Category Archives: writing

Saying Good-bye

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My heart broke today…

Twenty-five years ago I made the monumental decision to take my children, leave America and live the rest of my life as an expatriate, in Norway.

When my children were small I had to send them back to the US every summer to visit their father. Putting three young children on an Airplane heading for the other side of the Atlantic was never easy for neither him, nor me. Those children are now grown with children of their own, our grandchildren. As fate would have it, three of them live in Norway and two in the US.

Three weeks ago their grandfather put the oldest one, Maren (eight years-old) on an airplane, to visit me here in Norway. Today, I sent her back to him.

While waiting at the gate this morning Maren fell asleep and before I knew it, someone from the airline had come to collect her for boarding. I woke her, took her in my arms and started to cry. I could see a line of people waiting for her to go, so they too could board (unaccompanied minors are always boarded first). I had no choice but to let her go…

I watched the beast intensely through a nearby window until every piece of luggage and passenger was onboard. Then lost sight as it was taxied away. But in my heart I could hear its mighty roar, as it whisked down the runway carrying my grandchild farther and farther away from me.

I stood there a while groping with my emotions before leaving.

Such is the life of an expat.

Come fly with me

Chapter 22, I had some unforgettable and quite scary experiences in Dubai.

Chapter 22, I had some unforgettable and quite scary experiences in Dubai.

It’s Thursday and that means tomorrow is the last day to get your FREE Kindle version of Fly Away Home  (Just by clicking on this link)

For those of you who have already read, or are planning to read… Here are pictures from some of the different places I write about in the book.

Chapter 2, Jersey Girl

The Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore

The Jersey Shore is the 130 miles of New Jersey coastline, where summertime tourists come to enjoy the white sandy beaches and boardwalks. By day they pack the beaches, soaking up the sun and cooling off in the rigorous Atlantic surf. By night they flock the boardwalks, emptying their pockets at the arcade, riding the roller coasters, enjoying things like snow cones and cotton candy. In winter the action slows and the locals can stroll along the boards, breathing the salt air and enjoying the peace.

Chapter 3, My Maiden Voyage

Egersund, Norway

Egersund, Norway

In New Jersey everything was spread out and people would drive here and there, for this and that. There was a constant blur of activity everywhere. Norway was the complete opposite, I never saw any traffic or crowds, just small towns with quaint little shops located in quite, pedestrian only areas. Egersund reminded me of a miniature town I’d once seen on a train board.

Chapter 17, Mixed Blessings

Our house in Norway

Our house in Norway, the same house that’s on the cover of the book

We could hardly believe our luck. We built the house of our dreams on one of the most idyllic spots on the island. I now had my own little place in the world and over the next few years, life couldn’t have been any better…

Chapter 19, Life Goes On

Alexander and I in Hawaii

Alexander and I in Hawaii

All I wanted to do is run away as far as I possibly could. In hope of breaking the circle of grief, Harry, Alexander and I took a trip to Hawaii. It was not a vacation, more of a distraction.

Chapter 20, A Window Opens

Harry and I in front of the house in Houston

Harry and I in front of the house in Houston

The house the company rented for us was on a shady cul-de-sac in a quite neighborhood. It had a built in swimming pool in the back yard and palm trees in the front. The house looked like a mini mansion with 4000 square feet of pure grandeur, which included Swarovski chandeliers hanging in both the marble foyer and formal dining room. A spacious living room with a fireplace, a game room, modern kitchen with breakfast nook, three bedrooms, plus a master suite and five bathrooms all for us!  The house was light, airy and adorned in crown molding, it was, in a word, elegant.

Chapter 22, Going Dutch

Brian and I in the Netherlands

Brian and I in the Netherlands

They say God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland. The Netherlands is an architectural masterpiece. It’s designed down to the last detail and only a minute portion of the country has been left in its natural state. Because of their struggle against water more than a quarter of its surface is below sea level. The Dutch leave nothing to chance, instead they create their own nature and this makes the Netherlands a beautiful and fascinating place.

Bicycling through Provence

Bicycling through Provence

We cycled through the most magnificent vineyards where clusters of dark purple grapes hung irresistibly from the vines. We rode through fruit orchards and dried up sunflower fields. We pedaled down tight little streets lined with crooked stucco houses painted in pale colors, with shutters hanging on every window. We stopped along the way to eat cheese on long loaves of French bread and drink wine among the olive trees. We spent our nights tucked away in tiny old provincial towns oozing with charm. After making our way down to the Mediterranean we headed up through the Alpilles Mountains of Provence and back to Avignon. The jagged rock formations protruding upward through the oak and pine forests created panoramic views at every twist and turn of the road. We were escorted everyday through Van Gogh country by a warm September sun, and the experience was unforgettable.

