About visas

The last half year we have been trying to get a residence permit for Isaac to stay in Norway. You might think that once you have married a Norwegian and you have a Norwegian child, getting a permit to stay in Norway ought to be fairly easy. If so you are wrong. I cannot provide for Isaac as required (defined as  having earned 232 000 kroner last year, equaling about 41600 USD), and even if there are exceptions none of them apply to us. There is a slim chance that an exception can be made given the circumstances, and we’re praying and hoping that such an exception will be made. In the mean time we’re trying to find a job for Isaac, but he is not allowed to work while we wait for the result.

IMG_9680

IMG_9678

You

are

awesome

I know that most people who marry someone of a different nationality than their own have to deal with visa issues at some point. Many also have to spend some time apart, which is difficult in it self. When there is a baby involved it becomes close to intolerable. Imagine how much a baby develops in just a couple weeks. It would break my heart if Isaac was forced to miss the “firsts” that are coming up these next months. First crawl, first time eating food, first word, first time sitting up by her self, first step…

IMG_9631

Our first application for a residence permit has been denied. We have complained on this decision and provided some more documents and more detailed information. Isaac is allowed to stay in Norway until the process is over. But if it is denied again, then what? If that happens we don’t see many opportunities left for us in Norway and we would have to leave.

Maybe I was naive to live in China on my own, without a Norwegian school or organisation supporting me. Still I believe I learned things during my two years living, working and studying independently in Nanjing that I could not have learned any other way. I also believe this experience is very valuable even if I am left with no university credits to show for it. And now I might not be able to stay with my little family in my home country, because I have lived some years of my life slightly outside the Norwegian system.

I ask for a discussion: does not Olivia, a Norwegian baby, have the right to have her father in Norway even if he is not Norwegian? Or should Olivia move out of the country?

IMG_9337

PS: Our case has been on national news, here’s the link. And here‘s a follow-up sent the next day.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Faith, Norway, Thoughts

Roller coaster year

It is now more than a year since my last post, and what a year it has been! I want to compare this past year to a roller coaster, because I have never before had a year with such great heights and such low depths. And I am still on this roller coaster, but I’ll write more about that later.

First, I am now a missus! I married my darling Isaac this summer, and after six months of marriage I can say with certainty that I could not have found a better husband. I guess I could brag about what a great cook he is, his creativity, his musicality, how practical he is or his sense of romance, but instead I will post a picture so you can see for yourself how very handsome he is:

Image

And here some pictures from the big day, most of them taken by Andreas Fadum (andrefad@online.no):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Second, I am now the mother of a beautiful baby girl called Olivia. She is 3 months old and I absolutely adore her! Here’s a photographic summary of our time with her so far:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have also moved to Norway, here is proof:

Isaac skiing

I will not say much about the other side of the roller coaster; there have been some really tough months in between these high lights and they have made us stronger both individually and as a couple. God has proved himself faithful and life with him is always exciting, although not always easy.

Stay posted to see what we are doing now and where we are headed!

Leave a comment

Filed under New Adventures

October Updates

I’m sorry for posting a blanc post again, there’s something wrong with the post-throught-mail function (or maybe it was stopped by the Great Fire-Wall…) Anyway, this is what I meant to post:

It’s November! I’m sorry, again, for not writing in so long. October just went by so fast! Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. I went to Shanghai to see Isaac’s family

For the National Day-holiday, me and Isaac went to see his family in Shanghai. We had a wonderful and relaxed family-weekend. Here’s a pictuer of me and his two younger sisters, Morley and Tori, we found some fun «hats» while shopping:

 2. I got a new room mate

My original arrangement (that a Chinese friend of mine would move in) fell through, so I’ve been without a room mate for a few months. Then, a couple of weeks ago Cici called me. She had seen my add at an expat site and wanted to take a look at the place. Ten days later she moved in. She’s from Southern China and she just arrived in Nanjing for work. So far we get along very well!

3. I got a 2nd job.

As I was not getting as many classes a week as I had hoped for at my first job, I found a second one. I still work at the first one, but I also teach Oral English at some middle schools now, grade 7 and 8.

