Visiting with old friends and making new ones is the best part of travel. Yesterday we played with Trond, Sylvi, Aksel, and Julie at our apartment. We spent a lot of time out in the snow, sledding and trying out the two playgrounds (lekeplasser) that are outside our building. This place is made for kids!
Anders and Nora enjoy Aksel and Julie, and the feeling is mutual. They love to run and laugh, they can speak silly simple Norwegian together and they are all on the same page. Julie let Anders push her on the swing for a long time, and they all loved throwing snow at Anders and tackling him. He’s such a good sport. Nora joined in the fun too, because there’s nothing better than throwing snow at your brother!
Trond and Ted has some quiet time inside while Sylvi and I went out with the kids. We spoke a little in Norwegian, but Sylvi is so skilled in English that she makes it too easy to switch! We will keep practicing på norsk, she is a patient teacher. They also brought us a beautiful orchid to brighten up our apartment, which is so sweet. Now I have to keep it alive!
We had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch because that’s the classic meal after playing in the snow from my childhood. Everyone was ready for lunch after all of that time outside.
Anders has also been getting to know friends from school. On Friday, he went to Jonas’s house to eat gingerbread and watch a movie and handball match. He was so happy to be invited! After he took off I realized that I didn’t even have the phone number or address for the friend’s house, but our responsible boy called from their house to give us the number and plan for when he would return. On Sunday, Jonas texted again and they met in the afternoon for sledding and video games. I responded to the text as Anders in Norwegian, which forced Anders to keep it up!
Jonas invited him to go to soccer practice this week, but he doesn’t have shin guards and hasn’t played organized soccer in years. He was up for is, but he would actually prefer to play handball. I contacted the nearby organization that has a handball team and they invited him to a practice, so he will try that this week. There is a girl in his class that plays on a girl’s team in the same facility, but he doesn’t know of any boys that play.
This weekend we also met our neighbors across the hall, they are a family of 4 just returning from 6 months in Canada AND they have a girl in Nora’s class and a 6th grade boy! She is Dutch-Canadian, he is Norwegian, and they own their apartment. Nora walked home with their daughter today after school. I asked if they had anything in common, and she said “well, she speaks English.” Yes, that is helpful. Nora got some simple norsk workbooks and homework from school today, which she things is so easy. That’s good news! We will work through the workbook and get the next one!
Anders is speaking more Norwegian all the time and is speaking it at home to practice too. He had shop class today and said that the teacher didn’t do anything special to tell him what to do, just gave him the same instructions along with the rest of the class. I guess the honeymoon is over and he’s just one of the kids.
There are a lot of buildings like ours in this area, which are a mix of owner-occupied and leased out to visitors like us at NTNU or other institutions, so it’s cool to be in a neighborhood of long term residents. The apartments are all joined in long rows, but each entrance serves 6 apartments, 2 on each of 3 floors. It feels cozy while getting a lot of people into one place. One favorite thing that our neighbor mentioned about these apartments: the building is warm and there is plenty of very hot water. We agree.
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