Tag Archives: family

Homesick?

I tried my best to prepare for it. For everything that was about to happen as we headed to the states. But I knew we could’t truly be prepared, that we couldn’t totally know what to expect.

And especially when it came to our boys.

They had not been to the states in over three years. Norway has become home, probably more so for them than for us. Daniel has actually lived in our home in Sandefjord longer than he’s lived anywhere else in his entire life.

They were super excited about going to America. But we didn’t know what it would be like for them. I anticipated a mix of emotions, of highs and lows. And I imagined that even with all the excitement, ย at some point they would become homesick.

And as I thought about that a bit more, I realized that homesickness is actually a constant in this life we live.

We have experienced homesickness on a fairly consistent basis since probably 2007.

I remember being incredibly homesick our first time in Ukraine. It was our first time in a non-English speaking country. The availability of internet, even 8 years ago, just wasn’t what it was now. There were so many unknowns and so much uncertainty around us (plus, we were about to become parents for the first time – yikes!).

And yet, when we arrived home with our first son a month later, we found ourselves feeling a bit homesick for Ukraine. Sounds weird, but it is true.

It happened again in 2010 when we adopted our second child. Homesick for America, then homesick for Ukraine.

We experienced it when we lived in Canada. And at that point, I started realizing that the homesickness we are experiencing is not necessarily about a place. It is more about family, friends, and familiarity.

We felt it it when we first moved here to Norway and made it through that initial ‘honeymoon’ phase.

And while I love our city and friends and life in Norway, we still experience it.

It seems there is always a lingering homesickness in me. It is there regardless of where I am.

After three years living outside of my home culture, I’ve come to realize that I might never feel totally at home again. There will always be something I miss from one of my homes.

It’s one of those things you learn to live with, that you accept as a part of this cross-culture lifestyle.

And I also see now that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing.

Instead, I consider it a reminder of the opportunities we’ve had in life, the people and places who’ve impacted and changed us, and the memories of the family, the friends, and the familiar.

 

So thanks to so many of you for making us feel at home in so many different places.

 

For making us feel homesick.

 

 

And for keeping up with us, through the crazy times, the boring times, and everything in between.

 

Yes, we are still here!

Our two months in America flew by, and this past Saturday we returned home to Norway. I’d hoped to blog more while in the states, but we were extremely busy and it just simply did not happen.We do, however, have several things we’ll share in the coming weeks.

The Coffee Tour will kick off again this Monday, with a visit to a coffee roasting company in Duluth, Georgia.

And we’ll share a bit about what we did and what it was like being back after a few years away.

Hope you all had a great Christmas, and here’s to a fantastic 2016!

 

More November Highlights

November is already gone – hard to believe! We are almost three weeks into our nine week visit – and we have been BUSY! In addition to multiple Thanksgiving meals (and WAY too much food) we…

  • Helped decorate for Christmas
  • Had amazing pizza in Atlanta
  • Visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden Christmas light display
  • Enjoyed two open house events
  • Had a visit from Sasha
  • Found several cool walking trails
  • Celebrated Jenn’s 40th
  • Celebrated Zack’s dad’s birthday
  • Checked out a coffee shop in Atlanta
  • Went on a boat ride (yes, in November!)
  • Went fishing
  • Ate Mexican food… several times
  • Spent the night several times with grandparents, great-grandparents, and lots of aunts, uncles and cousins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Whole New World

We arrived in Atlanta Friday afternoon. Just in time for midtown traffic. Yeah, welcome ‘home’!

We have done quite a lot in our first few days, in addition to fighting jet lag. Here are a few highlights, plus some observations.

Saturday we had an open house with about 60 people in attendance. Yeah, less than 24 hours after arriving here. Call us crazy. It was totally overwhelming, but also a lot of fun.

We visited our church on Sunday. After three years. Some familiar faces, but so many we’d never seen before. It was big. And slightly familiar. We are grateful to those who welcomed us so warmly.

We had Mexican food after church. At the restaurant we went to often when we lived here. And for the most part, it felt like old times. With friends. The kind of friends where you just pick up where you left off. That was nice.

We began homeschool on Monday. I am quickly reaching a new level of respect for all the homeschool parents out there. Wow.

We went to Target. Overload! The cereal aisle alone had our heads spinning.

There is nature trail just across the street from Zack’s brother’s house. We love that we can walk about 3 minutes and be in the woods!

Yesterday was my birthday, and I joined Zack in the 40 club. So far, 40 feels good. I’m in better shape than I was at 30 or even 20.

Zack and the boys took me for a manicure/pedicure. What a treat! I felt so pampered and spoiled.

We went to the mall. It was big. The music was loud. The people were friendly.

 

 

 

We had Indian food for dinner. It was spicy. And it was awesome.

Plus, a cake from American Cookie Company. So many calories. So yummy. I have zero willpower around those cakes.

More to come!

The last SIX days…

We are definitely in countdown mode, as we prepare to go ‘home’ for the holidays!I kicked off our Saturday morning by introducing our boys to Neil Diamond. They thought I was a bit crazy, but it was fun singing America!

