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!

The events that changed my life forever.

  • Publisert: 30.04.2016, 10:31
  • Kategori: Blogg


  •  

     A Fishy Tale

    Good afternoon readers! Yes I promised to share something personal, so I intend to do just that. This story really means allot to me so I hope you enjoy it.

    I lived in Salem Oregon when this story takes place. My aunt, uncle and cousins lived up in Olympia Washington. It was always a treat when I got to visit my family up in Olympia. It was about a 3 hour drive from Salem to Olympia. Sometimes we would go several months without seeing each other due to the distance, but when we did, we had a blast!

    I got a call from my uncle Dave, and he asked me if I would like to come up and join him on a fishing trip. He said the king salmon were on the bight, and that it was a fantastic time to go fishing. Dave had gotten a new 20 foot Bayliner ski boat and was aching to take it out fishing every chance he could get. He was really excited to show it off, and take me and my cousin Daniel out in the ocean with it. I was definitely down, so we set the date and I prepared to take the train up to Washington for the weekend.

    I arrived in Olympia on the train, and as usual my uncle and cousins were there to pick me up. Everyone was always so glad to see me and it was so nice to get away and spend some quality time with my cousins. We always loved to get loud, sing and act crazy. When the cousins got together it was some of the best times. My uncle enjoyed it too, and was always inviting me and or my family up to stay and hang out. 

    Dave spent the whole day in the garage preparing fishing gear, making fishing rigs, putting new line on the fishing poles, getting the coolers ready for lunches and basically covering every aspect of everything we would need for the fishing trip. He lived for these moments. When he was in his garage he was in his element, and he always loved to share fishing trips with the family. He basically did everything so that we could just come along for the ride.

    Me and my cousin Daniel were going to join Dave for this epic fishing trip. We stayed up all night watching horror movies. We made a fort out of couch cushions, ate lots of snacks and soda, and just basically did horror movies and chill. We knew that we would have to get up at 5 am, but we just had to enjoy every moment together, so sleep wasn't important We probably stayed up till around 3 am and then finally  crashed.

    It felt like I had been asleep for maybe 5 minutes when I heard "Get your butts up boys!" I could see on the clock it was exactly 5:00 am .Daniel didn't move, and I could barely get up myself, but the excitement kicked in so I got up like a zombie and started getting ready. I yanked the blanket off Daniel and he still didn't move, so I blew my morning breath in his face and then he came alive!  I looked outside and could see the boat was attached to the Jeep, the tailgate was open, and all of the supplies were loaded. Everything was ready and all we had to do was get in! I was so excited, and I could barely wait to get cracking on some king salmon! (to be continued)

     

     

  • Publisert: 30.04.2016, 10:31
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  • I'm going to share something personal!

  • Publisert: 29.04.2016, 10:35
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • Good day to you my lovely and fantastic readers! I hope you are enjoying your day. To my readers in Tromsø, please go out and enjoy this amazing T shirt weather after reading! We are so lucky to have this lovely sunshine. It's not often we see it like this in April, so seize the moment while you can! Todays blog is the beginning of what is to come over the weekend. I am going to tell you a story about something that affected mine and my familys life immensely. Its a story about someone who meant allot to me and I plan to share it with you. So please my dear readers, enjoy the sunshine, and tune in over the weekend because I have an amazing, heartbreaking, and exciting story in store for you! Have a great day!

  • Publisert: 29.04.2016, 10:35
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  • Hvorfor har ingen fortelle meg at jeg var feit?

  • Publisert: 28.04.2016, 11:19
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • Here is a picture of my cousin and I back in 2012. It was during one of my Christmas visits.Yes everybody is smiling and having a good time but on the inside I didn't feel so good about myself. I was unemployed at this time. I think it was just before I got the job at Rema 1000. I had allot of back pain and had been taking lots of pain killers to cover it up. Most likely too many. I knew I was getting overweight, but didn't realize how bad it was. I was almost exactly 200 lbs. One thing that surprises me is that no one ever mentioned to me that I was fat.

    Maybe it just seemed natural to everyone, but still someone could have said hey by the way your face looks really fat bro! Either way I felt that something wasn't right and I started thinking about my health. I tried several diets like South beach diet, Herballife, and Visalus just to name a few. Some of it had an effect but none of it really changed my lifestyle. I loved to drink soda with sugar every day and all day. I loved lots of carbs and eating cookies and chips throughout the day every day. When I got the job at Rema 1000 things started to change. In the beginning I was the fat guy huffing and puffing and sweating through every day of work.  

    Walking 15000 or more steps a day, and every single day was helping me to burn off some of the fat. I lost allot of weight and after a couple years it was a significant difference. I still didn't feel healthy and was still feeling fat. In 2016 I got fed up and decided that I'm not getting any younger. I'm approaching 42 and I don't want to be disabled or a diabetic as I become an old man, so I decided to completely eliminate sugar from my diet for 100 days. I figured I might as well start hitting the gym more often and eating a bit healthier while I am at it so I can actually make a difference. This is the event that changed me. Now I am more aware of what I am putting into my body. I never drink soda with sugar anymore and very rarely I eat a cookie or a piece of cake for desert. Since that picture in 2012 I have lost about 40 pounds.

    It didn't happen overnight, about 4 years to be exact. Things are starting to turn around about how I feel about myself. I still feel fat, and am waiting for my 6 pack to start showing through. It used to be a 1 pack but now at least its a 2 pack. I'm not brave enough to post a picture without a shirt on but maybe someday I can do that. I would love to inspire others to do things to feel good about their body. I feel good and I would love for you to feel good too. The key is never giving up. Keep doing something every single day and eventually it adds up and makes a difference. If you have any questions or need any advice I am more than willing to help. I'm not an expert so we are in this together, but I can be there for you if you need it! Stay strong and keep trying! Have a splendid fabulous awesome day and thanks for reading!

  • Publisert: 28.04.2016, 11:19
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • The story behind this thing...

  • Publisert: 27.04.2016, 13:43
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • Wow this thing. Where to start? I don't even know what to call it. Balance Board, El-board, Hoverboard, are just a few names it has. I had originally planned to get one of these for my stepdaughter for Christmas. I searched online for all of the websites in Norway. Eventually I came across one that was offering these boards really cheap and even cheaper with a black Friday deal. The cheapest ones were called bear-buddy or something like that and came in pink and with the black friday deal it was 1,500 kroners. I decided that I could actually afford that one and since it was pink it would be perfect to give Ylva for christmas. I used paypal and ordered it at the end of November. A couple weeks passed and I didn't see or hear of anything more from the website I bought it from. I checked my Paypal statement and it said "item has been shipped". I contacted the seller and he apologized and told me that he had gotten scammed from an overseas company when he ordered his supply of boards. He assured me that he found a new supplier and that in a short time I should have it. I was extremely skeptical. Things got a little stressful and I kept in contact with the seller every day. Eventually a facebook group was formed with many people who felt they had been scammed and didn't get their boards that they payed for. I did some research on the seller of the boards and apparently he had been on a popular TV show called Luksusfellen.. Its a show about people who make bad mistakes with money and go bankrupt and attempt to rebuild their lives and money. It was a bad sign that perhaps I had been ripped off. I kept it cool and managed to call the seller. He promised me that I would get it just in time for Christmas. He also promised that due to my wait, he would upgrade the board from one of the cheaper Buddy-bear to the much more expensive and nicer Smart board. Eventually Christmas was less than a week away and I didn't get anything. I gave up and made a paypal claim against the seller to try and retrieve my money back. Don't worry, I didn't let my stepdaughter down I still got her some nice Christmas gifts. 

    IT Finally Arrived in the Mail!!



