#040. A month in Norway

Gepubliceerd op 21 mei 2024 om 07:00

Time flies. It's been a month since we left for Norway. Here's a (rather detailed) recap of our first real month in the beautiful north!

Moving to Norway

In the third week of April, it was all about packing and cleaning. After a business trip to Stockholm, Martijn was back in the Netherlands to coordinate everything efficiently. All our belongings had to be packed in boxes or bubble wrap or stored in the attic. With some delay, the moving truck arrived in the morning of the 19th. The next day, an even bigger moving truck arrived, this time with the belongings of Martijn's godmother Thea, who will be staying in our house for the coming year (and, more importantly, taking care of our home cat Ollie).

Semi-holiday in the first week (week of April 22)

For Martijn, not much changed; he went back to work at DNB on Monday as usual. For Nanda, the first week in Oslo still felt like a semi-working holiday. On Tuesday and Thursday, Nanda continued to work for Nature Talks and the Nature Photographer of the Year contest. On the other days, she took some time to rest and recover from the past busy and hectic weeks. So, she indulged in reading a book, finally started working on the archived photos from, among others, Lake Kerkini in Greece (last February) and our road trip through Canada (summer 2022). She uploaded some of these photos to her online shop at Werk aan de Muur, cleared her inbox, and tackled other pending tasks, while also exploring Oslo a bit as a tourist. We stayed in a serviced apartment (arranged by DNB) until Wednesday, May 1st, the non-homeliness of a hotel room but with a decent bed and bathroom. However, the kitchen was dramatically small, so the Norwegian delivery service quickly found our address, and we explored numerous Indian restaurants in the neighborhood.

Mini move in week 2 (week of April 29)

On Tuesday, April 30, we had a mini-move from downtown Oslo to our temporary Airbnb in Greverud, a village about 8 kilometers from Ski. The apartment has a small garden with a cherry tree in full bloom, very photogenic. Martijn immediately spotted a badger in the garden, but Nanda didn't, so you understand: that badger probably wasn't there ;-). Our belongings arrived in Oslo this week and will be transported to our permanent place in Ski on Monday, June 3. On June 1, we'll get the key to our final place in Ski.

We're integrating well. This week, we made a big shopping trip to Sweden, where prices are much lower than here. Martijn spotted a moose on the way, but Nanda didn't, so she doesn't believe him ;-). Our rental car was quite full on the way back. Martijn had Wednesday, May 1, off for Labor Day, and the weather was fantastic, perfect for further exploring the surroundings. Tourists in our own city! On May 4, Martijn participated in the Holmenkollen relay race with his colleagues and about 80,000 other participants: a daunting 600 meters (uphill, mind you) celebrated with a long afternoon on the terrace. Integrating with colleagues is important too. Meanwhile, Nanda went for some extensive walks nearby (the terrain here is quite different from the flat Netherlands...).

In the meantime, we were able to retrieve some items from our storage, including Martijn's new racing bike. The resolution to bike the 18km (soon 25km) to or from the office regularly is no longer just a resolution but a reality: not a single meter is flat, so leg muscles (and saddle soreness) are growing by the week.

Short vacation in Evje (week of May 6)

Of course, Martijn still follows PSV from Norway, and we watched both the championship match and the celebration on TV. Champions!!

May (and actually April too) is known for its public holidays: they've got the work-life balance well sorted here. While living here, we want to discover as much of Norway as possible, so that works out well. With Ascension Day, we spent a long weekend in Evje, in the middle of the Telemark nature reserve. It was a beautiful place in southern Norway that reminded us of our vacation in New Zealand a few years ago.

Evje is known for its breathtaking natural beauty, with vast forests, clear lakes, and impressive mountain landscapes. We even saw the Northern Lights, at least Martijn's phone camera captured it pretty well. We mostly saw a white cloud, but we knew something magical was happening in the sky. However, it couldn't compare to the Northern Lights we witnessed in Alta in 2019, in northern Norway. The drive to Evje was also a series of beautiful views (and thus photo stops).

This period is fortunately much quieter after all the hustle and bustle of the past few months. Among other things, Nanda finally obtained the certificate for the online course "art therapy." Martijn spends long days at work; we plan to use the accrued overtime later this year for outings or long weekends: after June 1, there are no more holidays until Christmas. With the long summer evenings, it's easy to go cycling or hiking after dinner.

Week 4 oatmeal, sports, integrating well

Martijn is starting to feel quite at home and integrated as a Norwegian: he cycles to work regularly, has oatmeal for breakfast, lunches at 11, and unfortunately has to attend meetings almost daily where cake, pie, or fika (Swedish pastries) are served. We walk through the forests as often as possible.

The nature here is beautiful, with babbling brooks, forests full of wood anemones, fluttering butterflies, and the cheerful singing of birds. And all this just a 5-minute walk from our apartment or a train station. So, in a year, Martijn will look like a toned Viking, and Nanda will be all muscled up again... This week, another long weekend with Constitution Day (day of the approval of the constitution on May 17, 1814) and Pentecost. We went to IKEA to buy some things for our new place. Curtains are a priority; that's a bit of an issue here. They don't darken well, which isn't very nice with the late nights and early sunrises.

Nanda is also finding her rhythm. Next weekend, she'll be going out with two nature photographers involved in the Norwegian Nature Photography Festival in Ski, where she also met Marthe, Magnus and Bjorn last March. The nature photography festival takes place annually in our new hometown, Ski. The organizer, Magnus, already said last March that Nanda will be part of their team next year and can exhibit there.

Coming up: the key to our new house and an international entrepreneurship program

On June 1, we'll receive the key to our new house. We're really looking forward to not having to live out of moving boxes and bags anymore. To have our own things around us again (which will be delivered on Monday, June 3) and to really start building our life here and exploring the beautiful (photo) places! And to cook elaborately again!

Nanda will participate in an international work, entrepreneurship, and integration course for the first two weeks of June, with participants from India, Nepal, and the US, among others. Exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. It's a good opportunity to expand her network and hopefully to promote her healing art, possibly in combination with online programs, internationally.

After reading this rather extensive blog, if you still feel like reading more, Nanda has documented a large part of the preparations on her website Troostkunst. And we'll try to give more frequent short updates :)

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