Natalie and I are finally adjusting to the time zone, I think... I've been staying up until 2am or so with Ozzy (~7pm... uh... the previous night(?)... in Wisconsin) but last night finally hit the sack about 11pm instead. And this morning I woke up at 9am instead of the 11:30 it had been as of late. Today we hooked up a trailer to Ozzy's parent's car and drove 4 hours across Norway to Stavanger, where he currently lives. We'll be here for the weekend taking in some of the sights and helping Ozzy move. On the drive over we got to observe the beautiful Norwegian landscape. The scenery was much like how I've always pictured Middle Earth. Once I saw it I thought, "no, no, no... New Zealand is all wrong." It's lush but rocky, with wild grasses and trees popping up between the boulders of the hills in the distance. And lots of stringy whispy waterfalls. Occasionally there would be rolling valleys of sheep pastures (and the sheep have long tails!! they don't shear them off up here!). The land around Oslo was flat, drab, and grey, with dead grass everywhere (much like Wisconsin and Minnesota... why I'm not surprised that many Scandinavians settled there). But out on this side of the island is gorgeous.
Our experience in Kristiansand has been anything but mundane--comfortable, yes, thanks to the Holleruds, but mundane, "nie!" We have heard many stories of the Holleruds' lives in Japan (where they were missionaries), eaten wonderful food, visited galleries and museums, met artists and gallery owners, and lived with the most animated purebred Golden Retriever, Victoria. (She actually sings!)
Tomorrow we will be traveling to Stavanger to help Ozzy move, and to see the printshop there before he moves his studio here to Kristiansand. We met Håkon (the master printer from Stavanger who is also moving to K.) today, and will see more of him through the weekend.
Nevertheless, we did have all of our money with us so we gave them the address of Asbjorn Hollerud and family here in Kristiansand, southern Norway, to deliver them when they resurfaced. Then we hopped on a train that took 4.5 hours, sleeping nearly the whole way (on and off... intermittently reading or studying Polish, in Natalie's case). Asbjorn picked us up at the train station and took us to a gas station where we bought a 40K toothbrush (about $5.50) to share util our baggage arrived. We ate Norwegian Pizza last night and stayed up quite late (nearly midnight, local time, though our bodies thought it was a surreal 5pm) and then slept 12/14 hours (me/Natalie). Our bags arrived here before we woke up.
Now we are off to see downtown Kristiansand, visit the print shop that Ozzy (Asbjorn's nickname) and his mentor Håkon will be starting up in the area. I fear this may be dissolving into my weblog, as Natalie sat down to write something and said, after a few minutes of thinking, "I don't have anything to say!" We'll see as the trip develops. We'll probably be adjusted to the time change by tomorrow, when we travel out to Stavanger, from which Natalie's family is descended, and Asbjorn currently lives (but not for much longer).
Original plan was to leave Madison 8/13 -- spent all afternoon packing the rest of Natalie's art studio, then the storage facility and apartment management company were closed -- just as well, as we still had to pack clothes and clean the place -- which took all night (no sleep) -- come 7am Thursday morning loaded the last of what we thought we'd take to storage -- came home to start packing up everything we thought we'd take to Europe and/or DC -- it didn't fit -- this was about 10:30am and we had to be out by noon -- the rear passenger tire on our new Escort wagon was flat (this would be comedy later, but was tragedy now) -- Natalie drove the flat-tired Escort to pump up the tire, and then thinned out the load at the storage unit (difficult: our 10x10 room was already full) -- meanwhile, I piled everthing we couldn't fit in along the hallways and rigorously cleaned the rest of the apartment -- I tried calling everyone i knew and found in the phone book (Natalie had all of our phone #'s in the Escort) -- finally reached church friend Marcia Bosscher, who with children Georgia and Tony graciously loaded our excess belongings in the back of their van, bless their hearts! -- I locked the apartment and we drove to the storage unit, where I took Natalie's key and drove to the management company across town to check out at 1:30pm sharp -- isn't that later than noon? -- why yes it is, but I had the foresight to call at 11:45am to express our situation and that the keys might be in late (since the nice receptionist was working, we didn't get charged a late fee) -- then the Bosschers dumped stuff along the halls of the storage facility where we, with our pet rats (Corbett and Lucien, who were quite tramatized by all the week's activity) sorted out what could and couldn't fit where over the next four hours or so -- then we finished, and were hungry, so we ate at Culver's and realized that, now that we were ready to go, we were far too tired -- we needed sleep -- our bed was in a storage unit -- we no longer had an apartment -- there was a Super8 next door but they might not like us bringing in our pet rats (as Culver's did not, which is why we were eating sandwiches and fries on a patio in 80 degree heat, the rat wouldn't have made it in the car) -- so we called other friends (this time with our phone list) until reaching our pals the Slinkers -- "Hello?" / "Hi, Crystal?" / "Yes?" / "This is Burr, of Burr + Natalie fame, we'd like to ask you something and feel free to say no." / "OK." / "Would you happen to have an extra bed where we could sleep tonight?" / "Sure! No problem" / "Here's why you are free to say no: we have two pet rats that we can't really leave in the car... but they're in a cage." -- blablabla, being the hospitable Oklahomans they are, we could keep the cage in the basement -- we crashed at 6:00pm -- we woke at 8:30am -- we are indebted to our friends -- we had a few more dramatic errands to run that morning, and finally got on the road.
Whew! So now we are trying to finalize our shopping lists, do the packing, etc. We fly out tomorrow evening. If the European jaunt is anything as eventful as the last week, there will be plenty to write about (clearly).