Kickin' it with Kendyl

Adventures in Norway

  • 25th June
    2011
  • 25

Cinder(ella)

image                                    “Dreams can come true!”-Cinderella

Everyone loves the story of Cinderella. From the time we’re young and we first hear the rags to riches fairytale about the unfortunate beauty that had to endear the abuse of her evil step mother and wicked step sisters, we were hooked. But who wouldn’t be? Everyone loves seeing the magic of turning a pumpkin into a carriage; seeing Cinderella’s golden locks swept up into an elegant French twist; and watching her shimmery gown, that fits her perfect figure, sparkle as the handsome prince twirls her around the dance floor.  

This isn’t that type of fairytale.

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  • 21st June
    2011
  • 21

And if you think that’s weird

After my battle with the lawn mower and the water hose I was hoping to have a little normalcy on the job. But of course, with Leif as my boss and me as his little side kick that wasn’t going to happen.

Let’s start with my trip to Namsos:

When Leif called me one night to tell me we were going to Namsos to pick up his boat I had assumed that the town would be relatively close. To my horror when I explained to my roommates my plan for the following day they informed me that Namsos was in fact a good 3-4 hours away. Joy.

Leif picked me up in his jeep bright and early the next morning and we set out on our way. The scenery was actually very beautiful and my tour guide gladly pointed out interesting places and sights. I tried to enjoy the views but was distracted, and a little worried about Leif’s driving skills. Or rather, lack-there- of. With a cellphone in each hand, his knee on the steering wheel, and the speedometer steadily climbing, I silently prayed that I would make it out alive. But I guess the advantage of driving like we were in the Daytona 500 meant that we arrived at our destination in record time.  Only one small problem- there was no boat.

This apparently didn’t faze Leif in the slightest.  In fact, I had a sinking suspicion that our day trip had very little to do with work. This was confirmed a few minutes later when we pulled up to Leif’s lovely wife’s house. His ex- wife that is, and “lovely” is a term that I use loosely here. I quietly sat in the car while I listened to the estranged couple bitch it out. I didn’t know what was being said but I doubt “honey, I’m so happy to see you” was exchanged. Thankfully, I didn’t have to witness the Norwegian soap opera long because apparently we had other official business to attend too. Like take his son to lunch.

As I eyed the boy over my Caesar salad I couldn’t help noticing the scary resemblance he had to his father.  Blue eyes, brown hair parted to the side and a goofy childlike demeanor-yup it was a mini Leif. The boy was pleasant enough and surprisingly spoke English very well, but it was hard for me to enjoy myself sitting outside baking in the sun. I was sweating profusely and I couldn’t wait to get back to the car and cool off. Unfortunately Leif forgot to get his air conditioner fixed so for the next three and half hours I sat marinating in my own sweat. When I finally arrived back home I was greasy, smelly and tired, and wanted nothing more than to have a normal day at work. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen.

It was a week later when Leif called asking me to meet him at 3 because we had some work to do. However, I was beyond shocked when I arrived at our meeting spot and he informed me that he had a “surprise”.

And boy was it…

I tried to keep from hyperventilating as Leif ushered me into Trondheim’s very own paint ball park. Did I mention that I hate guns? It’s not that I’m scared of guns, it’s more that I’m scared of the bullets, and rightfully so because when I saw who I was up against I peed my pants a little. Standing just under 5 ft  and weighing a grand total of 80 lbs. was mini Leif and three of his menacing looking friends. Okay, maybe menacing is an exaggeration but when you give a kid who hasn’t even reached puberty a gun resembling an assault rifle, you would be scared too.

I cradled my gun like a baby and silently prayed for the second time that week that I would make it out of this thing alive. So when the buzzer went off I bolted for the first blow up toy to hide behind. Unfortunately for me the young boys on the opposing team still thought hitting girls was funny, especially an American one. I was crouched in my hidden tiger position peeking around the corner to make sure no one was going to come at me. However, this left my backside exposed which I ultimately paid for. I never heard the shots coming, but I felt a sharp pain sear through my back and temporary blindness as I hit the floor. Ten point for getting the American! Needless to say I declined to participate in the next round. Instead, I watched bemused as Leif took up my gun and ran around Rambo style hunting the pre-pubescent enemy. As he dove, crawled and sprinted around the park I couldn’t help thinking:  Yup, that’s my boss.

