Homesick v2.0

Trip Start Jul 15, 2007
1
22
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Trip End Jul 16, 2008


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Flag of Norway  ,
Saturday, August 25, 2007

(Jim)

Tonight Jack had his own crisis of homesickness.  Mike, one of Jack's best friends, is celebrating his birthday today.  Most of Jack's other friends from school came to the party, and Jack was heartbroken not to be there.  Tears, frustration, need for lots of mommy time.

We gave the kids the choice of where to eat, and being in Norway, home of the world's freshest fish, as well as great cheeses and terrific beer, they chose Italian.  (We are definitely getting smoked fish as soon as we get to Montalcino, though.)  At Pasta Central, a student hangout near the fish market, we got big plates of pasta, decent pizzas, and one $8 beer.

But the real treat of the evening was the discovery of...Americans!  Even better, a very nice family from New Jersey, and better still, with two of the three wearing football jerseys -- Charlie age 7 wearing Alec's favorite player, Wayne Rooney of Manchester United, and Billy age 10 wearing a Juventus jersey.  Plus daughter Ellie age 11, so Katharine had an older girl to talk to.  After initial shyness, the combined force of American kids took over the playroom in the back, inventing a noisy and dangerous game of kickball/cricket (played with Legos as both bats and balls) that drove two nice little Norwegian girls crying from the room.

Later we went for gelato with our new friends.  Having the chance to talk English with kids their own age was a huge release for our kids.  Nice for Amy and me, too, having a chance to compare notes with other Yanks on the challenges of paying for a trip to Norway at a time when the dollar is wastepaper.


(Amy)

As Jim mentioned, spending a few hours with an incredibly lovely family from New Jersey was wonderful, and the timing could not have been better.  Jack had spent several hours begging to spend his life savings on a plane ticket home for Mike's party and was pretty inconsolable.  Playing with Billy and Charlie was the best antidote.  Mom Jana, who is an economist by training teaching in the Women's Studies department at Rutgers, was fascinating.  Her research overlaps with many of my interests regarding the relationship between empowering women and improving global health.  She has also found a nice family/work balance, and it was great to spend time with her.  I would love to keep in touch over the coming years.

That said, I have found the Norwegian people to be wonderfully friendly.  People on the street would stop to ask if we needed directions and would smile at the children frequently.  One conversation in particular that struck me was with our cab driver from the airport.  He told us that he had to work additional hours that month to cover absent employees, and doing so would mean that his tax rate would be increased, leading to less take-home pay.  He said in this way, the government encourages balance; working too much is penalized financially.   
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Comments

southfield
southfield on

Pizza and Gelato
Hi Jim and Amy:
Hope you did not get too wet on the walk back to the hotel.

Ellie, Billy, Charlie, Yana and I had a wonderful last evening in Bergen. Earlier in the day we had the good fortune of spending time with some of Yana's Norwegian colleagues and then with you all.

Many times folks get so into letting the sights define ones trip, but at the end of the day it is the relationships that you create while travelling.
My last day was truly a highlight of the trip for me.

Jet lag has not been that bad. The kids just got back from their first day of soccer camp. They quite enjoyed seeing their friends. They also seem ready for school. It was interesting (prompted by seeing you all), Yana, the kids and I talked about taking a semester sabatical away. Ellie and Charlie were dead set against it, but Billy was excited about doing it.
So, who knows we may caught your bug.

Look forward to reading more of your entries. I will send you photos in the next day or so.

Cheers and safe travels.
Bill Rodgers

nguise
nguise on

pizza in baltimore
Hi Everyone-
Schools have begun for the publics, and my guys return next Tuesday. One of the many great things you guys ae missing is the myriad of back-to-school nights, morning meetings, afternoon greeting sessions, and the host of commitments which occur with school's beginning. All four of my guys are up and playing soccer. The sport has, once again, become the focus of our afternoon and evening schedule. Since the weather is lovely, our nights on the pitch are wonderful. the next few weekends are filled with tournaments while the days are filled with Andrew's scrimages. I begin work on Thursday and teaching on Tuesday. We just talked to Uncle Bob, and while on the phone, we directed him to your website so he can se firsthand how your travels are. Mary and Lizzy are doing great, and Mac and I are searching for flights to Madrid and then to Tuscany. We are enjoying your pictures and stories. Keep writing!!!!

Amy, I love you very much!! Hugs to all, espically 'the cousins'

xo nina and fam.

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