So much has happened since I last wrote that I have absolutely no idea where to start. I’ll probably start where Kirsten and I flew off to Europe on the evening of Tuesday 30 November. We left Daddy at home to man the ship, so to speak, and he was going to join us in England 2 weeks later. The start of the trip didn’t quite go to plan. Daddy and I had no handover as he ended up sick in bed so I had to find alternative arrangements to get to the airport. I had 2 wonderful friends who volunteered themselves the task and I ended up accepting Steve’s offer. Steve was also going to be collecting us from the airport on our return so he already had our spare car seat.
I wasn’t sure how Kirsten would do on the flight as when we did the same trip 21 months ago she slept about 2 hours out of 10. This time I was lucky. When they turned the lights off after dinner, almost midnight local time, I managed to get Kirsten to sleep and she slept for about 5 hours. She woke in time for breakfast. What helped is that we had moved back a row and had 3 seats between the 2 of us so that Kirsten could stretch out. We landed in Heathrow but had to sit on the runway about 45 minutes while they waited for a “Gate” to open up. It turned out that Heathrow was the only airport open that day due to the snow in England! Kirsten just kept shouting “I want my Nanny”. Who could blame her. She’d just spent almost 11 hours on a plane, 10 of which were up in the air.
Our first full day in Highworth, Wiltshire (my parents) and I realised that although I’d done my best to stock Kirsten up on winter clothing England was having a harsher winter than normal and she was going to need more vests and a better coat. We went to a shop called Matalan and Nanny bought Kirsten a wonderful big sparkly pink coat with scarf that Kirsten literally lived in for the next 5 weeks. We had a week in Highworth and caught up with numerous members of family. Due to the snow there still weren’t as many as originally planned but my Mum did have 18 for dinner on Sunday and we all fitted around the dining table. That was quite a feat! Thank you to all the family members who did make it across that first week. There were many that I hadn’t seen since my wedding reception back at the end of May in 2002 ( you read right, wedding reception. John and I eloped so had the reception 6 weeks later). This, of course, was also their first opportunity to meet Kirsten although they had all seen plenty of pictures on our share site etc.
On December 9 we flew with Nanny (my mother) to Oslo, Norway to visit my Grandmother. I hadn’t seen her in almost 10 years and the last time I’d been to Norway was just after I met John and I took him for a long weekend to meet the Norwegian side of the family. We had 4 full days in Norway and made the most of them. Kirsten and I had an overnight quick trip down to Larvik to meet my best friend from my year at Folkehogskole in Seljord, Norway, back in 1990-1991. We have stayed in touch for 20 years. The last time we saw each other was for a couple of hours in 2007. I went with John to Denmark on a business trip and Irene, my friend, took the ferry from her home town of Larvik to Hirtshals and met us for dinner. What more can I ask of a friend. This time I got to meet her 3 children, Hoda, Ali and Heidar. I hadn’t seen the youngest 2 and I’d not seen Hoda since she was 6 months old when I went over for our 5 year reunion in 1996. She was definitely no longer a baby. There was no language barrier between the children and Kirsten got on great with all 3 of them. Thank you to the entire family for being so hospitable with the 2 of us.
Back in Oslo by Saturday lunchtime and that evening we caught up with my side of the family. We were staying with my Grandmother, but my Aunty, my 2 cousins and 4 of their children all came making us 11 for dinner. It was chaotic but again great to catch up. Before dinner we all dressed up and went up the hill behind the house and went sledging. My cousin, Eli, pulled Kirsten all the way up on the sledge and then took her down the hill. It was when Kirsten realised she was going to have to walk back up the hill afterwards that everything went downhill. Kirsten found during this trip that with all the extra clothing she was having to wear it wasn’t as easy to walk so in that case why should she!
Sunday we actually had most of the day to ourselves. We were due out for dinner with my Mum’s best friend to celebrate her birthday in the evening but until then we could do as we wanted. I wanted to visit Sognsvann which is a lake a couple of miles from my Grandmother’s house. We decided the easiest thing would be to take the bus along the main road and just walk from the bus stop to the lake. Kirsten, of course, was getting cold just from sitting still. There was a little outdoor cafe open at Sognsvann so we had hot chocolate, hot dogs and warm waffles to eat. The locals were finding it interesting watching Kirsten scream but when it was explained to them why then they understood the reasoning. The difference in temperatures between Phoenix and Oslo were quite a bit for a 3 year old to deal with and I feel Kirsten did brilliantly. On leaving Sognsvann we took the tram down to Oslo centre, walked through the main station and then took the bus back to my Grandmother’s house. Kirsten doesn’t get to go on public transport at home as there isn’t really any close by and she’s always asking to go on buses and trains so we tried to make the most of it for her.
As I mentioned before on Sunday evening we walked down to my mother’s best friend’s house to help celebrate her birthday. My Mother and Anne have known each other since they were children and lived almost next door to each other. Anne’s daughter is also my Mother’s goddaughter. She’d invited a number of friends over for a dinner party, and of course, we were invited too. Kirsten was the only child, but I may be a biased Mother, but again I think she did wonderfully. Thank you Anne for inviting us. We had a lovely evening.
Monday Anne had been kind enough to take the day off and said she would take us wherever we wanted to. I had never been to Hadeland Glas so this was where I wanted to go. For those of you interested in finding out more here is the link: http://www.hadeland-glassverk.no/english/ In all my time spent in norway I had never been there. Now I went in the cold of winter and the scenery was spectacular and when I get back to Norway it is definitely on my list of things to do again. It is similar to an outlet mall except built around a glass factory. They also have a lot of the Norwegian porcelain there too. Again another on my list of things to do is to visit Porsgrund next time. Hadeland Glas is located at the end of a lake so the scenery is spectacular. If you get the chance to visit Norway add it to your list of things to do as well.
Tuesday morning and it was time to say goodbye. The temperature was also about -18C (-4F) so cold but unlike anywhere else that I know the flights were all on time leaving the airport. We just had to be de-iced prior to take off!
OK that’s it for now. I’ll try and do another post in the next couple of days which will start up with my husband’s arrival on December 15, 2010.