T-1 Month: February 2016
To finish-up a project and also get the most out of her owed vacation and flex-hours, Mia ended up working a week extra and it really interfered with the moving process. But the extra week or two of salary it gave us was worth it in the end. Jon was lucky enough to be granted unpaid sabbatical from work for 18 months, something quite rare in Telenor, and because of this he ended up working a few days a week right up until (and including) our exchange date. But with a very understanding boss at Telenor there was plenty of flexibility.
Mia has lived in Norway for 15 years, most of that time with a job which requires her to travel over-seas regaularly. There is one unofficial rule in Norway, which is that you never return to the country without a full allowance of alcohol under your arms (there are rumours that people have been stopped for not bringing enough back). Therefore, we had a booze mountain in the basement that had to be scaled. One solution immediately came to mind: a cocktail party! And with lots of wonderful friends showing up with clear instructions NOT to bring a bottle we drunkenly ticked another to-do from the list.
There was no way we’d manage to get rid of everything we owned, too many sentimental items, too far to take everything to the boat and no family houses nearby to hide stuff. So storage was required. After pricing several options Jon organised a 6sq. meter place outside of Oslo and hired some guys to help him move the first load of boxes.
Carina and Tommy, Mia’s cousins, came to visit from Sweden, they took one look at our progress and offered to take Teo home with them, allowing us to get on with what sorting. This was a HUGE help and very generous with their time as it was their anniversary, what would we do with out them? So we packed up their car with some of our stuff they liked the look of, including Teo, and off they went to Sweden. It was only the next day that we realised we’d sent Teo off without a passport and without a letter of consent from his parents!
With our house sold we’d be in the unusual situation of having a lot of equity floating around with no clear plan for what to do with it. Norway, being more than a little socialist, actually has a wealth tax (you are taxed on the money you have, in addition to the tax you paid when you earned it). So we setup an appointment with financial advisor and also Ove, a good friend and stock broker, was kind enough to help Jon discuss a financial plan.
This month also saw doctors appointments, for immunisations and prescription medicines to take with us. Teo and Mia share the same doctor and thankfully she was very helpful and understanding of our needs.
The list of small jobs we had to sort out during this month was almost endless, including changing postal addresses (thank you so much Karen and Lars for coming to our rescue), changing email addresses (never use your work email as your primary address for your normal life), arguing with the Norwegians about where we will be resident and the tax implications, health insurance, life insurance, pensions, child care benefits, credit cards, renewing Teo’s passport, etc. etc.
And then in the last week, it goes really busy!