We knew what we were doing alright. After a few short trips to Oslo, let’s say they were long weekends, we decided we would move here. I had always wanted to live in Alaska but Norway would be just as amazing without the moose roaming the streets. The fjords held a mysticism for me since learning about Norway and how the Vikings had paid Ireland a visit way back then. Strangely enough, I also remember the sheer joy of learning to spell the word when I was 7 or so.
But there was more. My husband had worked here on and off for the previous 18 months and he had fallen in love with Oslo. Particularly Oslo in Spring. The way it comes to new life after a long cold winter, people open up, they smile, they engage as if they are renewed again, cafes open after the winter, fountains are turned on, it truly comes alive. It’s a wonderful place, he told me. And he was right.
I liked it immediately. The open spaces, the playgrounds everywhere, the food supermarkets that are just for food and not shovels and microwaves and wellies as well which is what we had become used to in London and Ireland. I have always had a problem with the idea of buying everything in one big mega-shop, even if it is super convenient. Maybe it’s my suspicious nature that they might get to know too much about me and clone me or something. A shoe shop for shoes, a newsagent for paper with news, a bakery for bakes – it just suits me better.
For me, the clincher came on one of those Oslo visits when my son was out of sight in a local food shop near our apartment. I was calling for him and asked the shopkeeper a bit frantically if he had seen a small boy. He helped me find him behind the pasta or somewhere, laid his hand on my arm and said, “It’s OK, you are in Norway now, it is safer here”. That was it, we were moving here.