I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything on the blog in the past few days. Since we moved into the new apartment, we don’t have wifi, and so it’s been a struggle to post stuff to the blog using just my phone. Heck, it’s been a struggle just getting by, when my kids have become addicted to the Wow in the World Podcast and Goodnight Rebel Girls Podcast, and “need” them in order to be able to go to sleep. I’ve listened to the one episode of each that happened to episode on how migratory birds cross the ocean so many times now that I think I’m ready to migrate.
But today, my landlord brought the cable modem by, and after a quick trip to purchase an outlet splitter at the hardware store across the street, we have wifi. We have podcasts. We have Netflix. Google translate works reliably. All seems right in the world again.
I’m also very happy to report the great news that Diana’s mom is doing much better, and will likely move out of the ICU in the next few days. As I write this, Diana is also on a flight back to Oslo—hooray! We’ve then got a couple of days to pack bags and then we are off for a week in Paris, where Maddie is desperate to see Marie Curie’s house.
In the meantime, here are some photos of our adventures over the past week.
The playground at the center of our town is a tremendous hit.
A couple of days ago, we got library cards.
An incredible playground at Frognerparken
Sometimes all this travel is exhausting
On Saturday, we celebrated our first week in Norway. In some ways, it feels like it has been an eternity—I’m certainly exhausting my list of easy things to do that I know will entertain Maddie and Ada. But it mostly feels like we are are still just beginning and there is so much to do.
It looks like Diana is going to be home in Atlanta for at least another week. Her mom has made some great progress, so please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
For now, here are a couple of cute pictures of Maddie and Ada.
Maddie and Ada on the bus to the beach.
This is how they like to shop in the grocery store next to us.
On Saturday, we took the bus to the beach in Sandvika. I later learned that this beach was just opened, and it is gorgeous. The water was cold, and I forgot a towel, but that didn’t stop Maddie and Ada who changed into their swimsuits on the beach and jumped right in.
I think I’m starting to see why this is such a family friendly place.
Here are some cool trash cans we found on the walk to the beach.
The beach! Ada starts by just putting her toes in the water.
But it isn’t long until we are swimming.
In the distance below, you can see a diving structure at the beach where kids would just walk jump and jump into the water—the taller platform seemed like it was about 10m. The other thing that was just awesome was a perimeter of freshly laid sod around the beach. It’s awesome to put your stuff down on the grass, and then walk onto the beach, play around, and walk back to the grass to get all the sand off your feet when you are ready to go.
There was also this awesome play structure we had to check out.
There are mermaids in Norway…of course when she saw this, Maddie asked if we could get her a mermaid tail.
Ever since we got on the airplane to Norway a week ago, Maddie has had a wiggly tooth that she has been talking about a lot. For the past few days, it’s been hanging on in her mouth. I’ve tried to convince her to let me pull it out for the last few days with no success. She just keeps wanting to play with and talk about her wiggly tooth.
Today, we went to hang out with Maddie and Ada’s Norwegian friends (the daughters of our AirBnB hosts) and apparently as they were playing the oldest daughter, Nora, told her to pull it out. I’m not exactly sure how she did this, since Nora doesn’t speak much English, but Maddie came running into the room where Eric and I were watching the World Cup to show off her new tooth and the corresponding gap in her smile.
I asked Eric how much the tooth fairy pays for teeth in Norway, and he told me the going rate is 50kr (about $6.19), and has been going up, since the girls talk at school. It was 10 kr when he was a child.
I will add that Norway is as close to a cashless economy as I’ve seen. When I visited in March, I didn’t pay cash once. We visited the ATM earlier this week to get some money to pay for strawberries at the stand, but I later discovered that even they took credit cards.
All this is to say I think the tooth fairy is struggling to find any coinage to pay for teeth around here. So far, all I’ve seen is a small 5 kr coin. Maybe the tooth fairy should leave a note saying that when Maddie gets her Personal Number, she will send her some more money using Vipps (Norwegian Venmo). (The personal number is something like a social security number—it takes a few weeks to get one in the mail after tuning in a ton of paperwork, and is necessary for opening bank accounts, cell phone contracts, internet service and seemingly just about everything we need these days).
One thing I’ve noticed young kids do in Norway is they run around a lot in their underwear or without any clothing at all. It was true of the kids of our AirBnB host, and I’ve also seen kids playing in the fountain the center of town in just their underwear. The weather is beautiful and bordering on hot—who can blame them.
Ada has now decided to join the movement. She stood out on our balcony (in the center of twin) after dinner for 20 minutes talking to herself, and it was only the promise of Norwegian cartoons on the TV that could get her to come back in.
So I’ve started to notice little things in Norway that are different from anything I’ve seen anywhere else in my travels. I’ll share a couple here and invite your thoughts on what they might be for (I think I’ve figured them out, but don’t want to spoil it for you).
Above the walkway to our apartment is the 4th floor walkway, and there are these chains hanging off the side of our walkway.
In our hallway is this electric heater, and underneath is this plastic tray.
Both of these things were initially quite puzzling to me, but after some thinking, I am pretty sure I know what they are for. I’d love hear your thoughts in the comments.
Maddie and Ada have been dying to check out the toy store that is next door to our apartment. They’ve had some not so great moments in our previous shopping expeditions of running into stores and goofing around, so I was trepidatious. But yesterday, I scouted it out on by 20 minute venture without them, and I was impressed, so I relented today, after agreeing to some ground rules. 1. No buying anything. 2. We leave when I say it’s time to go.
One strange thing I’ve noticed around here is even though the area is built up like a small town/city—we have 5 grocery stores, a indoor mall with a dozen or so stores, and a bunch of other things, everything is super quiet and pretty empty. Maybe it’s because July is when most Norwegians go on holiday, but today, we were the only people in the toy store.
Ada and Maddie are excited to report back on the state of Norwegian toys. In a nutshell, they are expensive. Here are a few photos of our adventure.
I’m pleased to report that Maddie and Ada did a great job of sticking to our agreement. They didn’t ask to buy anything and we left when it was time to go. But they did put a LOT of stuff on their Christmas wish lists. At least Santa won’t have to lug toys very far to get them to our house, but I’m not sure how to tell him that we have no room in our bags to bring anything back to the states.