Monday, August 31, 2009

A few pics...

A few random pics for Monday: Anna can do hula hoop like it's nothing, we've got a trampoline in the yard, and yes, we brought the popcorn machine!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Today we took the kids and several of Maggie's friends to Pirbadet, the huge aquatic center located on the piers in downtown Trondheim. We stayed for 4 hours, and it was great fun. I finally discovered the statue of Leif Erikson (Old Norse: Leifr Eiríksson) (c. 970 – c. 1020). It is just outside of Pirbadet. This statue is a copy of a statue that stands in Seattle, Washington, a gift from Norway to the U.S. It's good to see this connection to our "home town". Okay, so we're not exactly from Seattle, but when we're this far away, Seattle seems pretty close to Ferndale!

Pirbadet has a wave pool, waterslides, diving platforms, hot tubs, hot tubs, more hot tubs, a child play area, steam room... just about everything. There's a series of 5 diving platforms starting at 5 meters and going up to 15 meters. The kids were really into jumping off the 5 meter platform, but Peter tried a leap from the 7.5 meter! Way to go Peter! Anna couldn't get enough of the water slides.

Sunday I find I am very sore from all the battles I had with the children.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Festning and Meetings

Several days of biking everywhere has been nice. We have the car back, but it's not entirely fixed, so we must take it back again later.

Yesterday I went with a friend from the office to the fortress to plan a math trail for Pam's class. Gerd is an expert on the fortress. In fact, her father was in the department of defense and she lived at the fortress from the time she was 10 until she was 20. What a place to live! She has some great stories. The weather was beautiful, sunny and breezy, and we had a lovely afternoon.

Afterwards, I picked up Anna next door from school and we walked downtown to get hardware and icecream, and then a few hours of teacher meetings. 3 kids, 3 meetings, 3 hours. We didn't get home until eight.

I'm really getting into the swing of work. There are so many things I want to do! The atmosphere is very social, and I meet spontaneously with colleagues several times every day to share ideas and get excited about computer programs or crocheting or mirrors or whatever. Mostly I talk Norwegian around work, and outside of work I find myself switching back and forth between English and Norwegian without thinking. Vowels are hard. Prepositions are hard. But today I learned how to say "oil pressure gauge", and that makes everything all right.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Biking to School

Work on the house has slowed as we become busy with work at our schools. With the car still in the shop, we're getting lots of bike riding in, and I've lost 6 pounds this month. Amazing what a little exercise and a big reduction in beer drinking will do for you! The bike riding is getting easier and easier.

Mornings Pam leaves early to school on bike while I finish getting kids ready to go. Peter usually leaves a bit before the rest of us -- he likes to ride down the big scary hill and get to school fast, while the rest of us are satisfied with a longer commute. I've been experimenting with routes, trying to find the one with the least slope downwards.

It's quite a drop from our house to the school, which makes the morning commute very very easy but a bit too fast. We need to apply brakes most of the way, and my brakes aren't very good. Coming home is hard, and we end up pushing the bikes up several hills. Still, it's satisfying to not have to use the car.

This morning the sky looks dark and threatening. I fear we all may be getting wet today...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sjoko og Tog

Here's Sjoko. Very nice kitten; fun, playful, likes to be held, and pre-litterboxtrained.

I had a little adventure yesterday. I took the car into Hommelvik to get it fixed. It's leaking oil from the dashboard onto my feet, very not cool. It's also losing water madly from the radiator, and the brakes are in poor shape. Our mechanic lives outside of town about a 30 minute drive, and so I had to figure out how to get back using the bus or the train. I was pleased to be able to start conversations with two strangers and find out everything I needed to know about how the bus and train system work. I could even understand the announcements over the loudspeakers. The train was the best bet, inexpensive, a nice ride along the shore, a chance to read my book, and a drop-off just a 10 minute walk from our house. A successful adventure!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I've been reading Kurtby, a funny book by Erlend Loe about a family that goes on vacation, gets lost and the dad, Kurt, ends up becoming the leader of a religious cult out in the forest. In the beginning of the book, the family decides on their vacation destination by each writing the name of where to go on slips of paper and then drawing one at random. From all the exciting destinations like Paris and Berlin, they pull the slip of paper written on by their youngest child, with the destination: "Finland". He chose it because he wants to go see the Mummitrollet, characters in Finnish books and cartoons that are popular in Norway. We've been watching Mummitrollet episodes at home, so it was fun to see to reference.

We're trying to decide where to go for vacation during a short school break in October, so Pam decided to try this method for ourselves! We all wrote destinations and Anna selected a slip of paper. The result: "Mummidalen!" (Mummidalen, or Mummi Valley, is the home of Mummitrollet). I don't think we'll go there, though. We're not such big sticklers for procedure, not like Kurt's family.

Our possibilities were Bergen, Istanbul, Mummidalen, Ferndale WA, and Waterslides. Can you guess who's was which?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We played Clue today... and Anna won! That was a surprise! Then I went bike riding in the neighborhood with Peter and Anna, and we discovered the strange glowing alien sculpture we had found last time. It's very close to our house -- a good surprise! Peter experimented riding down stairs and off walls, very daring!