    I couldn't believe it. It actually arrived in the mail near the end of January. I canceled the paypal claim and was completely shocked that it actually came. Christmas was passed and Ylva had already got Christmas gifts so now I have this thing for myself. I was extremely pleased that he had indeed upgraded it up to the nicer board with the Samsung battery in it.  Apparently if it doesn't have a good battery it can blow up or catch on fire. Due to the streets covered in snow, I had to test it out in the warehouse at work. It didn't end well on my first try and lets just say my ass didn't feel good after that. Now most of the snow is gone and there is open streets and parking lots everywhere. I guess I have no excuse. Time to get my balance on!! Have a fantastic day thanks for reading!

  • Publisert: 27.04.2016, 13:43
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Me and slash say its important to stay positive!

  • Publisert: 26.04.2016, 10:19
  • Kategori: Blogg
  • As long as I have lived in Norway, there is one thing that has kept me going and that is  keeping positive. It is my key to surviving the dark, the cold,.and some of the tough times. There are so many things that can be thrown into our lives path, and many of them can seem negative. Darkness can be beautiful if you look at it the right way. Snow may be cold, but sometimes it looks really nice in the moonlight. Yes everything is expensive in Norway but at least we get paid better wages than other places. You can trick your mind into being happy if you just think positively. It is a tool that can be mastered with a positive mind. Be thankful for what you have and don't dwell on the things you don't have. Dwelling on negative things will eat you up inside and that is not a way to live.Take each day for what its worth and appreciate the things that are good. Look for the good in everything. And with that said I would like to share with you a picture of my favorite food taken at my favorite restaurant Rå Sushi!



    Tacos used to be my favorite but sushi has become my new all time favorite. I can't ever get enough sushi!! LOVE IT! Have a wonderful day and thanks for reading!

  • Publisert: 26.04.2016, 10:19
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Monday: A Poem by Jason Armstrong

  • Publisert: 25.04.2016, 12:12
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • Monday

    Welcome back my friend it has been a whole week.

    Today is the beginning of the highest peak.

    Start the day with some coffee and a gym routine.

    Thinking positive would be most keen.

    Put on a smile and your work uniform.

    We will survive this long weeks storm.

    Take each day one at a time.

    Look forward to the weekend and you'll be just fine.

    Enjoy this day for what it is my friend.

    It always returns in the end.

     

    This one goes out to any of my friends who work full time and struggle to survive the work week! Have a superb monday!

     

  • Publisert: 25.04.2016, 12:12
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  • Yes I am also the CAKE BOSS!

  • Publisert: 24.04.2016, 15:18
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  • (continued) Yet another one of my responsibilities at work is managing and ordering the cakes. Its actually one of the fun parts of my job. Every day I fill up and set prices on cakes at my little cake display. I have tested every one of them and can say that my personal favorite is cheesecake. I order cakes from 2 different companies. One is called Pedersen and the other called Mesterbakeren. On a daily basis I take inventory and see what cakes we have left to sell. The cakes have a date on them, and should be sold before they expire. I try and time it perfectly so that none get wasted but at the same time sell as many as possible. I think I do a pretty good job but am always trying to find ways to improve. Cake is great, I mean who doesn't like cake? NOBODY!  Have a caketastic day!

  • Publisert: 24.04.2016, 15:18
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  • Tromsø Snow: A poem by: Jason Armstrong

  • Publisert: 23.04.2016, 01:24
  • Kategori: Blogg


  •  

    Good ole snow why are you here?

    When I went to sleep the skys were clear.

    Now I awake to a winter wonderland.

    I'm sick of snow, don't you understand?

    You always trick me at this time of year.

    You make me believe that spring is near.

    It's been the same for 10 years in a row.

    I think I'm getting used to the Tromsø snow

     

    This is a special poem just for my Tromsø readers. Have a snowtabulous day!

  • Publisert: 23.04.2016, 01:24
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  • I left America for this cutie Pie!

  • Publisert: 22.04.2016, 10:37
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  • (continued) Not many people would leave their country and move across the world for love, but that is exactly what I did. This girl here is my hero. She is the strongest woman I have ever met. Her life has been a struggle from the moment she was born. She was born with  hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida and was fighting to stay alive at birth. She had multiple surgeries and operations to begin her life, and has had many others throughout her life.

    She has spent so much time in the hospital that we can just call it her second home. Lets just say god dealt her a bad hand to start with, but does that stop her from smiling? Never! This girl has continued to fight her entire life. From being picked on in school to not having allot of positive support growing up, this girl has never stopped smiling. If you met her in person she would just make you smile. You would never guess that she is disabled if someone didn't tell you. She has been through so much in her life that many would have just given up. I am so glad she didn't give up,she hung in there long enough for me to come.
    Tonje and I are like two peas in a pod! She loves me and accepts me for who I am and doesn't try to change me in any way, and I do the same for her. When I look at Tonje I don't see the disabilities, I only see that beautiful smile and that beautiful heart. Our relationship isn't perfect, but no one has everything perfect. I can honestly say that it is almost perfect and almost perfect is the best I have ever had! Tonje, thank you for letting me have a chance to come be with you, and for giving me the opportunity to be part Norwegian.  I love you my dear sweet wife! Hip Hip hurrah to 11 years and 50 more to come! (to be continued)

  • Publisert: 22.04.2016, 10:37
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  • The sweetest Rema 1000 Party you could ever imagine!

  • Publisert: 21.04.2016, 11:46
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) In June of 2014 I was invited to one of the sweetest parties I have ever attended. The reason for the party was because Rema 1000 beat one of Norways biggest market chains called Coop to become the 2nd best grocery store in Norway It was an all expenses paid trip for 9000 Rema 1000 employees. It was estimated that the owner of Rema 1000 used 50 million kroners if not more to pay for this event.We got to fly to a place called Holmenkollen where we were treated to a full day of food, dancing, live acts and FUN! We were treated like VIP's in every sense. I even got to get my picture taken with celebrities!

    We spent the whole day in Holmenkollen eating, dancing, and listening to live music like Donkey Boy, Kurt Nilsen, and Nico and Vinz! We had so much fun all day long and it was a perfect day full of sunshine. At the end of the day we took a bus to a large venue called Telenor Arena! This is where the fun went through the roof. We were treated to the most fantastic meal, and even given a cool bracelet that lights up during special moments of the event 

    We danced and partied and drank for free all night and everyone had an amazing time! We got to witness special guests like Carpe Diem, Delillos and even a special appearance and motivational boost from the leader of Rema 1000 himself, Mr. Rema Reitan! At the end of the day we got to stay the night in a nice hotel. It was by far the highest point of my career as a Rema 1000 employee. (to be continued)

     

  • Publisert: 21.04.2016, 11:46
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  • More scary Rema stories!

  • Publisert: 20.04.2016, 11:09
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) Customers really expect the world from grocery store workers. They want low prices, to not wait in line, friendly customer service, every item they are looking for, full shelves and much more. When they come and complain to you about the price of ground meat, they usually aren't thinking about what you have been through on that particular day. While getting assaulted, disrespected, yelled at, or called names might be on my mind, that customer only cares about that you have ran out of their favorite can of beer.

