“Whuck!?!? You’re moving to Norway? What’s in Norway?” was generally the reaction I got when people heard our big news.

Yes, why would someone uproot their family of four and travel 4,690 miles away to a small Scandinavian country? The short answer is to find a better quality of life and be closer to family.

Everyone's all smiles in anticipation of the great journey ahead.

Everyone’s all smiles in anticipation of the great journey ahead. Except for the woman who had to fix our seat assignments.

For those who don’t know, my husband is Norwegian. Not like in America where people say they are Norwegian, but they were born in Minneapolis. I mean, he was born and raised in Norway and all of his family is from there.

He came to the U.S. only to get a college education, but he met me and got oh so much more. We first toyed with the idea of moving to Norway when we were dating, then as we moved along with our jobs, we tried to figure out how to steer our career paths to get us to Norway.

Then came kids and job changes and life kept rolling on. We moved to Portland nearly two years ago and since our neighborhood wasn’t a good fit for our family, it was either move to downtown Portland or to Norway. Thankfully things worked out with Hubby’s job to go overseas and now here we are.

I’ve been to Norway several times, including a couple visits with the kiddos. I gotta say, you haven’t lived until you’ve managed an international flight with small ones. I feel that upon completion of such flights there should be a celebration for all the moms, where there’s a red carpet lined with people applauding you and at the end of the carpet, a bottle of champagne and a pedicure. If that’s too extravagant, we could at least get a T-shirt.

Sorry, I’m rambling. I’m jet lagged. Back to my story…

"Welcome home" greeted us shortly after we got out of the car.

“Welcome home” greeted us shortly after we got out of the car.

What appealed to me about Norway was the slower pace of life, how the culture is so much more supportive of families and providing a healthy environment for the next generation. The Norwegians definitely take the long-term planning approach to problems that plague other countries and all of this is supported by a healthy economy and commitment to social democracy.

My favorite perk is how supportive the country is of working families, I mean each couple gets 49 weeks of parental leave with 100% of their salaries. Dads get a minimum of 10 weeks and moms get at least 13 weeks, with the rest of their allotted 49 weeks to be used as they see fit.

Can you imagine staying home with your child for the first three months and still collect 100% of your paycheck!?!? There wouldn’t be that pressure to hurry up and “sleep train” your six week old so you could get back at work and prove to the bosses that you’re still in the game, still leaning in.

Essentially in the first year of your kid’s life, a parent would be home to care for your newborn and the family wouldn’t take a financial hit. Of course not everyone wants to be home with newborns, which is totally understandable, but it’s fantastic to have the option.

But we didn’t move over here for me to crank up the baby-making machine, no, no, no. I just wanted to give you guys an idea of just how dedicated Norway is to giving those who live here a good quality of life.

Besides, my mother-in-law is here, and I’ve told you before how much I adore her. We have moved into Hubby’s childhood home and kicked her down in the basement. Seriously, we did.

But it’s not like she’s hanging out with Norwegian slugs and spiders, the basement is finished and all fixed up.

The view of our new home from the backyard. See? I told you forcing my mother-in-law in the basement wasn't so cruel.

The view of our new home from the backyard. See? I told you forcing my mother-in-law in the basement wasn’t so cruel.

The cool thing about the neighborhood is that my mother-in-law’s sister lives across the street with her family and the house next to the sister belongs to their brother and his family. So essentially we moved into the family compound. It kinda reminds me of my good friend Julie From the Compound.

And here we are, on Day 4 (or is it 5?) of living in Norway. I’m looking forward to catching you guys up on what went down in Portland as well as our new adventures in Scandinavia.

Come along with us, it’s guaranteed to be an interesting ride.

 

The family calls this the "Winter Garden," but I'm about to rename it to "Melanie's." When you imagine me writing, this is what you should envision.

The family calls this the “Winter Garden,” but I’m about to rename it to “Melanie’s.” When you imagine me writing, picture me in here, with my wine.


Comments

Moving To Norway: Why we did it — 21 Comments

  1. I MISS YOU!!!!
    OK, I’m also happy for you. Yes, I’m actually envious. Maybe Larry, Keala, and I will have to move in to the family compound. Sounds like a dream come true for a momma, to have your children surrounded by family who will love and watch out for them. Oh the images of sending your little 3 year old crankster across the street to have “family time”
    I’m wondering how you are doing with learning the language. How are the boys handling the new language?

    • Mahalo!!! Yes, save your pennies and come visit! You would really like it here, largely because I’m here, but the rest of the country is OK too. 😉 The language is no walk in the park, that’s for sure. I’m becoming like a nun leading Catholic school. We listen to these CDs and I have reading time in the mornings. We went to the school and met with some of the administrators, which was cool and we got all of the books Logan will have in the coming school year. We’ll definitely be using those throughout the summer.

      Once I get all of my Norwegian paperwork settled, the government will pay for me to take these four-hour-long classes so that I can learn the language. I’m kind of excited about that. Scared too, learning a new language is a bit daunting but I know we’ll get there. I’m impressed with Logan’s passion for learning Norwegian and hope that this trend continues.

      And my little Ethan is like a sponge on the language bit, and his teachers say after three months in school,he’ll be just like the other kids.

    • Thanks! So far it’s gone pretty well, some hiccups with immigration, but that’s kinda expected when it comes to bureaucracy, right? This is going to be an interesting ride fo’ sho!

    • It would be so cool to have you come over! Everyone would ask you if you were Helena Christensen’s sister! Think of all the fancy restaurants we could get into. 🙂

  2. Looks like a great set-up there with room for entertaining. (hint, hint, I have a passport!) I’m sorry Portland was not your bag but glad you worked it out and started another journey mama.

  3. WHAT???!!! And you didn’t call your favorite movers! I’m crushed. LOL. Congratulations on a smart choice. I hope your family finds years of blessings.

    • Oh. Mah. Gawd. The folks who packed us were ridiculous. They didn’t show on the day they were to pack us up, we had to call them to ask, “where are you?,” thankfully I had built in an extra day just in case something went wrong. They showed up the next day. Plus, they didn’t pack everything we’d ask. For example, everything on this bookshelf should go in a box for us to ship to Norway, then after they left and I was checking things out, I’d see that a couple of books and one bookend were still on the shelf. WTH?? Ugh, I missed ya’ll.

      • Poor girl lol. Serves ya right for forgetting all about poor little Ole me. Tee hee. Well, I hope all goes well. Will check back soon.

  4. This is just so great soror. I am in full support! My family lived overseas when I was a pre-teen and it was such a phenomenal experience. You all have the added bonus of being with family, and living in a pretty progressive country when it comes to honoring family life.

    • We’re stoked. It’s very hard right now, but we do believe that it will pay off in the future, especially for the kids. It’s hard to see little Logan miss his friends and the adjustment to life here, but I know it’ll be worth it. Plus, each day I’m so impressed with his wonderful ability to adapt. By the way, I love watching you on FB and Instagram, you have such a beautiful soul, you always have and it’s glorious to see what an amazing woman you are. 🙂

    • Yes, we’re looking forward to it. I guess since we’re in it, there’s probably a better way to say that. Anyway, so far Norway has been challenging, the biggest barrier is the language, but that will come with more hard work and time. I’m hopeful that the experience helps us to raise open-minded kids who can adjust or at least identify with the challenges of a big change. Thanks for stopping by!

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