We got the lower level of our house together today, and it feels great! Tonight we had a party for some new teachers at the international school... margaritas, games, and music. Fun!

Kitten & Art

We have a kitten. Picked her up on Friday in Stjørdal. The kids are naming her "Chocolate", or "Sjaka" for short (pronounced "Shaka", short for "Sjokolade").

A reading center is opening at NTNU, like the Matematikksenteret where I work, but with a focus on reading and literacy. The preopening party was on Friday, and our center gifted them a framed print of one my works of math art. Here I am with the new boss and the print. It was quite an honor to be asked!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Coming together

The house is gradually coming together, we can live it in now. Last night we got the boxspring mattress up the stairs. It wouldn't fit when the movers were here, so I sawed it in half. Well, I sawed it partly in half and then propped it up on the couch and Pam and I jumped on it until the wires bent and it took on somewhat of an L shape. With kids protecting the walls with cardboard, we got it upstairs. I think we'll never get it down again.

We had our first guests over -- a spontaneous taco dinner with Evelina and Daniel. That was fun. They came over after riding bikes down with Anna to the the traffikgård, which is a mini city-street playground for kids to learn about traffic safety. Awesome. Here's a previous post about the traffikgård.

In the evening I visited some friends who live downtown and we sat on the roof of their apartment and admired the view of downtown from downtown. The Nidaros cathedral, the university, the fortress, the Tyholt tower... beautiful in every direction.

Last night was mild and warm and breezy, a perfect night, and our bed was perfect also. This morning it's gray and rainy, but it still makes me happy to walk to work under an umbrella and be able to see the mountains and Munkholmen island out in the fjord.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Peter and Anna biked to school on Tuesday. We still didn't have a bike for Maggie, so she and I drove, leading the way for her younger siblings.

Work has been very fun this week. Lots of new people, and lots of fresh energy with familiar people. My colleagues are really neat, and I like the new boss a lot. I'm finally settling in and getting some good work done.

After school, we went out to get Maggie a bike. Here she is, fresh from Gigante Sports. This morning, I rode with them down to school, and then up to my office. It's a fun and easy ride, except for the GIANT HILL down which is a little scary. I wonder how they'll do coming home.

My language skills are improving quickly. I speak Norwegian for hours each day now, and I can even speak on the phone which was impossible before. I have no trouble making myself understood... of course understanding what others say is still very challenging, unless they are patient and use simpler words. But, there is hope!

Monday, August 17, 2009

First Day of School

It was a very tiring weekend as you can imagine. The house was full, but as boxes empty and as we ship things off the school and the office, it is becoming manageable. Sunday we were at the school all day getting Pam's room in order for the first day.

Pam was a little nervous, the kids were very excited, and I was relieved. Here's some first day pics... Pam heading out with waffle in hand, and the kids freshly returned from school.

For dinner we had sodd, the Norwegian meatball soup that we'd had a couple of times at Martin and Elisabeth's hytte. Pam tried making it herself -- an important step towards becoming Norwegian I think. It wasn't as good as the Hamsted's, but it was a start!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Moving Day

Got the news on Thursday that our stuff arrives on Friday. Woo-hoo! Our goods were waved through customs, and we were thankful not to hassle with inspections or unexpected fees. We knew this would be tight, a lot of stuff coming with insufficient space to put it. In addition, we still had all of the landlord's furniture, which we had not had enough warning for her to make arrangements for.

The movers pulled up right on time, in a double truck. Apparently they had repacked our container in Oslo. The rain started around lunchtime. All day, a steady stream of boxes and furniture flowed into the house. We watched the empty space vanish much too quickly.

above: the trucks arrive!
below: Maggie in a box, Anna goes to Anna-Lola's

Allan brought a trailer over, and we shuttled off some of the landlord's furniture, and then another trailer load of his stuff, which helped space. Daniel came over and made two trips with carloads of Pam's teaching boxes to the school. Somehow, by the end of the day we managed to fit everything in the house and get the doors closed. Shwew!

How funny and nice it is to look around and see our things, our comforts from home. That night slept in own bed, and today we unloaded some more items: another carload to Allan, a carload to the school, and currently I have 33 boxes of math stuff (all essential, I assure you) loaded onto the trailer ready to take into the office this evening.

The place is a wreck, but I think we can progress quickly in getting it all organized.

Yesterday during the move, Anna spent the day with Anna-Lola, her first time seeing her good friend since we've been back. Peter spent the day and ended up sleeping over at Kristian's house. And in the evening, Pam and I made a quick trip to a faculty party and Megan and Marius'. We wanted to stay all night, but we were exhausted and eager to be up early working on the boxes.

We are hopeful and optimistic!

On the way to the party we saw a crack in a wall that looked like a horse.
I don't know why I took a picture of it.
Or why I'm posting it.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friends are Back

Allan and Alison got back yesterday from a year in the U.S. I picked them up at the airport and upon arriving at their place, Allan insisting on climbing underneath the car to begin repair work on the muffler. This is after flying all day and night, mind you. Turns out our car has TWO mufflers, and we only lost the back up muffler. That's why our car is not obnoxiously loud right now. We ended staying up late talking for hours... great fun!