We are about two-thirds of the way through our packing. I’m struggling a bit as I look at the forecast and see the really warm temps, knowing that we’d already packed away our summer clothes! But we’ll manage – or we’ll shop a bit!

So I apologize that we aren’t totally engaged on the blog right now. We are busy finishing up things here before saying ‘see you soon’ to everyone on this side of the ocean.

But we’ll be back soon, with observations on our first time back in the states as a family in more than three years!

Throwing the Shock in Reverse

Those of you that have been hanging out with us for a likely remember that we’ve written a bit on the blog about culture, and adapting to life in a new country. Things we’ve learned and experienced as we journeyed across the ocean. Differences in Norwegian & American culture. Things that were strange or difficult for us. Things we love about this culture and country.

Things like…
Our “What’s It Like” series (here)
Our “Christmas Cheer” series (here)
The boys’ school experience (here)

Yeah, three years of learning and being challenged, feeling frustrated at times, and at other times quite encouraged, struggling to understand differences, working to find substitutes for things that were once normal for us, finding balance in a new routine, and so much more.

We have grown to love life in Europe. It has become home. Then again, we’ve also learned that the idea of home has greatly changed. There is no longer that one place that is home for us. Instead, it’s a feeling, and it’s more about who than where.

But now it’s time for a bit of reverse culture shock… the Dove family is embarking on a visit to our other home! We’re headed to America soon (in 15 days, to be exact), where we’ll be spending the holidays with family and friends, doing a bit of work, and relaxing a bit as well.

Zack and I have each been back to the states once. But our boys have not been there in over three years. Needless to say, they are a bit excited!

We are excited as well – and maybe a bit apprehensive. Three years is a long time. And we’d be lying if we said this time and experience has not changed us.

Two months in America – this is going to be interesting!

So stay tuned to see just how much we’ve changed – and how much the world and life we left have gone off and changed on us!

Celebrating 40 Years

Milestone birthdays call for special celebrations. And since Zack celebrated number 40 this past month, we thought it fitting to celebrate big!We started out with a few days with his brother in sister-in-law in London, and then flew to Athens, Greece.

Zack’s parents purchased concert tickets for us to see one of our faves, Zac Brown Band, in London. We spent a long weekend there and had a blast at the concert. But I think we’d all agree that the best part was spending time with Josh and Savannah!

After our London weekend, we flew to Athens, Greece. This was Zack’s main birthday gift: visiting a city that has been at the top of our list for quite some time. We had a great time exploring ancient sites, visiting with friends, and eating incredible food.

Here are a few highlights from both cities. I’ll try to add more details via future posts…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty Years and Counting

Friday was 20 years since Zack and I went on our first date.

20 years since we sat in a restaurant overlooking Atlanta, and talked about our backgrounds and our futures.

20 years since we saw the movie Dangerous Minds.

20 years since we first held hands.

20 years since I got back to my dorm room and told my friends that I knew who I was going to marry.

We’ve lived through a lot together in twenty years! Of course not every day has been easy. But the hard times pale in comparison to the seasons of fun and laughter, adventure and unknowns, excitement and opportunity. It’s been crazy, and it’s been great!

I love getting to spend each and every day with my best friend.

 

As we walked through our city Friday night, I looked around and once again tried to take in the fact that we’re living on the other side of the world, speaking another language (or at least trying to!), the parents of two pretty rockin’ kids, with friends and family from one side of globe to the other…

… and then I looked at Zack and said, “could you have imagined all of this twenty years ago?”

 

They say time flies when you’re having fun. And I believe it’s true.

Here’s to twenty more… and twenty more after that!

 

 

 

 

Jolly Old London Town

Coming back around to the last post about Anna’s (my niece) recent visit. The last stop on our trip was London.

In December 1993, when I was a junior in high school, I had the opportunity to visit London on a school trip. There were a couple hundred of us on the trip, including my sweet friend, Kristy. Little did I know that a few years later, she would become my sister-in-law! It was a great trip and we both fell in love with the city.

See the 3 faces in the background? ๐Ÿ™‚

So what a cool thing that just over 20 years later, I had the chance to take my niece to London! And even better: Zack and the boys joined us on this leg of the trip. It was William and Daniel’s first time in London as well.

It was fun showing them some of Zack’s and my favorite places, and discovering a few new ones as well.

Of course we saw all the obligatory spots, like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the Thames…

And the original Hard Rock!

As HP fans, we also made a stop at Platform 9 3/4!

 

We only had two full days, but we managed to see a lot. On the second morning, Anna and I went to Tower of London.

 

And the boys took a tour of Chelsea’s stadium.

Of course, there was also coffee!

 

 

We took the Tube to Notting Hill, which is now one of my favorite areas in London. Love this area!

The antique store used in the movie Paddington Bear

 

William Thacker’s (Hugh Grant) travel book
shop from Notting Hill

 

The Blue Door to William Thacker’s flat in
Notting Hill

 

 

 

A quick stop on Baker Street…

 

Total tourists on Abbey Road

 

 

And we finished off our visit at a great Fish & Chips restaurant in Notting Hill.