30 December 2010


       The end of December is always an interesting time for me.  I'm continually amazed at how quickly the year has passed and wonder what the heck happened!  Even Princess noticed that this year went by very quickly.  Sadie Abroad is hosting this week's Weekly State Department Blog Roundup and has chosen the theme of reflecting back on 2010 back and looking ahead to 2011.  As I'm want to do, I am usually looking back and looking ahead, maybe it has something to do with the ADD!  So this should be right up my alley, right?  No.  I'm actually finding it rather difficult to put together this post.

So much has happened in 2010 for the Global Geraghtys that is may just be easier to note the highs and lows (I do love my lists).

2010 Highs
PFF passed the FS orals in February.  Little did I know just how much my life was about to change.

Barnes Family vacation to Disney World.  This was Princess' and The Boy's first trip to Disney and they LOVED it.  I always love Disney and having kids is an easy excuse to embrace my inner child.  And by the way, there is a relatively new ride called Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom.  If you love roller coasters, this is a MUST on your next visit!  

154th A-100.  PFF started A-100 in June and we met some amazing people through this class.

We sold our house.  This may seem odd as a high, but with joining the FS, we didn't see how owning a home in a Boston suburb would be a good thing.  It was on the market for four months, sold for close to what we were asking, and closed early.

Our first assignment.  Ok, maybe this is really PFF's first assignment, but we're all in this together.  He loves his job, the people are really nice, and we have amazing housing for the next two years.

Family.  We're all together after PFF being in Iceland for an additional year without us.  Single parenting is really, really hard.  And we are all healthy.  You just can't beat that!

Flopster.  We adopted a bunny for Princess for Christmas.  I've never really had a pet, but this bunny is really adorable!  I'm not sure what I expected, but he acts a bit like a puppy.  If he's out of his cage, he will greet people at the top of the stairs when they come in.  If he's in his cage with the door open and you walk into the room, he will jump out of the cage, smell your feet/legs, and then run circles around you a few times.  He will follow me from room to room, and if we're watching TV, he'll come into the living room and just hang out with us.

2010 Lows
     I'm happy to say there really weren't any noteworthy lows.  Granted we moved away from our families, but we can still talk to them on a regular basis (thank you skype and VoIP).

2011 Expectations
     I gave up long ago on making resolutions for the coming year.  They never seemed to work out and I always ended up feeling guilty/stressed.  I can tell you that this is what I expect to happen with the Global Geraghtys in 2011:

Travel. And lots of it.  2011 is the year that I start 1:1 long weekends with Princess and The Boy.  The Boy and I are booked for a trip to London and Princess and I are booked for a trip to Paris.  I also want to see all that Norway has to offer.  I know we're here for two years, but I'm hoping to see a lot this year.  

Visitors.  I'm hoping that our family and friends will make good use of our spare room in 2011.

Skiing.  How can you be in Norway and not ski?  We've never tried cross country skiing so that is definitely on the agenda.  It has also been a long time since we've been downhill skiing, but we can see a slope from our street, so there is opportunity not too far away.

Fotball.  What Americans call soccer.  Princess is mad for soccer and I've been trying to find a girls team for her.  No luck yet, but I'm not giving up.

Fekting.  What Americans call fencing.  I found a club for The Boy and he starts on Wednesday.  He really enjoyed it in DC, and I'm hopeful that will continue.  Now I just need to find out if they offer adult lessons as well.

The Usual.  These are my daily expectations.  To see the bright side of every situation.  To see the humor in everything.  To laugh.  To love.  To hug my children and let them know how much they mean to me.  To let PFF know how happy I am I married him - even when I'm wondering what I was thinking!  To enjoy every day, even when the day is not enjoyable (I must add meditation to my honey-do list).  I'm not always successful in this, but I'm trying!

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and a wonderful 2011.  I can't wait to see what 2011 brings us all!

22 December 2010

Merry Christmas - God Jul - Gledileg Jol - Feliz Navidad - Joyeux Noel

     This whole FS family thing is new to me and I want to say THANK YOU to all of you FS bloggers.  The blogs I've read, lurked on, and commented on, have all  helped me in one way or another.    I feel like I'm not alone out here on my first tour as an EFM, trailing spouse or any other name you want to throw my way.  The weekly FS Blog Round Up is really instrumental in this feeling of belonging, so Kolbi I thank you. 

     I also want to thank my family for their support (sounds like an award ceremony I know).  I'm very close to my parents and they have been very encouraging of us up and moving away in a relatively short period of time.

     I have a whole lot for which to be thankful, and I am.  Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, Merry Festivus and Merry/Happy "Whatever You Celebrate" to everyone.  Happy New Year and I can't wait to see what 2011 brings us all!

