keepingupwiththearmstrongs

Ever wonder what the Armstrongs are doing way up here in north Norway? Now you can sit back and eat some popcorn, and enjoy some real reality entertainment much better than the Kardashians! Hope you enjoy and share my blogg!

Time to Tie the Knot!

  • Publisert: 31.03.2016, 10:51
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) Shortly after returning to Norway, I am sad to say that Tonjes grandpa passed away. I only got to meet him once, but he was very kind and very smart. I found out that just after my first trip to Norway, he had mentioned to Tonje that he felt I was good for Tonje and that she should hold on to me. That was very great news. I was so pleased that he accepted me.

    Now that I had the grandfathers blessing, and the wedding date was set, we started to make some plans. We didn't have allot of money, so this wedding would be short and sweet. It would take place at city hall followed by a family gathering and cake at home afterwards.  

    I was a given a suit which had belonged to Tonjes grandpa. It actually fit and I was honored to wear it. When we arrived at the city hall, another wedding was just ending. I saw a beautiful bride and groom exiting the building when we showed up. They looked very happy. I was feeling really nervous and I really just wanted to get it over with. I was really happy that we didn't have to bother with some big fancy expensive wedding. It was a nice wedding. Tonjes cousin was the best man, and one of her friends was the bridesmaid. We took our vows. Everything was said in Norwegian and then in English so that I could understand everything.

    Tonje looked so beautiful in her wedding dress. She was again in her perma-smile mode. She almost never stopped smiling around me and that made me feel really good inside. I felt proud that I was becoming part of the family. Tonje Kristiansen would now be Tonje Armstrong, and I would become a step dad to Ylva!  The wedding didn't last more than 45 minutes and then we all went back home to eat cake. It was a cozy party with a lovely cake.

    Then my mother in law Eva treated us to a fantastic dinner at one of the nicest restaurants in town. It was gourmet! It was the first time I ate reindeer and I have to say it was amazing! Everything was great and I was really proud and happy to be a member of this part of the world. Surprisingly everyone spoke English to me! I really had no idea that everyone could speak English. When people weren't speaking English to me they would carry on with Norwegian to each other. This always sounded like a bunch of mumbo jumbo with an occasional word I could understand.

    I really had to use my brain to figure out what people were saying. I had to look at their facial expressions and judge the context of what they were saying and doing to have any clue what was going on sometimes. I knew I would have to learn the language, but how? (to be continued) Have a super fantastic awesome day!
     

  • Publisert: 31.03.2016, 10:51
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • She made a nice catch!

  • Publisert: 30.03.2016, 16:24
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) It looks like Tonje made a really nice big catch this time. A 180 pound one, at a distance of about half way around earth. I couldn't believe I was leaving my country to go to another country where only one person knows me. One great person indeed. I was willing to do it because I really wanted to be with my best friend, someone who felt like more than a friend to me. But it was still very scary to make that decision. I had high expectations when I decided it. I thought maybe I could go somewhere and make a difference for someone else in a different part of the world. Maybe I could be someones hero, hopefully Tonje.

    I thought to myself maybe I can go to Norway and be a superstar. Maybe the Norwegians might not like me but as long as I got Tonje then everything would be Ok. I was really excited and overwhelmed with emotions on the flight back to Tromsø. I couldn't believe I was going to actually get married and live in another country. I had dreams that one day I could bring her back to America with me. I had packed up almost everything I own into 2 suitcases and moved to Tromsø Norway. Way up near the north pole where it stays dark all winter and then the sun stays out the entire summer.

    I had no idea how it was going to be, but I figured I would just take it as it comes and see how things go. Despite everything, there was only 1 thing that mattered to me. I loved Tonje and she loved me. That is what brought this amazing adventure for me and for us basically. I arrived in Tromsø with my suitcases and stayed in a house with Tonje and her mother and daughter. It was really nice and we had our own floor of the house. I was very thankful that I was allowed to stay there and start out my life in Norway.

    I was determined to learn the language and get a job. I was so nervous yet very excited to start off in Norway with my soon to be wife and make something happen. Our bedroom/living room area was really cozy. We even had heated floors. I thought it was super cool that a house could have heated floors! Then again the temperature was 110f/43c when I left Arizona to about 60f/16c  in Tromsø, which was about as warm as it ever gets there! For the next few weeks I cozied myself in and discussed the wedding with Tonje. Norway felt like a really great place! (to be continued) Thanks for reading! Have a grand day!
     

  • Publisert: 30.03.2016, 16:24
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Making that Walmart money!

  • Publisert: 29.03.2016, 11:18
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) One week had passed since I left Tromsø, and I was really missing Tonje. I was able to visit her on webcam, and chat online, but it wasn't good enough. I really wanted to be back with her in Tromsø. It was like she was my soulmate but I didn't realize it yet. I really wanted to impress Tonje with a nice wedding ring, so I really needed to start saving money again. I would need to save up for the ring, plane tickets, and supplies before I would literally move to Norway and live with Tonje.

    I showed up to my first day at my new Walmart job. It was blistering hot. You could feel your skin tanning the minute you exit the air conditioned car. I found out that the Walmart I would work at hadn't been fully built, so the first step was to complete building the inside of the store. I met allot of people and made many friends. My wage wasn't very great, only slightly above minimum wage but at least I had a job.

    After a couple of days doing mundane jobs, the boss at Walmart found out what a hard worker I was, and decided to put my great work ethic to some more challenging jobs. They taught me how to use some heavy equipment. I was given a Jack hammer drill, and was in charge of jack hammer drilling into the concrete and bolting down 100's of metal beams and posts throughout the store. It was really hard work and extremely underpaid, but I just did it because I knew that it was one step closer to being with my girl in Norway.

    I was  sweating buckets, and working very hard for several weeks,until store was near completion. Finally the store opened for business After showing my work ethic, and becoming an asset to the store, the boss at Walmart offered me a leadership position. It was some sort of shift manager/leader thing. This is when I had to tell them that staying  at Walmart wasn't part of my plans. I informed them that in a couple months I would be leaving to move to Norway. I could tell that they were disappointed, but were thankful I let them know.

    I had began to make many good friends at Walmart, and soon word had gotten around that I would be leaving. Everyone was disappointed. I felt bad for leaving them but extremely excited about starting a new life in another country. The next day during our daily warm up and briefing before work started, the boss informed everyone that I was going to leave, and that they would put me in charge of the freezer area in the meantime. He said since I would be moving to Norway that they would help prepare me with the temperature and keep me working in the freezer and milk coolers. I was totally Ok with this, because in Arizona its impossible to keep cool.

    I worked hard for months, and finally had enough money to buy a wedding ring. I really wanted to impress Tonje, so I used an entire paycheck on her ring. I spent hours at the mall until I came up with the perfect ring. It was a white gold ring with a beautiful blue gem on top. I was enjoying myself in Arizona. Making friends and spending time with my sister were the high points.

    I bought my plane tickets, and this time I spent a little extra because I didn't want to endure the hell I went through the first time around. It would still be hard but not near as hard. Now everything was set. Wedding ring, tickets, and extra money were all sorted and now it was time to say goodbye to the life I had always known. I was going to leave the country I spent 30 years in, and go live in a country I had spent one month in. Now I was back to stressing and being nervous. This was a big step in my life. A step I am thankful that I took. A step I will never regret. Its time to return to Norway! (to be continued) Thanks for reading guys!

  • Publisert: 29.03.2016, 11:18
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Tromsø To Arizona

  • Publisert: 28.03.2016, 11:39
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) I couldn't stop thinking about Tonje. I was so sad and heartbroken that I couldn't think about anything else. My return flight to Arizona was almost as bad as the trip I took to Tromsø. I was leaving my dream girl, about to embark on another extremely difficult trip, and about to start a new life in Arizona. Lets just say I was a nervous wreck. I just had to suck it up and carry on. I was actually excited to see my sister. It had been a long time, and it would be great to spend some quality brother and sister time. I was also excited to see my brother in law! 

    When I left Tromsø the weather was cold and not so great. When I landed in Arizona, there is only one word to describe the weather. It was HOT HOT HOT! Like over 100 degrees F. My sister met me at the airport and it was a joyous reunion. Sister I shouted! Brother she shouted back! We ran full speed and connected with a big hug. It was so good to see her. She drove me to her house in this big bad ass old school truck. We arrived at her house. It felt really good to be around family and everyone was speaking english! I was given my own room. And lucky for me my grandma even let me borrow a really nice big Ford truck! I was all set but I needed a job to get things rolling. I was already missing Tonje, so I had to give her a call. Despite the cost of calling such long distance, we talked for at least an hour. We both agreed that I needed to come back ASAP. After further discussion, we concluded that the best thing to keep us together was simply for us to get married! This was a brilliant plan, but I would have to build up some money again.

    I set the plan in motion and started applying for jobs. I was offered a job at Walmart! I only needed to take a drug screening and the job was mine! I Cleared the drug screening, and everything was set. I had everything I temporarily needed! Time to work on my return to Norway! (to be continued) Thanks for reading! I appreciate the support! (:

  • Publisert: 28.03.2016, 11:39
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  • Its so hard to say goodbye!

  • Publisert: 27.03.2016, 11:44
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) For the first time in several days I actually got some proper sleep. When I fell asleep Tonje was sitting beside me smiling, and when I woke up she was still sitting there smiling. I began to think that she never stops smiling. Although I had slept all night, I still felt this overwhelming tiredness. It was the jet lag. I had traveled 8 hours into the future and it had caught up to me. Tonje asked me if i wanted some breakfast. I said sure, anything sounds good right now. I told her to decide what we would have. She said "how about slices of bread with cheese". I thought hmm so much for pancakes and eggs, but sure lets have slices of bread with cheese for breakfast. I thought it was really weird to have that for breakfast, but surprisingly, it was quite satisfying.

    Everything was so laid back and chill so far. I really enjoyed just relaxing and letting life come to me for a while. Over the next weeks, we did all of the things tourists do. We went to Polaria (a polar museum), we walked around downtown, we even went to Burger King! I felt right at home when we went to Burger King, but when I saw the price of a meal I was in shock. 100 kroners for a meal?? Thats like 16 dollars. I guess that makes it only an occasional thing.

    We went to the library and it was the fanciest library I had ever seen. We even went to the movies! I was very impressed with the movie theater. It was so nice and top of the line. I thought it was strange that when you buy your ticket you are assigned a seat and the number and row is printed on your ticket. We spent every day doing fun stuff and just relaxing. It was so wonderful to finally spend time with my good friend in person. I could feel an even stronger connection forming with Tonje. We started holding hands, and acting like a couple. We were like two peas in a pod, and everything was clicking.

