Friday, September 15, 2006

Jet Lag

I am back at work, back in Norway, back home.

It stinks going back to work when heading east. We were lucky to be on an Airbus to Amsterdam, but the video on demand systems kept me up much of the night. Nothing quite like watching the fantasy plane crash scene from Fight Club while on a plane.

We returned with twice as much luggage as we left with. I am hording shaving cream, so if you notice price fluctuations, you know why. There is almost no selection of shaving cream in Norway. It is probably the absolute worst thing about living here-- so you can see how much suffering I must endure. I also returned with some studded tires. If anyone can explain to me how Finnish Nokians are cheaper in the US than in Norway, I'm all ears.

What else? There is so much. The weather was warmer in Norway than it had been back in the states the past few days before we left. I was up late Wednesday, then rode to work Thursday. I was in a complete fog, albeit very productive. I had warned my boss that I turned into a hurricane while away. I did not disappoint. In my bedraggled state, I actually got off on the wrong floor when taking the stairs, much to the confusion of my coworkers. To be fair, our office was formerly located on that floor, albeit months ago.

Last night I had trouble sleeping, or maybe I only dreamt that I did. Fridays are always the worst mornings, since the crushing cacophany of monster garbage trucks churns trash inches from our open windows in the pre-dawn hours. This morning, I slept past the alarm. I had serious doubts morning had yet arrived, despite sunlight to the contrary. I laboriously rode to work again, cursing the hills and the giant slugs on the trail. It was warm, with that fall-like quality to the air-- the smell of fear that summer is almost over.

The same lame bike was parked near my spot again. I swore it hadn't moved. The previous day it was in the same spot, despite my unusually early arrival to work. I was convinced it was left there. I moved it a few inches. I probably broke some commuting taboo, but I had two locks attached to the post. I leave them there at night. The Kryptonite is developing a dermatological condition-- most likely rust. It is reluctant to open these days. It could probably use some grease. Anyway, I figure I have dibs on the parking spot, since the lock will outlast the building.

Work was uneventful, except the self-imposed stress from feeling my trip to the US was less productive than I had hoped-- from a work perspective. On the other hand, I feel renewed and invigorated about work. I feel validated beyone any shred of doubt that we made the best decision imaginable by moving to Norway. I harbor no fears about missing the US, no envy that life is better on the other side of the ocean. Call it cognitive dissonance or denial, but I think we have a great thing going on here. Except that I have to go to India again in October, then back to the US. It will be jet lag all over again.

I didn't think it would ever be possible to travel too much-- particularly when someone else is picking up the bill. While I am on that topic, I noticed something very disturbing at the Northwest website. Roundtrip tickets originating from Norway to the Minneapolis cost HALF as much as those originating from Minneapolis. Not that I don't benefit from the disparity, but since it is the same distances covered and the same exact routes (only backwards), what is the point? I stumbled across this when I was pricing first class upgrades. Of course, they cost ten times as much as flying economy out of Stavanger. That is too rich for me.

When I arrived home, I was spent. I did, however, manage to hook up a Vonage phone that I picked up in the US so American customers and partners can call me back domestically. I remember life working in the US when even making a long distance call was a paperwork fiasco, and international calls were next to impossible, if not outright blocked. I picked an east coast timezone so I don't receive calls too late, and a 203 area code, like I am from Connecticut just outside NYC, or something like that. Despite all the disclaimers, warnings, and so on, I managed to fool the system. It took my foreign credit card as I used an old US address. Vonage had no provisions for four digit zip codes, country codes, etc. Of course, if someone calls 911 from here, my parents are in for quite a surprise. In Norway, if not most of Europe, they use 111, 112, and 113-- or something like that. They are separated by ambulance, fire, and police, though I highly doubt in that order. A little secret here is that anyone can dial 911 regardless. I have no idea why they don't just use that for emergencies, although 111 is certainly more practical if you are in an awful hurry and you have a rotary phone. A lot can happen while that 9 is taking its time strolling around the dial.

The pregnancy seems to be going very well. All I can say is how amazing it all is. And that we have so much to do around the house!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must take issue with your seemingly generalization when reflecting upon America(ns) after being in Norway for around year. I myself spent an extended amount of time in Roma, Italia, and having reflected on the same issues you have I arrived at almost opposite conclusions.

US drivers are much less aggressive and much more courteous than their Roman counterparts. Manners, public decorum, and politeness are more prevelant in the US than in Roma. On the otherhand, people are much larger in life (fat!) in the US. It took me a while to adjust back to that. And things being so further apart does suck. Given all that, I still love Roma and given the job opportunity would love to live there for a while, or anywhere in Italy.

While no doubt your observations may be entirely accurate on your comparison reflections of Norway life and United States life, I wanted to remind you that it is not wholly and separately accurate apart from your comparison of Norway and the US.