Saturday, August 30, 2008

Coming up for air

This afternoon is the first time in a long while where I've actually had some time to sit down and think a little bit. Things have been quite hectic. My days at school rush by and before I know it, it's 4 o'clock and it's time to go home. I feel at times like I'm barely keeping my head above water, trying to figure out everything. I knew it would be rought, and it is...but it gets better all the time. I teach different subjects in 6 different classes all together, and it's hard to keep track of where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. I have great colleagues, though! Last week I had one day that was crazy, with a couple of kids who were pretty out of control. I went back to my office at the end of the day and broke down in tears. The other teachers who share my office were so great, though, and gave me so much support. I'm really glad that I chose to work at Ekeberg!

The kids have had lots of football games lately, and this weekend Gaute and Espen drove down for an overnight tournament south of Oslo, while Anders and Johan had a tournament here at Korsvoll. So much going on all of the time!! August and September are always crazy, though... It's hard to get back into the swing of things after summer vacation.

Last week we had another thunderstorm, and once again our WIFI router was destroyed by lightning. We ordered a new one the day after, but we didn't actually get it until yesterday. Not having internet at home is such a handicap! Even though I have my own computer at work, I don't have time to sit down there and update my blog or check Facebook or my e-mail. I feel such relief that I'm online again. Hopefully we won't have any more lightning storms!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

School starts tomorrow

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Espen will be starting his first year of junior high (8th grade), Anders will be in 5th grade and Johan in 3rd grade. And I will be a teacher... I think we're all pretty excited about tomorrow. The kids have their backpacks all ready to go and their outfits picked out for tomorrow. I don't have my outfit picked out yet, but that's next on my list after updating my blog! I don't feel stressed at all right now, Sunday evening at 7 pm. All summer I've been thinking that I would be totally freaking out the night before school started, but I feel very calm and collected. At this point I'm really happy that I'm just an "extra" teacher and not the main teacher for any classes. Much less stress...

What will be strange is working full-time, though. Next week it's going to be pretty crazy around here, I think. Gaute was gone all last week, and now he found out that he has to go up to northern Sweden early tomorrow morning, and he will be there until Friday afternoon. Which means that I will be home alone with the kids - and all the 3 football games and 5 football practices they will be going to in the evenings. I think we've got it all worked out, though, so everything should go pretty well. The only thing that kind of sucks is that I have to leave about an hour before the kids tomorrow morning on the first day of school. They're not worried about it all, though, so I'm sure everything will go fine. The kids think it's pretty exciting that I've started working now and that Gaute has a "real" job where he has to go on business trips and stuff. Friday night, Anders announced that he'd changed his mind and instead of being a waiter (!), he wanted to be a businessman like Pappa.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The first week is over

My first week as a teacher is over. School hasn't actually started yet, but I've spent the past week planning and getting everything ready for the coming school year. Everything has gone pretty well, but I'm pretty worn out - lots of new people and new things to think about.

I now know a bit more about what I will be doing this year. My main job will be a "resource" teacher, as they call it, in the 2nd grade. I will go in to the classrooms and be and extra teacher who can help kids who need extra help and take them out of the classroom and give them one-on-one lessons if they need it. In addition, I will be teaching English in two of the 2nd grade classes as well as Social Studies in one of them. I will also be teaching English in two 4th grade classes and a special in-depth English class for 7th graders. I will have a lot of different kids I will be working with, but the good thing is that I don't have too much planning of my own classes - only a few hours a week.

I think it will actually work out pretty well. I won't have my "own" class, but I also won't have a lot of the work that those teachers have. There's another teacher on the 2nd grade "team" who has the same type of position as me, so we can exchange ideas and help each other out, too. Team-teaching is the key word in Norway, so the 6 of us who have 2nd grade have our offices together in one room and plan everything together, which is great for me as a 1st year teacher.

I am pretty worn out after this week, but I'm really excited to meet the kids on Monday!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The company Gaute will be working for... this one.

Work starts tomorrow

Tomorrow is my first official day of work. School doesn't actually start until the 18th, though, so I still have a week before the true test begins. Tomorrow morning, I'm supposed to meet up at the school with the rest of the staff to board a bus which will take us to Thorbjørnrud Hotel in Jevnaker, about an hour north of Oslo. There we will take part in seminars on teambuilding, classroom leadership and teaching reading. We'll be spending the night up there and will be back in Oslo at about 3 PM on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to it - I think it will be a fun way to get to know everyone. Plus - who knows - maybe I'll learn something at the seminars!

Gaute is headed off tomorrow morning, too. He's flying to Stockholm, where he will be all week, learning the ropes at the head office of the company he will be working at. Yes, Gaute has a new job, too. While I was off in sunny/smoky California, he was gettin' himself a new job! (That was one more thing we were celebrating at the big dinner a few days ago.) Gaute just went out running, and I can't remember the name of the company, but when I find out, I'll post a link to their website. I know that it's a French company (their "main" head office is in Paris), and Stockholm is the head of their Scandinavian division. They're just starting out in Norway, and Gaute and one other guy will be in charge of getting things up and going here. I'm actually not really sure what he will be doing, but it's along the same lines as what he has been doing (whatever that is ;-)).