    Sometimes its hard to put on a smile and find them an alternative or a solution, but that is what we are expected to do. One day I was minding my own business and having a pretty decent day at work, and a customer pointed out to me that a man was opening up a bag of frozen biscuits in the back. So I head back there and sure enough there is this man making a sandwich with meats and cheeses and attempting to crunch through the frozen bread. He looked to be at least drunk and if not more. I said excuse me sir whats going on? He replied "gå til helvete jeg spiser middag" (go to hell I'm eating dinner). I said sure ok well do you plan to pay for these frozen biscuits? "Du kan sette dem opp i ræva (you can put those up your ass) he says. I thought hmm I will always go the extra mile for a customer but sticking frozen biscuits up my ass is where I draw the line. Maybe a carrot or a hot dog but I just wont do that I'm sorry. So I pushed the button to call security. Ten minutes goes past, and no security and now I have to take customers at the register because the lines were getting long. Then I see the frozen biscuits man waiting in line, swaying from side to side with a carton of vanilla sauce desert topping in his hand. He cracked it open and started gulping it down like it was a beer. I picked up the phone and called security again and they answered. I said whats going on, I pushed the button where are you guys? He says oh you pushed the button? Is something wrong at the store? I yelled of course there is I need help come right away! Eventually the man made his way to the front of the line and then looked me in the eye. He raised his fist up and started coming back behind the counter. I instantly had flashes of me having to punch an older man in the face. He yelled at me"du ser ut som en fitte "(you look like a pussy), and then started to take a swing at me. Just in the nick of time security showed up and grabbed him on the shoulder and pulled him away from back behind the counter. I really don't know what happened with that guy but luckily I have never seen him again.

    In Norway they have a strange rule that all alcohol sales stop at 8 pm on weekdays and 6 pm on Saturday. We have to cover up the beer with curtains and make it so customers cant access it. I have been yelled at and called names and cussed at so many times due to this policy, as if I made the rules in Norway. I have caught people climbing under the curtain and attempting to fill their pockets with alcohol, and I cant even count how many times people have tried to bribe me to sell them alcohol after closing time, and they get mad if I don't do it. One day a poor man asked me if he could get some help with a little free food. I said sure I will go see what I can round up for you. I didn't have a good feeling about it because I have helped him before and he wasn't grateful, but I did it anyways because he simply needs help. As I was collecting the bag of free food for him I was told that had been going around the store stealing, so I had to go confront him. He was tall, scary looking, unstable, possibly drunk or high and maybe 300 pounds. I politely asked him if he grabbed any extra food into his pocket. He flipped out took off his shirt and raised his fists to my face. He called me a horse dick and wanted to fight me in the middle of the store. When he was yelling at me he spit on my face. I didn't back down and didn't show that I was scared but I was really shaken from this event. We ended up calling the police and I think he was told that it wasn't cool and then let go. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. I haven't seen that guy since and I hope I never do.

    These are just a few of the things I go through on an almost daily basis. Luckily for every 1 problem customer there is 1000 happy and friendly customers. I still have a long list of these horror stories, but I think it is time you heard about some awesome and happy work related experiences! (to be continued) Have a superb day my friend!

  • Publisert: 20.04.2016, 11:09
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  • Horror stories from Rema

  • Publisert: 19.04.2016, 11:49
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) Yes sometimes stress can make you want to pull your hair out. Lucky for me I haven't done that yet! It is a little bit crazy the things I must go through to work at a little grocery store. As if its not enough when you work at one of the busiest stores in town, half of the customers don't speak English or the native language of Norwegian, your boss demands you to give 110% every day at the highest tempo possible, but then there comes the customers who cause problems.

    I have worked at Walmart, Fred Meyer, coffee shops, Red Lobster, Applebees and more, but I have never experienced so many customers that behave so poorly. Don't get me wrong, there are many customers that love me and appreciate me, but there are those that hate me. I have been called dritt sek (shit bag) hest kuk (horse dick) and mannshit (man shit) for one reason or another. Sometimes its as simple as because something is to expensive (nothing is cheap in norway) or sometimes it's something bigger because I wont allow them to steal.

    One time I politely asked a customer to not eat the strawberries because they are not there as a free sample. Said customer began to melt down, and told me that the other boss lets them eat strawberries. She started to cry and began causing a scene in the store.

    Another time a customer became irate because the employee at the register said "thank you" in English to him. He demanded that we live in Norway and we should only speak Norwegian. He came behind the counter and tried to attack one of my employees. I had to position myself between the employee and the irate customer. The customer was yelling obscene things and even threatened my colleagues life if he should ever find him on the street. It was scary but I managed to defuse the situation. I protected one of my employees because I always got their back.

     Some customers get pissed if you don't ask them if they want a bag, and others become irritated if you ask them if they do want a bag. Its a little bit funny how much drama can be created over a pose (bag). One customer likes to walk in and grab a six pack of beer and walk out without even trying to hide it. One day I seen him walking in and head straight to the beer. I said excuse me but you are not allowed in the store so you need to just go out (in Norwegian). He said "I will go out", and then grabbed a six pack of beer and started walking out. He continued to walk past the register without paying and did the "speak to the hand" gesture at the guys sitting in the register. I grabbed him by the jacket and said nah man you need to come with me and he spun around and punched me in the arm and walked out.

    One day I will never forget. It had been a long day full of stress and hard work. I seen a customer walking around with a massive sack slung over his shoulder. I had seen him steal before so i confronted him and asked if I could check in his bag. He ignored me..I tried speaking to him in both languages and he still ignored me. Finally he responded and told me to go to hell and to F off as he grabbed a bottle of coke and walked out the front door. I wasn't so concerned about the coke, but I really didn't feel like being disrespected so I followed him as I began to call some backup. He started running so I decided to chase him. My big ring of keys on my hip was flying around and I really was running as hard as I can while attempting to use the phone. I actually caught up to him in an alley and there he dropped his bag and turned around and came at me with his fists up. I wasn't in the mood for fighting with fists so I turned around and ran the other way.. Then he stopped chasing me and took off running again. I decided to give up because it wasn't really worth it. Out of breath and all sweaty from the chase I stood there a little bit in shock. Suddenly the phone in my pocket rang and it was another employee urging me to come to take the other register because there was a long line back at the store. I took off running again and ran straight into the store and took my seat at the register. Needless to say this set my brain on fire and it was difficult to think for the rest of the night.

    Thirty minutes before closing time I was taking care of the cash and locking it away in the safe. There had been a problem with the safe for a long time where it didn't want to open properly. To get it to open would require you to enter the code and try to open it 10 to 20 times. My brain was cooked, and I couldn't think straight and now it was time to close and I couldn't open the safe. Lets just say my stress levels were through the roof. Eventually I got it open and was so stressed to go and complete  closing the store that I forgot to remove my hand from the top of the door of the safe when I closed it. I heard this loud cracking sound and I instantly went into shock. OUCH!! I tried to convince myself it wasn't a big deal and hopefully the cracking sound was just like when you crack your knuckles. My fingertip instantly started turning blue and swelling up. I had to finish closing the store for 30 minutes with what I would later find out was a crushed bone in my finger.It would be my first and only time of taking sick leave at work. These are just a few examples of customers behaving badly and the things I go through  at work. I have so many more (to be continued) Have a lovely day friends!

  • Publisert: 19.04.2016, 11:49
  • Kategori: Blogg
  • 2 kommentarer
  • Like a Boss!

  • Publisert: 18.04.2016, 12:27
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) When I got my job, one of the biggest responsibilities given to me was that of being the night boss. I am the only person in our store who works full time on the night shift. I work from 3 to 11:30 ish everyday with Sundays off and every other Saturday and every other Wednesday off. I basically run the entire show for half of the day. I don't have any assistant managers or anyone else to turn to to help make decisions. It is all me almost every single day. I spend allot of time cleaning up after the day shift. Emptying trash cans, cleaning up the break room, doing dishes, maintaining the warehouse and bottle return room, taking care of the returns (aka one of my other given responsibilities), ordering and managing cakes bread and baguettes (yet another one of my given responsibilities), confirming payments for bread online, taking customers at the register, filling out fruit, fresh meats, bread, and dry goods onto the shelves,  receiving deliveries of fruit with an electric jack, to list just a few of things I am required to do every day.

