My Cats

Kim seems to want to move even as early as next spring because he could possibly have a massage job lined up. He’s very excited and should be of course. Yet, my feelings are mixed. I’m still hesitant.

At first my heart strings were pulled when he told me I’d have to sell things or give them away. Like, I’m American. I like my things. I’m attached to my things, as horrible as that may seem. I have collections of Japanese magazines, stuffed animals and clothes that I just might need to get rid of.  I really don’t want to. Starting to get rid of things will make this move feel all too real..

The biggest issue right now is not my things but my cats. I refer to my cats as furbabies. I don’t know what to do. I planned on taking them with but someone commented that it might not be good for them to leave.

kittypile
Clockwise starting at the bottom: Taco-Ravioli, Stoner, Owly

One of my cats, Owly (brown long haired cat pictured to the left), will not handle the move well. She didn’t come out for a week when we moved the first time with her. I’m not sure how she will respond to being shipped.

I’ve been researching that the kitties may not need to be quarantined. This is a massive relief. They do, however, need certain shots, a clean bill of health and other specifications before entering Norway. Here is what I read.

All day today I was a total wreck thinking I had to adopt out my cats so they didn’t get traumatized by our move. The troubles of being a crazy cat lady.

 

5 Year Anniversary

I’ve met numerous awesome people on the internet such as Becoming Finnish , Find Balance (noneedforscales) , and BeautyBeyondBones . Finnish/Australian, New Zealand and American women. . . . It’s amazing that the world seems so much smaller now because of social media. In fact- that is how I met my husband.

I was doing a project for Sociology class in college. A friend mentioned to me that his former high school had a foreign exchange student from Norway. He said I should interview him. I messaged this boy named Kim on facebook. I interviewed him and we remained friends for several years.

One day I was doing homework at my college alone, messaging Kim at the same time for hours. I finally got him to say he was in love with me by saying “I love chocolate.” He booked a trip to meet me and we started dating. A year later or so we were married. Kim moved to the United States and obtained a Green Card. Now we are celebrating 5 years happily married together.

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My husband is an inspiring person in my life because he is a hard worker and is passionate about exploring the world. Kim has studied in Thailand, Japan and the US.  He even learned Thai massage in Thailand, that adds to his massage therapy reputation as having rare techniques and the ability to do deep tissue that is both relaxing and medicinal. He inspires me to want to step out of my comfort zone and try new things such as traveling more and exotic food. He has taken me to Norway several times and helped me understand the culture more and explained things to me.

Kim moved from Norway to the United States with basically nothing. We went to resale stores to try and get what he needed. He relied heavily on others at first- even getting someone to rent him an apartment was out of kindness. He was alone in the apartment. I was still living with my parents. I remember visiting him and just watching television on a tiny TV. Soon he did something I dreamed about as a child- adopting a cat. He let me choose the cat and I knew right away which cat I had to adopt. stonerHis name was Stoney or soon to be called “Stoner.” He is a beautiful black cat with green eyes and a very friendly personality. Stoner was the first major gift Kim gave me before we were even married. Stoner lived with Kim until I eventually moved in.

My husband continues to inspire me and teach me about love. He has taught me that fear is temporary and exploration of the world is important. Kim has helped me become the woman I am now.

 

 

 

 

Love you, hubby boo.

 

 

Studying the Language

I feel that it is very necessary to learn Norwegian- not just for getting a good job, but to fully embrace my new country’s culture.

Luckily, I have had three years of Spanish in high school and one year of French in college. I know a thing or two about how to learn a language. Being very strong in the art of the English language helps as well. Things I used to just loathe learning and having to do in school suddenly is quite important.

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I recall reading articles in Spanish and having to translate every word. Then we had to look up the words we didn’t know in a Spanish-English dictionary.  We would then read the articles in Spanish during class, even if we fumbled through most of the words. It was really hard to do and time consuming. I do that now with Nemi comics in Norwegian. I fumble through the words and learn what they mean from my husband. It’s a good way to get used to the language in your mouth and pick up words.

I also use the duolingo app on my phone. It gradually increases in difficulty and helps you retain words you’ve learned. Duolingo is great to use when I have some down time and keeps me learning.

Norway does have language classes. They technically have two languages in Norway- Bokmål and Nynorsk. Wether I learn one or the other is the question. Right now I’m learning a mix of the two. The area we will be living in has both languages.

It feels so foreign when I try to speak Norwegian! I get a lot of sounds wrong right now. Some grammar rules are strange too. With the help of my family and especially hubby I will get a grasp on it.

 

Reasons to Move to Norway

I made a list of reasons I fear moving to Norway.  Here I made a list of why I should move.  It seems to be much longer than my fear-list was.