    We decided it would be nice if I could stay longer than a month, but the only way I could legally stay is if i had a job. Tonje helped me look for a job at some of the local factories. We found out it was impossible for me to get a job unless I was offered a job before I came to Norway. The end of my 1 month visit was quickly coming up, and we didn't want it to end. We were desperate to figure out a way for me to stay, We didn't come up with anything, and now the time had come for me to go back to america.

    We were both really depressed. We had gotten so close, and it felt like we were practically boyfriend and girlfriend, but now I had to travel back to the other side of the world. I didn't want to say goodbye. We took the bus to the airport holding each others hand really tight. Our heads were hanging low, and we didn't have much to talk about. The only thing we could think about was the fact that I had to leave and the fairy tale would soon come to an end. We sat beside each other at the airport. I put my arm around her and told her it would be ok. I would come back and visit again someday. As soon as I said someday, Tonje couldn't hold back the tears anymore. She started crying on my shoulder. I was trying to be strong and hold it back but I couldn't. We sat there in the airport crying together for an hour. We were devastated, and now it was time for me to board the plane and go start a new life, and live with my sister in Arizona.

    It was an exciting thought, but at the same time something didn't feel right. It almost felt like I was meant to stay with Tonje in Norway, but now I was leaving. We hugged and cried and waited until everyone else boarded the plane. I gave Tonje one last hug and kiss and wiped her tears away. I'll call you as soon as I get there I told her. I kept turning back to look at Tonje as I headed down the tunnel towards the plane. I blew her kisses and waved and she did the same thing. My heart was broken,, and the only person that could fix it was Tonje. I sat down on the plane and felt determined to come back again someday.(to be continued) Have a super day my friend!

     

  • Publisert: 27.03.2016, 11:44
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Paris of the North

  • Publisert: 26.03.2016, 00:50
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) We headed out of the airport and got straight on the bus.  I was still feeling nervous, but the weight on my shoulders was relieved. I made it to Tromsø, Tonje was real, and I wasn't being scammed or murdered (at least not yet). We talked and got caught up on the bus ride. We had endless things to talk about. It was such a wonderful feeling to talk to Tonje in person. As I looked out the window I could see a fair amount of snow. It was mostly darkened  and brown snow as if it had been around for a long time. It wasn't exactly the pretty white stuff I had imagined. We exited the bus and my first thought was that I was surprised that such a rich country would have such poor roads and sidewalks, but maybe that's just me.

    I was starving and asked Tonje what she recommended. She said how about a hot dog with bacon and cheese in it? That sounds like a great idea, but where might we ever find that? She told me I could find it almost anywhere. We walked into the first building nearby and there it was love at first sight. Up ahead, there was a bacon wrapped cheese filled hot dog spinning away on a rotisserie. Just looking at it made me smile. It was a far cry from the cheap hot dogs at 7-11 back in the US.

    Tonje, being such the sweetheart that she is, ordered me one and payed for it with her own money. I was grateful and sat down at a window seat and began to enjoy the masterpiece as I looked out the window. I took a bight and the crunchy bacon crunched and the hot dog busted open, and cheese oozed out. I thought to myself, maybe this is the reason I traveled across the world. What a delight! It was an absolute pleasure the first time I got to eat a bacon polse. It would be the first of many.

    I noticed that Tonje just wouldn't stop smiling. I thought she looked so pretty and her smile was so great. I could already feel that we had a good connection. We took the bus from downtown to her house on a street called Gimleveien.  It was a big, nice older house. The first person I got to meet was a really cute doggy who came barking like crazy as we entered the house. He jumped up to me and Tonje was actually surprised he already liked me. I wasn't surprised, because dogs love me. I was introduced to my future mother in law, and stepdaughter (which i didn't know at the time they would be) and they were very sweet and beautiful just like Tonje. It was a pleasure to be a guest at their house in Norway. Tonje took me to her room and I finally got to really relax and take off my shoes. I was so happy to finally be there. I looked forward to the next month I would spend there! (to be continued) I hope your day is the best! Thanks for reading!

  • Publisert: 26.03.2016, 00:50
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • From Portland to Tromsø for Love

  • Publisert: 25.03.2016, 11:22
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) I jumped out of bed. Everyone else was asleep and snoring. I took a super fast shower and gathered all of my belongings. My body was awake but mentally I wasn't awake. It was 6 am and I was wandering around down the middle of the street in the dark, half a world away from home in search of possibly my soul mate. I found the bus which would take me to Gardemoen Airport. The reality kicked in that I will finally meet my friend after being long distance friends for 3 years. I began smiling and feeling very happy yet super nervous.

    This was kind of like a blind date taken to a whole new level, although I had actually seen Tonje before on web cam. It was a short trip to the airport. I had one more 4 hour layover before my flight would take me to Tromsø. I found a bank where I could use my bank card and take out Norwegian kroner. It was really cool having Norwegian money in my wallet for the first time. I was pleased to find an actual Pizza Hut! Pizza just like home. I sat and had some pizza and tried to go over what I would say and do the first time I meet Tonje in person. I was already getting sweaty and nervous. I practiced my Norwegian lines, and basically did everything I can to prepare for meeting Tonje. It was a relief to know I had come so far and the worst was behind me.

    I boarded the plane and took my seat near the window. I fell asleep within minutes after takeoff and woke up minutes before landing. At this point I was at the mercy of Jet lag. I heard the Pilot announce in Norwegian and then English that we would be landing in Tromsø soon. I was so nervous, exhausted, hungry and hot. I watched out the window as the plane began to land.. This time it looked very mysterious out there. We were dropping through the clouds and landing on this island near the north pole. It looked just like it did in the book Tonje sent me.