    We have a revolving door of employees who get paid by NAV and come and work as a practice. They come and go every few months and I am required to train them. If I don't train them good enough, I get spoken to about how I can fix them. I take the responsibility and have to find a way to turn them from a couch potato into a functioning worker who can get things done as good as me or at least almost as good as me. Generally as soon as I get them trained they are finished with the practice, and I have to start over with some new ones. It is quite difficult because I cant just come to work and know that the team around me will do what needs to be done so that I can focus on what I need to do.  I would call it a struggle.

    I have to be on the go full time and on top of everyone working to make sure things don't fall apart. We run a tight ship, and the least amount of employees possible are afforded to the night shift to save on money. Every day I get a list of everything I am expected to get done, and almost every day before I start my shift I am given a list of the things I didn't do good enough, and occasionally a mention of something I did well. The mention of things I need to do better has decreased over the years because I have gotten better at my job, and I spend every moment trying to do the right thing. It's not my favorite way to start  the day finding out what I can do better but I guess it is part of the learning process. Another aspect of my job is securing the store.

    When I'm not taking care of everything else I am expected to be vigilant against thieves. This is also a struggle. In Norway the laws are so lenient that thieves get away with much more than I am used to. I spend allot of time stopping thieves, talking to them, sometimes reporting them to the police (although it never helps), and recovering stolen items and or making thieves pay for what they attempted to steal. It's really a struggle and I have to do it all alone most of the time. Now I have worked at my job for about 3 years and have never been late. I have never called in sick, and the only time I had to take some sick leave was when I slammed my finger in the money safe and broke it. The doctor demanded that I take some time off so I did just that. I enjoy being the boss, and I feel that I get allot of respect from the employees who work around me. It takes allot energy to keep things going every day into the late hours of the night.

    I do the night shift because in Norway if you work at a job after 6pm you get a little bit extra per hour. This is the only additional money I get for all of my additional responsibilities.. I have gotten used to this money which is about 3800 kroner per month (400 dollars). Don't get excited because 400 dollars  might sound good in america but in Norway it's mediocre. Especially when I have to give up most of my free time and my life keep doing the night shift. Due to bills I cant go without this extra money and therefore I am stuck on the night shift with no other option than to keep doing it. I often feel like I am missing out on allot, and should be spending more time with my wife. Lucky for me Tonje is very supportive, and has dinner ready for me at midnight when I come home. We relax with some dinner and maybe a Tv show and then go to bed just to start it over again then ext day.

    I feel like I have gotten very good at my job as the night boss but I can always learn more. I feel like I can be great at anything I put my mind to, but sometimes I wonder if this is what I was meant to do or if there is something better for me out there. For now I just keep putting on that blue uniform, keep up that smile (even if I have to fake it) and just keep on rocking as the night boss! (to be continued) I hope you have a fabulous day!

  • Publisert: 18.04.2016, 12:27
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  • Jeg hjelper de fattige i Tromsø

  • Publisert: 17.04.2016, 11:41
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • When I was given my job at Rema 1000 one of the responsibilities placed on my shoulders was the chore of taking care of all returns. Every package that gets damaged, every pack of meat that goes out of date every single item that goes in the trash is managed and disposed of by me. I have a station in the warehouse where all of the items are placed and I am expected to take care of it. I do not get any extra pay, and I do not get any help with this responsibility. 

     I use a little pocket computer and scan the bar code of every item and make sure it gets disposed of. There is no good time to do this during my work shift because technically there is usually something more important that needs to be done. If i skip a day then piles of raw meat sit on the shelves and start to stink up the place, so every day I have to make the perfect judgment call as to when to take care of this task. It's the job that no one recognizes or says thank you for doing it, and in general no one considers they guy who has to clean it all up when they throw bottles of leaking oil on the shelf, or dripping packages of fish, broken open packages of cat food, crushed eggs, containers of yogurt etc. Its a job that gives no reward, little thanks, and takes up my time.

    I'm not even allowed to help myself to any of the damaged goods that might be salvageable. But there is one silver lining to this chore. I was given the green light to manage goods which can be saved and given to the needy. My Rema 1000 is located right in the center of the city where anybody  and everybody hangs out. Tromsø has a fair share of drug addicts, alcoholics, homeless, and jobless people. Most of these people are poor for one reason or another. Many of them sell a street magazine called Virkelig which helps them make some extra money. Unfortunately it isn't enough money to buy food after buying drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol and they are left desperate to find some food. Many of them resort to stealing. Yes I know that in most cases their choices have lead them to the situation they are in, and it is no excuse to remain in that situation, but no one should go hungry. These are human beings, and no human should walk around being hungry when piles and piles of perfectly good food are being thrown into the trash every single day. Many of these people now know that they can come in and ask for Jason, and I can go back to the warehouse to see if I can drum up something for them to eat. It is a win win situation because it helps keep them from resorting to stealing, and we save money on the trash bill since we aren't filling up the containers with this stuff.

    Even though I don't get paid anything extra to take care of this job, I believe the reward comes within. The feeling that I am helping someone who needs help is my only reward but a fantastic reward. I'm very thankful that I get to help these people. These are people with good hearts that just need some extra positive support. When I give them a bag of food I usually touch base with them and see how things are going. I try to encourage them to do something more with their lives, and get out of the situation they are in so that they don't have to continue coming in and asking for the leftovers.

    If you are someone who works at a grocery store, and has access to the trash, I CHALLENGE YOU TO DO THE SAME AS ME! Try and make an arrangement so you can help out these desperate souls who just want something to eat. Talk to your boss or your manager and convince them that you can save money on the trash bill, put a dent in the loss due to theft, and at the same time help people out by simply sharing the trash! I usually don't ask , but please share this blog. If we spread this around maybe it can become a regular thing! Talk about it to your friends or family that might work at a grocery store and encourage them to help the needy in one way or another! 

  • Publisert: 17.04.2016, 11:41
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  • 100 dager uten sukker fullført

  • Publisert: 16.04.2016, 11:24
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) Yes we did it! I really never thought it was possible but we completed 100 days without sugar. Tonje had a couple hiccups and I actually had a hiccup on the first day but other than that we literally changed how we live our lives.

    On the first day I nearly made it through the day but at the last second I couldn't take it and I ate a piece of bread with some peanut butter on it that had sugar in it. Other than that I didn't cheat once. I had so many opportunities to cheat but I somehow managed to keep it real! We managed to go to the movies without eating any candy. We completed a birthday party which had 3 different cakes without eating a single bite.

     I eventually used some sugar substitutes like honey and fruit. I also cured some late night cravings with some sugar free soda, and water with sugar free flavorings. I never realized that almost everything you buy at the store has sugar in it. Good luck finding a potato chip that doesn't have sugar in it. Not to mention almost every bread has sugar. During this 100 days I decided to step up my GYM game and started working out more. We also started eating more home cooked food rather than finished food like tv dinners and pizza.

    In the end I lost 17 pounds and Tonje lost 4 or 5! Upon completing the 100th day we decided to have a treat and eat some cookies. It was actually a mistake. After 4 cookies I felt sick and wanted to throw up. Before I could eat a whole box of cookies no problem. Now I feel more alert. I am avoiding sugar as much as possible and still aiming for natural sugar alternatives rather than refined sugar. I can think clearer and some of my back aches and pains aren't as bad.

    My energy levels are more stable and I can last longer throughout the work day. I truly believe that sugar is one of the most addicting and most damaging substances on the planet, but just like anything else it can be overcome, and the results on the body and mind are very noticeable. I still plan to indulge in something yummy from time to time but just like all things you must take it in moderation. It feels good to set out and accomplish this. It also sets a good example for others, and hearing that others have followed in our footsteps feels great. Perhaps you should give it a go! I challenge you! (to be continued) I hope you have a healthy happy and prosperous day!

