Saturday, February 23, 2013

I’ll have a T-Shirt with an insult please

Looking back at that European tour, the tour that I ended up with a black X on my passport ( makes me remember so many funny things that happened. I ‘ve decided that I need to go back and remember them on paper so that I won’t forget. It’s a shame I’m not better at journaling as things are happening…but I really like to “be” in the moment. Anyway…. The flight to Graz was another Ryan Air extravaganza. This time we would be leaving from Torp outside of Oslo somewhere, flying back into England (with the black X) for a stopover and then on to Graz.

The Ryan Air employees at the Torp airport were very unfriendly and it seemed as though they hated their jobs. From my own personal experience, Norwegians aren’t the best at customer service in general, but these people really took the cake. Even though our flights were cheap we had to haggle each flight with our baggage because we had some guitars with us, which make you WAY over the weight limit. In most places we were able to talk them into waiving the over limit fee if the flight wasn’t completely booked. Not at Torp. No way. These people wouldn’t budge and they were mean about it to boot. Well, we ended up having to call our booking agent very early that morning to tell him that we had to pay the full fee and that he was going to have to give a credit card. He was super unhappy, making strange, unintelligible sounds of confusion, groaning with stress on the other end from his warm Swedish apartment. The flight itself was fine and we arrived in London without a hitch until we went through the customs line.

Here we were, back in London but this time at a different airport. Going through customs, this time we were able to say that we were just in London to make a connection to Graz. Hold on, hold on, hold on…. The customs agent gathered us all to the side and went over our passports, asked us about our “deception,” and told us that we were allowed to be here in London, but if we try to step foot outside of the airport and sneak into England they would hunt us down… possibly kill us. Well, he didn’t say kill us but he did say hunt us down. We assured him we didn’t want to be in London. I may have even said that Graz is probably a lot nicer…hehehe. After over 45 minutes at customs they finally allowed us to pass. We went to the gate area and had delicious Guinness on tap while waiting.

The flight to Graz was unbelievably beautiful, flying over the Alps. The Alps made the flight attendants that constantly walk the aisles hawking items disappear and all that I could see were beautiful, jagged, snowcapped mountains, stretching out in every direction. As we landed in Graz, the incredible tour manager, Klaus was waiting for us. We liked him right away. He drove us into town and took us to a restaurant. It was so beautiful, the weather was warm even though it was February, so we ate outside. The restaurant had signed pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger hanging up inside in which he wrote stupid things like; “I’ll be back.”

Our show was to be right around the corner and Klaus took us to the club where we found our rental gear. We got everything set up and did a sound check. Everything was super chill and relaxed. There was lots of booze flowing and we had a feeling of relief that Klaus was there to take care of everything and we could finally slack off a little bit. The show was pretty early since, like most clubs we played at, this club would host a DJ, drinking, and dancing after the show. We were opening up for a super nice band from London, who we thought really sucked musically, but they were super nice people. We went on stage and played a really tipsy, but solid set, and when we were finished, we hung out more, talked with people, and drank a lot. I went back to work at the merchandise table, and after awhile, the headlining band came back to sell their stuff next to ours. They had played a good set and people really seemed to like them. After a bit, my husband staggered up, pretty drunk and started talking about how shitty the headlining band was. I tried to stop him but I couldn’t, he kept going, and since I was standing there with said band, I grabbed his arm and dragged him off across the room. He asked me what the hell I was so upset about. I told him that he was berating the headlining band while standing right next to the headlining band. It took him a couple of minutes to understand what I was saying. Once it sunk in and I said that I was going to have to go back there and get our stuff, and I thought he should apologize, he promptly found that to be a great time to go limp and just pretty much give up. Instead of going back to the merch, I asked my band-mates to go pack the stuff up as I walked my drunk and incoherent husband to Klaus’ car, stuck him in the backseat where he slumped over and immediately began to snore. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So much to do!

going from here

to here

There is so much to think about. If we are going to move to Norway in the next year, we have a lot to figure out! Should we sell or rent our house? I would like to rent it, but is that crazy? Also, we own my mom’s house and will be managing it from afar. I guess we’ll have to figure out taxes and all of that too. We have 2 cars and I would like to bring them both…cars are really expensive in Norway. But I don’t know if the cost with taxes, and licensing fees will be so expensive that it isn’t worth it. I need to figure out how much everything is going to cost! We have 2 cats and 2 dogs too… that’s certainly going to be challenging and expensive. I wonder if my kids will find it easy to learn Norwegian. They’ve been visiting Norway all of their lives, but they haven’t learned much of the language. Will they be able to learn Norwegian in Norwegian schools without falling behind? I hope their transition will be easy and painless. There is so much more to think about. We’re excited though, and I think we’re definitely up for the challenge and the change. It will be good for us.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 10, 2004

It was nine years ago and almost two months when my husband and I traveled to Norway to get married. We went for Christmas and planned to get married around the first week of January. We left CVG on December 19th and were both very excited. This was my first Christmas in Norway and I thought it was so cozy! Little electric candles in the windows of houses everywhere you went, and it looked so inviting and warm. Tasteful decorations  everywhere and a general spirit of good will made it seem even more special and romantic. Every home you went to offered delicious cakes, cookies, and coffee. The reflections from the snow made the long lasting darkness seem lighter, and act as its own Christmas light, shimmering against everything dark like magical holiday fairy dust. You probably get it. It was gorgeous and I was excited to be there, doubly excited to marry the love of my life.

