Monday, 25 June 2012

Going to the doctor in Norway

Today I experienced my first doctor's appointment in Norway. I must admit I had been very nervous about it, wondering if I'd understand all of the medical language in Norwegian, would my doctor speak English etc.. But it went really well! :)

First a bit of information: When I finally got my person number in Norway I also received my tax card (skattekort) and surprisingly, a letter about how to go about getting a GP. There's a page online that you can log in to and see all the doctors in your community and which have available patient places. At first there were no women doctors available, but I waited a couple of months and places with a woman doctor became available, so I chose her as my GP (fastlege). You can change your GP, but I think you're only allowed to do that twice each calendar year, so its important to choose wisely.

Anyway, I had put off booking the appointment for a long time, but I decided I should just go and get it over with. I had to wait two weeks after booking the appointment to see the doctor. I'm not sure how the system works, my concerns weren't urgent so maybe they decided I could wait, and if you're very ill you get seen sooner or something.
When I got to the building, I said at the reception who I was, who my doctor was, when the appointment was for etc, and the woman told me to take a seat. I sat down and started to take a book out of my bag to read while I waited, when suddenly the doctor came out and asked me to come in! That was fast! :) She shook my hand, introduced herself, and then in English, asked how to say my name correctly. Then she asked if I spoke Norwegian and I said yes, and so we continued på norsk! :) And it went really fine! I felt relaxed and she spoke in a slow, clear way so I could understand everything she said and I knew I could always ask in English if there was something I didn't catch. We addressed all of my concerns and she gave me a one year prescription for the pill, which is the main reason I went there. I paid 180kr for the visit (about 24 euro) so it wasn't that expensive (the same visit would have cost 60 euro in Ireland!). All in all I was very satisfied, and left smiling and happy :)

The visit differed from an Irish doctor's appointment in the following ways: 1. The price. Even though Norway is super expensive, a doctor's appointment cost a third of what it would have cost in Ireland. 2. The doctor never took my blood pressure, something that struck me as odd considering I'm on the pill (I guess she was satisfied that my doctors in Ireland had been doing a good job and that seeing as I'd been on the pill so long that I had no outstanding health issues). 3. Waiting time. In Ireland you're typically waiting at least 5-10 minutes (sometimes up to 40) outside the doctor's office. Maybe I caught them on a good day today, but in general I've heard that this short waiting time is standard. 4. The approach to healthcare (as with many things in Norway) seems to be very natural. I had a few other concerns and the doctor said that I'm a healthy young girl, so there was no need to be worried about that particular problem etc. It seems like they're a bit reluctant to prescribe medication unless you really really need it, and are quite happy to let the body sort itself out. Which maybe is the way it should be :)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Update post!

I'm so sorry for being a lazy monster and leaving it so long between blog posts! :( Its been crazy busy here lately, like everybody is trying to make the most out of the summer (and why not, its a short summer and then its soon winter again!) and there have been lovely parties at work and invites to the homes of colleagues and barbecues and just lots of stuff! Its like we don't have an evening or a weekend free anymore, but its really just wonderful :)

