The deed is done and dusted. No more furniture to find a home for, no more stupid moving companies to rant about, no more visions of forgetting to do something mega- important dancing in my head. I think I had little idea at the outset what kind of turmoil, both internal and external, this move would conjure up in me. At the best of times, I was elated at the idea of pouring components of my life into a big martini shaker and seeing what came out, starting again. We all like the thought of a beginning better than an ending. At my lowest points I questioned whether my entire life hadn’t just been me looking for one escape hatch after another. And in this well-arranged life in Toronto, what exactly did I have to escape from?
Still here I am, winging my way from Toronto to Stavanger, Norway to start a new phase of my semi-nomadic existence. I have engineered my life this way, and I love it. This makes country number six in eleven years, which only really hits home (pardon the pun) when I try to remember phone numbers or postal codes. There are lots of forgotten details at the bottom of that martini shaker, so this is my attempt to capture some of it before it's washed away.
Stavanger is beautiful at first sight. Well, at least it was on November 2nd 2012 at about 6 pm. My first glimpse of my new home comes from the left side of the plane as we head towards the runway in Sola, a "suburb" of Stavanger. Coming in from London over the North Sea, things had been pretty dark out there for an hour or so, so the gold lights of the city make the entire coast glow. I get embarrassingly teary eyed and try to hide it from the Arabic guy across from me wearing sunglasses and pouring his duty-free whiskey into mini-cans of Coke. Let the good times roll.
I am a little over-prepared for the customs process. And while I am coming to join my common-law partner who has a legitimate job here, I consider all angles of questioning that these hard-nosed Norwegians might throw at me. Will they want to know his job title? Our home address? Blood type? I have my immunization card at the ready.
The conversation with aforementioned Immigration Officer goes a little like this:
Formidable Blonde Officer: Hallo. Welcome to Norway.
Me: Thank you. (Hands over passport, keeps immunization card in pocket).
FBO: How long are you staying in Norway?
Me: (getting ready to defend my right to be on viking soil) Um, well my partner has a job here, so I am coming to join him.
FBO: Have you been to Norway before?
Me: Once. About 15 years ago. ( Pleased I can be so precise).
FBO: (Handing back passport) Good. Welcome to Norway. Have a good time here. (Smiles).
And that's it. What a chipper welcome. Mildly disappointed that I had prepared pages of documentation that would never see the light of day, I sail into baggage claim and load up 2 full trolleys worth of my most prized possessions.OK, so mostly shoes, really .After a brief chat with 2 more immigration officers and a sniffer dog checks out my suitcases, (now THAT'S more like it) I push through the baggage claim doors into the waiting arms of the reason I am here. Beginnings are so much better than endings.