16 December 2010

What I Miss...

We've been in Norway for six weeks today and these are the things I miss about the US:

Toilet paper.  Yes, Norway has TP, but not good 'ol, wipe your butt with a cotton ball TP.  European TP is more like wipe your butt with newspaper, not a particularly pleasant feeling.

My extended family.  I am very close with my parents and my brother & his family.  We would see each other weekly and I can't do that now.  There are some...who would say that is not such a bad thing, but it is for me.  I also have a LOT of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  While I don't seem them as frequently, I will miss the family Christmas Party on the 18th and that makes me sad.
2008 Canton Home Coming Block Party
Final Farewell Party.

24/7 access to groceries.  There have been a few times already when I'm making dinner and realize I don't have that one ingredient I need and that the store is closed already.  My husband gets nervous when I go off recipe, but he's not starving so my substitutions can't be all that bad.

Delivery.  There maybe some restaurants that deliver, but I've not found them yet.  Which means I have to cook every night.  And let's face it, sometimes you just don't want to cook.

My car**.  Still not here.  While we do have access to a car on the weekends, I have not driven since 4 November when I drove around to use up some gas before the shippers came to pick it up.  I love to drive and miss my car.  With the heated seats.  

My friends.  Yes, I can Skype and Facebook and VoIP them, but I can't get/give hugs when needed.  I'm a very tactile person and I really miss the physical contact.

A real washer and dryer.  I miss being able to put a real load of laundry through the washer and dryer in under 90 minutes and have the clothes be clean and dry.  The quickest wash cycle on our washing machine here is 54 minutes and that is the handwash cycle.  The dryer can't handle a normal load and keeps overheating, which means I have very small loads and keep the window in the laundry room open to avoid said overheating.  As of today, the dryer can't even handle 6 socks without overheating.  Uggg.  Luckily I have a clothes line so my sheets/towels are very fresh smelling!

Fahrenheit.  I'm not a math wiz so I have to keep converting to Celcius when I cook so I don't screw up the meals (trust me I learned that mistake the hard way!)  I also have to convert when doing the laundry.  PFF has already lost a couple of shirts due to the water being too hot.  

Being settled.  We've been here six weeks and have moved twice.  First to temporary housing and then to our permanent housing.  While the number of boxes is dwindling, I still don't know where some things are (usually when I'm trying to make dinner.)
I'll find a home for this stuff eventually!

Starbucks*.  I love good, strong, dark coffee and Starbucks has it!  But there is not a store here.  Princess misses some of the pastries and her favorite drink too.  I am not alone in my longing for a Starbucks here, there is even a Facebook page dedicated to lobbying for a Norwegian Starbucks and it has over 27,000 fans (plus 1 more once I 'like' it)

My church.  We belonged to the best church back at home.  It really was like family and I really miss going on Sundays.  We were involved, there was always lots to do, the kids enjoyed going and felt like they were part of something bigger.  There are several churches here that have English services,  but they don't have the friends and family we left behind.

Comforters.   Yeppers, can't find them.  Thought they were in UAB, but nope.  They could be in some of the boxes we've yet to unpack or in our supplemental HHE, but I really have no idea where they are and it gets cold at night here. Thank God for polar fleece blankets and snuggling!

Ok, now that that is off my chest, here is what I don't miss:

Humidity.  I'm from Boston and moved to DC in July.  Now I'm in Norway and it is snowing as I speak.  It is beyond cold and I love it.  Granted it is December, but I don't believe it will be in the 90s with close to 100% humidity during the summers here.  I will relish it because in two years when we are at some really, really hot post, I'll have my memories to sustain me!

Commercials.  Norwegians don't do TV commercials like Americans.  That is ok with me.  And they are in Norwegian anyway so I really don't understand them as it is.  

Censoring.  You'd be amazed, or maybe not, at what they show on TV. 

Our house - in Norway.
Our view of the sunrise.
Our house.  We sold our house shortly after PFF started A-100.  We'd been there 12 years and I really thought it was the only house I'd ever have.  We loved our house, but it was an 1880's farmhouse and like the book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie", if you started a project it evolved (quickly) into many tangential projects.  And it didn't have a fireplace.  Our permanent housing has not one, but two fireplaces, an incredible view, no sharing of bathrooms, and the garage PFF wanted.  Better still - we don't own it!  No mortgage!!!!!

The Boy in our front yard.

Being settled.  Confused?  Don't be.  While I wish we were completely unpacked, this whole move-every-two-years lifestyle really appeals to me.  Maybe it's the ADHD, but I will never be bored! Better still, I will learn how to weed through what I truly need and what I really don't need.