It’s Free!

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For me there is nothing better than a comfortable chair, a pot of hot tea and a book. I’m also happy reading poolside, or under an umbrella on the beach and I would never – ever go on vacation without one!

I’m sure we can all agree there is nothing better than a real book in your hand however, Kindle has made book buying so much easier. Especially for me, living in a small town in Norway, where most books are only printed in Norwegian. I don’t have a Kindle, so I download them onto my iPad and I’m ready to go…

I’ve signed my book Fly Away Home up for a five day giveaway on Kindle from 10-14 June. There’s no gimmick, it’s totally free, ready to be downloaded and read.

The book is about my life. Leaving America under duress, with three young children in tow. Finding love again, rebuilding my life in a foreign country and a lot more… If you’re interested just click on this Amazon link and get your FREE copy now:  Fly Away Home

Feel free to leave a review on Amazon after you’ve finished and Happy reading 🙂

Here are some pictures that were sent to me last summer:

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On a beach in Jersey

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On a beach in Florida

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By the pool in Point Pleasant NJ

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At a resort in Las Vegas

On a beach in Italy

On a beach in Italy

Keeper of the Garden

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This used to be a garden

A sunny, happy place

Where someone pruned and planted, with a smile on her face.

 

I remember Hanna’s patience and all the love she gave

I remember Hanna’s laughter, as I passed and gave a wave.

 

A gentle rain would fall

The wind would softly blow

And that’s what made the garden a place where things would grow.

 

Now, the keeper of the garden must rest her weary back

For time has taken over, the weeds are growing fast

She pulls the covers close and dreams of flowers past.

 

For Hanna

 

One year later

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‘Hjemmet’ means the home

As many of you may already know, I wrote my life story. I was also given the opportunity to publish and so after some long hard consideration, I did.

Last April family and friends traveled with me to the Netherlands to celebrate the launch of Fly Away Home!

From there I was swept into the whirlwind of cyberspace… Tweeting, blogging and trying to promote a book. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into but worked around the clock doing whatever necessary.

To promote the book here in Norway I contacted a Woman’s magazine (called Hjemmet) and asked if they’d be interested in taking photos of my house. They were and did! I blogged all about it, which you can read,  here and here and here.

It’s been ten months since the photo shoot and the article was published this week!

At first glance, I was excited… Then I started seeing flaws…

They took forty-two pictures. Eighteen of them made it into the magazine but were not the photos I would have chosen!

The glossy pages make my walls look canary-yellow, instead of the pale yellow they really are.

They left out the best pictures showing the incredible view we have of the water.

Worst of all, I told the photographer no bedroom pictures. One was taken anyway  -I was assured it would not appear. It did

Looking back I have to wonder, why did I publish my story and open my house to the world? A lot of theories come to mind but I truly don’t have one definitive answer.

It’s been quite a year and I’ve experienced many different emotions along the way… Surprise, glory, good fortune, stress, insignificance, embarrassment and maybe even a little regret. But as the Norwegians say… Gjort er gjort, whats done is done.

For those of you who don’t live in Norway, here are the pictures:

drøm ved sjøen means a dream by the sea

‘drøm ved sjøen’ means a dream by the sea

The article mostly talks about the furnishings I've collected while living in America, the Netherlands and Norway.

The article mostly talks about the furnishings I’ve collected while living in America, the Netherlands and Norway.

the dreaded bedroom picture

the dreaded bedroom picture

The article also explains how my husband and I met, where we live and of course about the book

The article also explains how my husband and I met and where we live 

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And of course the book

Fly Away Home

photo by Martin Brigdale

photo by Martin Brigdale

I’ve hit a milestone today and I’m celebrating with tea. This is my 100th post!

Last year at this time, I had just made the monumental decision to publish my life story. In other words, share the good and reveal the bad. All of it. To-the-entire-world!

If that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, I was also strongly advised to start a blog. Me? A blog! The thought was terrifying. I was afraid people would show up looking to read great posts, written by an experienced author and instead find me. What would I write about and what would it sound like without an editor to help polish things up?