  • Publisert: 16.04.2016, 11:24
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  • Tonje goes to America!

  • Publisert: 15.04.2016, 10:28
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) In 2015 it finally happened. I got to bring my wife to America so she could meet my family! I had been living in Norway for 10 years and unfortunately this hadn't happened sooner. In the first years while living in Norway I traveled back to the US alone. I usually went once a year at Christmas time. We really couldn't afford for me to go but I just couldn't bare it, so I put the trips on credit so I could at least gain some sanity back and go see my family. It's not the cheapest round trip ticket, about 2000 dollars but it was just something I needed to do. Every year I wished we could afford to both go, but it just didn't work out. Finally after working full time for 2 years at Rema 1000 I was afforded a nice summer vacation pay.

    We put our minds to it and got our tickets. It was quite the adventure traveling across the world together. It was really nice having someone I know to sit by on the plane. I had traveled alone so many times and this time I actually had a shoulder to lean on during the long flight. It was so wonderful when my family finally got to meet Tonje. I had so many things I wanted to show her. We went to Taco bell, Arbys, Fred Meyer, Walmart, Target, Costco and Dominoes pizza just to name a few. All these were common to me but fascinating to Tonje. We went to a water park that has roller coasters called Wild Waves. We went to a dormant volcano called Mt. Rainier.

    We took part in my cousins wedding. We went to a casino which was fun but we didn't become rich unfortunately. We even got to meet 2 new baby cousins and that was the first time for the both of us. During our visit in Washington and Oregon they were going through a record heat wave. It was really hot but we welcomed the heat. After being ice cold in Norway for so many years it was wonderful to thaw out in America. This trip had to have been one of the highest points in my whole life. I was so happy I could bring her there to meet my family. My family welcomed her with open arms and everybody loved her and treated her as if she has always been part of the family. Now that part of me has converted to Norwegian, I think part of Tonje has converted to American! (to be continued)

  • Publisert: 15.04.2016, 10:28
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  • Flashback:Hopp I Havet (Jump in the ocean) Video

  • Publisert: 14.04.2016, 23:56
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  • video:hopp

    (continued) In 2014 a strange phenomenon took place throughout the world. I believe it all started in Norway. This phenomenon later spread across the world and eventually turned it to the much weaker version (the ice bucket challenge) One person would make a video of them self as they jump in to the ice cold waters of Norway. It was the jump in the ocean challenge. First you challenge all your friends to do it and if they don't do it within 24 hours, they owe you something. Money, alcohol, and lunch were some of the things mentioned. I have decided to relaunch my video to you and show the moment I realized I have become a crazy viking. After this day I truly felt like I had become a full on Norwegian citizen. (continued)

  • Publisert: 14.04.2016, 23:56
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  • I got me a full time job at Rema 1000!

  • Publisert: 13.04.2016, 19:58
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  •  

    (cotinued) I was quickly approaching 90 days on my job practice at Rema 1000. I did everything I possibly could to impress everyone around me, especially the boss. I was never late once and never called in sick. I forgot how many times I talked to the boss about giving me a regular job, but it may have been borderline annoying. When you want a job, you have to show that you want it and that's exactly what I did.

    During the final weekend of my practice, I was invited out to have some drinks with the boss. It was just going to be a beer, but well we basically lost track of how many we had. Lets just say we had a fantastic time! Eventually he told me that there was a full time job coming up for me if I wanted it. I nearly crapped my pants! It was bro hugs and high fives for the rest of the night, not to mention many more drinks! I got to celebrate in style, and look forward to having a full time job again! A previous employee would be moving to another job, so I would take over his responsibilities and some others. I was given the responsibilities of Night Manager, Bread and Cakes Manager, and I also was put in charge of managing the returns and  goods that go out of date or get a damaged package and can no longer be sold.

    I would begin working full time from 3pm to 11pm. It was an extremely tall order, but I met the challenge face on and took it with a do your best every single day approach. It felt great to have a full time job again, and a somewhat stable place to live. Now if I could just hang on to this job and possibly live in one house for more than a year then I would be super happy! (to be continued)

  • Publisert: 13.04.2016, 19:58
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  • Job practice at Rema 1000 & Moving to Strandvegen!

  • Publisert: 12.04.2016, 12:26
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) I never imagined where a job practice at Rema 1000 would lead me but I was determined for it to lead to only 1 thing.. A permanent full time job. I would NEVER GIVE UP! I was to work full time every week day from 8am to 4pm on a 3 month contract. I would get paid roughly half of what a regular employee would get, and  NAV (state welfare) would pay me.

    This situation is a win win for the employer because they get a full time employee at no cost, except for the cost of a uniform. On my first day I found out that I wasn't the only one on job practice. There were several others working daily, trying to impress the boss and get a permanent job. I was very out of shape. I hadn't been to the gym for years, hadn't worked for a couple years, I was in allot of debt due to taking trips home to America on credit, and I was soon to be homeless if I didn't find a new place for me and Tonje to live.

    Everything was really stacked against me, and I had only one way to go, up. I took the opportunity and started firing my engine on all cylinders. In the beginning my duties consisted of helping fill out pallets of fruit and vegetables, helping fill up the cigarette cases with cigarettes and tobacco, going over dates of fresh meats to find things to soon expire, general cleaning and organizing, and whatever else the boss asked me to do.

    I did every task like it was an opportunity to show how good I am. We were urged to work at a high tempo, so I did just that. I worked at the highest tempo I could, despite the fact of being fat, and sweaty most of the time. I started pumping out cases of fruit like a champion. Always trying to do things faster, better, and more effective than everyone else. After finishing the first day I had a a blister on each foot, my back felt like it had been trampled on from an elephant, and I didn't think I could make it through another day.

    Of course I put it all behind me, put on the blue uniform, and got back at it again the next day.I walked on top of the blisters for the first week, I felt like I had ran a marathon. I honestly considered taking a sick day or two, but that just isn't my style. I wanted to prove that I was reliable, so I just kept pushing and pushing. After 2 weeks I was given the opportunity to work at the register. This would be a massive challenge. This is where the workers on practice go as soon as they get a grasp of the layout of the store.

    The praktikant (job practicers) typically get put at the register so they can run that area of the store while the people with full time jobs can run the rest of the store. It was a challenge to learn the system used at the register, and I wasn't given a whole lot of training. Its like being thrown into the water and learning to swim for the first time. Being the customer friendly person that I am, working at the register became a breeze. Learning the different types of cigarettes and tobacco was quite a challenge but eventually it was a snap. I got so good at  working at the register, I was soon put there almost full time every day.

    I will never forget the day I went straight to the main register at 8am and continued working at the same spot all day for roughly 8 hours. That day a full time employee called in sick, so the boss asked me if I would mind staying for 2 more hours. I was offered the chance to come in 2 hours late the following day. Whenever a potential boss asks you do do something, you do it with a smile. Even if it sucks. I didn't want to let him down, so I accepted the offer, and ended up  taking customers at the main register for almost 10 hours total. 

    Time was running out at our apartment at fagereng, so we had to make a desperate move. I put a picture of me and Tonje with an add in Nordlys. (local newspaper). The add stated that we were looking for an apartment. I was actually surprised with the feedback we got. Now people were contacting me rather than me contacting them. It even helped that some people recognized me from working on practice at Rema 1000. Eventually it happened, we were offered an apartment on Strandvegen.

    They said we weren't allowed animals but we convinced them to let us have 2 cats. The owner of the house warned us that the house may be sold at some point, and possibly demolished to make room for new apartments eventually. We were offered a 1 year contract with the possibly of extending it depending on how things go. Things were starting to come together, and it felt good. Now if I could just turn this job practice into a full time paying job. (to be continued) Thanks for reading I hope you have an inspiring day! 