 

  • Beauty– Norway is gorgeous. 005746_christian-bothner_www-nordnorge-com_moskenes
  • By the Sea– We will be living near the coast or on an island. It’s very serene.
  • Socialist– Yes, I actually like that they are Socialist. It works well for Norway and their people.
  • Healthcare system– Healthcare in Norway costs about $400 a year vs my $10,000 per year. Big big big big reason to leave the States. 
  • Kim’s Family lives in Norway
  • Less Stressful life- Lifestyle of Norway differs from the United States. ?Mental illness is more taken care of?
  • Personalities of Norwegian Peoples– It’s not go-go-go all the time like it is in the States. They are far more relaxed overall, but they are “cold” or in my experiences reserved and shy with strangers. The notion they aren’t social is a myth however. They know how to party hard.
  • Safe– You can walk around at night without the fear of being shot or raped. Your children are safe left alone. The mentality of Norwegians are just different in how they treat one another.
  • “Allemannsrett” or All Man’s Right Law– You have the freedom to explore uncultivated land.
  • Forests– Norwegians love their forests. Hiking is HUGE in Norway! They have trails everywhere.
  • History– They have a rich history and culture that I am already a fan of. Like, I’m a nerd. osebergskipet
  • Right to Vacations and Time off– Ever feel pressured to never request off or feel guilty for requesting time off in the States? I do.  That all is unheard of in Norway. They want you to take vacations.
  • Work to Live not Live to Work mentality
  • System for Retirement– Social Security won’t exist for my generation.
  • Food– Some preservatives and additives to food are not allowed. Food is fresher and healthier. Their food culturekaffistova overall is a healthier one. Being a type 1 diabetic, this should help me a lot.

 

Happy St. John’s Day!

Hooray! One of my favorite holidays! I even got married around this time on purpose. I am most familiar with Midsommar in Sweden because we hold a Midsummer Festival in the US (Geneva, IL), celebrating everything Scandinavian- mostly Swedish.

To read more about what the Norwegian version, Jonsok, is like click here.

worlds-biggest-bonfire-alesund-norway-sankthans-slinningsbalet-midsummer-3Alesund, where I most likely will live, had the biggest bonfire in the world. I am excited to eventually be part of this festival in it’s traditional way, rather than American. I really want the food. I won’t lie.

Anxiety

My husband and I have been talking literally everyday about moving to Norway. He wants to talk out my fears and understand that I have a support system there. That support system is made of his family, our friends and himself. I will not be completely alone- although I may feel like it.

Here are some of my fears about moving out of the United States:

  • I will not speak the language fluently: I’m not sure about the reaction of Norwegians when they find out an immigrant doesn’t speak their language. I will feel embarrassed and fumble for words. I have a plan to use Duolingo, a workbook and Nemi comics from Norway to learn to read, write and speak Norwegian.
  • My side of the family lives in the United States.
  • Can I still cook Italian Food?!: This is a huge deal to me. I can’t leave all of my own culture behind.  I don’t know how to cook Norwegian.
  • midnight_sun_001Land of the Midnight Sun: The daylight in Norway is different. Summer has long hours of light. Winter has short hours of light. Will this affect me physically and/or mentally?
  • Racisim: I am not entirely white. As part Sicilian, I’m part Jewish, Arab and part even part black. My skin golden olive. Will I encounter racisim?
  • Terrorism: I really wish I didn’t have to worry about terrorism in Norway but if you have paid attention- I do have to worry. “Keep Norway Norwegian” is a slogan my husband said exists. Some few may seriously hate foreigners.Others may hate Roman influence such as the “Christianization” of the Norwegian people and my people are the ones that did this.
  • Problems Shopping: Stores will be different and therefore no Sephora and no Ulta will be around. Can I even order offline? What about shopping for food? What if I can’t read labels? I’m diabetic and reading measurements of carbs is a big deal. I already know the way their labels are read are different than the United States.
  • Friends: Of course I will miss my friends in the US. I don’t know how hard it will be to make friends once I am in Norway. I have a couple already, however.
  • Medical Personal: I have a team of doctors in the States. I’m not exactly healthy. I’ve got type 1 diabetes and a possible other disease. Can I trust Norwegian healthcare to suit my needs?

 

***I want to add this post is in no way meant to slander the Norwegian people.***

A Timeless Norwegian Art

One of my favorite styles of painting!

Something to Ponder About

History of Norwegian Rosemaling

Rosemaling is a little known traditional art form unique to Norway and is characterized by stylized flowers and ‘c’ and ‘s’ shaped scrolls, inspired by the Renaissance and Acanthus motifs. It is a regional folk art that is timeless and dynamic.

DIGITAL CAMERA Traditional Telemark Rosemaling

How did Rosemaling evolve?

From rudimentary beginnings in the woodcarving decorations and religious art of the Middle Ages, Rosemaling first appeared in Norway during the Renaissance and Baroque periods of 1550 –1700.  Early examples, such as stylized plant motifs and acanthus scrolls, can still be seen in the traditional Norwegian churches dating from that era. In addition, regular trading of goods, with other countries in the Hanseatic League, provided the opportunity for East Asian influences to reach the shores of Norway and this provided further inspiration and influence for development of Norwegian folk art.

Bykle Bykle church

P1010585 Wood Carving in Lesja

International trends…

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