The kids will be up in Ørsta all week, and Gaute will be in Stockholm, which means that I will have the house to myself all week! I haven't been alone here at home for that long for many, many years. And I have to say that it doesn't sound bad at all...

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Day Seven

Today, our last day, we didn't really have any plans, because I wasn't really sure what we'd be in the mood for. Johan really wanted to see the Mona Lisa, though, so we thought we'd head over to the Louvre. But, alas, the Louvre is closed on Tuesdays :-( We did get a picture outside of the cool pyramid, though.

We ended up spending most of the day just wondering around the streets, looking in shops, which was actually a nice way to spend the day. It had been an intense week!

In the afternoon we headed back to the apartment to pack and get everything organized since our plane was leaving early in the morning. Then in the evening we found a nice outdoor cafe where we had a great dinner.

Then after dinner, we headed over to the Pont Neuf where we had a good view of the Eiffel Tower. At 10:00 every night, the whole tower sparkles with white lights for 10 minutes before they turn on the blue lights. It was so cool to see!! The weather was gorgeous and it was a perfect ending to our vacation.

Day Six

Disneyland! That's where we were today. It was a bit smaller than Disneyland in California - and far as I was concerned, that was a good thing. Shorter lines and the possibility of actually going on all of the rides we wanted to.

We took the train out there...

And we took a couple of trips on "It's a Small World" - and they were singing in French!!

Gaute and Johan went on this ride while the older kids and I were on Space Mountain. Space Mountain was much more fun when I was younger...Anders and Espen loved it, though.

The picture the automatic camera took of us on Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Day Five

Sunday was Tour de France day! The final is in Paris, and we were there on rue de Rivoli for many hours waiting... It was actually pretty exciting, but we probably got there a bit earlier than we needed to. It was pretty hot that day! But, the kids got these cool free things...

And finally - they were there!! And they made 10 rounds in Paris, so we got to see them ride by several times. And it was really exciting, because the whole thing was accompanied by tons of cars driving before and after the riders, and helicopters in the air.

Afterwards, we ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe - and I think this picture does a good job of showing how worn out we were...

Day Four

On day four, we hopped on a train and headed out to Versailles. It had been raining during the night and early morning, but pretty nice by the time we got up and going. Due to the huge crowds (again), we decided not to go into the actual chateau and focus on the enormous gardens instead. We discovered a little tourist train/bus thing and decided to hop on that since we were all pretty worn out from the two days before. That ended up being a great idea, because it took us way back to the other end of the park, where we never would have ended up on our own. Much less people there, and really interesting stuff. The gardens were incredible.

It also took us to Marie Antoinette's house, a mini-castle which we walked though. The fascinating part, though, was walking through the gardens she had had made behind her house, which included all kinds of paths and ponds.

A grotto...

And an entire idealized farm village - it was like Disneyland!

With some hungry fish!

Day Three

Day three started with a trip to the Catacombs, a series of underground tunnels into which they moved bodies from the overfilled cemteries of Paris in the 18th century. Another long line, but hey, this was Paris in the middle of summer... We made our way down many, many stairs and ended up 25 meters (82 feet) under the streets of Paris. If one were so inclined, freaking out would be very easy... It was pretty dark and narrow down there, although it did get better after a while. It was actually incredible interesting. The area was originally a quarry, and the first part of the walk was looking at remnants of the quarry, before we came upon the skeletons. Thousands of skeletons, stacked neatly on top of each other!

After our trip down into the depths, we decided to go for something different and headed over to the Eiffel Tower. More stairs, as we walked up to the second level. I was pretty worn out after all of the stairs and bike riding we had done in the last day!!

When we got back down, Espen was hungry, and he got the world's biggest hotdog - served in a baguette! I don't have any pictures of them, but Anders and Johan lived on crepes with sugar on them the whole time we were in Paris. They serve them everyone, and the kids were in 7th heaven!

We rounded off the day at a touristy pizza restaurant on the Champs Elysée, right by the Arc de Triomphe!

Day Two

While Gaute and Espen slept, Johan and Anders and I went out in the morning to pick up some breakfast stuff. The apartment we rented was just one block away from the rue Mouffetard, a well-known market street on the Left Bank. Lots of good bakeries and cheese shops and stuff like that. Our first stop was a bakery to pick up a couple of baguettes. Anders and Johan insisted that I take pictures of each of them with the "long breads".

Later, after the sleepy-heads woke up, we walked up to Notre Dame.

After walking around a bit inside, we went out to wait in the long line to climb up into the towers. Luckily, there was free entertainment in a street artist wearing a wig who would go "scaring" people to the great enjoyment of all of us tourists waiting in line. Anders and Johan thought it was fantastic.

It was a long wait and then A LOT of stairs up to the top, but the view from the top of Notre Dame was incredible. Totally worth it!

