Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Leaving my old life behind!

I feel a bit bad today, partly because I still have my headache and partly because I didn’t study Norwegian at all last night – I just ate some cheese on toast and went to sleep! We have a resident nurse at the place I am working at the minute, she has offerered me some acupuncture! I am thinking about it but I am so terrified of needles, so for now she has stuck these ‘ear seeds’ on my ears – apparently they rest just on the acu-point – and shown me some breathing techniques.

I’m still not really sure what to write about – I just know that I want to write! Maybe until I actually arrive in Bergen and have loads to talk about it’ll be mostly boring waffle, who knows? I told Hans last night I had finally set up a blog, but I wondered if there was any point – I mean who is going to want to read it?! He said he would, as we obviously wont get to speak on the phone every day, so I guess that is more than enough of a good reason to keep writing. Also this is a lot faster than physically writing so I am more likely to keep a good record than I would in a travel diary. At the same time I like to have a written diary with all my doodles and everything that I can look back on!

See, boring waffle! I knew it…

With regards to my preparations, now I finally have insurance sorted my biggest worry is banking – I have been researching it and it is apparently very difficult to get a bank account in Norway unless you have lived there over three months! Plus, I first need to register at the police station and get an identity number (but it will be a dummy number, not a proper one, as I am staying less than 6 months) I can use my card and online banking over there exactly as I would here, which on the face of it seems so much simpler – but the catch is that every time I do there is a charge… not usually more than 2 or 3% but that will add up over 5 months and I wont be working while I am there either!

I hate to have things unplanned, I find just diving into things head-first very scary, but I think that the banking side of it is just one of those things that I will need to leave until I get there (as hard as that may be) As far as the rest of the finances go, I have planned as much as I can; I have been working a lot over summer and saving up, then I should get an ‘Erasmus Grant’ as part of my placement whilst I am there as well as my usual student maintenance loan, so along with the money I have saved from working I should just be able to scrape by without working! I have put all of my estimated incomings into a spreadsheet and worked out all (known) expenses and then an average of what I will have to spend per week – basically I have worked out a budget. I have over costed for everything so if I stick to it I should be ok.

Not working for 5 months is one of the things I am looking forward to most of all (in a non-lazy way!) I am 26 now and have been working full time since I was 16 in admin and office management. I t was ok but I definitely couldn’t have done it forever. I always had a passion for designing stuff and wanted for years to do a degree, but I could never afford it. Then I met Hans and got really settled, and after a while we discussed everything (as I was going through a particularly horrible time with my job) I was really miserable; working long hours, putting up with age discrimination basically, and had taken to sitting in one of the really warm toilets at work just to get away from it all, texting Hans and dreaming of a better life! As you do… To cut a long story short, Hans knew how miserable I was and he told me that if studying design was what I really wanted to do, then he would support me all the way! (as long as I bought him a really cool car when I got my big fancy job!) Seriously though, he has been so supportive and amazing and I couldn’t have done it without him!

It was difficult to give up work – especially the salary – and I was so nervous about being a mature student, and also I worried that the younger people would be so much more technologically advanced than me, but as soon as I started the degree I absolutely loved it. I have worked so hard and come out with good grades and really hoping to continue like that. People on the course are all at different levels in their knowledge so I needn’t have worried about that, and also the age thing didn’t make that much of a difference and I have made some really nice friends (occasionally I get blank looks when I mention Sean Connery or Button Moon!) but for the most part it’s nice. I think I have the added benefit of having done all of the clubbing, and living away from my parents etc, so I felt like I could settle into it straight away and put (most) of my time and energy into the degree itself.

I have carried on working at least one day a week throughout my course though, 2 days in my second semester and my weekends are taken up with training and housework! I really felt the difference, especially in my second term, so I am looking forward to not working at all, and having loads of time to focus on my course and really take advantage of living in Norway, making friends and learning to speak the language properly (instead of like a 3 year old)
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