My sister Amy got called to serve in the Norway, Oslo mission at the same time my parents left on their mission to Spain, in the Spring/Summer of 2012. We knew she would get released before my parents because of the differing lengths of missions, and she had asked me one time if I would like to come pick her up from her mission? Um, yes I would! I ran it by Chris once and he was fine with it, but he asked me how I was going to budget for it. (Mind you, this was like a year and a half before I would need to pick her up.) I began thinking of ways I could save money for this trip, because I really really wanted to go. About this same time, a fellow coupon-blogging mommy offered me a little side gig. She needed someone to do a Winco Grocery sale post twice a month, and she told me she would pay me $50 per post. I of course said yes.
So for 18 months while Amy was on her mission, I woke up every other Monday at 4 AM and drove to Winco in the dark with my clipboard. I walked down the aisles and noted grocery prices and sales, and then I went home, nursed Henry (who was a baby), and wrote up a post that matched the sale prices with current coupons for her blog. When she paid me $100 each month, I paid my tithing and put the rest in a savings account. And that is how I saved the money to pay for this trip to pick up Amy from her mission. A huge thanks to Chris for watching Emme and Henry solo for two weeks while I was gone. It was the trip of a lifetime and it couldn't have happened without his help.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 13
I flew out of Salt Lake City on the 5 PM Delta flight directly to Paris. Here I am, 18 weeks pregnant with little Stanley, complete with my maternity skirt and compression stockings for the airplane. I slept a little on the airplane, but we had a lot of turbulence over the Atlantic, so mostly I watched movies. (The edited version of Identity Thief was a crackup!)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14
I landed in Paris at about 10 AM. I found my next terminal for my connection to Oslo, sank into an easy chair and ate a pb&j I'd brought with me, as well as some cut up apples. I slept for about two hours and then hopped on a plane to Oslo. I had an empty seat by me, so I laid out and slept a little, and luckily it was a smooth flight.
I arrived in Oslo about 6:20 PM and took the Flytog (train) to Lysaker, where I was picked up by Amy and the Assistants. I had a few minutes to kill before they arrived, so I bought a snack. I opted for the Solo instead of the Griller Wiener. At home, the only time we can get Solo is once a year when they import it for Sutnamai! So this was exciting for me. I savored every drop.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 15
We had breakfast at the mission home with President and Sister Evans and the assistants. She made Norwegian pancakes and they were so yummy. Then we said goodbye and the assistants drove us to our hotel, where we dropped our baggage.
We took the T-bane (train) to the city center and headed towards the Institute.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16
We slept in until 9:00 AM and then ate breakfast at our hotel.
Kon-Tiki is a museum dedicated to Thor Heyerdahl's voyage from Peru to Polynesia in 1947 in nothing but a balsa-wood raft, as well as another voyage from North Africa to the Caribbean. He basically proves that figures in the Book of Mormon could have made similar expeditions (like the Brother of Jared).
In this little exerpt from his journal, the figures in the center have a thought bubble saying "we are all little Mormons." Ha ha ha. Thor Heyerdahl had read the Book of Mormon, although he was not a member.
I did, however, run into some trouble because I didn't have a chip and pin credit card, which is all they have been using in Europe for years and years. I would ask at a store to swipe my card and the clerks would look at me and tell me they didn't know how to do that. I had read in my Rick Steves' book that this might be a problem, so I just withdrew Kroner from my debit card at an ATM and we used cash most everywhere we went. This was the easiest way to avoid transaction fees and other issues, and it worked just fine for us. Plus, trips to 7-11 every day was a bonus, what with all their delicious pastries and such. Ha ha.
Then we walked to the Dale store and bought some a hat for me and a headband for Amy (it was basically the only thing in the store in my price range, ha ha). But I love this hat so much!
We ate breakfast at the hotel this morning and then checked out.
After church we snapped a few goodbye photos. Amy with Sister Frampton (from our home stake) and another sister.
"1. Remember to wash the changing table.
2. Put your diapers with the horrible smell in a plastic bag and throw them away in the garbage outside.
3. Hang clothes out in the locker.
4. Remember to take with you all of your things when you leave."