Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Wednesday 13th August 2008 - Kirkenær

Well I just finished my breakfast and I’m typing up the notes I wrote in bed last night as I didn’t have my laptop with me. I couldn’t write much detail last night, as Hans was laughing at me (he put a sour sweet in my mouth right after I had brushed my teeth - without telling me it was sour - and then sat back and watched me pull all kinds of faces!) So anyway, I will expand on the bullet points I wrote to myself…

It’s so quiet and peaceful here now that I thought I would get up to date with my blog daily (so I don’t have too much to write when I finally get internet access). Hans’ mum, Inger, is at work and Hans is reading in bed - I think! He could also have fallen asleep again, possibly. I am sitting by the kitchen table with a lovely cup of coffee and a some bread and cold meat, cheese and some really juicy-sweet home grown cherry tomatoes. When I got up it was quite cloudy outside, though still warm, but by the time I had made the coffee the clouds had parted and the sun came out. I tried to eat my breakfast on the little porch outside, as it’s so lovely and warm, but possibly the worlds most aggressive wasp decided he also wanted my breakfast and was prepared to fight me for it, so I gave up and came back inside. I will venture outside again shortly, as soon as I have no food with me! (Hans just came down and I told him about the wasp - he thinks it was probably a racist attack and the wasp was saying ‘go home foreigner!’) Hope not!!!

The porch where I tried to eat breakfast...

The lovely view from the balcony...

I just realise my ‘I’ key is working fine again! Yay!

I didn’t wake up until 9:00am this morning (but I guess it would be 8:00 in England so it’s not too bad!) I wanted to get up a bit earlier, I have been so busy the last few days and from next Monday I will be busy again, and it is so relaxing here (the most taxing thing I will do is probably wash a few pots) so I want to be awake as much as I can and not miss a minute of it - really appreciate the peace and quiet and be as rested as I can. Apart from last night, the last 4 nights I hardly slept - I usually only sleep around 6 hours a night anyway, but I think I have been averaging about 4 hours. Hopefully I have caught up with myself now and can get into a good sleeping pattern for when I start at the university in Bergen - I have no idea what time I will begin the day there, or how long it will take to get there, so I want to get into a routine of waking around 6:30 to start off with.

So, anyway, a round up of what happened yesterday;

It was another early start yesterday as I needed to pack the last few bits and bobs (and last minute Larry just needed to pack, full stop). Uncle Andy (sorry Andy, that’s your name now) was coming over around 8:00ish to take us to East Midlands Airport. Thanks Uncle Andy! Everything went as smoothly as possible, all things considered - no missing passports or anything, so we arrived at EMA quite early and after we sat and had a coffee we checked in and when for a wander and some food. It went really fast actually, but we were only at the airport around 2 hours, the flight managed to get off earlier than planned and got to Oslo in under 1 hour 4o minutes, so we made really good time.

I really hate flying, but I managed to contain myself pretty well - only had 2 valerians this time! As the plane took off, and I watched Derby get smaller and smaller, everything finally hit me - I wasn’t coming back for what feels at this end of it a long time - almost half a year. I know in the grand scheme of things it’s not that long, but I couldn’t help thinking of Rob, Lorna and my nieces, and of the family I have just found, and it just all became real. I couldn’t help it but I cried a bit, I couldn’t hold it back. I thought Hans would think it was the flight upsetting me but he knows me so well - he looked at me and said ‘you’re coming back, sweety!’ and held my hand really tight. Bless him, he’s such an angel.

Side note: I know with magpies it’s ‘1 for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for a girl, 4 for a boy’ but what about if there’s more? There are about 50 billion magpies outside right now (I threw a little food to a couple earlier, and I think every magpie in Norway has come to join in). Do you have to add them all together and divide them into 1, 2, 3 or 4? Or is it ‘5 for 2 girls, 6 for 2 boys’ and so on??? I hope not, I only want 1 child. Hmmm…

ANYWAY, the journey then was a mix of feelings, yes I was sad, but it was also exciting. The flight was really fast, and then as we were beginning to descend and I could see Norway outside the window I began to relax, I have tried to tell people before - I love it here. I feel so at home and even on the plane before we landed I felt better as soon as I saw the place. I knew everything would be ok, and I would be fine. It’s a given that the first couple of weeks on my own will be tough, but they would be anyway, but I’ll settle in and I will love it.