  • Publisert: 12.04.2016, 12:26
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  • Fagereng was lovely but the stay was short.

  • Publisert: 11.04.2016, 10:59
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  •  

    (continued) We enlisted the help of Tonjes uncle Roy , and her dad, and the missionaries again to help us move. It feels like each time we move we have even more stuff to move with us. Its funny how that happens. Our new apartment was small but very nice and a large improvement from what we had at Sommarøy. It had easy bus access and was a short walking distance from a store. It also had very nice nature all around. There is a walking/skiing track that runs just up the hill from our back yard. There was also a massive cemetery just a short walking distance from our place. We enjoyed walking through the cemetery when we needed a peaceful walk.

    I continued with my job practice at the cafeteria, and it was much easier to take the bus which only took about 20 minutes. We even had our own parking place in a large garage but sadly we don't have a car so it just sat there looking pretty like a pretty parking place should. Eventually our apartment needed to have showings so that people who were interested in buying it could come look at it. This was one of the most uncomfortable experiences we ever faced. We had to clean our apartment perfect like a hotel, and then leave for a while so that strangers and real estate agents could come walk around. We had to put our cats outside even though they weren't much of outside cats. We really hated this part of our stay at Fagereng, but we knew it would happen so we just had to deal with it.

    We were crossing our fingers that no one would buy the place, because then we would have to move again. We got to live there for about a year, and then the news came. The apartment was sold and we had 3 months to move again. Stress and anxiety levels hit the roof. We already knew how hard it was to find an apartment, but now we had to head back into the market and find something new. My job practice was going well, but I just had this feeling that it wouldn't lead to a job. I had heard from a friend that there was a nice young man running the Rema 1000 (a grocery store) in the city and that he might offer me a practice there  and or possibly a job. I decided to go have a chat with him. His name was Kevin and he was really friendly and positive. He seemed slightly skeptical, but said sure, come and have a practice starting at the beginning of the following month.

    With a new job in the works, we set out to find a new apartment. We applied everywhere possible. We went to many viewings. It was so hard to find an apartment. Soon it was time to move again, and also time to start a new job practice at Rema 1000. (to be continued) Thanks for reading!

  • Publisert: 11.04.2016, 10:59
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  • I told Slash that we had to move again. Fagereng here we come!

  • Publisert: 10.04.2016, 16:35
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  • (continued) Eventually Nav contacted me and wanted to push my pursuit for a job even further. They would continue to pay me in a program that prepares you to find a job. They requested that I join a praksis (job practice) at a cafeteria for the university.  It turned out to be one extremely difficult task. I would have to take the bus for 2 hours each way to do it. With car it usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours max but to take  the bus takes 2 hours. It even required me to switch buses in the city. I would get up at just before 6 am and arrive at the destination right on time at 8 am. My head was usually cooked after the bus ride but it was time to suck it up and get to work.

    The job at the cafeteria was a nice learning experience. I spent allot of time learning how to wash dishes, empty trash cans, clean off tables, and do all the grunt work. Soon I was offered the chance to start making food, and this is something I love to do. I was making fancy finger food like dates wrapped in bacon. I ended up being put in charge of making the potato salad almost every time it was needed. Normally after making a dish you are required to have one of the veteran cooks give it a taste to say if it needs salt or pepper. I got so good at it that eventually they just left the tasting responsibility up to me. Things were going great at the cafeteria, but the bus ride taking up almost 4 hours of each day was killing me.

    We started pushing hard to find an apartment in Tromsø. The apartment market was at its all time worst in Tromsø and we almost gave up. Lucky for us, a good friend of mine offered me to rent her apartment at Fagereng. It would only be temporary because the apartment was going to be for sale. We could live there until it got sold basically. We were desperate to escape Sommarøy so we took the oopportunity. We packed everything up, grabbed  Slash and Freddy and moved to Fagereng! (to be continued) Enjoy your day!

  • Publisert: 10.04.2016, 16:35
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  • And then we moved to Sommarøy (summer island)

  • Publisert: 09.04.2016, 13:17
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  • (continued) It was time to move again. I really never imagined moving so many times but here we go again. The moving operation wasn't the easiest of tasks. We had to enlist the help of friends and family. We borrowed a big truck from Tonjes uncle and her dad drove it for us. It was a big truck but somehow we had accumulated allot of stuff, so big was definitely necessary. I also was lucky to get the help of two Mormon missionaries and Tonjes brother. We were so thankful for everybody's help and really could not have done it without them.

    Moving to Sommarøy was an interesting experience. It was probably the most peaceful place I have ever lived. We moved there during the summer, so it was always light the first couple months. We had a really small apartment but it was cozy. It was a 2 bedroom and only cost 5000 a month which was an unheard of price in Tromsø. Slash and Freddy loved it there because it was really nice nature. Slash became an expert mouse hunter was delivering dead mice to us on a daily basis. Sometimes he even delivered some that were still alive into the house. Tonje didn't approve. We lived just a 5 minute walk from some docks where we could fish.
    We spent all summer fishing. It was about the only thing to do there, but it was fun for us. We spent all summer just relaxing, fishing, and catching mice. It was really quite peaceful and tranquil everywhere you looked at Sommarøy

    But then came the winter and the darkness. I think Sommarøy is called summer island for a reason. The reason is that its only good in the summer. In the winter it becomes, lets call it uncomfortable. Ice cold, full time darkness, blasting winds, snow, and ice are just a few of the characteristics of Sommarøy in the winter It should change its name to Vinterøy (winter island) in the winter. We couldn't take it for long. We were 2 hours from civilization by bus with no car and Sommarøy wasn't fun anymore. We started looking for a new apartment back in Tromsø (to be continued) Have a peaceful day!

  • Publisert: 09.04.2016, 13:17
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  • New Job New Possibilities!

  • Publisert: 08.04.2016, 11:38
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  • (continued) Now it was time to start looking for a new job. My temporary contracts that lasted through several years would soon end, and they had no intention to hire me or extend them any more. I was very lucky because Tonjes uncle Roy reached out to me and offered me a job at his business called Selstad. This is a company that supplies equipment for fishing boats, and loads them with fuel and oil. The job included driving a forklift, creating fishing nets that the ships can drag on the bottom of the ocean, cleaning up the warehouse, and, moving barrels of oil and fuel around.

    It was amazing learning about how this operation works. This job was mostly filled with old timers and veterans who had been at it for a long time so I was definitely a greenhorn. I also had to stretch my Norwegian speaking skills to the limit because they refused to speak English to me. It was a fantastic learning experience. Unfortunately some of the lifting took a toll on my back. Lifting and moving cables that are used on ships is no easy task 
    Eventually I ended up sykemeldt which is basically unlimited sick leave in Norway. I began physical therapy on my back and tried to bring myself to continue the job but in the end I had to walk away from it. I always feel guilty about leaving such a good job, but if you cant perform your job at the proper level required then you shouldn't be at that job. I began on a downward spiral of unhealthy habits. I wasn't working nor exercising. I starting popping lots of pain pills to help with the back pain. I was eating unhealthy food and drinking lots of soda and basically getting fat. I ended up carrying on with the sick leave for as long as I could. I was basically jobless and living off of sick pay from NAV. I never felt good about the situation and the situation took up a large period of my life in Norway.It's a situation that is very hard to escape from.

     Soon we got the word that our apartment on Gimlevegen would be sold and we only had a couple of months to move out. The stress increased. We hunted hard for weeks to find a new apartment in town but prices were so ridiculous and high, and availability was almost non existent. Eventually we came across an apartment for really cheap but it was a 1.5 hour drive from Tromsø in a city called Sommarøy (summer island). With no other options it was time to move again! (to be continued) Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!

  • Publisert: 08.04.2016, 11:38
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  • I got my forklift license!

  • Publisert: 07.04.2016, 12:02
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  • (continued) It was fun riding on the back of a trash truck but it was time for something new. I was now offered a job as a temporary at an area where everyone delivers trash to be recycled. I was given a 6 month contract to start with, but with potential for more. I started as a customer helper/trash sorter. People would drive in with a load of various trash. There were several large containers where they can dump it or throw it in. Here you can dump wood, rocks, hazardous materials like paint, electronics, and standard trash.

    Sometimes people would throw electronics in the wrong container and I was there to fish it out with a long pole with a hook on the end. This was a great job. Sometimes we could just sit and drink coffee in a little shack while we wait for customers or for something to do. We got a 1 hour paid lunch break, and we even got free lunch. At the lunchroom there was a refrigerator full of food at all times and we could help ourselves to bread, sandwich materials, fruit, and drinks for free. It was such an amazing concept.

    One day the boss told me that if I could get a forklift license that it might be possible to get a permanent job. I headed to NAV which is the branch that is in charge of all social welfare in Norway. I had a meeting with one of the leaders there to ask if it would be possible to get help paying for my forklift license. The man told me in English that due to the fact that I'm american and not European, that they couldn't help me. He said something about how Norwegians are treated in america is the same as I am treated in Norway and unfortunately there is no help for me.

    I was in shock. This was the first time in my life I actually felt discriminated. I went back to the boss of and told them that I couldn't get help from NAV. They struck a deal with me and offered to pay for half of the costs of taking the forklift tests and the other half would be deducted from my check. It was better than nothing, so I started with the classes right away. It was 100% Norwegian and not a word of English was spoken during the classes. We had hands on driving of forklifts and I was actually a quick learner. Then came the tough part. The written part of the test. It was all in multiple choice questions but it was still difficult.

    I was using every ounce of my brain power to decipher the Norwegian test. I had considered cheating, but when I looked at the answers of the person in front of me and the person beside me, all of the answers were different from what I thought was the right answer. I went with my gut feeling and decided not to cheat and just come up with the best answers I could on my own. I found out later that every test was different so that you can't cheat off your neighbors. Glad I didn't cheat! A few days passed and we were given the results of our testing. I passed with flying colors! I was actually surprised I passed! I got my forklift license and started working in the electric hall where all electronics and dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators are sorted.



    I kept pushing hard and working my hardest every single day with the hopes of getting a permanent job. One day I got a forklift stuck and it almost rolled down the hill and I had to have the help of a giant machine 
    It was a challenging job but I kept at it as a temporary for almost 2 years. I had worked for the same company for over 3 years as a temporary and even got my forklift license. Despite being promised the possibility of getting a permanent job, I was never given one. Along came a job opening within the company and I applied for it. The job was given to a Norwegian who had no prior experience within the company. This was devastating and I seriously felt discriminated due to being an american. They used me for several years but couldn't find me a spot within the company. I even went to the Union and and tried to fight it but we didn't win. It was time to look for a new job. (to be continued) Thanks for reading I hope you have a fabulous day!

  • Publisert: 07.04.2016, 12:02
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  • And then We got Freddy! (AKA Freddy Kreuger)

  • Publisert: 06.04.2016, 11:30
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  • (continued) On my last day as a trash collector, I got a special friend. I had read an announcement in the newspaper of someone else giving away free kitties. I asked the driver of my trash truck if he would mind swinging by so I could pick up a new family member. When I arrived at the house they had a big giant glass aquarium in the middle of the living room and it was full of kitties playing. They told me to go ahead and choose. All of the kitties were black and white, and were all girls except for one. There was only 1 boy and he was grey and white.

    I reached in to pet the little ones and they were happy and playing but most of them ignored me except for the grey one. He was really interested in me and was attempting to crawl out of the cage just to get to me. That made my decision very easy. I chose the grey boy because the grey boy apparently chose me! I'll name him Freddy Kreuger! He was immediately purring and I loaded him into a backpack and took him out to our trash truck. He actually started meowing really loud as we drove to my house. I had to poke my head in and soothe him and try to calm him down. He just wanted out. I brought the backpack into the house and set it on the floor near Slash. You could see some movement and could hear a couple little meows coming out. Slash was instantly intrigued. He went around sniffing the backpack and wondering what was inside. I unzipped a small opening and tilted the backpack down so he could escape. Suddenly a little grey head popped out along with a loud MEOW!

    Slash was shocked to see another cat in the house. At first they sniffed each other nose to nose and Slash hissed at him and lightly swung his paw at him. Then he did the normal thing, and sniffed the little kitties bum. After that everything fell into place. Freddy came right up to slash and started nosing into his belly. Slash laid down, and Freddy began to look for some mommy milk. Slash was really confused but at the same time I think he liked it. Slash had a new little brother! This was the start of the two coolest cats in town. Slash and Freddy!

     
    It was a wonderful end to my last day as a trash man. It was time to look forward to the new job within the same trash company! Last but not least I would like to say happy birthday to Freddy because today he is 10 years old! (to be continued) Thanks allot for reading! Please enjoy your day!

  • Publisert: 06.04.2016, 11:30
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  • From Renovasjon to Remiks! Time to be a trash man!

  • Publisert: 05.04.2016, 11:59
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) So i got a job at what was formerly called Renovasjon but is now called Remiks. I would step in as a temporary or (vikar) with a contract of 3 months but possibly more. My first day I was told to head to the equipment room and pick out some brand new shoes, gloves and rain gear. I kept waiting for them to give me a bill or tell me how much it would cost but it was a real surprise that all of the gear was provided to the workers for free. I had never experienced a job that provides the equipment at no cost.

    It was nice meeting all the new faces. I made some really great friends. Many were very considerate and spoke English with me. It seemed like they were almost excited to finally get a chance to use English. There were some who only spoke Norwegian, so I did my best to speak the same language. I thought it was funny that all of these men wanted to make sure I knew all of the swear words in Norwegian first. I guess they were preparing me for the job and frustration ahead!

    So basically I am now a trash man. So roughly 10 years ago, there were no side loading trash trucks. It was collected the old fashioned way. 1 or 2 guys stand on the back of the truck and hop off and collect the trash bags and throw them in the back and crush it while someone else drives. My first day was grueling and I could tell I was completely out of shape. We covered a large section of the city and by the end of the day my feet were wiped out and my arms were dead from hanging on to the back of the truck and throwing heavy bags of trash all day long.

    At first I didn't think I would make it but it got easier each day. It was a great way to get to know the city while standing outside on the back of a truck driving around in the weather. It was actually one of the best jobs i ever had. It was a job working for the city so the benefits were amazing. We got paid for holidays, and if we worked overtime we get to drive to a restaurant and eat a free meal while getting paid double. Every day we would drive back to the headquarters and take a 1 hour paid lunch. After lunch we would finish up the route and with any left over time we could just sit around and drink coffee until the shift was over.

    I ended up having my contract extended about 10 times and worked this same job as a "temporary" for a couple years. Soon the company was updated with new vehicles. These vehicles would make my job obsolete. No more need for guys standing on the back of the truck. They were trucks that can drive up and a robotic arm reaches out and collects the trash. They were called side loaders. They also changed the name of the company to Remiks. Lucky for me I was offered a different job in another branch of Remiks as a"temporary". (to be continued) Thanks for taking the time to read! I appreciate it!

  • Publisert: 05.04.2016, 11:59
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  • Moving back to Gimlevegen!

  • Publisert: 04.04.2016, 12:08
  • Kategori: Blogg


  • (continued) So we were all set. I was perfectly happy with our apartment at Tomasjord, but but this is what Tonje wanted, and she's the boss. I totally understood why though, because she wanted to be closer to Ylva. Now she could come stay with us and visit us more often. We packed up everything and moved it all over to the new pad.