I guess the biggest thing to write about right now is the farm visit with work! It was even better than I could have imagined!! The whole barnehage went and it was just an incredible experience. The weather wasn't rainy afterall, it was so sunny! I hope we created some good memories for the kids :) And unfortunately I didn't think to bring my camera (still kicking myself about that) so I don't have any pictures :( But anyway, we drove there by bus, and it wasn't that far, maybe 20-30 minutes away. It was a beautiful, picturesque place, out in the countryside but with the most amazing nature surrounding it, big hills and tall forests, lots of space! Our big group was divided in two and we started the tour. First we went into this 'room' that had lots of smaller pens. There were little pigs, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, a sheep, chickens and one HUGE pig! It was really 'hands on' like, the children were encouraged to jump in and touch the animals and everything, I hadn't expected that! Seeing as I didn't really grow up in a farm environment it was quite new to me, but I really enjoyed it :) Next stop was the cows! There was a huge room with lots of cows and we were taken behind the bars and in to touch the cows! They were huge and loud and one was even a bit too friendly! It was a calf and he somehow got hold of my finger and began sucking it! He didn't bite or anything, and then somebody explained to me that he thought he could get milk that way :D It was a new experience anyway! Then we went to drink a little and have a break whilst we waited to take a horse and cart ride :) The seats on the cart were made of bales of hay and it was really lovely to experience the Norwegian countryside in that way :) Afterwards we went to 'jump in the hay'! We climbed up many stairs inside this barn, until we finally reached the top. There was a huge 'pool' of hay and two platforms to jump from, one little and one really big!! I sat on the little one helping the children and before we went back down I thought 'I have to try jumping from the big platform'. I climbed up there and had second thoughts, but a lovely girl farmer persuaded me to jump and counted to 3. It wasn't that scary afterall :P
We went back outside to this huge field by the main house and grilled sausages :) Then we got ice cream afterwards! :D It was really one of those 'I can't believe I'm here' moments, when I sat on the grass surrounded by happy children and fresh air and the open spaces and forest in the distance. I felt super lucky :) After the rest it was play, nappy changing and getting back on the bus :) All of our kids fell asleep on the way home, and I nearly did too! We got back to the barnehage, put them to sleep in their prams and had some coffee :) The rest of the day melted away and I got to go one hour early! Everything really was just perfect :) Its a day I'll never forget.

The farm visit was a couple of weeks ago now, and there has been lots of stuff happening since! We had a lovely barbecue party at work one evening. We got nice food, had nice conversation and even got a little gift of a flower! I didn't expect that and I just thought it was such a kind, sweet gesture :) Here's a picture:

There have also been many barbecues, many invites and many visits, so we've been kept busy! :)

I have also been back into my favourite shop, the used-stuff-market and found some more cool things:

I don't know if you can see, but it says 'Norge' on the jars :)

And on the top!

 Yes, I found some cool 'Norgesglass' glass jars :) They're kind of 'collectable' in a way. They were produced from 1908-1978 by Christiania GlasMagasin, if I'm not mistaken. I think they're just super cool :) I also found that yellow tablecloth you see in the pictures, which is bright and summery and lovely and also a really cool old pot! We needed a new, big pot and were thinking of buying one in IKEA when we visit this week, but then yesterday I spotted that pot (Lars Erik's mum has the exact same one too, and I've used it before so I know its good). Its Norwegian made, and in good condition, but I kind of had to wonder is it.. hm, 'normal' to use used kitchen pots and stuff. I thought yeah, if I wash it well then why not? I use used glass jars for food and if you eat in somebody else's house then there's not really much difference! Plus, it was a bargain for only 30 kroner (4.30 euro or something!)!

I've also been knitting my 'hood-scarf' or I guess we'd call it a snood in English. Its coming along well I think!

Its incredibly simple to knit and will be finished in no time! :)

Unfortunately, I've also been sick :/ Really sick actually. I think its some kind of chest infection. I was off from work almost all last week. I've had a fever and been coughing a lot, with lots of pain in my throat and lungs. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow so we'll see what she says. I'm not sure if I'm well enough for work tomorrow yet and I think I've infected Lars Erik :D But I've been sleeping really well! I always sleep well with a fever :D

After 3 days stuck inside the house I needed a walk, so on Thursday evening we went around our neighbourhood and I got some nice pictures:

It was midsummer here yesterday which means that its started getting darker earlier now. We used to have almost 24 hours daylight (it got 'dark' for maybe one hour between 1am and 2am) but now it gets dark earlier and its proper dark too. Its amazing how quickly it changes, I noticed it for the first time on Friday night. It was strange to experience darkness again. And a bit hm, 'sad' in a way. I feel a bit like now that its midsummer, we're heading towards winter again. And I do love winter! But summer hasn't been long enough yet. We do still have July, which is usually the hottest and best month, so I'm keeping myself optimistic with thoughts of that :) 

Anyway, I think that's about everything that's been happening here! I hope I'll be back to full health for the week ahead and able to enjoy the next few weeks of summer!

