Taking stock

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After three and a half months in Norway this seems a good moment to look back at what we have achieved and report on some of our experiences so far. Apart from actually getting here, the major achievement has been to buy a house (see previous post). We have now managed to organise a mortgage and insurance and we are set to move in in 3 weeks time.  We also bought a new car, sold the old one back in the UK and have managed to tick a number of smaller items off our to do list.

So on the whole things are going reasonably well but of course we have had some hurdles to clear to get here. One thing that hasn’t worked out particularly well is the flat we rented until August. We had a lot of trouble with the neighbour downstairs who likes to play loud music, and have had to complain several times without much improvement. The problem wasn’t so much that he played it late at night or for very long,  it was just VERY loud and you would never know when it would start or stop. It became so bad that we had to abandon our sitting room and had to move Esther’s keyboard into the bedroom.  Another problem with the flat was that it was located opposite a nightclub (lot’s of additional noise in the night) and a park that is used as a base for druggies of Bergen. Not a pretty sight and quite unpleasant to witness the goings on and filth on the way to the shops.  As you may have noticed I wrote this in the past tense because luckily, our friends Joyce and Ritske are letting us stay in their house while they are on holliday. Much more peacefull!

The girls started off at a school for non Norwegian speakers. They started off in the same reception class for a quick introduction to the language. The girls were quite happy to go there, Saskia quickly made her first friend, but it was clear that there were some serious problems with the school, and it wasn’t going to work very well in the long run. One interesting fact about the school is the range of backgrounds of the children (36 different mother tongues at the moment). The drawback of this diversity is that the level of teaching has to be fairly basic, with some kids having to learn the western alphabet, others of Esther’s age never having been to school. There was also some unpleasant behaviour, including aggression in the class and playground, not surprising given the traumatic background of some of the children who have come to Norway as refugees.

So on the whole a very interesting environment, but not ideal for the girls who have had a lot to cope with over the past few year. So as soon as we had bought our new house and we knew where we were going to settle we went for a visit to the local school.  The girls had a lovely time meeting the other kids who were very keen and welcoming, and we have now decided the girls will start there after the summer.

I guess I have gone on for long enough. Clearly,  some things could have worked out better, but moving country can’t always be plain sailing. We are generally having a good time and we have a lot of possitive things to look out for. People have in general been incredibly welcoming and helpful, Patience is thriving in her new job, Saskia has made her first friends undoubtedly will make many more,  Esther has joined a local athletics club and I might even join their veteran group….

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2 Responses to “Taking stock”

  1. Rona Says:

    So nice to hear from you: you really gave us a good idea of the challenges of your move. I do hope the move to your new house helps as you will be able to get more settled. Love to you all Rona
    Ps how is the summer over there: we have been getting a lot of rain-flooding in Morningside no less! I got a sunny day on Buachaille Etive Beag yesterday tho!

    • geozenn Says:

      Nive to hear from you too. Felt I had to stop going on in my post but since you ask about the weather….. We had the second wettest June on record here, nearly 250mm. A bit unfortunate because June is supposed to be dry-ish but a taste of things to come, Sept – Nov wetter on average. Anyway you take your chances when it’s nice and because we are right “in the middle of it” we’ve had plenty of nice hikes/cycles/runs…..

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