After Notre Dame, we met up with the group for our biking tour of Paris. Another great choice. They ended up dividing us into two different groups, so our family got a private tour of Paris. Riding bikes, we got to check lots of areas that we would have never seen on a bus. The weather was gorgeous, and it was fun riding around. The tour was 3 1/2 hours long - fine for the older boys, but I think it was a good thing that Gaute and Johan shared a tandem bike. The shot below is of the boys with our American guide, Christian.

Since we had kids with us, our guide took us by a shop which was immortalized in the movie Ratatouille. It was a shop selling rat poison, and they had lots of dead rats hanging in the windows. The kids thought that was pretty cool, especially since they'd seen the cartoon version of it in the movie.

Back online

Yes - finally - the computer with all of the pictures is back online. I've missed my good computer.

So - here come the first of the pictures from our trip to Paris. The one below was taken the night we got there when we went on a boat trip on the Seine. I was a bit late getting my camera out, so I didn't get the shot straight on, but you can still see the Eiffel Tower lit up blue with the EU stars on it, celebrating France's current presidency of the EU.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Fantastic birthday

As I mentioned yesterday, Gaute had told me that he had made reservations at a nice restaurant. When he got home from work, he told that the restaurant was Statholdergaarden, one of the very best restaurants in Oslo. Gaute actually knows the owner/chef as they used to do orienteering together, but neither of us had been there before. It's not exactly the kind of place you just pop into on a whim. It was expensive, but the food was incredible. We really went for it and got the 6 course menu of the day with accompanying wines. It was a 4 hour meal, with new courses and wines showing up all of the time, one better than the other. It was so good and so much fun!

Gaute also showed up with a pair of diamond earrings for me yesterday. When we got married, he gave me some diamond earrings and I lost one of them when Espen was a baby. Gaute has always talked about replacing them, and now he did.

These were pretty big birthday gifts this year, but last week was our 15th anniversary, which we hadn't celebrated yet. Nor had my dear husband ever done anything to celebrate the fact that I got my 2nd bachelor's degree and a job. So now we rolled everything up into one big blowout!

But - that's not all... We also found out yesterday that the offer we made on a studio apartment was accepted! Gaute has been talking for years about investing in real estate, and now the time just seemed to be right. So, we put in an offer on a little 300 square foot apartment up the street from us, which we can rent out. We'll be taking out a loan to finance the purchase, but the rental income will pretty much cover the mortgage payment, and slowly but surely we will be building equity in it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


It's my birthday today! And so far it's been a great day. The last couple of years, I've been getting somewhat depressed on my birthdays, and I was worried that the same thing would happen this year, but so far so good.

I woke up and opened my presents (lots of great stuff - thanks!), played around on the internet for a while. Then our cleaning lady came to clean our house (something that always makes me happy). I did a few errands, looked in some shops, and then I went and had a facial (a gift from Gaute). It was sooo nice. One and a half hours, including a neck and shoulder massage. Just what I needed.

Gaute has told me that he has made dinner reservations for tonight. He won't tell me where, but he said I should get dressed up. Pretty exciting... Time to head upstairs and figure out what to where!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Kids off to Ørsta

Tonight the kids are heading off to Gaute's parents' cabin in Ørsta, on the west coast. They're taking an overnight bus with Gaute's mom. I'm not quite sure how that will go, but she keeps telling us that the bus trip is great (she's done it many times), and we don't really want to drive them up there - and plane tickets are really expensive right now. The kids are pretty excited. The cabin is right on a lake, and they have a little row boat up there and go out fishing every evening. And one of Gaute's cousins has a bigger fishing boat which they take out on the ocean, too. They'll probably be up there about a week - no definite plans at this point.

I start working on Monday! I'm excited - but a little bit nervous. School doesn't actually start until the 18th, so that first week I'm working will just be planning. Actually Monday and Tuesday, all of the teachers at the school will be off on an overnight course to discuss some timely educational issue. I think it should be kind of fun - a good way to get to know my new colleagues.

Liverpool won!

They won last night, 4-1. And Torres scored!!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Liverpool game tonight - in Oslo!

As some of you may have heard....Liverpool is going to play a training match here in Oslo tonight. And they're playing against Vålerenga who are Lyn's biggest rivals. So it's pretty exciting!! Espen and his two best Liverpool supporter friends are going to head down to the stadium at 3:00 (the game starts at 7), because they want to make sure they're there when the Liverpool players show up. This is a really big thing for Espen and his friends!!

And the rest of us are looking forward to it, too. Although, we're not planning on getting there until 6:00...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Home again, home again...

We're back from a fantastic trip to Paris. We had such a good time, and I want to write all about it. But, while we were gone, there was a huge lightning storm right above our house, and now it fried the router to my "main" computer, which means that I can't get online from that computer. And I have all of my pics from Paris on that computer, so I'm going to wait until the internet is back up and running and then right about the trip with accompanying photos :-)

We got back on Wednesday, and the weather has been gorgeous here since then. Warm and sunny and sooo nice. But we woke up to rain this morning, with rain forecast for the next few days... It kind of sucks, but it's kind of nice to have an excuse to stay inside all day, too...