    It was almost like I was in a dream. The airport looked so small. The security was the most relaxed I have ever felt at any airport during the whole trip. I walked down the ramp and started looking for the only familiar face I knew of. At first I didn't see her. Those thoughts of being scammed and murdered came to my mind again but that was all quickly erased. Everything I had planned to say and do suddenly went out the window 

    There she was standing there with the biggest humanly possible smile on her face. We walked straight to each other and slammed together with the biggest hug ever. She hugged me like a mamma bear and didn't let go for a long time. I could feel her shaking in her shoes. I was glad that I wasn't the only one who was nervous. After having the life nearly squeezed out of me she gave me the biggest kiss on the lips a guy could ever get. I looked in her eyes and realized she was even more beautiful in person than on web cam. I was completely relieved at this point. All the worry and nerves and everything negative was flushed away and I had made it to my destination, and most importantly I made it to my dream girl.

    This was the beginning of a life changing adventure with the greatest girl in the world! (to be continued) Have a great day!

  • Publisert: 25.03.2016, 11:22
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Norway here I come!

  • Publisert: 24.03.2016, 11:20
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) At this point I was physically and mentally exhausted. It felt like I hadn't gotten any sleep for days and there was a knot in my stomach from not eating properly and stressing too much. I had come so far but there was some more challenges ahead before I actually reached Tonje in Tromsø. My plane flew for several hours and I pretty much nodded off in my seat the whole way.. I could hear the pilot announcing that we would be landing soon in both English and then Norwegian.

    I got this cozy feeling knowing that was the language Tonje uses in her country. I was feeling so excited and I couldn't wait to see her. As the plane started landing I looked out the window. There were little islands passing by. It was such a beautiful view. I had never seen anything so cool!  I began chatting with the girl sitting beside me since I just love talking to everyone who is willing to listen. She was also very impressed with the story of my brave adventure.

    She explained to me how it would work out when we land and how to take a bus to downtown Oslo. She was very nice and helpful and told me her family lived in Tromsø but she was visiting a friend in Oslo. The plane landed and I collected my suitcase. It was suddenly a more relaxed feeling as far as airport security goes. For the first time I didn't feel like I was treated like a terrorist in the airport. Passport control was very easy and it was a short walk to where the buses were waiting. I met up with the girl from the plane and she helped guide me to the right bus. We sat together and talked the whole way. I realized she had the same scar on her neck as I had seen on Tonje during our web cam sessions! Come to find out she had been through some of the same surgeries as Tonje! What a small world I thought.

    It had been a long time since I had eaten, and my blood sugar was extremely low. I fealt like I was going to pass out. The girl beside me explained my options to eat as soon as I get to downtown oslo. She spoke of this thing called a Kebab, and that sounded like a good idea. I had never heard of kebab but my mouth was watering just thinking of it.

    The bus pulled in to the station, and my friend gave me some more help with directions to the hostel I would stay the night in. I waved goodbye to the girl from the bus, and thought to myself how thankful I was for her help. Now my stress and anxiety shot to the roof. I was nervous. I'm walking around alone downtown Oslo Norway with a giant suitcase and a backpack. I kept wondering if I looked like a tourist. I know sometimes tourists are easy prey, and I wondered if I would get robbed or something. I tucked my wallet down low in my pocket so it would be hard to snatch.

    I walked very fast and looked straight ahead as if I knew exactly where I was going even though I didn't have a clue. I popped into a store which said Kebab to ask directions. Surprisingly the person working spoke good English and explained that the hostel was the next building down. It was refreshing to know that there was other people in Norway other than my wife that can speak English. I found the hostel and waited in line to check in. I could hear some people speaking English but mostly I just heard allot of people talking in Norwegian. It just sound like a bunch of nothing I had no clue what anyone was saying. I had never experienced this feeling before. It was just like blah blah blah blah oj blah blah hei blah blah nei. I was surprised that the people at the desk also spoke good English. They gave me the key and I took the elevator to my room.

    When I opened the door there was already someone in there. It was a guy from Canada and he also spoke English. I chose the bottom bunk of a bunk bed and finally took off my heavy backpack. It felt so good to just lay down on a bed and spread out. I didn't stay long because I was nearly about to pass out due to not eating. I went back outside and hit that place up that said Kebab. Then I saw the price of a Kebab 80 kroner! At this point I wasn't used to the kroner to dollars ratio, and I was shocked that something could be so expensive. I decided to go with something much cheaper which said Tilbud (cheap price) it was only 25 kroner for this thing called Kylling Wrap (chicken wrap) and a soda. I grabbed the food and started eating it immediately.

    By the time I got back to my room I had eaten all of it. I could hear allot of talking as I began to unlock the door. When I came in there were 4 more guys in the room. they all greeted me and started speaking to me in English! They asked my name and we got acquainted. They found out I was an american and were really excited. They really treated me like a celebrity and were fascinated that I came from america to meet a Norwegian girl. There was a Mongolian, a Japanese, a Dutch, a Swedish and the canadian guy. It was cool to be in a room with people from so many countries. I had never experienced anything like it. They tried to convince me to go out and party with them and that it was only once in a life time that a man can go drinking with a dutch, Canadian, Japanese, Mongolean, and a Swedish. I almost gave in, but i told them I was about to collapse and I just needed to sleep. They understood, and I laid down in my bunk.

