My brother and his samboer (long-term girlfriend) came to visit us for the last two weeks, escaping late-summer mugginess in Washington DC and arriving to cool early-fall (mostly) sunshine in Lillehammer. How they lucked out on the weather, I don't know. We had a fantastic time with them here, and Greta basked in the attention of her uncle and aunt. Despite not opening a guide book for Norway until about 3 weeks before their trip, we still managed to assemble a nice sampling of Norway: Lillehammer, hike to a mountain hotel, a small taste of Oslo, a Norway in a Nutshell trip, 3 days in Bergen, and back to Lillehammer. Fjords, high alpine mountains, glacier, reindeer meat, Aquavit, barnehage visit, a dozen bouquets of dandelions and daisies, and approximately 3,000 pictures of one adorable 3-year old. More on their visit later. . .
I restarted my Norwegian classes last week, this class being a "study group" for the Bergen's test (the test required for non-native speakers who want to study at the university level). I have no plans or desires to study at the university level here, but it is the next level of class available here. I could definitely use the practice and exposure to more instruction in Norwegian. 3 days into the class (we meet Tuesdays and Thursdays) I'm much more optimistic and encouraged than I was last spring, and it's a little strange to feel so positive about class. The students are motivated, the teacher is invested and energetic, the class is small. All good things. More on this titillating subject later. . .
A few weeks ago, I took a mommy-day and escaped to Oslo for the day. It's just a little too time consuming to do just a day trip for, I've decided. It's a 2.5 hour train/bus ride (depending on if the train tracks are flooded or not), so 5 hours of the day is simply transportation. Then add on the 20 minute bus ride at the end of the trip to get me to Øyer, and the 10 minute walk up the road. . . it's a long day. The particular day I chose was one of three days of an arts and crafts festival in downtown Oslo. Going to art fairs is part of what makes summer summer to me, so although it was a bit smaller than I had hoped, it was still really enjoyable. The weather was gorgeous, and I basically spent the day wandering around the downtown. Will touch on the highlights of this little getaway soon, too. . .
The house is coming along. The søknad (application to the city) has been submitted, after weeks of waiting for our architect to come back from his relaxing 3+ week vacation and finalize our plans! The 3-week countdown for the city to consider the plans is underway, and we hope to begin major work around September 15th. In the meantime, the plumber has been in and essentially finished plumbing for the basement laundry room, first floor bathroom, and kitchen. Our electrician broke his foot, and after minimal scrambling, we we found another. He has wired nearly everything in the current home, and after he finishes a bit more work this week, we should be able to put up some walls. In fact, our carpenter was working with Erik on Friday, and they had already begun to put up the paneling on Greta's walls and ceiling. More news, with pictures, coming soon. . . .
On a side note, I want to mention how truly saddened we are to watch and read the news reports of the flooding in Vermont. Hurricane Irene dumped 6-12 inches of rain across the state, and the flooding has devastated so much of that beautiful state. Vermont is so near and dear to our hearts, and we have many friends still there (although everyone we know seems to be safe and unharmed). It is just heartbreaking to see the destruction.
So that, dear readers, should keep you on the edge of your seat until I can find a little spare time between knitting projects, building projects, essay writing, verb memorizing, mothering and entertaining guests and finally write full updates on the above sneak previews.