arrived today -- woo hoo!

These final Pimsleur lessons are great. The sentences are very long and they're piling on the vocabulary. It feels like a rush at the end to fit in all kinds of things, and it's great. Makes me feel like I've learned something.

Here's some people singing a song called Jeg Plantet en Tre.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Concordia Language Village

While looking for a book, I stumbled across the website of the store of Concordia Language Village. This is a camp in Minnesota which does week long culture experiences in 15 languages, including Norwegain. They have an architecturally authentic Norwegian village they call Skogfjorden and offer youth and adult programs, 1-2 weeks. Language, food, music, songs, sports, crafts, dance, canoeing on the 'fjord', speaking Norwegian all day, it sounds awesome.

If we had the time this summer, we'd send the kids!

Sesam 3D

Been looking at real estate in Trondheim, and what a joy their technology is. I can call up a 3D map of Trondheim, fly around, spin it, change the viewing angle, all very quickly. The buildings are 3D, the trees, the hills, the bridges, the fortress, the cathedral, the campus, the school... all covered with photos to make it look very real. Awesome!

We can see the houses we're looking at and how they are situated next to their neighbors. Very cool.

I think we're going to buy instead of rent, the quality is so much higher for the same monthly payment.


Klartale, a Simplified Weekly Newsletter in Norwegian, good for beginners. I'm finding this just slightly above my level, with about one word per sentence I don't know. Pretty good.

Naiv.Super. A novel in very simple language, this version is written with the more difficult phrases translated into English in a second column. You can read the first chapter online. This book is perfect for where I'm at now, and the author is even from Trondheim. The publisher wants $36 for it, and I can find only one used copy online and it's hardly any cheaper. Seeing how I've just placed a book order through amazon, I'll wait on this one. Maybe a copy will show up at amazon or abe books...

** The publisher also has another book in the same format, a mystery novel. Unfortunately, they have only these two titles. Fortunately, you can read the first chapter of both online.

Everyday Norwegian Videos. A set of 6 videos, with transcripts and comprehension questions. Interesting, but with a very "homemade" feel.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Final Five

It's the 7th -- I can download the final 5 Pimsleur lessons from my monthly audiobook club. Through, with a membership, you can get the entire 30 lessons for $35, an incredible deal. I should cancel the membership now, except there's an audiobook "Tales from the Norse Legends" that would be good to listen to on our cross-country drive in July, hear some wild tales of the gods and pick up some culture.

We listen to Norwegian music in the car. I tell the Maggie the words, she listens, she gets it. All the kids get it, actually. It's just us that grown-ups that have to work at it.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I had to do a double take when I pulled this box of club crackers from the cupboard last week.

The box clearly says "No Cholesterol Og Saturated Fat".

"Og"? That's the Norwegian word for "and". It should say "No Cholesterol AND Saturated Fat", not "OG Saturated fat". After a moment of weirdness, I realized it was indicating "zero grams", not a Norwegian conjunction.

Funny thing: we had the box on the table today and Peter was reading it and became confused. "Why does this say 'og' on the box?" he asked. Guess I'm not the only one with Norway on the brain!

Book order

Feeling antsy for more Norwegian, I placed an order on Amazon for these books today:

1. Norwegian: An Essential Grammar (Essential Grammars). Using Amazon's "look inside" feature, the grammar book looks exactly like the straight-forward mechanics I need right now.

2. Norwegian Folktales (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library). This book, written in English, will be fun, and I think my eldest daughter will enjoy this.

3. Antologi Workbook/Arbeidsbok For Norsk nordmenn og Norge. Reviewers claim this workbook is tough -- bring it on! My other workbook is a bit too easy, and this was only $4.50, so low risk.

4. Deb Nelson Gourley presents: Kings of Norway (58 bilingual stories in English and Norwegian) (includes 3 CDs). This book looks very special; hardcover, color painting, written in side-by-side English and Norwegian, with CDs. Cool. It was expensive ($40), but I hope it will help with language and history.

Woo-hoo! I still have half a dozen books on my wish-list, but this will do for now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mer musik

I'm accumulating a good list of music, learning the lyrics, and even learning to play some on guitar and piano. But, I want more, and fortunately there are many more musicians I haven't listened to yet on Astrid's list. Continuing along, tonight's line-up is:

Anita Skorgan: lots of disco-like hits in the 70s. OK, Abba kind of stuff, but nothing to keep my attention. Check out "Oliver". She does sing on the Norwegian Pocahontas sound track, and Colors of the Wind is one of my favorites.

Wenche Myhre: from the 60s, she's very cute, and her songs have simple lyrics which she pronounces well. Still, it's very 60s. Here's a sample: La meg være ung (Let me be young).

Benedicte Adrian: Another gorgeous Norwegian woman. Gotta like Norway. She's got a lovely voice, here's a link to a Christmas song she's singing called "Det ønsker jeg meg".

Karoline Krüger: okay, of the four I've looked at tonight, I like her music the best. I'm going to check out more of her songs and add some to my music library. Here's a song called "Flugehjerte" (Bird Heart) in a video made by a fan. The video has all of the lyrics (pasted on sickly sweet backdrops), which is a tremendous help to me.

Friday, April 3, 2009

... I NATT!

I finished lesson 25 on Pimsleur, now I must wait 6 days until I can download the final 5 lessons. I've been enjoying the Teach Yourself Norwegian book by Simmons very much.

I figured out how to play På Bredden on piano, and also Heim Te Mor on guitar. Couldn't find the chords for either online, but half an hour on the piano with the music on repeat and I got it. Those two songs are my current favorites.

The kids like the "i natt!" song... which is to say "Vil du være med meg hjem i natt" which they sing "mumble mumble mumble mumble, I NATT! mumble mumble mumble mumble, I NATT!" It's very funny.


Whew! Finally finished my family's visa application, ready to send in tomorrow. 98 pages. I'm not kidding. A 6- or 7- page app. for me and Pam, then all kinds of other documents, including three forms of my contract, birth certificates, marriage license, passport photos of everyone, and photocopies of every page of all of our passports. Plus $590 in fees. Dang. But, it's done.

Last year, Pam applied for visas for herself and the kids upon arrival in Trondheim, and the system was so sluggish she didn't get her visa for nearly a year -- not until 6 days before we returned! I, on the other hand, applied ahead of time to the consulate in San Fransisco, and got my visa in 3 weeks. So this time, I'm sending all of our applications together at once.