    I tried to close my eyes and sleep as the rest of the group began leaving to hit the town. I couldn't sleep because I was so nervous. I was 1 flight away from my absolute final destination. I was thinking about what I would do if the whole thing was a scam. I couldn't bare it and I stood up and had to make an attempt to call Tonje. I went downstairs where I had seen a phone booth. It didn't take quarters. I actually had no clue how I could actually get some Norwegian cash since all I had was my bank card. Luckily the Swedish guy from my room was still in the lobby and saw me. He gave me a 5 kroner. I had never seen a coin with a hole in the middle. I was so grateful, I really thought 5 kroner was allot of money and I couldn't believe it cost that much to use a pay phone.

    I took out my address book and found Tonjes number. I dialed the number and my heart started racing. I began smiling and feeling really happy as I always did every time we spoke on the phone. I was about to talk to my dream girl on the phone from the same country she lived in! Suddenly I heard a beep and "the number you have dialed is not in service"........My heart dropped to the ground. Are you freaking kidding me? Everything I had worried about had came true! So many things started running through my head. What was I going to do if she wasn't really there. What would I do for 1 month since my return flight is 1 month away. I was in absolute shock that this was happening. I really didn't know what to do and hoped maybe I had the wrong number or dialed it wrong or something so I just went back up to my room and tried to sleep. I laid there devastated, exhausted, sore, malnourished and my eyes were just rolling around behind my closed eyelids. There is no way I will ever get to sleep now. I just wanted to die or wake up from a bad dream back in Portland.

    I stood up jumped out of bed and decided to try to call again. I put in the coin and carefully dialed the number. This time it was ringing! Suddenly my heart was back in place and I felt optimistic again! She answered! My mood went from 0 to 1000 in a matter of seconds. Her voice sounded like an angel. I almost wanted to cry. I had so much to say and talk about but just after 1 minute I got a warning to deposit more money or the call would end in 2 minutes. She told me she couldn't wait to see me and that she would be waiting for me at the airport. Suddenly the call ended and I was out of money.

    Everything came back into focus again and I was happy again knowing that she was there and was waiting. It looks like it actually wasn't a scam! I went back to my room and everyone had left. I climbed into bed and set my alarm for 5 am. I could hear people partying outside through the open window. I was so tired that it didn't phase me and I fell right asleep. I didn't even hear the international crew of guys come back into the room at 4 am. I slept like a zombie. It only felt like a few minutes before suddenly the alarm was beeping. I woke up even more tired, but extremely determined. Tonje was only a bus ride and 2 hour flight away! (to be continued) Have a fantastic day!

     

  • Publisert: 24.03.2016, 11:20
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • The airport wasn't meant to be a hotel!

  • Publisert: 23.03.2016, 11:03
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) When I opened my eyes I was disappointed  that there were no tacos or Dr Pepper. I was actually starving and really thirsty. Luckily I saved a sandwich and a drink from the last flight in my bag. I had myself a mini dinner. It was getting late and the flights had stopped coming in. I decided to walk around and try to find a nice bench  to spread out on and sleep for the night. The entire airport was full of people with the same idea. Not a single bench was available.

    I walked everywhere and every spot was taken. Then I looked back and the spot I had been sitting in was now taken. I began to get desperate looking for a spot to lay down. I started searching for open spots on the ground. Most of the ground was full with people. I had never seen so many people camping out in an airport! Finally I found something. I saw a stand up rental car sign near a wall.. I rushed over there tugging my suitcase behind me. Yes I found a spot on the ground behind a sign! I set my suitcase up to block one side from the sign to the wall and made a little fortress on the ground.

    I spread out some of my sweatshirts and made a little bed. I really couldn't believe I was going to sleep on the ground in an airport but I was desperate to lay down and get some sleep. At this moment I was so proud of myself for bringing my Playstation Portable. Back then it was the newest gaming device out and it even played movies! I curled up and and tried to fall asleep watching Terminator. I managed to get through the whole movie without falling asleep. Every once in a while someone else would be looking for a place on the floor to lay, and would come peak behind the sign where I was, but have to turn away when they find me sleeping there. I really regretted making my flight so cheap, but this is what I signed up for, so I had to make it through. I attempted to make a tent with my coat and some shirts to make it darker. It kept falling down, eventually I just let it fall down on top of me and I just laid there trying to sleep.

    After an extremely restless night I finally managed to squeak off 4 or 5 hours of sleep. I awoke to the sounds of lots of people moving around and talking. I looked out from my little tent area and saw that the entire airport had woken up! The airport was back to normal and now it was time to start thinking about the next part of my trip. I was one flight away from coming to my destination, NORWAY! (to be continued) Have a fabulous day!
     

  • Publisert: 23.03.2016, 11:03
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Welcome to London!

  • Publisert: 22.03.2016, 12:13
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  • (continued)  What a long flight it was. Halfway through the flight from Newark New York to Stansted London I was really feeling the anxiety. I had been flying for 6 hours and wasn't even halfway there! The reality of the length of the flight came to my mind and I realized that I was really going very far from home. I guess its time to put on my big boy panties and just simply do something out of my comfort zone.

    The flight dragged on for almost 12 hours and I was beginning to lose my mind from the combination of anxiety, boredom, stress, hunger, and an aching back. I turned on the seat mounted screen in front me and found the display that shows a map and  calculates the distance, speed, and time. Time was going so slow, I just sat and watched the screen for a long time. I realized that at the next stop in London, the only person I would know is the man sitting next to me on the plane. I decided to get to know him, and talk to him, and tell him what I was doing. I told him I was going to Norway to meet a girl that I met on the internet. He chuckled a little and shook his head, you better be careful out there its a crazy world, but good luck lad, you'll be just fine!