It reminds me a lot of when I was first in China. Just like last time I don’t have a text book to teach from, just like last time I have so many students that I unfortunately won’t be able to learn all their names and just like last time I feel less than qualified for the job.

At the same time it is completely different. I have a list of topics given to me by my employer, I only go to the school for my lessons (so no office time) and I’m so busy with Chinese lessons, the other job and friends that I just barely have time for lesson planning. I definitely got what I asked for a mont ago!

4. Nanjing had a jazz festival

We did not go see the opening concert this time, but we went to some smaller concerts the first weekend of the festival and saw Ryan McNally Quartet (Canada), Mellow Motif (Thailand), Yuichiro Tokuda (Japan) and Stephan Köning Quartet (Germany).

5. I turned 21

Thank you to everyone who congratulated me on facebook! I can’t access it, but I do get notifications when people write to me. I had a great day. In the evening we went for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. We had them put out tables on the side walk (we can do that cause we’ve got guanxi), it was great to enjoy one of the last autumn nights warm enough to sitt outside with good friends. And afterwards we went to Isaac’s place and played Apples to Apples. Cuty even got me a birthday cake with 21 candles ^^, (Thanks to Lynnea for the photoes!)

6. We went bowling as another bible study social

No more explaination needed, really. The extended cell group went bowling. Next social will be an advent one!

All in all, it was a good month and it was especially good to see how God came through for me with the things that seemed difficult at the beginning of the month!

2 Comments

Filed under China, Life

Purple Mountain 紫金山

I’m sorry I posted an empty post the other day, WordPress is blocked here these days, so I posted through mail and something went wrong. This is what I meant to post:

This year my bible study decided that once a month we will do a «social» rather than our normal discussion group, and I’ve been appointed «socials coordinator» (sounds fancy, doesn’t it?). So Monday 6 of us went climbing 紫金山 (Purple Mountain).

Purple Mountain, Nanjing

Purple Mountain is a mountain in Nanjing city. Because of all the trees it has cleaner air and bluer sky; it’s even possible to see clouds (and where the line between cloud and sky goes..). This time of year the osmanthus-trees are in bloom as well, making all of Nanjing, and especially the mountain, sweet-scented. Still, it’s when I’m in a place with clean air that I notice how unclean the city air is. And from the mountain you can see the pollution as a mist covering the city. Rosie says the pollution was worse four years ago though, so there is hope.

Here is the group as we set out. Usually Chinese mountains have stairs leading all the way to the top, and Chinese mountain-climbing usually means climbing stairs. This is also true for Purple Mountain, but Nick knew a better way to the top that involved fewer stairs and more paths.

We took a bus from where we normally meet for cell group to the mountain in the afternoon. Climbing it took a couple of hours, and then we had Chinese-style green-bean-popsicles while enjoying the view at the top before we headed back down. We followed another path going down and while we were walking the sun went down, making it more difficult to navigate. We might have been slightly lost at one point, and at that very point it was threatening to rain as well. But we prayed and the rain stopped and finally we reached civilisation again after a rather long descent.

Next we met up with some more members of the group and had dinner outside on an alley close to university. I’d say we managed to make the most out of the pleasant Nanjing autumn weather, which is important when autumn only lasts for about a month.

Here are some more pictures:

Us climbing:

At the top:

Nick and Isaac; Nick is Isaac’s new flat mate.

Us enjoying Chinese snacks..:

Doesn’t green-bean-popsicle look tasty?

At the Big Buddah on top of Purple Mountain:

Nanjing:

2 Comments

Filed under Adventures, China, Life

About lessons, work and waiting for God

This week, I started up with Chinese lessons again, at Hohai (/Hehai) University – 河海大学 this time. There are fewer students studying Chinese at Hehai, so I’m enjoying smaller classes and a more personal atmosphere. My plan is to work full-time as an English-teacher this year, but most of my classes will be in the afternoon/evening so there is lots of time for Chinese classes in the morning.