  • 12th June
    2011
  • 12
  • 7th June
    2011
  • 07

Work-ing it out

As I sat atop a grassy knoll looking down at the lawn mower embedded in the brush and trees I thought to myself: “that just happened.” Not knowing whether to laugh or cry I did the only thing I could think of and for the fifth time that day called Leif.

Still without a Visa, and thus unable to compete in any matches, other than training I generally have quite a bit of free time. Since playing women’s soccer isn’t exactly lucrative, I have been set up with the only work that I am qualified for in a foreign country. This brought me to my current- and unfortunately one of many- predicament.

A few hours earlier Leif and I had met up in the Sentrum (downtown) to start another glorious day of work. When he told me I was to mow another lawn I didn’t even raise an eyebrow because I had quickly become accustomed to such requests. Plus, it was sunny outside and I figured it would be a good way to get a tan. I followed him in my four-wheeler ten minutes out of town, and silently thought  to myself as we navigated through round-abouts and endless turns, that there was no way in hell I would ever find my way back. Little did I know that that would be the least of my problems that day.

When we finally reached our destination I was given my instructions and left to do my thang. I grabbed my water bottle, put on some sun block and set my Ipod to Talyor Swift. But about a half hour in and half a dozen songs later, I came upon a steep hill that made me pause. I knew that Leif wanted all of the grass to be mowed, but looking down I was a little hesitant to nose dive down a steep ravine. Not wanting to look like a slacker I figured that I should do a thorough job- I mean it was after all a relatively easy task I was given. Without a second thought I journeyed down the hill to the tune of T. Swift’s ominous song “Should have said No”. It took me seconds to realize that the lawn mower was skidding underneath me. I hadn’t taken into account the rain the day before and as I headed straight towards the brush in front of me I quickly turned the wheel sharply to the right. Unfortunately, it was already too late, I was stuck. Hoping that I could drive my way out of the bush that was now surrounding me I put the pedal to the medal and stomped on the gas. As a result, mud flew up all around me, causing the machine to sink even lower into the ground. I figured that maybe I could back up and try to gain a little momentum to go forward, but instead I successfully parallel parked even further into the bushes. I futilely tried to maneuver my way out, but after more than 20 minutes I felt like Austin Powers in a golf cart, but worse because his stupidity was for comedic value while mine was… well just stupid.

I reckoned I needed to cut my losses and call Leif, who was gracious enough not to laugh, especially after he saw my situation for himself. After the two of us tried to push the lawn mower out we realized that there was only one option left: The Four Wheeler. Now, when Leif first presented me with the Pikachu I never thought that it would serve any relevant purpose, but as Leif attached a rope, which he just happened to have handy, to the back of the four wheeler I was never more thankful for the yellow beast. With the Four Wheeler in place Leif effortlessly pulled the lawn mower out of the mud and onto safer ground. Thankful that we weren’t going to have to call in the troops, I gladly finished the rest of my task without a hitch- avoiding anything steeper than a slight slope.

 

The next day I was glad when Leif told me I had a new task that didn’t involve cutting grass. He informed me that I was going to wash an apartment that he owned, which seemed like a simple enough job. There was no heavy machinery, no big hills to tackle, and no chance to get stuck. I had this in the bag.

Or so I thought…

The apartment was a little old so we had to hook the hose to a water spout which needed a key to turn it off and on. The hose didn’t fit right, so Leif pulled out a knife and cut it in order to make it fit over the spout. With that, he gave me instructions to wash away all the dirt and grime that had accumulated on the floors. He said that he would be back in 20 minutes (in Leif terms means and hour) and was off.  Thankful to be given an idiot-proof job, I turned back on my Taylor Swift mix and washed away.

It was only 5 minutes into my job that I realized the hose was leaking. At first I ignored the slow drip of water coming from the spout, but after another 10 minutes I realized that it had turned into more of a waterfall. I tried to turn off the hose but was irritated to find that the water wouldn’t stop flowing. Not knowing what else to do I dropped the hose and went to try and fix the leaking spout that had now caused a pool an inch deep. Failing to turn off the spigot I silently cursed remembering that you needed a key in order to switch it off, and unfortunately the key was with Leif. With water coming from both the spout and the end of the hose, the floor was quickly disappearing under an ocean of water. As a last ditch effort I shoved the hose hard up into the spout in an attempt to stop the leak, which of course caused it to become unattached.

Crap!