Happy weekend and week ahead everyone! :)

Good weekend :)

*I started writing this blog post a few weeks ago and never finished it! Its been super busy and crazy here, so I'm going to finish and post this now and then write an update post on everything else that's been going on here :) *

Its been a great weekend! :) We got a lot done but we also had time to relax and 'kose oss' :)

On Friday after work I made these delicious little beauties!:

So called 'Nanaimo bars'! :) They were super yummy! I got the recipe from this great blog here:

While we were waiting for the Nanaimo bars to cool in the fridge we ate sausages for dinner!

In Norway sausages are 'cooked' by boiling them in water. A little tip is to boil them in water with a stock cube added for extra flavour ;)
Then you get a 'lompe'; a cold potato pancake, place the sausage on it and then drown it in ketchup, mustard, and 'crispy cooked onion'. YUMMY! :)

On Saturday we got up early and went to the shop 'Expert' which is just 10 minutes down the road. They were having a so called 'Lørdagskupp', like a 'Saturday bargain', which was a bathoom scales for only 100kr and seeing as we don't have one at the moment we decided to buy that one! At the last Expert lørdagskupp we came too late and they were sold out (of clock radios for 40kr :P), so in an attempt to avoid another disappointment we went early! The shop opened at 10 and I expected a queue out the door, but when we got there, there was nobody! No cars in the car park and nobody in the shop :P So we got our scales :)

Then we went to the post office to send a parcel to my sister at home in Ireland and also to return *another* pair of wellies. These ones were too big after the last ones being too small! So I ordered another pair at the weekend and I just hope they'll get here before Friday, because I'm going 'på tur' to a farm with work and its predicted to be rainy and of course mucky if its a farm so wellies would be useful :P Anyway, I'm super excited about the farm! Maybe even more than the kids! :)

Then we just had a bit of a wander around, something we don't do that often, and it was actually so lovely! In 'Nille' I found this!!:

 A MOOMIN BAG!!! Anybody that knows me knows I am obsessed with Moomin (should do a post on that soon actually), so to find this just made me so happy! It'll be perfect for travelling :)

I also found this in another local shop! Its a few knitting patterns of cool stuff in Norwegian colours! I really want to make that scarf! The pattern doesn't look too difficult and I'm only working 4 hours tomorrow so I might get started then!

And! I also joined our local library! I had been in there once before and they have loads of books (obviously being a library) in Norwegian and English, but also lots of audio books (good for listening to and practicing Norwegian) and Moomin books and just lots of great stuff! Also, the bigger library in town has DVD box sets of Desperate Housewives and stuff that you can borrow!  Plus, books are so expensive in Norway (300kr/40 euro at least, even for a small one), so it just makes sense to join the library :)

Here are the books I borrowed and my 'lånekort', borrowing card :)

We also went into one of my favourite shops, the 'bruktmarked'; used market. Its a shop that sells cool used old stuff! I love finding hidden treasures, like these:

 I fell in love with this cute little jar thingy! It was only 15 kroner (2 euro) so I had to have it! It now stores our dishwasher tablets :)

 Also, I had been searching for a cool big glass jar to keep flour in, and had looked in 'normal' shops without success. Then I spotted this in the used shop and it was only 10 kroner, perfect! :)

On Sunday then we took it easy :) We enjoyed a yummy breakfast at the kitchen table...

And a little later I started baking! I decided to try Jamie Oliver's 'Sexy Swedish Buns'. I love watching the episode of Jamie Oliver when he's in Stockholm! Its just like a beautiful little reminder of how wonderful Scandinavian culture is :)

It was looking a little messy at this stage!!
Here they are 'proofing' again, before they go into the oven :)

Fresh out of the oven! :)
And here they are soaked in lovely vanilla sauce!

It really was a fantastic weekend :) I'm looking forward to many more similar ones!

Hope you are all having great weekends too! :)