We were in the news this weekend! Click here for the news report, here for Saturday’s TV and here for Sunday’s TV broadcast. Hopefully other couples in our situation won’t have to go through the trouble we have had this year.
Isaac will get to stay in Norway until August 8th! So we have the summer to figure things out. We’re now looking for apartments in Sweden. The plan is to stay there for 6-12 months and then return to Oslo. Please pray for an apartment and jobs.
Last week brought some good news: I have a job i get to keep until school starts in August! Finally all the pieces were falling into place, Olivia had been admitted to a kindergarten for the fall, I had a job and we had an apartment. All that was left to do was enjoy ordinary family life throughout the summer months.
Then a letter appeared in the mail that once again made a mess of it all. The letter we’d been waiting for with dread and excitement, one we did not expect to arrive for another month or so. It informed us Isaac has to leave Norway, and soon. July 8th it said, which was just over two weeks.
Now new plans need to be made. I am left in Norway with a full time job and no one to watch Olivia. Isaac is forced to leave his family and his new home.
We can handle this. We’ll get through this as well. But why is it necessary to split young families because of national boarders? What does society gain from such strict regulations? That I in reality am forced to choose between life as a single mother or leaving my home country feels so very unnecessary!
Latest news when it comes to Isaac’s residence permit: our complaint has now been passed on to UNE, the next level of bureaucracy. Assumed processing time: 7 months starting now.
We have waited 6 months, and are looking at another 7.
It is frustrating not being able to plan our future, not knowing whether we get to study as planned, having our lives put on hold.
Now we know we are only half-way done waiting. We can stop anxiously checking the mail every day, dreading and longing for an answer. We can live our lives without the fear that tomorrow our lives will be turned upside down.
But it is still a life of uncertainty. We cannot plan for the fall as we do not know if we get to stay. And Isaac cannot work or go to university.
We spend a significant part of our lives waiting. Waiting for the bus, waiting for exam results or feedback on an application. Waiting to meet that someone special. Waiting for answer to a prayer. Waiting for visas.
It can be hard to wait, and I think it is the hardest when you don’t know how long your wait will last. Not having a date, not being able to count the days makes the wait close to insufferable.
A good friend of mine used to point out that what we do while we wait matters. We might spend our whole lives waiting, so we have to live while we wait!
Now we know, we will be waiting for a while longer. So we will live our lives in the mean time. Enjoy watching Olivia grow, enjoy the time we get to share. Try to make a difference in the lives of the people we meet along the way.
Filed under Faith, Thoughts
We have been offered a student apartment in Oslo! It is just big enough for the three of us, in close proximity to both the subway and great nature areas (Sognsvann), perfect for walks when Olivia will sleep nowhere but in a moving stroller. We have been dreaming of a home to call our own for what seems like a long time and this to be exactly what we’re looking for!
But our first reaction when we got the news was sadness. We thought we would have to give it up, which would mean going to the back of the line of people applying for student housing. As there was no knowing whether Isaac will get to stay in Norway or when we would get to know the result, at first it seemed unwise to bind ourselves to paying rent. Isaac is not allowed to work while we wait. So to finance the apartment I have to work. If Isaac were to suddenly be sent out of the country, I would have to give up said job to look after Olivia, leaving me with no way to pay rent.
I’m sure you can imagine our frustration at this point, as all we want is to establish a home and family life in Oslo.
After thinking it though and being assured that if the worst were to happen we would get help, we decided take the apartment in spite of all the uncertainties. Which means we are moving to Oslo March 1st and we are now packing in excitement!
Oslo is where we want to live, at least the next few years. I think some times it is necessary to act before you have all the answers. I know that God answers prayers and that nothing is impossible to him. Oslo is where the most doors seem to open up; I have a spot at a university there, it is an international city so there should be more options for Isaac there and now we have an affordable apartment there. I don’t know what will happen or how. But I have faith that God can provide for us no matter where we are and no matter the circumstances.
So in faith we go to Oslo, hoping for a home and a life there.
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.
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…
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?
PS: Our case has been on national news, here’s the link. And here‘s a follow-up sent the next day.
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:
And here some pictures from the big day, most of them taken by Andreas Fadum (firstname.lastname@example.org):
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:
We have also moved to Norway, here is proof:
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!
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: