Monday, January 11, 2010

And now for something completely different...

Yesterday, I won a raffle competition for the first time in my life, evah.

True story. The fam and I went to Haugesund's annual travel expo. Pretty standard, most booths were from different areas of Norway's travel bureau: lots of people in bunads offering regional treats like salmon, fruit juice and chocolate. I fantasized about trips to Norway's agriculturally rich area where you can tour the organic farms, buy local produce and check out the apple distillery which had its very own booth where I shelled out 100NOK for 3 liters of the best apple juice I've ever had in my life. No joke. With all this farm-y dreaming and apple juice talk going on, I almost missed the bizarre accents of the Travel Turkey booth guys calling the winner of their drawing...
"Cher-istin Burrge?"

In language of Turkish-dude-speaking-Norwegian, that is me, folks.

I could not believe it, even when Harald was pushing me through crowds of people while screaming "you won something, babe!", and I was turning red from being stared at by a conference hall of Weegies, I still couldn't believe it. "I won something!" was my phrase of the day, because it was just too awesome. What did I win?

A three-day deluxe spa package at a 5-star hotel on the coast of Turkey.

The first thing I ever win, and it is spa related. God is good.

So now, jobless, the Hubs and I have to figure out how to utilize this precious gift before the end of 2010. A trip to a beautiful 5-star resort on a beach in Turkey? Not something that I had even dreamed about last week, nor included on my 2010 resolution list, but I'll take it!

Harald won something too that day...a grilling apron and fancy specially prepared regional salmon delicacy from another part of Norway. This, by the way, happened directly after the lady in charge of prizes handed him a London getaway for two package that was all-inclusive along with musical tickets...which she then ripped back out of his hands because it was the wrong prize for his ticket number.

ouch.

Fun, slightly amusing travel faire aside...at this point, and I say this with some amount of joy, the minor amount of sadness and terror that accompanied the feelings of my last entry, have pretty much all dissolved in the wake of some deep discussions with my Husband in which we decided the Bergen job would not be the best decision for our family. If we ever want to get a house, settle in with all my much fantasized hobby-farm aspirations, and start a family in that place all in the next few years...Harald has to find a job more locally so we can save everything he makes for our future.

It took a lot of soul-searching and talk on our part as a couple, but the decision has been made as much as it could be.

Even if it means staying here at my in-laws house until we can accumulate adequate home furnishings, and a down payment for a home and car. Not that I wouldn't want to be out on my own with my Husband, living our adult life independently, but I know that this option will save us more time then moving out asap will, because it can make my future home and mini-farm that much closer to reality.

Tough decisions...I feel like such a grown-up!

In non not-moving-afterall news, I got the call today about my Norwegian classes. I have to say, they are not as strict and structured as I thought they would be. Apparently, people that are here on refugee status get a salary for attending the classes, thus are present in these classes Monday-Thursday, 8:30 - 3:00.
Since I am most definitely not part of the refugee contingency, I will not getting paid to learn Norwegian.
boo.
Also, it seems, as my future teacher explained to me over the phone this evening, that I can come and go as I please any time within the class sessions. I will have to find out tomorrow, during which my teacher said I can stay for the full class session or "check it out and get your materials" then go home for the day.
My classmates all started last week, and my paperwork didn't make it to my teachers desk, thus the class roster until today. Apparently all the people already in class have been in Norway for at least a month or so also, so are not total beginners either, but I cannot help be intimidated thinking they might be far far more advanced than I am!
I should clarify (as much as I understand at this point, anyway!), the reason my classes are fairly lax is because, since I'm in beautiful, frozen Norway on a family reunification visa that gets renewed every year no matter what, the only reason I need the classes is to eventually get my permanent residency status. After three consecutive years living here (with any times out of the country not being more than six months time in duration) I can apply for the Norwegian equivalent of a legal resident alien (U.S. terms for you). However, I cannot be granted this status without those classes. So pretty much, I have to complete 300-odd hours between now and 2012. Still not sure how many of those hours I could be applicable to test out of based on language ability, but hopefully I'll find out soon...

Anyway, wrap up: we're not moving to Bergen after all because it would be a bad financial and future-plan type move, and my Norwegian classes start tomorrow...and it's still wicked cold out.

The End.

I'm excited to start class and see how it all pans out, but not excited to have to make up so early and crunch through the snow to class. ugh.

I'll try and post pictures soon too, since our skiing expeditions have not been in shortage, and now there have been crowds (including Daisy) down at the huge glacial lake that we swim at all summer since it is totally frozen over and safe to ice skate. It is very creepy though since the lake is so deep, when the snow on the surface of the ice is cleared, you're standing on this bottomless black mirror. It's amazing, terrifying and totally cosmic. Clearly demanding of photos.