    It was comforting and discomforting at the same time to hear him say that. Upon landing in Stansted, I would only have 45 minutes to collect my suitcase and find my way to the bus that would take me to Heathrow. I discussed with the man beside me how to find my way to the baggage claim and then to the bus. He wasn't exactly sure about the bus but he said I should just follow him to the baggage claim since he knew right where that is. We landed and the urgency started ticking, I had only 45 minutes until my bus leaves. I got off plane and there was allot of people. Most of them talking in a cool English accent. To my surprise I could hear different langues being spoken all over the place. It was cool, I had never heard that before.

    I followed the man from the plane winding through the crowds. He was walking really fast but luckily he was very tall, so he was easy to spot in the crowd. I made it to the baggage claim out of breath and sweaty. I waved to the man and he waved back and went on his way. I was really thankful for his help. The baggage belt started moving and lucky me my suitcase was the first one to come out! I snatched my suitcase and rushed to an information desk. There was 2 snooty girls talking behind the information desk. I said excuse me can you help me. They seemed irritated that I interrupted them, or maybe they just didn't like me because  of my american accent. She pointed to a door and said just go out there, and they went back to talking as if I wasn't there. I was thinking GEEZ welcome to London lol..

    I rushed outside and could see the busses.  I checked my watch and had 15 miutes before the bus should leave. Just then the bus I needed came around the corner, so I let my shoulders down and relaxed a little. I boarded the bus and found a seat. As we drove away, I was completely shocked! The bus was driving on the wrong side of the road and the driver of the bus was driving on the wrong side of the bus! This threw me in a loop. I had never experienced this before. I thought it was only like that in Australia. It was quite boring scenery along the way but very peaceful.

    I took some time to go over my itinerary some more. Next would come a tough part of the journey. I would have to spend the night at Heathrow London airport. My next flight to Oslo wasn't until the next morning. I was really skeptical about this part of the trip. The bus arrived and I collected my suitcase and dragged it into Heathrow airport. This place was packed with people and seemed just like chaos. I really wasn't excited about staying the night here.

    I Found me a spot in the corner and plopped down. I leaned my head against the wall and closed my eyes. I quickly fell asleep and started dreaming. I dreamed that Tonje showed up at Heathrow airport and brought me some tacos and Dr Pepper. Everything was nice and peaceful, and suddenly I woke up. Back to reality (to be continued) Please enjoy my blog and have a great day!

  • Publisert: 22.03.2016, 12:13
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  • Flying over the big blue pond!

  • Publisert: 21.03.2016, 11:12
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  • (continued) As the train crossed over the Portland bridge, I looked back and could see the tall buildings getting smaller and smaller. I thought about all the time I had spent in Portland. I could see some of the spots I had spent skateboarding and biking. I passed the Omsi museum, some homeless people, and some of the old buildings in Portland. I couldn't help but wonder when and if i would ever see these things again.

    I was nervous, yet calm at the same time knowing that I was going to do something totally new and possibly quite risky. I read my itinerary over and over and over just to make sure everything was concrete in my mind. I didn't want to make any mistakes and get stuck somewhere. I made it through security in Portland and boarded the plane. I had only taken a plane trip one other time in my life so taking off into the sky was actually fun to me. I had a short layover in Montana and decided to grab some Mcdonalds. I wondered if they would have Mcdonalds in Norway. The next stop was a 4 hour stay in New York so I decided it would be a good time to take out my Norwegian language book and study up a little.

    I practiced sentences like Hello (hallo), what is your name,(Hva heter du) My name is Jason,(jeg heter Jason) and I love you (jeg elsker deg).I saw some people staring at me while reciting these Norwegian words out loud. They probably thought I was weird but I didn't even care. I though dam I'm good I got this language down no problem! I wondered if I would actually say I love you in Norwegian. Either way I just wanted to do everything possible so that I could be as prepared as possible.

    It felt like forever while waiting 4 hours in New York. Little did I know that this was nothing compared to what was in store for me. The time had finally come and it was time to board the plane. I could hear lots of English accents and foreign languages from the people standing in line. I wasn't sure but I think I even heard some tall blonde girls speaking Norwegian! Or was that Swedish, I wasn't really sure but I could feel that things were starting to get European! I was nervous, sweaty, and tired.

    I managed to shove my fully packed backpack up in the bin and found my seat. It was cramped, but I was lucky to have a window seat (travel agents suggestion). I sat down and decided to get aquainted with my neighbor. He was a nice man that spoke in a strong British accent. He said "So youre about to fly over the big blue pond" and I said with a smile,  yes I am..indeed I am.. (to be continued) ..Thank you for reading please enjoy your day!

  • Publisert: 21.03.2016, 11:12
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  • Goodbye Portland

  • Publisert: 20.03.2016, 12:04
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  •  

    (continued) The next 2 weeks of work went by really fast. It was easy to get up and take the train to work knowing that the end of the tunnel was in sight. It made me even more motivated to sell more windshields knowing that this job was only temporary, and all the proceeds would go to my big trip. I went shopping at Ross Dress for Less to get some new clothes and the biggest suitcase I could find. I printed of a copy of my flight itinerary, and prepared everything as if I might not ever come back. The plan was to take my trip to Norway, and afterwards go stay with my sister in Arizona and start a life there.