In seconds my waterfall turned into a full on Tsunami. The water had risen to my ankles as I desperately tried to stop the flood that was ensuing. As I shoved the hose back into the spout that was spewing water everywhere, I was rewarded with an ice cold shot to the face. Under any circumstances a shot to the face is never a good feeling, but as I stood drenched from head to toe in frigid water I wanted nothing more than to drown myself- which was an actually possibility considering the rising water level. To make matters worse an old lady was giving me the stink eye as she passed by me, muttering something I thankfully couldn’t understand.

At this point I wondered what I could have possibly done for the universe to punish me so bad. Maybe I was a horrible person in a past life, like a slave owner or something- which might shed some light on my dating history. Yes, that was it. I was a former slave owner and this was the Universe getting back at me. With that realization I thought that maybe there was something I could do to make amends for my evil past. I know! I could dunk myself in the water as a make-shift baptism to wash away my sins. There was no time to change clothes, and besides white tends to make me look washed out, so my outfit of leggings and sweatshirt would have to suffice.

Just as I was eyeing the water ready to take the plunge, Leif thankfully arrived (approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes later). Apparently the Great Flood of 2011 wasn’t causing him as much anxiety as it was me, because he casually sauntered back to the car to retrieve the magical key.

When we finally got the water turned off I found a broom and began the arduous task of sweeping water out into the streets. After 4 years of weight training at a division 1 school with the best weight coach in the country, I don’t think the upper arm work out that I experienced that day compared to all my years lifting-combined. After more than an hour pushing water onto the sidewalk I could no longer tell if I was wet from my fire-hose-battle or the sweat from my exerting workout. With only a few puddles left I waved goodbye to a smiling Leif who promised another fun job for tomorrow.

JOY.

Standing in the hot shower a half hour later, I let both my mind and body defrost. I know that if this was the Universe’s way of communicating with me I was probably supposed to be learning some divine lesson. But starring down at my callused hands and cringing at the thought of my ruined Nikes, all I could think was: “God, I better marry rich because there is no way in hell I’m ever mowing a lawn or cleaning an apartment again.” 

  • 7th June
    2011
  • 07

The sequence of photos shown above are to provide proof that the events I wrote about, while idiotic to the point of fiction, are in fact true. 

  • 30th May
    2011
  • 30
  • 26th May
    2011
  • 26

Tryin’ to Catch me Riding Dirtay

After being in a hotel for almost two weeks I was ready to move on and lay my roots down somewhere a little more permanent. My caretaker, Leif, had been promising me that he would take care of everything, and with no other alternative I sat back and let him take control. Only problem is Leif could be a little absent minded. After spending almost every day with this man I had gotten use to his forgetfulness and oddities. Like when we planned to meet at 10am and I had to call him at noon to remind him about our date. Or when we drove out to one of his apartment buildings and he dropped me off to mow the lawn. Never mind that I am college graduate from one of the best Universities in the US (apparently a diploma in political science doesn’t mean very much in Norway) what irked me was the fact that I was in my favorite Seven Jeans and wearing my Marc Jacobs bag!  I have nothing against manual labor especially since it would be nice to have something to do outside of soccer, but sitting on a lawn mower in a pair of skinnies and designer handbag wasn’t exactly what I had in mind…

After these series of events nothing really should have shocked, but when Leif picked me up Monday morning I was in for a grand surprise. First, he excitedly told me that he had found the perfect place for me to stay, but that it would be temporary. About five days temporary. When I questioned this, he merely smiled and told me that he’d find another place after that. A bit strange I thought, but like I said I was glad to be out of a hotel. When we arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the accommodations. There was a full kitchen and the living room had big comfy coaches and projector television. However, after a closer inspection I was a little troubled by the fact that the previous tenant had left some belongings behind. In fact, judging by the food in the fridge, clothes in bedroom, electric shaver in the bathroom, and pictures hanging from the walls, I’d say that he never left.

                A little disturbed by this I asked Leif if he was sure that the previous owner was moved out, to which he responded that he had made him move out the day before. I silently wondered if this guy was aware of that. The last thing I wanted was to be caught eating someone else’s porridge, sitting in their chair, and sleeping in their bed- it didn’t work out for goldilocks and I doubt it would fare well for me either. However, I didn’t have time to dwell on it because Leif had another surprise in store for me!

