Sunrise from my flight’s gate in Amsterdam.
After one very early flight from Cologne to Amsterdam, another flight from Amsterdam to Oslo, a four hour wait in Oslo and a five hour train ride through Norway, I finally arrived at the train station to be greeted by Sarah and her husband.
I was so happy to see them that the exhaustion from traveling over 14 hours was instantly wiped away.
Thursday was practically over by the time we arrived back at their home, but we made the most catching up over a traditional Norwegian evening meal before calling it a night.
Friday morning presented the opportunity to follow Sarah through her school day. We ate breakfast, she packed a lunch, then we met with her two neighbor boys to take the bus to school.
Want to know another example of what a great human being Sarah is? She learned and then taught Braille to the younger brother who has become blind. Yeah, she’s awesome like that.
It was such a privilege to be welcomed into Sarah’s schools and get to learn about the Norwegian school system. One of the interesting differences is that the children have a short break time between each and every lesson. I imagine every child I’ve ever taught could benefit from a short break between lessons.
I spent the first lesson of the day in Sarah’s 4-5th grade English lesson before heading across the school yard to the preschool.
After playing in the preschool and gymnasium with the little kids, we all had a nearly identical lunch of bread or crackers with either cheese or sliced meat. Sarah got all fancy and even packed us vegetables and hard boiled eggs. Apparently, Norwegians like to eat alike.
The school day ends early in Norway so as Sarah carried on with after school supervision, I walked back to her home, taking photos along the way.
When I arrived Thursday night, it was too dark to see the landscape, but in the light of day, I felt absolutely dwarfed by the greatness of the surrounding mountains.
Sarah’s school is probably about 1km away from her home. It was a bit drizzly and overcast on the walk back, but the atmosphere was peaceful and calming.
Lucky for Sarah and Aug, they were able to find a beautiful home right beside the water.
As if waking up every day to this amazing kitchen wasn’t enough, check out the view!
Sarah and Aug have done such a wonderful job creating a warm, cozy, welcoming home. A lovely home to accompany their lovely personalities!
Once Sarah returned from school, we appropriately dressed for my first ever “real hike.”
What I’ve been calling hiking all my life is a walk in the park compared to the hiking Sarah does in Norway.
See that big waterfall coming down from the mountain? That’s called Haremdalen, and it was our first hike.
Did I mention that Sarah is 29 weeks pregnant? After working all day, this lady was hiking up mountains like a goat. As Sarah put it, she was active before she became pregnant so it has been easy to have an active pregnancy.
We climbed through mossy trails and even had to cross the rushing waterfall at one point, but Sarah expertly guided me along.
The trail was very steep, but she encouraged me the whole time.
A few times along the hike, I had to ask my pregnant friend to slow down so I could take a breather.
Sarah kindly obliged each and every time.
As we climbed higher and higher, the view became more and more amazing.
Before I knew it, we were able to look into the valley at the miniscule town below, and take in the massive mountains rising in every direction.
Although the sunlight started to fade and we needed to head back down before reaching the book at the tip-top, I still feel proud to say that on my 26th birthday, I climbed a mountain with the most fit soon-to-be-mama in Norway!
After our hike down the mountain, Sarah made a delicious traditional fish dish for my birthday dinner.
This baked dish was so yummy, I plan on making it with Sebastian later in the week!
After dinner, we relaxed in their hot tub, watched How I Met Your Mother, then ate cake. A great way to celebrate the day of my birth!