    In the back of my mind I had this hope that things would work out between me and Tonje, and perhaps I could just stay in Norway, but nevertheless I was going to leave Portland and never come back. The night before my trip began, I couldn't sleep at all. I had so many thoughts running through my head. I might have gotten 2 hours of sleep. The alarm rang, and it was time to say goodbye to the life I had known for so many years. It was like 5 am in the morning, and my mom woke up to say goodbye to me. My cat was happy to see me up so early but little did he know that I was leaving and never coming back.

    I wheeled my suitcase to the front door and went in to say goodbye to my mom. It was really hard knowing that I might not see her for a long time. Lucky for me that my mom was very supportive, and very excited for what I was about to do. I hugged my mom, waved to her boyfriend, and pet my cat on the head and stepped out into the hall of the apartment complex. My mom was smiling standing there in her pajamas, and my cat stood there looking confused. Little did I know that these were the first steps to me finally growing up. A little late, but better late than never.

    I fought to hold back the tears. Waves of nervousness, sadness, and excitement came over me as I walked down the long hall to the elevator. I kept telling myself to be brave and just do this. I walked outside tugging on my heavy suitcase on wheels. I tried as hard as I can not to cry, but I figured I should just let it out before I get on the train. So here I am, walking down the street pulling my suitcase, toting a full backpack on my back, and sobbing like a baby. I really hoped no one would see me, but it was 6 am and the streets were empty. I cried all the way down to the train.

    Just before the train pulled up I told myself to suck it up buttercup and look towards this mysterious future. I had in store. I even said a little prayer in my mind to help me get through this. Suddenly I felt focused, and the tears dried up. I kicked back and looked out the window on my way to the airport. I thought about Tonje and a big smile came to my face. I held up a peace sign to the window and whispered Peace out Portland, hope to see you again someday! (to be continued) If you are reading this I hope your day is super!

  • Publisert: 20.03.2016, 12:04
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  • And now the nerves kick in!

  • Publisert: 19.03.2016, 10:35
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  • (continued) So now things were starting to fall in place. I had my passport, I had saved up some money, the date was set, and now I just needed some plane tickets. I headed down to the local travel agency and discussed my options with one of the agents. She was very nice and helpful, and admired my bravery for doing such a big thing. We determined that I needed to get the cheapest tickets possible. The agent decided to do me a favor and create me a student ID, so that I could say I was a student (even though I wasn't) and I could get a nice discount on my tickets. We discussed several options, and concluded that I would take the cheapest route possible. This route included 2 flight changes in the US, then fly to Stansted London and switch airports via bus over to Heathrow, an overnight stay at Heathrow airport, a flight to Torp airport in Sandefjord Norway, a bus ride from Torp to downtown Oslo, an overnight stay at a cheap Hostel in downtown Oslo, followed by another bus ride to the oslo airport and finally one more flight to Tromsø. The agent said it would be a long trip but it would save me money and be a fun experience. It was all smiles and good times at the travel agency, but when I got home and started going over my itinerary, my head started spinning with anxiety. My flight was in a couple weeks, and I have never been more nervous about anything in my life.

    The realistic part of my brain was trying to tell me that I was setting myself up for failure and that this was a scam that would only let me down. But something in my heart pushed me to follow through with it. It was too late to back out now. The next day I went to my telemarketing job and gave them my 2 weeks notice. They were dissappointed because I had been one of the top salesman for the month. On a good note, it felt amazing to know I wouldn't be working there anymore. This whole thing was about to get real and I had my mind set. Im going to Norway! (to be continued)...I really hope you enjoy reading this, have a great day!

  • Publisert: 19.03.2016, 10:35
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  • Time to start crackin!

  • Publisert: 18.03.2016, 11:51
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  • (continued) We decided that I would come and visit for a month. No point in making such a long trip for any less than a month. The idea was set in motion. I still needed some more money for the plane tickets, but next came a major obstacle. GETTING A PASSPORT. I assumed I just needed to go in to the post office and pay some money and pick it up. Oh no, it was far more difficult than that. There were so many forms of Id, birth certificates, social security cards, and paperwork needed before I could even apply for it! I was completely overwhelmed when I found out all the stuff I needed and how much of it I didn't have. Nevertheless, I put my head down and started crackin away at it one paper at a time.

    I had to come up with a new birth certificate, and that was a problem because i had changed my last name when I was 8 years old, but I managed to get it. There were several more required papers, and surprisingly I managed to round most of them up. i still needed a paper that would show my birth city and it couldn't be my birth certificate. I had no clue where to find this. I spent all day trying to figure it out. Finally I came up with the idea to call the first high school that I attended. The lady told me that there was a record of my attendance, and I was lucky that they still had it because most records aren't kept after a long period of time has passed. She told me that there was a part on the transcripts that said "birth city" but it was left blank..My heart dropped. I really was at a dead end and had absolutely no idea of any other way i could get the proper paper. She then told me that looking at other enrollment files there was something that mentioned my birth city, and that she would fill in the blank spot for me and send me the transcripts. I almost started CRYING! I was so relieved and so happy I couldn't believe it.

    I waited a few days which felt like an eternity and the papers arrived. I went straight down to the post office with all of the info and the cash and everything needed and sent it all away for my passport! It would take many weeks to process, In the meantime I kept plugging away at the job, sold as many windshields as I can, and with determination and motivation I actually managed to earn some bonus money from my job.

