Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
We have arrived in our new home town of Trondheim, Norway from Canberra, Australia. Those 2 cities are both small and easy to navigate, surrounded by parks and have large universities but few other similarities. This was a big move for my family of four. We stopped in Dubai on the way here for two days of heat and relaxation. It relaxed our muscles and minds after the constant activity of packing up our lives.
We are staying in temporary accommodation as part of my package. It’s a large and nice 3 bedroom apartment with good heating and everything that we need. It’s very close to my work and has supermarkets nearby. It’s only about a 30 minute walk to the old town too. We aren’t used to renting or having shared walls so we are occasionally on edge as we adjust to the time zone and tempers occasionally flare. So far we don’t seem to have annoyed anyone too much and apart from the western aspect, sun that goes down for few hours and thin curtains making the jetlag harder to beat and the neighbors upstairs that play soccer in the room above ours until late at night, we are sleeping well. We couldn’t figure out how to use our induction stove and the manual is in Norwegian but the owner visited us and helped us.
Also part of my package is the use of a hire car for the rest of this year. At the airport we bundled our monstrous luggage into the station wagon and I learnt for the first time how to drive a manual car on the left side. The car has a good navigation system that helped us to find our accommodation.
Yesterday we took our first journey up into the mountains beside Trondheim, past Byasen to Byamarka and Skistua. My colleague had taken me there in June when I came to assess whether we could live here. It’s really lovely up there.
We walked around without following marked trails and ended up in a marsh and discovered cloudberries! They are not yet ripe but they are beautiful and we were delighted to discover a whole patch of them. Apparently they are intimately tied to the Norwegian national image, with people traipsing through marshes in mid to late summer seeking ripe cloudberries. Some even camp to be able to pick for days in a row. There is a set of rules and laws associated with these charming berries, they are used by the indigenous Sami people and there are a few traditional Norwegian dishes that feature cloudberries.
Eventually we wandered back to the Skistua conference centre carpark and set off down the hill to the second lake. It’s beautiful and we walked the whole way around it. I’ve been told that Norwegians are not inclined to waste words or unnecessary greetings while in town but are friendly in the forest. There were several Norwegians hiking the trails and a few of them returned my musical greeting of Hei (hi).
We had glorious weather with close to 15C for our hike. Afterwards we drove down the hill towards Trondheim and were lured by a sign offering Jordbaer (strawberries) for $4.50 per large punnet. We bought two and they are the most delicious strawberries that I’ve ever tasted.
We had lunch at our apartment before walking fast into the old town to the cathedral to attend a concert of music for meditation as part of the St Olav’s Festival. I found a seat and sank into it with our 6 year old son. I enjoyed listening to the giant organ and gazing at the beautiful cathedral. My son was soon asleep and I sat still for 30 minutes after the concert ended while he slept. My husband and our 8 year old daughter explored in the meantime and after I woke him we went to the square behind the cathedral where our children tapped at rocks trying their hands at stone masonry. They ground grains with a traditional mill and gazed with envy at the children clutching cross bows and other medieval weaponry.
Afterwards we went to the town square for the food festival. We bought a huge punnet of blueberries for $8 and sat in the gutter to eat some before coaxing our children on the walk home.
Groceries are breathtakingly expensive here so we have spent time in several supermarkets and Asian grocers trying to discover affordable ways to eat well.
On our way home we stopped at a nice playground. Our children suddenly perked up and tired legs were forgotten. We enjoyed the warm sunshine. It’s incredible having such long days!
Stay tuned for the next installment of our Norwegian adventure.