Status Quo.  I have never been one who likes things to stay the same all the time.  I am having new experiences, meeting new people, learning new languages (albeit slowly), trying new foods and think my life is awesome!  It is certainly not for everyone, but for the Global Geraghtys it works.

*My awesome sister-in-law just sent a package that included a pound of Starbucks coffee!!!  We love my sister-in-law!

**The car just arrived in country and should be on the road and in my possession some time next week!

09 December 2010

What (Not) to Wear - Lessons I've Learned - the hard way...

This week's State Department Weekly Blog Round-Up is hosted by Lauren at Adventuresin.wordpress.com.  Her theme for the Round-Up is What (Not) to Wear.  Well, I have learned quite a few, and at times humiliating, lessons on this subject.  As I tell my kids, "Learn from my mistakes!"

Lesson #1 - Start your day with a bra

Norwegian Viking without all the facial hair
     Seems like a simple lesson, and yet one that I've not fully learned.  If you are a man, then no problem.  If you are a man and need a bra, then you have bigger (pun intended) issues!  I home school our two kids so a lot of days I'm in my lounge wear (aka sweats).  As the aforementioned lounge wear may indicate, it is a comfortable style.  In order to be comfortable, you need to be loose and relaxed.  Can anyone honestly be loose and relaxes wearing such a torturous device as a bra?  I say Hell to the NO!  So as recently as our arrival here in Norway, as I'm conducting lessons, in our apartment at which no one knows us, the door bell rings.  Shit!  I am very comfortable and now I have to answer the door.  Looking like a total and utter slob!  I know it's not my husband,  he would have used the key.  So I answer the door, cross my arms, and there is the most handsome (think tall Norwegian Viking without all the facial hair) plumber working on the apartment downstairs.  There is a leak and he needs to check our bathroom.  So after a quick check of our plumbing, he says the leak comes from the apartment upstairs, thank you and leaves.  Meanwhile my face is eight shades of red and my kids think this is funny!

Lesson #2 - Make sure your zipper in good working order BEFORE you leave the house

     When in Iceland, my husband and I were invited to the Norway Day celebration hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador and her husband.  We had a sitter, were dressed up and planning on a grown up night after the celebration.  I had on the perfect LBD which fit me to a tee, new black pumps, and all the accessories!  We arrive on time, check our coats, and are standing in the receiving line when the person behind me tapped me on the shoulder.  Lucky for me, it was a friend with the most embarrassing news.  My zipper had unzippered from the bottom up!  The only thing holding my dress together was the zipper at the top tooth!  Yikes!  My friend was gracious enough to walk - directly - behind me to the ladies' room and she tried to fix the dress.  She was able to get the zipper closed, but it required removing the dress.  Once I was redressed, I kept my back to the wall the entire time!  I made my husband walk - directly - behind me when we left.  The dress stayed together until I lifted my arm to put my coat on!  Then the zipper let loose and thankfully there was a hook-and-eye at the top, but at least at that point I was well covered!

Lesson #3 - When wearing elastic wasted pants, make sure the elastic is still stretchy

     This was a lesson I learned when I was in 5th grade, but I was sufficiently humiliated to learn the lesson quickly!  I had this fabulous purple pant suit that I loved, loved, loved. Yes it was the 70s, so purple pant suits were all the rage!  Well any way, I was standing in the hallway outside my classroom reaching up, just so, to put something on the shelf above my coat, when...bam! - the waistband on my pants let go and they ended up on the floor around my ankles!  Just as the classes were letting out and the kids were streaming into the hall, there I was (thankfully I learned the Always Wear Clean Underwear lesson earlier) in all my cotton Carters glory!  Yes, for the rest of the year I was that girl...

Lesson #4 - White bathing suits, even when lined, are not for swimming

     White + Water = All loss of Modesty!  Enough said!

Lesson #5 - Always wear underpants

     This goes hand-in-hand with Always Wear Clean Underpants.  And while it is a lesson I've always followed, this is a perfect of example of why!  My now mother-in-law was always asking me if I wanted to try on her wedding dress for when I got married.  This was before I was engaged to her son, so I always politely demurred.  Within 24 hours of getting engaged, however, she was not to be deterred and I had the dress on!  She did allow me the privacy of leaving the room while I got into the dress, but as soon as I opened the door in she came.  All of a sudden the back of the dress comes up and over my head!  There I am with my butt in my soon to be mother-in-law's face as she is trying to tell/show me how to tie the bustle!  As I'm dying from embarrassment, all I can think is Thank God I am wearing full coverage granny panties, and that I hadn't eaten anything that disagreed with me.  My now husband couldn't understand the reason for the squawking.  When he came into the room he just thought it was hilarious!  And I still married him!  In her wedding dress.  Yes, with appropriate under garments. 

