Saturday, May 30, 2009

30 days

Lots of errands today, including a stop at Avalon Records downtown to sell a pile of record albums. Put several items up on Craigslist also. These next few weeks will go quickly.

We now have our tickets from Detroit to Trondheim at the end of July. We still don't have a place to live.

I've been reading chapter 1 of Jernvognen, available as a free download, while I wait for the book to arrive in the mail.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pam's Interview

Pam finally had her telephone from the international school today. The board chairperson emailed her later to say the interview was great and the new principal is in favor of hiring her. We expect an offer in the next week after the board meets.

Hurrah!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Milestone

Traveled to Wisconsin to be with family this Memorial Day weekend, and we return with energy high and excited to finish our last month in Washington for the year.

I had plenty of time in airport to read. On the return trip, I finished reading my first Norwegian novel -- a milestone! Naiv. Super. was a good choice -- this novel was written by a guy from Trondheim, and printed as norsk-enelsk reading book with annotations. It was some effort, but by the end my reading speed had improved and I flew through the last several chapters.

Yesterday I looked at real estate ads and some other Norwegian pages, and was a bit surprised to see that I am comfortable reading in Norwegian.

Today I will order the other norsk-englesk reading book the publisher offers, Jernvognen, or The Iron Wagon. It's from the early 1900s, and is Norway's equivalent of a Sherlock Holmes novel. Someone even made a graphic novel from it.

The publisher lets you download the first chapter for free (Nelsbok Publishing), and it looks like a step up in difficulty from Naiv. Super, but I'm ready.

Incidentally, I found the book at 30% off at Vesterheim Norwegian-American museum. They also have a LOT of Norwegian stuff, CDs jewelry, etc.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Continued...

Naylors are planning a return visit -- another year in Norway. Stay tuned for our arrival in August 2009.

Stress Bump

We just weathered a big wave of stress, triggered by investigating real estate. I've told people I spend half of my time wanting to throw up because of the stress, and the other half of my time wanting to cry because I'm so happy. "Halves" are big exaggerations here, but every once in a while I do feel svimmel av glede (dizzy with joy) and then other times I do feel physically ill. In truth, I'm surprised with how level I've been, cruising along steadily towards our goals. But, as our housing options and uncertainties exploded these last couple of days, both Pam and I hit a big "stress-bump" simultaneously.

Thankfully, we're over the stress quickly. While we will continue gathering paperwork for a bank loan, it is fairly clear that we are better off renting. I needed to reassure myself that we will be able to find a place in the area we want, even if it will cost a lot more. We can then spend our efforts looking for a hytte.

Yes, of course we need a hytte (cabin) out on the fjord somewhere. Nearly everyone in Norway has a hytte -- it is part of the Norwegian way. Hyttes are inexpensive and the perfect complement to a city life. Pam could have her art studio at the hytte and we could spend happy weekends there. I want to be able to see the fjords from our hytte. Kids can climb on rocks, explore the forest, go kayaking. Did mention that they're cheap?

So, it's fun to look at the ads for hyttes, and who knows -- if we don't find a good rental but we find a hytte we really like close to Trondheim, and we can live in the hytte for a month as we continue our search for housing.

There's so many plans, so many possibilities, and so little certainty in both the short term and the long term. I'm glad we are keeping our nice property we have here in Washington, it will become a good anchor in these swiftly changing tides.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chasing down the bank

Some friends of ours went to a couple of open houses in Trondheim. We're investigating splitting a house with them, which is fun and exciting. They're having fun learning the system and looking at possibilities for us and for them or us together, so that makes us feel good that someone is looking with us. There are many things that could happen, and I remain optimistic that we'll find something good. Maybe we'll end up having to rent for a year, which is expensive, a minimum of $2000/month for an apartment in the area we want to live.

The real estate market works differently in Norway than in the US, where we are used to spending a day with a real estate agent visiting 6 or 7 houses at one time. Rather, in Norway a seller holds an open house for only a few hours, and bids are taken during that period, sometimes only for a few hours. The house may sells for more or less, but the deal happens very quickly. If the house doesn't sell there will be another open house a couple of weeks later. So, you have to watch for openhouses, go early, and if it's THE ONE, then you should make an offer immediately. This means having the paperwork ready to go, and setting up the paperwork for a loan will take about two weeks. Our friends have started the process, and I've been trying to get and audience with a financial advisor at my bank for the last week.

Three times in this last week I had been promised a call back from someone at the bank, calls which were never returned. I was starting to feel rather frustrated. Furthermore, because of the 9 hour time difference, the bank is open from midnight to 7 am Pacific Time, so I have to call very early or very late, and it's never an easy call to make, shouting over a Skype connection when I'm tired.