                I locked my door (with what I hoped was the only set of keys) and jumped into Leif’s jeep for my big “surprise”. As we drove a little distance out of town I realized that we were headed to the same apartment building that I was at a few days early. I quickly surveyed my clothes and was glad that I opted for a pair of leggings and sweatshirt in case there was another patch of grass to be mowed. But when we arrived, in place of a lawn mower sat a Four Wheeler.  I wondered if I was going to be sent on a mission into the mountains or battling some rugged terrain in which a four wheeler would be necessary. But as luck would have it, Leif happily informed me that this would be my new means of transportation. I immediately thought transportation where? But I soon realized that I was not only the new American girl, I was going to be the new American girl riding a four wheeler around town.

                Leif was eager to get me started and after giving me a helmet and gloves (I politely declined the matching sun glasses and one piece suit) I hopped on and turned the ignition. After a few spins around the parking lot I was ready to roll. I followed Leif back through the city and to “my” new apartment. I was glad that I only got a few bizarre looks from people, and figured that no one here knows me anyway so it can’t be all that embarrassing. Besides, the bright I yellow color suites me, and although it’s no Pokémon (the name of my yellow Suzuki Areo back home in the States) it could be my Pikachu. I spent the rest of the day driving Pikachu around the city and cobblestone roads and after an hour or so exploring I came to the firm conclusion that I was definitely the only person in all of Trondheim driving a Four Wheeler on the roads.

                After my bizarre day I parked Pikachu at the apartment and while still a little disturbed by my new home I was at least excited to test out the Satellite TV. Just one tiny little problem- Leif had the keys. After a quick phone call and a 45 minute wait I was finally inside. Only one problem- I didn’t know how to work the TV. In fact, I didn’t know how to work anything! Since I had spent two weeks in the hotel my clothes were in desperate need of a wash, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to work the washing machine. After a few failed attempts and pressing every button I finally got it running, but an hour later I realized that I had put the detergent in the wrong compartment (why in the world would there be three different places to put soap?!) . So by trial and error and numerous spin cycles I figured my clothes had enough abuse. Even the oven was a struggle, with different settings and temperatures that I wasn’t familiar with. I decided to take a shot in the dark and a chose a random combination of dial settings and prayed that I didn’t burn the place down.

                The TV was a whole other debacle. I am the first to admit that I am not the most technologically savvy person; in fact my skill set goes as far as texting and facebooking. After an hour tinkering with the remotes and pushing random buttons I had successfully turned on the projector. After another 30 minutes I even got a picture on the screen- that is a picture with no sound. Completely frustrated and annoyed I pulled my slightly burnt pizza out of the oven, changed into my recently washed stiff-as-a-board pjs (note to self: more fabric softener), and sat back and watched a silent episode of True Blood.

                As I lay awake that night, silently praying that mystery man wouldn’t come barging in the door, I ran through the day’s events in my mind. I couldn’t help thinking how drastically my life had changed in just a matter of weeks. It still shocks me how my path has led me, of all places, in Norway. It’s crazy to think how one decision can drastically change your life. If I hadn’t jumped on this opportunity I would still be in Seattle trying to figure out what to do with my life while waiting tables. I realize the decisions we make and the paths we take can lead us to amazing-if not bizarre- experiences. Admittedly, the road isn’t always easy but I realized that sometimes it’s better to take the unbeaten path and see where it leads you. I figure that there will be more rough terrain ahead but with the support of friends new and old, and my trusty Four Wheeler, no matter where my road takes me I’m sure I’ll find my way. 

  • 20th May
    2011
  • 20

Bunads, Star Trek, Ninjas Oh My!

Ever since arriving in Norway all anyone could talk about was National Day; which is a big celebration that takes place on May 17th. I figured that it was similar to our Independence Day although no one could really give me any historical significance for the date, but would merely explain that it was a “big celebration where everyone dresses up, parades around and eats lots of ice cream” -Sounds like my kind of holiday. With so much talk about the big day I was excited to partake in festivities and experience Norwegian tradition head on.

On the day of the 17th I woke up early, anxious to get going. The girls told me that they would all be wearing traditional dresses for the holiday, so I wanted to make sure I looked nice as well. After putting my face on and throwing my hair into a loose braid I chose my new pair of skinny jeans, black flats, an off the shoulder stripped T, and a black Lulu jacket to finish it off. Just before heading out the door I double checked myself and felt pretty good about my trendy-yet-understated look. However, as I skipped down the stairs of my hotel to meet some of the girls my jaw dropped and I suddenly was rethinking my fashion choice as I stared at their ‘traditional’ attire known as a “Bunad”. Swedish milkmaids came to mind as I assessed the colorful designs in what could only be really itchy fabric that was layered from head to toe.