    One of the toughest things after moving is cleaning up the old place. We spent hours and hours cleaning the old apartment just to find out that It wasn't good enough. They found some flecks of dust in the upper back corner of some shelves and asked us to go over everything again. We enlisted some help and after way too much effort and time, we managed to escape the old apartment. Unfortunately while moving the washing machine it scratched up the floor so we had to pay. I really hated moving and cleaning, but this is life.

    I would later learn that this is how it goes every time you move. So our new place was real cozy on Gimlevegen. It was a very nice location right near the hospital and easy access to the bus. It was wonderful to have more visits from Ylva. I continued to go to voksenoplæring pushing towards taking the level 3 test of Norwegian. Even though I dreaded moving, I was pleased with the new apartment.

    We had some great times on Gimlevegen. We held some parties and enjoyed ourselves to the max. My cousin Diana even came with a friend from america and visited us.  It was so fantastic to have some family actually come all the way to Norway to visit me. Turns out, it would be the only time I get visitors from america so those memories I will never forget.

    One day I had finished school, and came home and was chilling by myself doing my homework and I got a phone call from My mother in law Eva. She wanted to inform me that there was a job opening where she works at the trash collecting company and it was mine if I wanted it! I couldn't have been more thankful. Little did I know what a challenge this new job would be. I really never expected a job to just fall in my lap, but that's exactly what happened. I got myself my first job in Norway! (to be continued)

  • Publisert: 04.04.2016, 12:08
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  • And then we got Slash!

  • Publisert: 03.04.2016, 10:18
  • Kategori: Blogg


  •  


    (continued) Things were really nice in our new apartment. Tonje was busy keeping it clean and tidy and making waffles, while I was busy going to voksenoplæring to learn even more Norwegian. Tonje was paying all of the bills and we were on a strict budget. We convinced our landlords to let us have a cat, and so we set forth to find us one. We found an add in the newspaper for someone way across town giving away free kittens.

    We called and arranged a visit to come and choose us a new family member. When we knocked on the door we could hear lots of little tiny meows. There were kittens all over the place playing sleeping eating and just having fun in general. She told us to go ahead and pick one out. It was really hard to choose because they were all so adorable. Most of them were orange, and I thought we should have an orange one.

    Out of the 10 orange kitties there was one white and grey one, but he wasn't really social. He ran and hid under the couch. Tonje said I want HIM! And peeked under the couch. I said ok but it seems like he doesn't want us since he is hiding under the couch. Tonje reached under to grab him and he darted across the room. I dropped to the ground and blocked his path and he ran right into my hands. GOT HIM! He started mewing and squirming and trying to get away but I soothed him and pet him and he started to calm down.

    We thanked the people who gave us him and headed for the bus. The little guy was mewing like crazy, so I had to put him inside my shirt to calm him down so we could take the bus home. We had already decided to name him Slash since my cat that I left behind in the US was named Axel Rose, so we figured it was only appropriate to name him Slash. The cute little guy fell asleep inside my shirt and we brought him home. It was a cozy life with our new little family.

    My stepdaughter stayed with her grandma living on Gimlevegen, but would come stay with us on the weekends. It was really cozy with our little family. One day Tonje received a call from someone offering us an apartment on Gimlevegen. This is an apartment Tonje had been trying to get for years and it really meant allot to her to get an apartment on the same street as her daughter. She immediately accepted it and informed me that we would be moving. I was really adamant about this whole thing because we hadn't been in our new apartment for very long at all. We discussed it and decided the best thing to do would be to move back to Gimlevegen! Looks like we're moving again! (to be continued) Thanks for reading I really appreciate your support and interest! 
     

  • Publisert: 03.04.2016, 10:18
  • Kategori: Blogg
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  • Our first apartment in Tomasjord!

  • Publisert: 02.04.2016, 10:27
  • Kategori: Blogg

  • (continued) I was now capable of speaking and understanding some Norwegian. I wasn't amazing yet but I could get bye. In the beginning, we only lived off of Tonjes money. She has a disability called spina bifida. In Norway if you have a disability of such, you get a disability payment every month once you turn 18 years old. Its a really tough disability, and they pay her enough to carry on a normal life as if she were to go out and work a normal job.

    I am so proud of Tonje. She has struggled through this disability her whole life, and she always carries on like she doesn't have it. She is a true warrior and I'm so happy that she lives in Norway where she is taken care of with monetary benefits. When we applied for me to come to Norway she had to prove that she made enough money to support me and it was just barely enough but it was enough.

    We had been living in the house on Gimlevegen with her mother and daughter but we really wanted a place of our own. Finding an apartment in Tromsø is not easy nor is it cheap. We put our minds to it and started looking. We got turned down many times and things were looking grim. We found an add in the newspaper offering a little flat in a place off the island and on the other side of the bridge called Tomasjord. It was a good price, and they weren't asking allot of moving in fees etc.

    I didn't want to let this one slip bye, so I got on the phone and called the landlord myself. I used my best norwegian skills possible to convince them to rent to us. To my amazement, they said yes! I was so pleased and exited. We got our own little apartment! (to be continued)
     

  • Publisert: 02.04.2016, 10:27
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  • Skal lære meg norsk! (Time to learn Norwegian)

  • Publisert: 01.04.2016, 11:00
  • Kategori: Blogg




  • (continued) We found an adult learning school called voksenoplæring in downtown Tromsø. There I could learn to speak Norwegian. It is quite expensive for immigrants unless you are married to a Norwegian and then its free! This was great news. I really was tired of not understanding what people were saying. Its difficult to join in a conversation when you don't understand a word people are saying.

    I wanted to be my normal self and talk everyone's ear off, but I just had to keep quiet in most situations. That was really difficult for me but it was part of my growing pains into becoming a proper Norwegian citizen. I was excited to go back to school but very nervous. It had been a long time since I attended any sort of school. I entered the school on the first day and it was filled with students from all around the world. I had never experienced so many different cultures from so many different lands all at once. It looked like I was the only american there, but we all had one goal in common and that was to speak Norwegian.

    I entered my first class for the first time and it was full of many smiling faces. I sat down and everyone introduced themselves. I met people from all around the world from places like Iraq, Iran, Germany, Spain, Romania, Afghanistan, Australia and Mexico just to name a few. I had really hoped that these people didn't have anything against Americans, but I figured I would just show them what a kind, caring, and non racist person I am and hopefully everyone would accept me. There was even a guy from the USA! He was from Washington and he also met his girl on the internet and moved to Tromsø. I was blown away, what are the odds of that?? I met  a girl from Romania, and she was actually the person who had gotten married at city hall just minutes before I did! What a small world it is. 

    The school was a real challenge and I had to really focus to learn this language. School was every weekday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. I was actually doing great, and learning very quickly. I was also doing my best to make sure I reached out and made friends with everyone in the class. After a week, our teacher announced that she would like for us to choose a  class representative or "elevsrådgiver". I really had no idea who to choose. Suddenly I noticed all the students eyes turn towards me. It was unanimous, everyone was raising their hands and pointing to me.  I had no intention of being it, but the entire class chose me to be the leader, so I thankfully accepted the challenge. This meant I would be in charge of class projects and parties, and I would represent our class during school meetings. I was really pleased that I was making friends so easily, because I love making friends.

     I steamrolled through the first 2 levels of the language. I passed the level 1 and level 2 test with flying colors. I attended school full time for a good 6 to 7 months. I could finally slightly understand what people were saying in Norway! It was a great feeling, but I wanted more than that. I wanted a job. (to be continued) Thanks for reading friends! Have an epic day!

  • Publisert: 01.04.2016, 11:00
  • Kategori: Blogg
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