But finally today I talked with a nice fellow this morning at 1 a.m. A genuine financial advisor, and he asked a lot of questions and started some paperwork. He needed to run figures and he'd call back right at the end of his working day, 6 am my time. Hopes were high that the process had begun -- but, no call back. Maybe I need to find a new bank. I will stay up past midnight again tonight so I can call him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Fanger alle nå!

Another burnout on Norwegian today, which I countered by listening to French Canadian radio.

I offered the kids $10 each if they could learn and perform for me the theme song from Pokemon 3. They've been studying like crazy -- I may be on to something. It's quite a nice song, actually. Kind of inspiring.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So close to comfortable

Spring is springing and the yard is blooming beautifully. Scent of apple blossoms and lilac. My little town of Ferndale is getting hipper every year, with a new riverwalk, fountain, and farmer's market just up the road from our house. Today we rode our bikes and discovered a new park next to the river.

All of these things we will miss. There are many very good things we are leaving behind, good things that keep getting better. Anna spend yesterday at a friend's house who lives 1 mile away. She rode horses all afternoon... awesome. We meet people we know everywhere we go. Pam and I have both been active in the community, and we're both feeling well-connected now.

Yep. Thissss close to becoming comfortable.

Crazy days these past few days, I feel like I've been slacking on my studying, mostly because I reached page 100 in the novel I'm reading and hit a really hard chapter. Page 101 starts a chapter called Verdensrommet, which means 'universe' (literally 'the world's room', cool huh? It's a pretty big room.) Anyway, this chapter was a butt-kicker. Space-time and philosophy, with really long and complicated sentences with about 3 times the number of annotations. I had to read it twice. Thankfully, the next chapter looks light.

But I've developed a certain "habit of norsk" now, and even when I feel like I'm slacking I'm doing a lot of practice anyway because I'm surrounded with Norwegian. In the car I listen to CDs of language or music, and walking across campus I listen to all kinds of things in Norwegian. In the last week, I finished relistening to the last 3 lessons in the Pimsleur series, listened to a Klartale podcast, and listened to a lot of songs and sang along.

Add to that this: I stayed up late on Friday watching Mummitrollet. Nice!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Google Gadgets


I've had an iGoogle page set up for a long time. I like iGoogle a lot, it's very easy to customize a portal page, and there are zillions of gadgets you can add. I have gadgets for my email, a to-do list, CNN and google news, and others.

I haven't looked at the gadget list in a long time, so I checked it for Norwegian gadgets and sure enough, there's dozens. My new favorite is an Encylopedia Brittanica gadget that shows a random article summary of something related to Norway. One can enjoy the random piece of culture by itself, or click on it to get the whole article. Nice!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

100 pages

I'm up to page 100 in Naiv. Super. The reading's getting faster and faster, I think reading this novel is a powerful learning tool.

Cool thing I learned from Allan today: In English you can say "I am right" or "I am wrong". In Norwegian, you say "I have right" or "I take wrong". So... if you're right it's something you have, like it's already there, but if you're wrong it's something you pick up. A nice philosophical slant!

Monday, May 4, 2009

T minus 2 months

Less than 2 months to go. With our June calendar already filling quickly, we're acting like we have only 1 month to go. Our goal is get rid of 1/2 of everything, and that part is going fairly well. So many treasures we've collected over the years, but it's time to let them go. It's amazing how tied down and heavy we become with 'things'. Some of our boxes are from 10 or 15 years ago, we open them only when we move and say "Oh, these are too nice to get rid of." Well, I've decided that most of these things I can just take a picture of, and then they become very light indeed. In fact, with the mass of electrons being of the order of 10^–31, I think that 200,000,000,000,000,000,000 2 meg pictures would weigh less than 1 gram. I think it will take me a while to accumulate that many pictures, even if I let Anna use the camera.

We're both making good use of Craigslist to sell off many things. On Friday, we drove to Seattle for a doctor's appointment, and stopped by the moving company to pick up some boxes. It was good to see the office building, and that it's a real-life company with friendly people. Makes me feel better about the move.

Still deciding about the Beetle... we could sell it for about $9000 here, or ship it to Norway for $4500 and then sell it for maybe as much as $20 000. Since we've owned it for over 2 years, apparently we can import the vehicle without paying excise tax, kind of a once in lifetime opportunity to score, but I'm not sure I want to deal with all of the hassles that will surely arise. Hmm. We've got about 6 weeks to decide, so I've time to do homework.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pikachu, jeg velger deg!


Did I really just spend the last hour watching Pokémon episodes in Norwegian?

It was worth it. Totally.

Here's the first six minutes of movie 1.
JUMP AHEAD TO 1:20, there's a lot of blank video in the first minute of this clip. Then it's fun.

Fanger alle nå! Pokémon!