Sunday closing…

Is Norway so different to Australia?

It is not a simple question to answer. Sure, we have similarities, but also there are things that are so very different between my two home countries.  Because of this reason, I have decided to break it down into bits and pieces!

One of the first things that struck me when I arrived was that there was nothing open on a Sunday…. This seemed so “old fashioned” initially, as I had lived in two different countries, and done some traveling, but had never before experienced the “closing” of a country on the weekend.

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So, what do Norwegians do on a Sunday if they need to do some shopping? Drive to Sweden of course!  We are lucky to live only 40 minutes’ drive from the Swedish border, so if we feel the need to shop with the rest of Norway, we will take a “tur” there on a Sunday. Otherwise, we do what many others do, and that is shop frantically on a Saturday and then enjoy Sunday with the family!

The other side of Sunday closing, is that it is a very family oriented day!  Families “gå på tur” i.e. go for walks in nature, meet up with other families, and are generally together on this day!  So, when looking at it from this direction, Sunday closing is a pretty good thing!

I am now accustomed to Sunday closing, although that doesn´t mean I am always prepared for it. There are times that we need to drive to the little “søndagsåpentbutikk” (the small part of a food shop that has a limited amount of stock available and has limited opening hours), to shop for things that we desperately need for the day!

I am still undecided about where I stand on Sunday opening, as I can see both sides of the picture, and I have adjusted my life around it, but I do know that I really enjoy family time on Sundays!

What are your thoughts?

Hugs,

Karen

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Hello from Cyprus!

Today I am writing from sunny Cyprus.  I am here attending the EuropeanChiropractic Unions Annual Conference.  And I am alone… I am here child free and without my husband!  In actual fact, I am here without really knowing anyone.  It is at times a little daunting and lonely, and at others, quite liberating.

The journey alone is always fine, I have taken many planes around the world on my own, but it is arriving, and being at the destination alone that poses a few inner challenges, and brings up some insecurities.  I am now, so used to having two little ones being dependent on me, that it is not often that I get to really focus on me and what I am feeling.  It is also an odd feeling to only have MY belongings in my handbag, or to have the whole bed all to myself!

Last night was the first night here, and it wasn´t spent dining out and having wine at the bar. Nope sorry, it was spent eating room service on my balcony, getting the PJ´s on early and starting a new novel that I had purchased earlier in the day!  And then I got to sleep alone all night in a big bed.  I did wake feeling a refreshed, and a little guilty though – because I knew that back at home, my other half had not been so fortunate.  Instead, he had been smothered with love from our two little girls, and ended up roasting from their heat all night.

I have three more nights here before making the journey back to the family that I love!  I know that in this time I am going to experience a roller coaster of emotions. They will range from bliss and happiness for my independence, to guilt and longing for the people I love most in the world.  But as my husband tells me, it is good for everyone that I get to have these days away.  He and the girls are fine without me, their hair might be a little messy each day, and the washing might not get done on my schedule, but they are surrounded by the only other person that loves them as much as I do.  So, I will take these next few days to feel deep within, enjoy this time of solitude and learning and do my best at being with peace of being alone!

Hugs,

 

Karen

Oh, and I will get a little training done while I am here too 😉

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Forgetting is easier in Norwegian!

Learning a new language as an adult is not an easy task.  Like developing any new skill, it takes repetition and practice, so our brain can lay down the nerve pathways required for it to become automatic. In the case of language, to become fluent.

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I am becoming more fluent in my second language.  Some of my automatic responses have become “norwegianised”, for example; ´selvfølgelig´= of course, ´kanskje´ = maybe and ´men´= but. However, I still have a way to go until I am dreaming in Norwegian!

