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The Three Swords Monument in Stavanger, Norway

Although I’m American and live in Norway, I don’t feel much like an expat. I’m married to a local and we live in a small town which is a long way from the nearest expat hub. My children have gone to Norwegian schools and most of my friends are Norwegian. I had my first real taste of expat life while living the Netherlands from 2007 to 2010 and I liked it.

After returning to Norway I decided to join the PWC (Petroleum Womens Club) in Stavanger. Its something I’ve always wanted to do, but never could because it was too far away. It didn’t seem like a good idea to drive fifty miles through the mountains to hang out in Stavanger while my children were in school here, but things are different now. I only have one left at school and he’s seventeen.

The PWC has an assortment of fun activities for its members. The three activities that tempted me most were scrapbooking, hiking and book club but due to the fifty mile drive, I could only choose one. I chose book club (surprise).

Today was book club day. All the members take turns hosting and since I don’t yet know where everyone lives, my husband and I swapped cars because his has a GPS. I got up early to walk the dogs, get one son to school and the other off to work before leaving. Book club starts at eleven, so I needed to be on the road by 9:30.

As usual I was running late and the GPS wouldn’t take the address. I ran back to the house and googled the directions.

I was no more than twenty miles down the road when a tractor pulled out in front of me, which is a common occurrence here. And you’re pretty much screwed when this happens because the narrow winding roads make it almost impossible to pass.

Another ten miles and I was seriously regretting that third cup of tea I drank before leaving, but there’s no place to stop in the mountains.

Stressing over the time and finally rid of the tractor I started speeding along the last twenty miles. Thats when I realized that I forgot to put my make-up on this morning! (****)

By the time I arrived my shoulders were up to my ears, my face bare, my bladder full and I was five minutes early!

Was it worth it?

A group of women eating lunch, drinking tea and talking about books (in English)… You bet it was!

It’s a girl

The phone call came at three o’clock this morning… It was time. I rushed up the road in my pajamas and watched as my daughter and son-in-law drove off to the hospital in Stavanger, to bring their third child into the world.

The other two children were still fast a sleep, so I crept into the spare room and tried to go back to sleep too. I tossed and turned with worry (that’s something I can’t control) and at the same time, was positively giddy with joy. Excitement got the best of me and since it was too early to start calling people in Norway, I started texting people in America. There’s always someone to talk too in another time zone…

I think I may have dozed off a little before six and then heard my granddaughter getting up. After explaining where her mom and dad were she climbed into bed with me, but she’s apparently inherited my stress gene and couldn’t stop talking. By six thirty we were downstairs making tea. Her brother got up around seven thirty and took the news in more quiet, typical male fashion.

I figured the best thing for us to do while waiting was to keep busy. We visited a friend for morning tea, went food shopping, then shoe shopping (not for me… for them). The good news actually came while we were in the shoe store (good things always happen in shoe stores). The tiny package in which we’ve all been waiting for had finally arrived. At eleven o’clock in the morning on a beautiful May day in Norway, a healthy baby girl weighing in at 3800 grams, was born.

Visiting hours weren’t before five, so we went home, jumped on the trampoline, searched for bugs, played with the dogs and went crabbing. They unanimously voted on pancakes for dinner and then afterwards, it was our turn to make the one hour drive to the hospital in Stavanger.

My baby looked wonderful basking in her new mommy glow and her baby, although tiny and helpless was able to instantly claim a giant place in my heart. I lifted and drew her close, smelling her new scent and feeling her soft skin against my cheek I whispered a promise to her ear, “You don’t know this yet, but you and I are going to be great friends.”