About a year ago, my wife Eva and I decided that we wanted to take a break from the life we knew and spend a winter abroad. After some back and forth discussing where to live, we quickly decided that Bern, Switzerland made the most sense for us. After all, my wife's mother grew up in the area, and she still has family nearby. Not only are they family, but they are also superb folks. This, in combination with the fact that Eva speaks Swiss German fluently made it an easy decision.
Today, after spending the past five and a half months in this beautiful and friendly city, I couldn't be more pleased with our decision. Sure, we haven't been to any concerts and haven't really had a chance to check out the night life. But this was expected, as we have our two cool kids with us. We are a family, after all. Instead we have had a chance to go sledding at an altitude of 2800 meters, we have visited the bear park, the zoo, the local onion festival, seen the Eiger almost on a daily basis and had 20 of our closest friends come visit us. The decision to spend half a year in Bern is definitely what I would call an epic win.
The decision to spend half a year in Bern is definitely what I would call an epic win.
As our stay in Bern is coming to an end, there are some changes fast approaching. Among these, the most obvious for me personally is the fact that I will once again be living in a country where everyone understands what I'm saying. I will hopefully no longer look like a complete fool as I'm talking to the locals. It will also be very nice to have our friends nearby. For my daughter, I think it will be great to get a chance to play with her old friends again.
But there is also another big change on the horizon for us. Some weeks ago we decided that our time in Oslo has come to an end, and that it's time to move on. Raising children in a city where traffic jams and noise are an integral part of the day is not worth it to us. Combining this with the fact that the housing prices are a bit above our level made it easy for us to start considering moving out of the city. Where to move? Answering this question wasn't too difficult, as my wife and I both grew up in Skien, the birth place of Ibsen. That area is where all our parents still live, which means quick access to four grandparents for our children. The area also has a lot lower housing prices, which means that we will finally be able to afford the house of our dreams ... if we can find it.
The problem with moving back to where we grew up is threefold. First of all, most of our friends are in Oslo. Secondly, my fantastic colleagues are in Oslo. The third problem is finding a good job locally. Interesting jobs in our fields of expertize are hard to come by in Grenland. However, we have been very lucky. I signed with my favorite agency in the area, Onezero designbureau earlier this year, and will begin in my new job in June later this year. To our great joy, a few days ago my wife was offered the job she wanted as well. So now all we need is a house, a lawnmower, a white picket fence and a unicorn in the backyard. To say that I am excited about the coming months and years is an understatement.
To say that I am excited about the coming months and years is an understatement.
Now that it's all out in the open, and we're getting ready to move, first back to Oslo, and very soon all the way to Skien, I'm having very good feelings about this decision as well. I think we're on a winning streak here, as far as making good, life-changing decisions go. And I'm really psyched about not having to sit in traffic for 3 hours every day.
To eternity, and beyond!
- Johan Bakken, March 2010