Christmas came and went and we prepared ourselves for the mounds of paperwork and things we’d need to do in preparation of our wedding. We just wanted to have a little courthouse wedding with his mom, dad, and sister. I had been married before and didn’t want to have a big fuss. We had done a good bit of the paper work through email and were working with the American embassy in Oslo to make sure we would be okay to come back to the states afterwards to live. We started working with the county where my husband is from, sending them all necessary paperwork, talking to them on the phone and jumping through all of the hoops. We had to make a trip to Oslo to get paperwork done for my husband’s green card. He had to have x-rays, blood tests, among other things, and have interviews at the embassy.  By the 2nd week of January we were both starting to worry. We had already completed all of the paperwork and everything was basically good to go, and we had thought we’d be married by now, but there was a small hitch. My lawyer had sent my divorce decree via fed ex since the Romsdal Tingrett wanted to see it. When I got a copy to them, they had so many questions about it. One lady told us she didn’t understand something and was going to consult someone else. Several days later, someone else is looking at it and finds it suspect and wants to bring in yet another person to inspect it. Half of the time we would try to talk to someone they would be having a cake break, or would have left early. I started to doubt that Norwegians ever worked!  At this point we realize we need to change our ticket back to the US. We moved our ticket back to the last possible date without having to repurchase our tickets to February 14th, which is of course, Valentine’s Day.

We became miserable. I found it hard to sleep. We were both so stressed and the Christmas fairy dust blew over the mountains and went somewhere else making the dark envelope me and get inside my head. We decided to put our rings on anyway to cheer us up. We had purchased them back home and had them inscribed on the inside. This did cheer us up a little. The next day, my husband’s dad said, why don’t you guys just drive up to Molde again and demand to talk to someone in person. “Refuse to leave until you get an answer” he told us. What did we have to lose really… by this time it was already February. We hopped into the car and made the windy one hour car trip though the fjords to Molde, marched in and demanded to talk to the people we’d been dealing with. They seemed really taken aback by our forcefulness and determination. I don’t think Norwegians typically push like that, but we were actually getting somewhere finally. We went into some woman’s office and poured over my divorce decree with a few other folks at the Romsdal Tingrett. They were really upset about one sentence that they felt didn’t translate right. They felt that it left too much ambiguity and perhaps I am not really divorced. After about an hour, they finally decided that I’m probably not collecting husbands and I’m most likely on the up and up. We got a wedding scheduled in the court house for the afternoon of February 10, 2004…. In just 3 days! That’s okay, we’ll take it!

On our wedding day, we woke up and hurriedly got ready. My husband’s mom insisted on ironing my dress, we rushed and rushed and were out the door with plenty of time to make the drive back up to Molde. As we were driving there was some sort of accident or avalanche up ahead and the whole road was closed down. It was bad enough that everyone is shutting off their engines and getting out of their cars to smoke, talk, etc. CRAP!!! After what felt like HOURS we were ready to move. Luckily, we pulled into town with about 10 minutes to spare. Not ideal, but at least we won’t be keeping the judge waiting. We were about 2 blocks from the courthouse when my soon to be mother in law exclaims “we don’t have a bouquet!!” She yelled for my soon to be father in law to pull over, jumped out of the car and disappeared around the corner (I didn’t speak or understand Norwegian at this point so my husband had to explain to me what was happening, and she bolted before I had time to protest). I was about to cry and extremely upset and stressed. My husband was too. My mother in law is a quick little lady though, and she came bursting back around the corner with a beautiful bouquet of mini roses.  We flew into the parking lot and walked into the courthouse with something like two minutes to spare. It was all good. The judge was relaxed which made me relax. He told us the procedure and took us into the room. They had it decked out with Norwegian and American flags, and the judge said everything in both English and Norwegian which I thought was really nice.  It really turned out lovely, and I ended up being really grateful for the beautiful flowers. My mother in law dried the bouquet and has it displayed in the room we sleep in when we visit.

That evening, we had a nice big celebratory meal and champagne with family. We packed our bags quickly and got on the night train to Oslo. We spent our first night as a married couple in a sleeper car on the NSB train. It was actually super romantic in my eyes. We had a 9:00 a.m. appointment with the US embassy in Oslo, another interview, had to show our marriage certificate and get his passport stamp with his temporary green card. The train got in at six a.m., so it gave us plenty of time to check into our hotel, shower, and prepare. After the wedding actually happened, things went down very smooth and effortless. The sun was starting to stay out longer, it was February.