Obviously I found stuff to write about, this is my 100th post and everyone’s been great in overlooking my bad grammar. Everyone except my daughter Michele, that is…

 Stick it out for one year, or one hundred posts, whatever came first. That was the deal I made with myself last April, when starting the blog. But what will I do now? I honestly don’t know.

My biggest dream is to have my book translated to Norwegian and yet I haven’t spent much time working on that. I have one son leaving for college and another who will be a senior in high school next year. I also have three, precious little grandchildren living right up the road and I’d love to spend more time cuddling with them. I hate that I sit at one end of the house and my husband the other, on our computers every night. If there was only more time, or I had more energy.

For now all I can do is thank everyone who’s followed along, stopped by once in a while, and pushed the like button. I’m also giving away a signed copy of my book, Fly Away Home. If you’re interested, pop over and visit Janneke, at DrieCulturen and leave a comment. She writes an interesting blog about growing up in other cultures. Check it out…

win a free copy!

win a free copy!

 

 

A lot is being said about the tragedy in Connecticut but as the mother of an autistic son myself, I hope you’ll take the time to read this post. Thank you!

ProfMomEsq

My daughter is five years old.  She is in kindergarten.  She likes to wear a hat everywhere she goes.  As she falls asleep, she gently rubs her blanket with the tips of her fingers.  She is afraid of the vacuum.  She loves bacon and stealing sips of my coffee.  When she’s hurt, she’ll ask me to kiss her “boo-boo-owie.”  She’s watched “A Bug’s Life” so many times, she has the dialogue memorized.  When she’s tired, she’ll sometimes crawl into my lap and fall asleep curled up next to me.  She’s mostly left-handed, but sometimes she’ll decide to write with her right hand … because she can.  She gets into trouble and sits on time-out, which she does not like – not one little bit.  When she says, “I’m sorry” or “I love you,” she means it.

This is what autism looks like.

When I heard the news yesterday about the horrible tragedy that happened at Sandy…

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The best Christmas present ever. Thanks Laura!
and thanks to all of you, who will take the time to read it. xx maggie

Laura Stanfill

It takes a lot of courage to write about one’s life.

In her memoir Fly Away Home, Maggie Myklebust tells an honest, heartfelt tale about identity, place and belonging.

Maggie begins at the beginning, with her Norwegian relatives, and then moves into the story of her parents, her birth and her girlhood escapades in New Jersey. Fly Away Home shifts between those two crucial settings, both of which she calls home as her life’s journey zigzags back and forth across the ocean and, along the way, twists into something new and unexpected.

Maggie takes an unflinching approach to narrating her own life, laying emotional moments on the page without sugarcoating them or, conversely, exaggerating them for dramatic effect. The result is a fascinating, feel-good memoir, chock full of insights, surprises, humor and tension. There are so many lovely, quiet moments that speak to the universal journey of growing up and finding…

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Jersey-Strong!

Laura Stanfill

I’m a Jersey girl, through and through, and while I’ve been in Oregon for eleven years, and  the D.C. area before that, I’m still a Jersey girl. Born and raised there. My dad was raised there. My mom moved there when she was young. I grew up on a tree-lined street in the northern Jersey suburbs, taking trips into New York with my family, loving my town, my neighbors, my life there.

And my heart’s there now, hearing about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and then how a nor’easter is threatening the region today. A lot of the trees in my tree-lined suburb fell on houses during Sandy. Things aren’t back to normal and won’t be for a long while, especially for the hardest-hit communities. And especially with this snowstorm coming.

My Jersey friend Lisa wrote a long, newsy email on Nov. 3 about how things are, and she said I could…

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I’m reblogging a post I wrote (long ago) in honor of all those fighting to get their lives back to normal after Super-Storm Sandy. Even though I now live in Norway, my heart will always be in New Jersey. xxoo

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I’m here today, sipping a glass of sweet iced tea and ready to give my definition of a real honest to goodness Jersey girl. I’d also like to pay tribute to all those girls like myself, who’s path led them elsewhere. (You know who you are)

Any girl born in the state of New Jersey can call herself a Jersey girl and I won’t argue with that. However, in my opinion a true Jersey girl is born and raised in the salty air of the Jersey Shore. She grows up with tan lines on her shoulders and sand between her toes.

Contrary to the girls we see on reality television series such as Jersey Shore, Jersey Housewives and Jerseylicious, we don’t all have big hair, smoky eyes and are dripping in costume jewelry. I’ve caught a few episodes from these programs and must admit, I laughed in spite…

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