Plus, so far my working schedule is not very busy. My school is an "English training-school" that parents send their kids to after normal kindergarten/primary school-time, and these classes often start up slightly later then the normal school-semester does. So I expect to be more busy at work by the end of the month, and in the mean time I’ll try to enjoy the extra free-time.

chinese-blackboard.png

I know that too much free time hardly is anything to complain about. Especially when I know that most of my Chinese friends don’t have time to do much besides their work. But I can’t help but feel restless at times. The thing is I really wanted and expected to be busy with work this year, but after two weeks I’ve only taught four classes.

I think God is teaching me a few things about patience. I know I’m not very good at waiting for Him. When He’s shown me glimpses of what He’ll do for me in the future, I just want to skip the process and jump straight to the person I will be and the roles I will have then. Yet the process is important in it self. We spend most of our time waiting, it’s what we do while we wait that’s important.

So I’ll try to spend my extra free-time on doing something nice for the people around me that are too busy to do it themselves.

Prayers-for-Patience.jpg

I have appreciated the classes I’ve taught so far, by the way. The kids so far have been between 3 and 5 years old. Apart from the couple of months I spent at a centre for autistic children as a volunteer for Amity through Hald International Centre a year and a half ago, I’ve never worked with kids before. So I don’t know too much about how to teach them English. But so far I’ve enjoyed our time together and even if I still have lots to learn I can tell that the class I taught Thursday went smoother than the one I taught a week earlier, which is encouraging.

Other than teaching and studying, I’ve been re-reading Shane Claiborne’s book The Irresistible Revolution. It makes me inspired, uncomfortable and wanting to make radical changes both in my life and in the world in general for God’s kingdom. But I realise that God’s kingdom is closer when we do small things with great love than when we try to make small things great. (http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/1865)

I’m also reading Joshua these days. Here’s a quote I read this morning:
Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. (Josh. 21:45)

The Israelites had to wait for 40 years before they could receive their promised land. I’m sure I’ll be able to wait a few weeks for more work.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, Life, Thoughts

Rain

I’m sitting in my apartment listening to the rain pouring and the thunder roaring, and I’m happy I can stay inside the rest of the day. I really enjoy rainy days, as long as there’s nowhere I need to be and I can simply stay inside, reading, writing, listening to music and drinking tea.

This week I’ve been cleaning the apartment (which was in a better condition than I feared; I’ve only seen one live cockroach so far and there was only a thin layer of dust and mold covering the floors, tables and cupboards. No flooding, no cockroach colony, no rotten food..) I’ve also been catching up with friends; playing board games and Wii, teaching/learning the Norwegian birthday song (with actions) and hanging out.

It’s good to be back; it’s good to be home.

2 Comments

Filed under Thoughts

Ready again 准备好了

In a few minutes I’ll be on a plane heading for Nanjing. These were the thoughts bouncing around in my head the night before I left for China a bit less than two years ago. I feel like the girl who’s getting on the train tomorrow is in some ways a completely different person. I have learned so much more than I could have imagined and my life has taken directions I never thought possible then.

This time I know where I’m going. I know my apartment, I know the city, I have friends there and I have seen my workplace. In many ways I’m prepared for another year. Of course there are situations to come that I can’t prepare for, but such situations occur whether in China or in Norway.

In a book I read this year (unfortunately I couldn’t find any name of an English translation, but the Norwegian title is Et hjerte større enn verden), Magnus Malm describes among many things our fear for the future as one of the hidden, unseen, unreachable concepts that we humans try, with out much luck, to control. Loosely translated, he writes that the future simultaneously fills us with hope and resignation, expectations and panic.

He goes on to describe how Jesus, in the sermon on the mount, repeatedly refers to “our Father, who sees the unseen” (my translation, look it up in Matthew 6) He writes “the unseen is not emptiness. Neither is it a hiding place for hostile forces waiting to attack me. Even if there are evil forces in the unseen, there is also someone stronger than them. Our Father is in the unseen.”

I like to think that God, my Father, who is love, is in the future. It takes away the feelings of resignation and panic and leaves my heart filled with hope and expectations.

I came across this quote a while ago:

Leave a comment

Filed under Adventures, China, Faith, Norway, Thoughts, Travel