This morning we had a nice rainbow to the west. We get a lot of rainbows here thanks to the mixed up weather and favorable sun position -- often near the horizon and so plenty of low angle light. A good combination for rainbows!

Pam has all-day meetings, so I took the kids into the office with me. In the lobby, some physics students were making icecream with dry ice, good fun for the kids! They each got a cup of the homemade treat. At the office they played with our vast math-toy collection, drank hot chocolate from our coffee machine, and had lunch in the cafeteria. A good morning.

In the afternoon, Pam and I registered for our tax cards and got our banking squared away. Yesterday we picked up our work visas. Tomorrow, our cargo container arrives. We very nearly have it all together!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cargo... found!

Today was the day our shipping container was supposed to arrive, but when I called yesterday nobody knew where it was. Hamburg, maybe? We just got news that they found it. It had apparently slipped between the sofa cushions. It will be in Oslo at the end of the week, and at our house sometime after that.

Our phones are now working. Hurray!


Naylors in Norway (2009-2010) is continued at

Sesam Stasjon. 10.

Yep, the light is killing me today. I've been up since 4 am, tired but can't sleep. Maybe it's time to finally get around to putting those blinds on the windows. Been reading news and hunting for Norwegian children's programs (they should be about my level). Here's a blast from the past:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kittens in Stjordal

Caught up with another friend at work today who's just returned from a trip abroad. Oh, it's nice to be back! Our shipping container was supposed to be arriving tomorrow, so I called the moving company but our stuff is... where? No one seems to know. So I have the Norwegian company and the U.S. company working on it. Hopefully we'll have news in a few days. Hmm. Ting tar tid.

We made a trip to Stjordal today to look at a kitten for Peter. Stjordal is about a 40 minute drive east of Trondheim, it's the site of the Trondheim airport. Before we left, I asked colleagues if there's anything that's a must-see in Stjordal. Rock carvings? they asked. Been there. Hegra festning (fortress)? Check. Forbordsfjellet (mountain drive with great view)? Yes. Steinvikholmen (medieval island fortress)? Yup, that too. The train station at Hell (has a funny sign there)? Yep, got that picture. The shopping mall? Ummm... no!

Aparently, the shopping mall is the only thing in the area we had left to see, so we put it on the list. We shall see the mall, and then we will have "done Stjordal".

So, we saw the kittens and Peter picked out the one he wants. We need to wait 3 more weeks because they are still nursing, and then we can return and pick her up. And then, yes, we went to the mall. Bought some candy and a charger for the kids' Nintendo DSs, because somehow they've lost all 3 of them.

On the way home, we were choking on exhaust fumes. Ugh... what is wrong with the car now? It didn't take too long to find out -- the muffler fell off once we reached our neighborhood. Another adventure to be had. Looks like a trip to Biltema in my future plans, another Norwegian "learning opportunity".

This evening we had mushrooms with dinner. And we're still alive! It's now 10:15, and starting to get dark outside. Finally, some nighttime is starting to happen. It's been weird to have no darkness, and very hard for the kids to get to sleep. Also, on the other end of sleep it's weird to wake up in the morning and not know what time it is. It's light out, but it may be 3:30 in the morning. By mid-September the light will be "normal", and then darkness will begin to take over. Cool.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Berry Picking in Estenstad

It's berry picking season in Norway, and there are more blueberries in the hills than can possibly be eaten, even if Norsemen and trolls worked together.

We took a very short drive up to Estenstad ("East place"), near NTNU's Dragvoll campus. I was shocked at how beautiful this forest area is -- so lovely and so close to home. It would be an easy bike ride to get here. We met Daniel, Evelina, and Sofia there and followed a trail up into the woods, soon coming to two lakes. Berries first, swimming later! Daniel bought a berry-picking device for us, kind of like a box with a comb on the end that you comb the blueberry bushes with and the berries pop right into the box. It's very effective and easy to amass large quantities of berries quickly. We also found lots of raspberries. After filling our berry buckets, we set up base next to the second lake, where there were almost no other people.

We brought waffles and whipped cream, and made ourselves a lovely meal of berry waffles. The kids went swimming -- the third time swimming in as many days. This was the warmest water yet, and the setting was fantastic. Maggie and Peter swam clear across the lake -- very brave! Peter ran back on the trail, but Maggie swam back again. The picture above is her victory pose upon her return. They've become good swimmers!

Afterwards, we hiked around the lake, finding big patches of berries and plenty of mushrooms. How I wish I knew more about mushrooms! There were two kinds of edible mushrooms we knew for sure were safe, and we found plenty of those. We also found plenty of the highly poisonous red-with-white-spots mushrooms (Smurf mushrooms!) that we didn't touch.

In the evening, we helped a teacher from ThIS move into his house, and collapsed in bed early. An exhilirating and exhausting weekend!

If you can't pick 'em, shoot 'em. Here's some mushrooms we didn't eat: