Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Our transition to living in Norway has been complicated by delays in getting residency sorted out but finally this was resolved this week and we are officially residents of Norway! Ideally within 3 weeks we will have identity numbers and be able to open a bank account, exchange our driving licenses for Norwegian licenses and register with a GP. My employer contracted a few relocation and immigration companies to make our relocation seamless. Unfortunately they weren’t coordinated properly and made some mistakes that slowed down the process, caused confusion and have been an unwanted distraction and source of unease.
On Friday my husband and I were delighted to discover uncharacteristically good weather. We walked our children to their schools and then walked along the fjord edge, passing Mulkholmen Island, which was the location of an 11th century Cistercian monastery, it was used as a place for executions and later converted to a prison. We haven’t yet visited the island but there is a ferry that takes tourists there in the summer.
As we walked we talked about cultural identity and what happens when one leaves one’s culture. Fresh perspectives are gained and positives and negatives become more clear. An expat assignment is interesting because there is the constant knowledge that the immersion in a different culture is temporary. In some ways it’s easier to leave one’s home permanently than temporarily but for two years. Already the ties to Canberra have loosened considerably and I now feel unrooted and like I’m floating.
The weather was remarkably good and because the angle of the sun is so low we were careful to walk on the sunny side of the road to enjoy the maximum amount of sunshine possible. Each day is 6 1/4 minutes shorter than the day before and the angle of the sun is lower each day. When we arrived in late July the sun was up well before we got up and set well after we went to bed and now in mid September we have 13 hours of sunlight.
At the Clarion Hotel the path veers away from the fjord-side and enters the port area and is less scenic. We passed the iconic Nazi submarine bunker that cannot be destroyed and instead is being used to house offices.
We passed some small bunkers built into the hillside on the edge of the fjord and walked around the headland at Lade. The path is uneven and meanders through forest. We stopped to gorge on delicious raspberries in a glade and enjoyed the feeling of being in a forest even though we were so close to the town centre. The sound of waves gently lapping on the beach was soothing as we walked past Korsvika beach.
I love the way that any available cleared space here that is not being used for buildings is cultivated with crops. Where I come from in Australia any such space would be used for grazing of a couple of cattle which seems less labour intensive but less rewarding as well. When we arrived in late July the wheat was beginning to turn golden and now it is harvest time. The farmers are lucky that we have had a dry period for the past week which must make harvesting easier.
We walked as far as Røtvoll and found a large group of young children having fun in the sunshine with careful supervision from their teachers. Once again I was struck by how sensible and quiet Norwegian children tend to be. We were conscious of the time and headed back at double pace to ensure that we were not late to pick up our daughter from school.
After a short rest in a park in Lade we walked back to our daughter’s school. We lounged around together, had an ice cream in the town square in the sunshine, looked at the skeletons in the library foyer and then walked over to our son’s school before heading home at last. We walked a total of 33.6km and it was good to rest!