While I already felt like a foreigner, as we headed out into the street to catch the parade I might as well had “alien” stamped on my head. Everywhere I looked people were dressed up to show their national pride. From little babies in bonnets to old men in knickerbockers people were out strutting their stuff while I tried to render myself invisible in my Lulu. The girls playfully laughed and asked about the American holidays that we celebrated. I eagerly explained that we have many traditions of our own. For example there is Thanksgiving where everyone gathers with their family and eats turkey and a bunch of nummy food until they explode. When asked why we celebrated I began to tell the story of the pilgrims meeting the Indians and then killing them all off… but not before they shared pumpkin pie and stalks of corn. A little confused about my explanation I quickly changed subjects and told them about 4th of July where we kicked Britain’s ass and became our own independent country. The girls nodded and wondered if we dressed up for our national day like they do on theirs. I paused at this and racked my brain for a time where I actually dressed up for 4th of July, trying to find any shred of commonality between us. Then, I remembered my 4th of July spent in California with my best friend Kellye. I told the girls that we spent all day shopping for the perfect patriotic bikinis to wear to the beach because its ‘tradition’ to watch fireworks on this holy of days-and look good doing it.

Milkmaid: “Oh so you guys watch fireworks then?”

Me:  “Yes, Yes! But I didn’t get a chance to see the fireworks because I ended up puking on the side of PCH.”

Blank stares.

Me: “Oh sorry, PCH is Pacific Coast Highway.” Seeing how this wasn’t getting me anywhere I quickly added, “but Bernard was there to help me so it wasn’t all that bad.”

Milkmaid: “Bernard is your boyfriend?”

Me: “No, no. Bernard was our Taxi driver.” Getting more puzzled stares I tried again. “Well, actually his name wasn’t really Bernard we just named him that because we were too drunk to read his name.”

I could clearly see that this wasn’t getting me anywhere so trying to get back on track I exclaimed, “Actually! Halloween is a really fun holiday in America because everyone gets dressed up in costumes and there are big parties for the older folk!” Finally something that we both understood. The girls said that they celebrate Halloween as well, but that it was more for the younger kids. I told them that at my school it’s a big decision which slutty costume you were going to wear. Getting another surprised look I quickly explained that in America the girls wear normal costumes but with a slutty twist. For example: slutty nurse, slutty teacher, slutty policeman, slutty referee, etc. I went on to describe how for the past years I was slutty jungle woman, slutty schoolgirl, and slutty vampire.

Realizing I wasn’t giving off the best impression of myself or Americans for that matter, I did a mental headslap and a silent reminder not to discuss American traditions anymore (I was cringing at the thought of explaining super bowl). However, I was saved myself further embarrassment because the parade had begun. Positioning myself in the middle of the crowd I was delighted and somewhat shocked to see the variety of people walking through the streets. Groups of students, athletes, and various professionals passed by proudly holding up their banners. Mixed in were also clubs ranging from cyclists to Trekkies (Yes Star Trek geeks even live in Norway). There were ninja’s, Vikings, swing dancers, gymnasts, hip hop performers, and skateboards all marching along and all in their traditional outfits. I tried to stifle a laugh at the bizarre spectacle taking place before my eyes, but then remembered my own not-so-normal traditions.

 I realized that dressing up like milkmaids in their Bunads on National Day was just as normal as me wearing a slutty kitty cat costume for Halloween. In fact, normal can be seen as a relative term because what is normal for one culture can be completely out of the ordinary for another.  I wouldn’t think twice about seeing a grown man paint his body and cheer for 300 lb. lineman crushing another 300 lb. lineman. What’s wrong with that? In hindsight, perhaps the things that we celebrate and the way that we celebrate them are a bit weird, but I suppose that’s what makes things interesting. Being in a new country has already taught me not to raise my eyebrows (so much) at things that would otherwise be out of the ordinary in the US. But I am slowly assimilating to my new culture which has already rubbed off on me- I’ve started to try new foods, I’ve already showered naked with my new team, and I’ve already picked out next year’s Halloween costume out!

…Slutty Milkmaid!

  • 20th May
    2011
  • 20
  • 17th May
    2011
  • 17