06 December 2010

Mea Culpa - I've Never Eaten That Before! - Weekly Blog Round-Up Update

With sincere apologies to Nomads by Nature I had a complete brain fart and forgot to include their hilarious submission.  Kolbi, there are some culinary comments from Chengdu that you should check out!  They lay out the Good, the Bad and the Ugly and will make me question requesting tea in Mongolia!

03 December 2010

I've Never Eaten That Before! - State Department Weekly Blog Round-Up

 I love to eat!  I mean I LOVE to eat.  Thankfully I come from, and have, a family that are not picky eaters.  This makes my life a whole lot easier.  We'll eat pretty much anything and are always more than willing to try new things.  Heck, my nine year old daughter has a blog dedicated to restaurant reviews (shameless plug).  This is how much food is a part of our lives.  So with that character flaw, it was easy to come up with a theme for this week's Round-Up.  

The submissions I've received in response to this week's theme have been amazing.  Some are just so funny that I've had tears rolling down my cheeks!  So without further adieu, here is what some FS bloggers have eaten from around the world!


Jen wrote about her husband Pete trying two of Iceland's national delicacies.  If a picture is worth a thousands words, then the look on Pete's face would  sum up his opinion of the hakarl (putrefied shark).  Jen also includes a picture of another Icelandic delicacy...

The food I never thought I would eat, I also encountered in Iceland.  I also learned a valuable lesson - never go grocery shopping without your English/[insert local language] - [insert local language]/English dictionary.  Shortly after arriving in Iceland I went grocery shopping and bought what I thought was corned beef.  It wasn't.  What I had purchased, cooked, eaten, and threw away was salted foal.  Yep - Mr. Ed, or Mr. Ed's son.  I found out later, that when grilled just so, Mr. Ed is pretty good.  My daughter was taking riding lessons at this time (she LOVES horses) and she thought she was eating beef so I said nothing to her.  A few months later she mentioned that she knew it was horse, but she is all about the food chain and likes being on top! 


Becky at Small bits has had some amazing culinary adventures.  She has had so many that she could not fit it all into one post.  Becky I want to have dinner with you some time!  In addition to her stories - chicken feet?  Seriously?! - she provides some coping strategies in the case where you absolutely cannot stomach the food.


Cyberbones is also not a picky eater.  Shannon grew up eating a variety of foods and it looks like her kids are having a similar experience due to the FS life style.  There is, however, one food she absolutely will NEVER eat again though, and her story (and picture) are hilarious!  Shannon, I thought it looks like a puffer fish!  She also mentions one food that she will never even try.  She has a picture of this "food" and based on the picture, I would have to agree!  YIKES!!!!


Sara over at WIFE - MOMMY - WOMAN thinks she doesn't have anything exciting to add to this week's Round-Up.  I say baloney (have to use a food word, right?).  She has found out that Costa Rican peanuts are just like American peanuts.  I have a question for you Sara, do the Costa Ricans make peanut butter?  


Whale Ears and other Wonderings, like many FS bloggers, has had exciting food adventures world wide.  Connie is missing her ploughman's lunch and a good Yorkshire pudding.  

Jill over at Run 2 New Places literally just landed at their first post in London.  She just found out what Stinking Bishop is, but I've yet to find out if she has tried it.  She did, however, enjoy the hake (rhymes with rake).  Jill, check in with Connie for restaurant recommendations!


Connie also spent some time on the isle of Crete and ate blindly a lot of the time and still found the food amazing.  She also has some sage advice regarding street food.  I had to chuckle reading this part of the post.  When I was in Crete I was offered something to drink by a linens vendor whose store I was visiting.  I didn't want to appear rude so I accepted and sipped it cautiously.  Big mistake.  I should have shot the drink back as intended as it was Raki!  Of course after another shot, I did walk out of there having purchased a few table cloths...


Sadie Abroad just received her UAB and HHE so she is up to her elbows in boxes and packing materials.  Her cats are loving her!  I did notice a prior post of Sadie's where she laments the lack of bacon.  Sadie, I have a friend who just arrived in Dhahran and she's having pork product withdrawals already!

I want to thank everyone who submitted posts for this week's Round-Up.  I love reading the different blogs and find them funny, touching and completely relatable!  Make sure you check in with Lauren at Adventures in... for next week's Round-Up.  Her theme is What (not) to Wear.  Can't wait to read what the State Department Blogsphere has to say on this topic!

01 December 2010

State Department Blog Round Up Here this Week!

     Just a reminder that this week's State Department Blog Round Up will be hosted here.  The theme for you procrastinators (yep, this is me) is I've Never Eaten That Before!  I've already received one submission that made tears roll down my face.  You'll need to come back on Friday to find out who has had some hilarious culinary adventures!