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Take distance

Deep regret
October 14, 2022
Schuur in de sneeuw
Down to the bottom
December 13, 2022

Saturday 17th of September - Brøttum

Olivier is still deeply disappointed about the house we didn't buy, Zoe's emotions dance along with Olivier's negative feelings. It's time for a doctor's visit, one in our style. We head out by canoe for a week to unwind and reflect. Trine is visiting her mother, near the Swedish border, and suggests dropping us off at a large lake along the way. Nature and adventure are our medicine to forget pain, think of new plans and find energy. That's what we desperately need right now. We tie the canoe on top of Trine's car, pack food for a week and take a break from this place.

It is a great adventure in beautiful nature. In mid-September, at an altitude of about 700 meters, autumn is already in full swing. The birch trees turn the hills yellow and in between is a red blanket of berry plants. There we find an endless supply of blueberries already tender from the nights below freezing. A few more of these nights and all the blueberries will completely shrivel up and be lost. In Lillehammer we sometimes had to be satisfied with a tray full while here we could fill buckets in the same time. We pick until our hands and teeth are completely blue and eat blueberries for breakfast, lunch and dessert. It is wonderful to be without a computer, house websites, doubt and negative thoughts for a while. We have not forgotten our wrong choice, but nature distracts us and allows us to live in the moment. Physically and mentally distancing ourselves from a negative situation can sometimes work wonders.

After a few lakes, we finally arrive at the river we will follow. We know there will be rapids, and we know we will have to get out of the boat a few times to carry the canoe across the land. By the third rapids, things are already going wrong. The wind and current push us way too far out where we don't want to be. We get stuck on a large rock, surrounded by wildly flowing water. Zoe is terrified that we will tip over and screams at every little movement of the canoe. We will have to get out anyway; there is no other option to get the canoe loose. There we are, waist-deep in the freezing river. There is no way out, the water is flowing far too fast. There is only one way, back in the canoe, through the rapids and hope we can avoid the rocks. We succeed, but Zoe trembles with cold and terror. We paddle as fast as we can to the bank and make a fire. Sometimes adventure helps one forget peripheral things. The only thing that matters in this river is getting safely through the rapids, staying dry and then finding a place to sleep. It is impossible to think about a house and other doubts that dominated our minds just three days ago. A miraculous medicine.

A few days later we are back in Brøttum, back to doubt and regret. From the moment we drive into the street, the negative feeling immediately comes to Olivier. This is where we could have had our place, he thinks. He knows there is no point in continuing to think negatively and saying that to Zoë over and over again. It is time to leave here for a while to further distance ourselves from the feeling. Normally after the weekend we would move to Hamar where Zoë would work on a project for a month. Because the company is not doing so well, the project has been postponed until next year. It means we have to find another place for the next few weeks. If we had bought the house, we would have had a place to go now. These are all "if...if..." thoughts that don't help us, but we can't put them away. Again the uncertainty of not knowing where we will live for the next few weeks, extra costs and lost energy. It feels like everything is against us right now.

We eventually find a small apartment in the center of Lillehammer. So suddenly we are living in the middle of town, the supermarket is a four-minute walk and Zoë's work barely a three-minute walk away. For a while we experience the convenience of living in a city, but after three days we have had enough of that convenience. What we need is not stores and restaurants within walking distance. What we need is nature from the back door. If we wanted to live in a city, we would do it in the Netherlands, where the cities are so much cozier and we can really do everything by bike. No, we choose to move to Scandinavia because here we can live in nature with an almost infinite forest in the backyard. The city is easy, but it doesn't make us happy. Although, the city does help us get away from the wrong choice for a while. We, and especially Olivier, manage to be more positive again and see new opportunities. Lack of courage turns into courage that dares us to keep looking for our dream place. We decide to rent our dream place, which we still hope to buy, for the winter. At least this way we will have a place where we will live during the winter and a little security. We regain confidence that our chance will come one day, at least if we keep going for it.

It is time to take some real distance to see the road again.


The Norwegian housing website is getting quieter now that winter is coming, but new opportunities continue to pop up from time to time. For example, we see some houses across the water. It is the west side of the lake where the sun position is not as good and the slopes are even steeper. We've never been interested in that side, but we've never really explored it. We know we need to widen our search circle and open up to new areas. We have some viewings, but the good feeling is lacking. We don't the right feeling in this area. Every new house and every viewing throws us back into the whole selection process. Shouldn't we be so critical? What criteria are really important to us? Should we dare to buy a place to end the uncertainty? Are we actually looking for the dream spot in the woods, or just a nice place where we can do almost everything by bike? Every time we go through the whole thought process full of doubts. It feels like we're not getting anywhere and are driving ourselves crazy. Will we ever find our place if we doubt so much about every place? Does our dream place even exist in this region? The energy to keep looking is slowly ebbing away. We are struggling emotionally and even losing the nice feeling we always had here in Norway.
Olivier even doubts if he wants to live here.
It is time to take some real distance to see the road again. We decide not to actively search for our place for a while, but enjoy living in the now, just like in the canoe. The good feeling and energy must come back because we know it is there. Doubts have always been there, but the confidence was always greater than the doubts. That is no longer the case for a while, but we are not giving up. Giving up often happens just when you are almost there, just that last bit of character you need to accomplish it. We are at that point now. It is now to persevere and then we will be rewarded!

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