I made my first visit to Norway in January before returning back to the US before my big move. I have experienced one of the most stressful periods of my life where I was working full time, going to school full time, wedding planning and preparing to move within the first 5 months of this year, but it was all well worth the stress. In May, I was reunited and married to my best friend and one week later, I said goodbye to friends and family and moved to Norway with my cat and new hubby. Since then, I've been experiencing life as an expatriate in Norway. We had our honeymoon in July. I began my language courses to study Norwegian in August - the same month my residency permit was approved. We've had some trips here, there and everywhere in between. I've experienced my first Norwegian Christmas and now here it is, the end of 2012.
I'm not so big on New Year's resolutions, but I have made a few at least. I'm going to join a gym membership in January because I can't seem to stay away from Norwegian bakeries and have gained a few pounds/kilos since living here. In 2011 I lost a lot of weight and I would hate to start gaining it back! I'll try to update more on my blog and share more experiences with Norway. I have a long mental list of things I want to talk about. I also plan to read at least 100 children's books. I had an abstract thought at the beginning of this year that I'd like to maybe one day write a children's book. Of course there's also learning the language, but I don't really set any goals for myself there. Becoming fluent will happen when it happens and all I can really do is practice and study the language.
This is mine and my husband's first New Year's together and in all honesty, I'm anticipating my very first New Year's kiss from the bestie. :-) Maybe this New Year's will surpass the best one I've experienced thus far which was 2011. Arild and I were out of the "international penpal" stage, but still in the "friend-I've-never-met-but-there's-something-there" stage in Dec. 2010, but we had discussed meeting and we had already Skyped several times and by that time we'd written well over 1500 pages worth of emails to one another. Arild had asked me sometime in late December 2010 how I celebrated New Year's and if I was doing anything special. I wasn't and my plan was to just stay up watching TV and drink sparkling grape juice and go to bed after midnight. He suggested I didn't need to celebrate New Year's alone and suggested he come home from a friend's after celebrating New Year's in Skien (which would have been 6PM Kentucky time) and his plan was to stay awake with me and celebrate New Year's via Skype with me. :-) And so we did. He stayed up well until early morning hours (around 8 AM Norway time) talking to me that night. My husband is by far not the most romantic man in the world and that's very okay by me, but he is incredibly thoughtful. Since then when we were living apart, he stayed up that late every weekend to talk to me.
Because I have an intense love for pictures, I'll recap the year in my terrible photography! My year in pictures may make this a long post, but I promise there's not a whole lot of text at the end!
|First visit to Norway!|
|Checking out Vigelandsparken or as I like to call it, "The Naked People Park"|
|Visiting the Royal Palace in Oslo.|
|Langesund! My favorite place!|
|My sweet hubs!|
|The huge Skien church.|
|Saying goodbye for the last time!!!|
|Checking out wedding venues. I went with an old "southern styled" house.|
|My Valentine's gift.|
|Getting the dress fitted.|
|Trying to cook traditional Norwegian food in Kentucky.|
|Picked the dress up after it was finished!|
|I was so excited to receive some of the wedding decor in the mail!|
|I began going to Louisville Speaks Scandinavian meetings in Kentucky|
with other people who have interests in Scandinavia!
We met at a German restaurant and enjoyed German food.
|One of the members and friend made me these map magnets of Norway!|
|I began taking pictures of Kentucky scenery|
so I could kind of cherish it a bit more.
|I love the old barns!|
|I was beginning to finish up with wedding decorations.|
|I made my bouquet.|
|Stella enjoyed going out on her last few walks in Kentucky!|
|REUNITED!!!!!!!!!! Gosh, I love my giant!|
|Saying goodbye to my hometown.|
|Celebrating 23 years!|
|And we're at our new home safe and sound - proud cat mom and cat.|
|Enjoying some warm Norwegian weather! It didn't last long!|
|We had an "after wedding party" at Arild's parents|
so his extended family and friends could celebrate our marriage and
meet their new family member and friend.
Kransekake was served! YUM!!!
|Beginning to look alike already.|
|This picture was taken somewhere around 10-11:00 PM. The long|
days in summer really had me confused for a while!
|More beautiful scenery!|
|Cuddling after our hike!|
|Father and son in Drangedal, Arild's dad's home town.|
|I thought the rainbow lampposts were cute!|
|Driving along the Telemark Canal.|
|Old church ruins in Skien.|
|Very old drawings (about 2600 years old) in Skien.|
|Experiencing a Norwegian wedding!|
|It was very beautiful!|
|We like to leave notes for each other.|
|Trying fish soup for the first time! It really wasn't bad!|
|I loved how "old" everything looked in the tiny towns!|
|Dolceacqua was probably my favorite Italian city! It was quite charming!|
|Enjoying some sights of ancient ruins!|
|Enjoying Mediterranean sun!|
|Might as well visit Monaco as well. It was nice to visit, but I|
wouldn't want to visit there again.
|My husband caught Mono (the kissing sickness) on our honeymoon.|
We laugh now, but he was really sick at the time. Upon returning
home, I figured laughter would be the best medicine and made this for him
|We took a trip to Bergen!|
|My husband began to feel better in August which meant|
I was an accomplice to his soccer (FOOTBALL!) games.
|I loved the food festival in Skien!|
|Going on a scavenger hunt around Skien at school.|
|Some friends from class.|
|My husband and I made a deal and shook on it back in Bergen|
that every time I see a troll I must hug it. I've been hugging a lot of trolls here.
|At the zoo in Kristiansand!|
|Another school trip hiking through the woods!|
|Tried to get one of those good pictures of a graceful couple during a|
piggy back ride. It didn't work too well.
|In September, I learned Norwegian babies nap outside.|
|With my buddy Ibsen.|
|I just love living close to the coast.|
|UGH! Terrible, grey fall weather. The skies became dark, it rained|
A LOT, but at least the trees were pretty and colorful for a bit.
|The best $10/ 60 NOK purchase ever!|
I love writing notes on our chalkboard.
|Visiting Oslo during fall break!|
|Standing on the Opera house roof in Oslo.|
|Happy 30th, hubs!|
|With my father in-law, brother in-law and Arild in Denmark.|
|Nice little street in Denmark.|
|Celebrating 6 months of marriage!|
|Not sure what Arild is doing, but I'm sending gifts to America!|
|Welcome to the North Pole!|
|Putting up the tree with help from Stella! :-)|
|Our first Christmas!|
|A friend had given us tickets for a trip to Germany. So we went!|
|I've sat through my share of Arild's football games, so it was his|
turn to endure a couple of musicals. :-)
|My first time being in a train station.|
If you've made it this far then congratulations, it's the end of this massively long post of picture sharing! :-)
2012 has been a really great year, so here's to hoping 2013 is just as great or even better! I hope everyone has a wonderful, happy and safe New Year!