    Finally the day came. MY PASSPORT ARRIVED!! This was one of the biggest obstacles to overcome, and it was now in my hands! I went straight to the computer to tell Tonje, but she wasn't there. I waited all day and night and finally she showed up. We were both so happy and excited, and we finally set a date. I would come to visit Tonje in Norway for over a month in April! I couldn't believe it. My dreams might actually come true! (to be continued) Have a fabulous day!

  • Publisert: 18.03.2016, 11:51
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  • Mission Impossible

  • Publisert: 17.03.2016, 12:44
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  • (continued) I just couldn't take it. After many years of friendship, I just really wanted to meet this fabulous woman in person. We had gotten so close and were such good friends, I just felt it was time to do something drastic, and find a way to come visit her. I started searching full time extra hard for a job. The job outlook was dismal but I didn't give up. Eventually I was offered a job as a telephone salesman for a place that sells Car windshields. It was almost as low as you can go on the job totem pole, but I decided it was better than nothing, and I just had to start making some income. For several months I spent my days in a cubicle with a headset on saying "hi this is Jason from cascade auto-glass. Do you have a cracked or damaged windshield I can help you out with?" Saying it thousands of times a day. It was really an unmotivating job, and it took everything I had to get on the train and go there every day. After a few months I had some money saved up and I decided to inform Tonje that I would like to come visit her in Norway. We talked about it over the phone, and I could hear the excitement in her voice. I couldn't believe I was even considering traveling across the world to meet someone. What if it was a scam? What if it was a set up and I was going to get murdered? All kinds of crazy thoughts passed through my mind, but I fealt that I just had to do this. I was about to make mission impossible POSSIBLE! (to be continued)

  • Publisert: 17.03.2016, 12:44
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  • Internet friends for years

  • Publisert: 16.03.2016, 09:27
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  • (continued) I was really pleased with myself when I finally managed to get Tonje to respond to me. It was like I finally acomplished what I had set out to do, and that was to get a hot babe to notice me. We started chatting casually, and it was all smiles and laughs. Every day I would log in and see if she was there and most of the time she was. Sometimes I couldn't wait to wake up in the morning and go straight to the computer.

    We talked and talked for hours and hours at a time. I eventually found out that she lived in Norway. I actually never really thought about Norway. One day I had to look at a globe to find it on the map. I was a little bit shocked that it was on the other side of the world and up near the north pole! That didn't stop me from being friends. With a 8 hour time difference, Tonje would have to go to bed  early and set her alarm to wake up at 4 am to log in and talk to me. Talking to Tonje on web cam or simply over messenger was my new hobby and I really enjoyed that hobby. We chatted, typed, and sometimes even talked on the phone for several years. We got along so well and became best friends while living worlds apart. She sent me a book with pictures and descriptions of her little city in northern Norway. I began to dream about visiting Tonje. I pictured myself walking around at the place I had seen in the pictures. (tromsø)  Finally we decided that it would be great if I could come visit. It sounded fantastic, but the reality was that I lived with my mom and didn't have a job or any income, and the distance was so great it just seemed impossible.This dream felt like just that.. only a dream (to be continued) Have a great day everyone!

  • Publisert: 16.03.2016, 09:27
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  • Long Distance Love 2003

  • Publisert: 15.03.2016, 11:21
  • Kategori: Blogg
  • 2003 I was living with my mom and her boyfriend and 2 other roommates in Portland Oregon. I was having a tough time finding a job due to the poor economy, and I had allot of extra time on my hands. Back in the day, the main way to be social on the internet was either Myspace, or yahoo messenger.

    One day an online friend asked me if I had a web cam. I said Nah, those are too fancy, I don't have one of those yet. She told me that she had an extra one, and offered it to me for free. I was so stoked! I couldn't believe someone would actually GIVE me a webcam. I took her up on the offer and after several days the webcam arrived in the mail. I immediately hooked it up and started looking for websites that offer the ability to interact with others via Webcam. Eventually I found a sight called Cupid-Cams. A new dating webcam website.

    I set up an account and started crackin away. It was really entertaining meeting people and actually chatting with them while I can see them. Every day I would look for new friends, well basically the prettiest girls I could find, and attempt to win their hearts. Eventually I came to a profile that listed a pretty blonde girl who lives in Tromsø. I thought hmm, I never heard of Tromsø, maybe it's a city somewhere on the east coast. I sent her several messages but didn't get a response. Finally after many tries, she responded back with a HELLO! Yes persistence paid off! This is how it all began! I can't believe it has been almost 14 years since! (to be continued) I Hope you have a wonderful day! Thanks for reading! <3

  • Publisert: 15.03.2016, 11:21
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  • First day of blogging!

  • Publisert: 14.03.2016, 14:12
  • Kategori: Blogg
  • Many people ask me how I ended up in Norway. This is an amazing tale of love and bravery that requires many words to describe! With this blog I plan to share the story of the Armstrongs with the world. I learned this blogging thing from my wife Tonje who is already a professional blogger, so for now I have to settle with being a noob. With this blog I hope to entertain and inspire others. Today I will make this short and sweet, but be prepared for much more fantastic and exciting news and story telling in the future. Have a fantastic day!

  • Publisert: 14.03.2016, 14:12
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  • Ny blogg!

  • Publisert: 14.03.2016, 13:34
  • Kategori: Blogg
  • Velkommen til blogg.no! :)

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  • Publisert: 14.03.2016, 13:34
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