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One thing that I have come to realise though, is that it is easier to forget in a language that is not your mother-tongue.  I always thought I had a good memory.  I can often recall where I was when I heard something, but now I forget what people have said, right after they have said it. :/

This can happen with patients, or in conversations with friends.  I often ask the same question, or discuss the same thing with them simply because I have forgotten what they just said.  I am sorry about this, it is not intentional, but when I am in Norwegian mode, my brain is working overtime!  It has to find the words, attach their meaning, and then structure the sentences that I need to use, in order to have a simple conversation. While all of this is happening, my brain is trying to figure out where to store the information it just received, so that it can retrieve it again at a later time.  This process has not yet become automatic for me.

I am sure this can be frustrating for the person on the other side of the “table”, and at times they must think I am a little odd, but it will not last forever.  As I become more fluent in my new language I will use less brain power to process information and construct my sentences.  So, in the meantime, please bear with me.  I am not going crazy; my brain is just learning.

Hugs,

 

Karen

 

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How is Easter in Norway different compared to that in Australia?

The most obvious is the weather, it is much colder here in Norway than at home in Australia. For many here in Norway, Påske (Easter) marks the end of winter, the spring flowers are coming up, and it is often the last skiing weekend for the season.  However, in Australia it is the complete opposite, the days are getting colder and shorter, indicating that summer is coming to an end.

For me Easter is synonymous with camping.  Australians camp at Easter, have fires, drink beer and eat Hot Cross Buns (oh, how I miss those). My family has been going camping every Easter for as long as I can remember, and for the last 30 years it has been at the same spot. This is one of those family moments that I miss terribly.

The Easter religious traditions are stronger in Norway, possibly due to the Christian influence over the country.  The one religious token that my family followed, was to give up red meat on Good Friday.  The other days around this were for relaxing, eating chocolate and having time away from work.

Norwegians decorate for Easter too! Everything turns yellow, as that is the symbolic colour of Easter.  It is quite nice to see the bright, bold colour take over from the darker shades of winter. Some people don´t just decorate with ornamental eggs and chickens, they also change their cushions and table runners to celebrate the time. The daffodil adorns front porches, windowsills and tables as this is the flower of Easter.

 

Easter holidays officially begin on Thursday, Skjærtorsdag, and the Church celebrates the sacrament of Communion. Most people use this time to begin their Easter holidays by driving to the mountains (på fjellet)!

Good Friday is much like it is in Australia.  Radio and TV stations do not play paid adverts, instead using only those for charity.  As in Australia, Easter Saturday is not a public holiday, but here, the shops often remain closed. Lamb, Påskelam, is a traditional dish eaten at dinner.

Easter Sunday is a day of skiing or relaxing.  The biggest meal on this day is breakfast, where everything is put on the table, and time is taken to enjoy the meal with family. Eggs cooked, in all variety of ways, are eaten and pancakes are a popular addition. The other foods eaten in abundance here in Norway are oranges and Kvikk Lunsj (which is very much like a Kit Kat).

Just like in Australia, Easter Egg hunts are common, but instead of many small Easter eggs, a beautiful brightly decorated paper eggshell is used, and inside is filled with a variety of treats.  The påskehøne, Easter chook, is used instead of the Easter bunny.  I must admit, I think this does make more sense… An Easter chook, not an Easter bunny 😉

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And finally, to finish the Easter celebration, we have Easter Monday.  Just like everywhere, the traffic is the biggest problem of the day!  In Norway, this is can also signify a day of cleaning and clearing and getting ready for the summer that is on its way!

So, while my family in Australia are camping by the river and enjoying the last warm days before the winter comes, I will be taking in the beauty of the mountains, and hopefully getting the skis on my feet! We will be enjoying hot chocolates, going down the slopes on toboggans and skis, while they are taking walks along the river, fishing, visiting Brown Brothers Winery and enjoying a cold beer!  Enjoy the days of rest and celebration wherever you are in the world 🙂

 

Klem,

Karen

Today is my birthday !

