Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We escape!

A foggy view up the Tower
 Still no internet access at the new house, so I try to squeeze in an hour or so at the library cafe, with a cappuccino to keep me company. 

Many friends have remarked how fun it must have been to spend Christmas in our new house, but the truth is we celebrated a very different Christmas this year. . . by escaping to Paris!

My in-laws wanted to spend Christmas with us, and luckily we came to our senses early enough in the remodeling process to realize that our home would not be very welcoming to guests by Christmas, even though we ourselves would be living there. Instead we opted to meet in Paris, joined by Erik's sister and her friends. It was perhaps my first Christmas ever without snow, aside from my first year of life in sunny Santa Barbara, California. But I must say, 45-50 degrees and sunny was a welcome breath of fresh air. 

We had a 9 hour layover in Copenhagen, which we took full advantage of, taking a 10 minute train ride into the center of town to take in the pre-Christmas atmosphere of a bustling Scandinavian city. We spent six days in Paris, and while it wasn't exactly relaxing in the poolside-vacation sense of the word, it was a welcomed break from the chaos of remodeling and moving that we've been immersed in for the past 7 months. 

I found it incredibly difficult to even utter simple French words like "merci" or "au revoir" or even "non". As I opened my mouth to respond, Norwegian words came out--not English--Norwegian! If I bumped into a person in a store, I wouldn't say "excusez-moi", I'd say "Unnskyld!" A waiter in a restaurant asked us (in English) what "other" language we spoke, after I responded "nei" to one of his English questions. It was quite amusing, actually, and even rather reassuring. I am so deeply immersed in Norwegian it is, in many cases, the first language that comes to my brain. I would read French signs, or rather see signs in French, and realize that had they been in Norwegian--I could understand them. My confidence in my language skills was boosted, and all it took was a trip to France to do so. 

We spent our New Year's Eve with the same friends that we celebrated with a year ago. It was very comforting to feel that we have established such good friendships in just 16 months that we have now spent two consecutive holidays with one another. And after spending the entire evening speaking--and understanding--Norwegian with each other, I realized once again how far I have come in the last year. 

A Norwegian tradition: Kristoffer smashes the
gingerbread house on New Year's Eve,
while Greta and Sebastian duck!
A year ago I was just beginning my formal Norwegian classes; classes that would prove to be both challenging and disappointing in their level and quality of instruction. On Thursday I will resume my classes again, meeting two days a week as we did throughout the fall. I was incredibly distracted and busy this fall, and felt like I neglected my studies like I have never done before in my life. I'm hoping that I can recommit myself to mastering this language this semester. The trip to France, in some ways, gave me extra motivation and encouragement to do so. 

I am also assembling material and letters to bring to SAFH (nursing license organization) in regards to both my midwife and nursing licenses. After the newspaper article, SAFH kicked their efforts into full gear, and responded to my midwife application within 3 weeks. Their judgement/assessment was not entirely satisfactory (in my humble opinion), but after some clarification about my experiences and qualification from my student midwife education, I am hopeful the application will be viewed more favorably. Ever hopeful, I am. 

1 comment:

  1. I so can relate on the sneaky Norwegian blurbs! It is seriously a struggle, my family in the US doesn't really get it ;) glad to hear you have a brain that functions at least similarly to mine! I'm not alone! ;)