As soon as I got here I tried to start thinking in Norwegian and talking to Hans in Norwegian, it’s not easy but I need to. We got the bus from Oslo Gardermoen airport to Kongsvinger, where Inger picked us up. It was really nice to see her again, and we had a big hug, and the journey back to her home was really funny, with me trying my hardest to talk in Norwegian, and Hans and his mum falling about laughing all over the place. It’s a good job I don’t take these things to personally, as it could seriously damage my confidence. It’s just stupid grammar things that I get wrong!

We got back to Inger’s house around 6:00pm, and sat and relaxed for a while with some coffee and a bite to eat - these nice pizza ball things that Hans’ aunt Lill had made. Both aunts, Lill and Britt called to check we had arrived safely. I started talking to Inger then, mostly in Norwegian so I was being really good, and she talked back to me either in English or nice and slowly in Norwegian. I sent her a letter a few weeks back, with pictures cut out of ‘Derbyshire’ magazine, some really nice pictures of some big country houses and gardens, rolling hills and also some woodland scenes. She said she is going to buy a castle in England (and some show horses), and we can come visit whenever we want and she’ll put the kettle on and make tea! The English / tea drinking thing is a long standing source of amusement here, and it doesn’t matter what you say, you will never convince anyone that actually not everybody constantly drinks tea, and that the whole of England doesn’t look like Peak Practice! Some parts of England are still like that though, so I sent the pictures to her to show her that yes, it was how she imagined! So we chatted about those for a while, then I told her about finding my dad’s family on the internet.

She was really intrigued by it, and I showed her the picture of my dad and she said I looked like him - I also showed her a picture of Rob and she said we looked nothing alike! It’s really weird as when we were younger Rob and I looked really similar, and the older we get the more different we look. Inger then said something that I thought was really nice; she said a lot of good things have happened to me lately; finding my family, having the opportunity to study abroad, having my neices and things like that. She said I deserved it because I had worked really hard, and that I am lucky - some people just stay the same their whole lives and never take and risks and nothing ever really happens to them - and if she were younger then she would take more chances. I said that generally I try to do the things that scare me the most, because they are usually the most rewarding - it was scary giving up my job to go to university, it was scary to email strangers in the hope of finding family, scary to go and meet my cousin, scary to leave Hans for 5 months to come here alone - but because they are all scary things I know that I will gain so much from them as a person. It really put it back into perspective for me, yes this is scary and difficult but I need to get as much as I can from it. Who knows what doors thins will open or what will come out of it? No-one knows, and I certainly don’t know, and that is what makes it so exciting and something I know I will look back on and be so glad that I did it.

Finally, I’m going to finish by saying that I spoke to my mum (via text) about meeting my cousin and getting pictures of my dad. I haven’t really spoken much to her for the last 2 ½ years, for reasons I don’t need to go into, and I texted her to thank her for giving me the name of my cousin - I said I had found her and told her how it went. She texted back and asked me to forward the picture of me and my dad which I did, she said a few things that were really sad. I’m not going to go into it as it’s personal to her and this is my story, but it’s the most open she has ever been about the whole situation. I feel bad for her as I know this must bring things back for her, it was the darkest time of her life and I know it’s why she doesn’t talk about it - but this is an important time for me and Rob - for me at least it’s been hard because we could never really talk about my dad when growing up, and it has left a big part out of our lives. It made it so that whenever I did think about my dad, the only emotions I had were bad ones - tragedy and death and misery, no good memories or things I had been told. I hope to gradually get to know his family, and start to feel like I know him through them, the more I do, I think the more I will realise he is still alive: in me and in Rob, and in Rob’s children, in his brothers, my cousins - through all of them he will never be forgotten.

My mum did say though, that she had some good memories that she treasured. I said I wished I knew him, and I wished that I had some memories, and she sent me a message back saying;

“all you need to know is that you were like a little princess to him, and he loved you so much. I know he would be so proud of you, just like I am”

That meant so much to me. I’ll keep that with me forever.

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