It is that time of the year for me! Today I entered the last year in my 30´s…. I must say, I have really enjoyed my 30´s, it has been my most amazing decade. I became a Diplomat in Clinical Chiropractic Paediatrics, I got married to the man of my dreams, I became a mum twice, I moved to the other side of the world, we started our own Chiropractic practice, I completed my first triathlon, I learnt a new language, but most of all, I finally felt comfortable with being me!

It is crazy to think that it has taken me nearly 40 years of being on this earth to feel comfortable with who I am. I love my body, with its curves and all, and I am ok with my wrinkles and grey hairs.  I still have bad habits of comparing myself to others, but I no longer try to be like anyone else. If I am wanting to be someone else, then who is going to be me?

I am glad that I finally came to my senses, and enjoyed being me, before I became a mum.  It is my responsibility to show my magnificent creations how to love and accept themselves for all that they are!  And they are two beautiful, amazing little beings with great potential. Of course, there is 100% bias in that statement. 😉

Today, I have enjoyed being and celebrating me! I haven´t been able to spend it with my family, as I have been at a seminar in Oslo.  However, I did get to have cuddles with my girls and husband before I left. Now, I am enjoying being me; not mummy me, or Chiropractor me, but just me, at a restaurant with a wonderful friend! I get to eat all of my own food, and enjoy a glass or two of wine! 😉

Being away on my birthday is a little sad for me and the girls, but it also means that I get to celebrate it for a few extra days. 😉  More days of me! That is when I will celebrate mummy me, wife me, and Chiropractor me!

So, no matter where ever you are in your life, at what ever stage, remember: celebrate who you are! Lets stop comparing ourselves to others.  Let´s enjoy being the amazing, beautiful people that we are.  And don´t let the world miss out on the real you!

Hugs,

 

Karen

Life in Norway..

Firstly, thank you for choosing to follow me on this journey.  Secondly, I apologise to those who do not live in Norway, as most of my blog posts are going to be written in Norwegian. There is a reason for this, and that of course is because of where I am. However, given that I am an Australian, living on the other side of the world, I have decided to write some posts in English regularly also!

So here we are.

Life in Norway is a little different compared to life in Australia, but our daily lives and routines would be the same regardless of where we lived. Yes, the biggest challenge is the language, but given I speak English at home with my husband and girls, it gives me a break from having to use it all the time.

The hardest time was the first year. Living completely dependent on my husband and his family to communicate and get around was taxing. Being in my 30`s and feeling that I had lost my independence took its toll.  Luckily my husband was very supportive and understanding.  If I needed to move back to Australia, he would have been with me.  But I made it through!  And now it is over 4 years since we have been here!

Meeting people is not too hard, but making friends is not so easy.  For a start, there is no one that you have a history with, no one that knows your sense of humour or any of your secrets.  Secondly, the language difference means that it takes more time to really get to know people.  It can take quite a bit of time to get that “click” with someone and really start to feel relaxed and yourself with.  I have made a few friends now, where I feel relaxed enough to be able to be me again.  Having a sense of humour is different though, and making jokes in another language is not that easy. My husband keeps reminding me that I am not yet funny in Norwegian, and I should keep the jokes to English.  😉

Being away from my family is challenging.  Missing birthdays, Christmases, and family gatherings are difficult. But the hardest thing for me is that my girls miss out on being with their cousins, Aunts, Uncle and their Nanny and Poppy growing up.  That, however, is the consequence of the decision that I made.  And their life here, is full of love and happiness, even though we miss our Australian family every day.

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Playing backyard cricket with cousins!

Do I miss the warmth and sunshine of Australia? Yes, but I also love the crisp, sunny days that we get here too. I grew up in the southern part of Australia (Victoria), and also lived in New Zealand, so I am accustomed to cold and rain (just not so cold).  I have also found that Norwegians dress for the cold, where practicality and warmth comes before fashion and style.  That suits me too!

So, keep on following, and you will learn a little more about what life is like for an Australian living in Norway!

 

Thanks and hugs,

 

Karen