Ahhh, my neglected blog. Who would have thought that getting settled in a new country and a new job, plus learning a new language and developing new friendships would take so much time?!?
I arrived in Trondheim over 3 months ago now (I keep working on this post, never quite finishing it so I keep having to update this sentence). My past trips to Trondheim were each 3 months long, so now I am in uncharted territory. But the time has flown by. On one hand I can’t believe I’ve been here for so long, yet on the other it seems like I’ve been here forever.
So what has been going on? Some updates:
Work is good. In some ways my new job isn’t all that much different from my old job. Of course at times I feel completely incompetent, but considering I am tackling a new job position and responsibilities, in a new country, with new systems, new colleagues, new design standards/regulations, and a new language, I think the moments of self-doubt are to be expected. And thankfully they are only moments.
This past week I went on an “excursion” (aka field trip) with a group of students. We went to learn about numerous road projects in the vicinity of Kristiansund – a small city (or town?) about two and a half hours from Trondheim.
We also made a short detour to the Atlantic (Ocean) Road, which I also visited last year with my parents. Absolutely beautiful!
There are signs of spring around Trondheim. Yesterday I had my first outside beer, which seemed like a crazy idea when first suggested but was actually brilliant! I was still wearing my big snow boots, but it was the first day in a long time that I wasn’t wearing wool long underwear. Spring for the win!
And with the spring weather comes the return of the long days. Every night I have the perfect sunset view from my living room (the picture does not do it justice). I think I might need to good back to that whole evening alarm thing again though.
Also with spring, comes spring skiing! I had a good run with cross-country skiing this year. I managed to make it up to the highest point in Bymarka.
And bought a new pair of fjellskis that I just started to break in. But at this point, I’ve decided to retire the cross-country skis until next winter and focus on backcountry skiing. I had a little topptur warm up a few weeks ago when we went on a cabin trip. It was an amazing weekend with sun, great snow, and good friends.
This was just the precursor to the big Easter ski trip, which deserves a post (or several) of its own. Lets just say that Easter may have become my favorite holiday…
My stuff that I shipped from the US has still yet to make an appearance in Norway. 17 weeks and counting… Right now, this is probably my greatest frustration. I know it is just “stuff.” But it is my stuff and without it, I feel like I can’t yet call this home. After jumping from place to place over the past year and a half, I have a strong desire to “nest” and to have place that really feels like mine. My crate had passed through customs in the UK three weeks ago. It supposedly was picked up by the Scandinavian handlers today but I have no idea how long it will take to make it’s way to Trondheim. Once my stuff arrives, be ready for a big party to celebrate!
The other challenge these days is the language. One could get by quite well (especially as a native-English speaker) in Norway without speaking Norwegian. That is both a blessing (for actually managing everyday life) and a curse (for one who is trying to learn Norwegian). On a daily basis, learning the language can be frustrating and I often feel like I am getting nowhere. But when I take a step back and look at the big picture, I realize that I am in fact making progress. I take 6 hours of language classes a week, which have greatly improved my reading and writing skills. And my ability to understand spoken Norwegian is slowly improving. Just last week I took part in a meeting that was conducted in Norwegian. I’d estimate that I understood about 30% of the conversation. That might not seem like much, but the conversation wasn’t watered down to accommodate my level (people spoke quickly, and with dialects, about technical things) and it was enough to understand the big picture of the discussion. And while I can’t currently distinguish between Norwegian and Swedish, it seems that I understand some Swedish too! (The languages are close enough that a Swede and Norwegian speak their native languages and still have a conversation with one another.) Someone recently told me that when people stop telling you – “oh, you speak good Norwegian…” that is when you know that you’ve finally got it. Well, it might take me a while to get to that point!
In a nutshell, that is what has been going on way up north!