Today was a long and exhausting day. We started by heading back down down to central Oslo on the bus (no throwing up this time) to get our personal numbers (something like a social security number that will let us open a bank account and all sorts of other important stuff. We then headed way out to IKEA to get pillows, and IKEA truly is the same everywhere. It was an odd sort of comforting to know where everything I needed would be since it was exactly the same layout as all the other IKEAs I’ve ever been too. By the end of these trips, Maddie, Ada and I were all pretty tired, but we didn’t have any groceries for dinner. The last thing I wanted to do was try to navigate the grocery store with the two of them taking their mini-shopping cart all around the store and picking up everything that caught their eye. I decided to do what I’m going to say is a very Norwegian thing, and leave my kids home alone (don’t judge). I made them a snack, gave them the iPad, and explicit instructions about not leaving the apartment, trying to open the windows, or otherwise cause harm to themselves or others.
I grabbed my grocery dag, closed the door and headed downstairs and entered a completely different Norway. It was quite and calm everywhere. I could hear my thoughts, and those thoughts had nothing to do with “put that back” or keeping them from getting into a fight over who would get to push the cart. It was just an wonderfully serene moment. The store even looked different when I had a moment to browse and didn’t have to think of this as a tactical mission. Everything was awesome. I planned out a simple taco dinner, I paid for my groceries, walked back to the door of the apartment building and then realized I’d left my key in the apartment.
Panic set in. The thing I didn’t explain to Maddie and Ada was what to do when the buzzer at the door rings, or how to let people into the apartment. My landlord was likely at work and lives 20 minutes away. Why did I ever think to leave them?
And then I pressed the intercom button for the name just below mine, and someone answered. I said, “Hi I’m your new neighbor, can you buzz me in?” And that’s how I met my new neighbor, a very nice elderly woman with a Norwegian name I can’t begin to pronounce.
And when I opened the door to my apartment, Maddie and Ada had decided to sneak the last ice cream cones from the fridge, so I don’t think they were too traumatized by my absence.
Every day is an adventure. Don’t forget your keys.