Sunday, March 30, 2008


Our turn to spring forward this weekend, so I'm TIRED! It's even worse for Lars, he forgot and didn't make it to bed until *much* too late - he got 4 hours of sleep. Silly man.

I wasn't planing on getting up this early, but Lars is going out to play soccer with some friends, and got me too awake to go back to sleep, so now I'm up... contemplating going to church. I wasn't expecting to, but now that I'm up anyway...

Henni came to visit yesterday - fun as always :-) We've decided to go to London the three of us this summer, so now we just need to get the last details sorted, but it'll be great. That way Lars can trainspot as much as he wants without me getting bored ;-) And I'll have somebody to go see a musical with.

As usual we played a lot of games - Settlers, Carcasonne, Munchkin, Murder etc. - and for once I actually won over Lars in a game of knowledge!!! That happens SO rarely that it's worth a mention :-D Bezzerwizzer is a Q/A game like Trivial Pursuit, but lots more fun (IMHO)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Request for review

Last night I received an email at my gmail account addressed to "Dear Editor". First I thought it was spam (either conscious or unconscious), but it turned out it was somebody who'd seen my "site" (not sure if it was bogormen or abookgeek, but assume the latter) who wants me to review his book! :-O It's happened once before, but still it amazes me to get letters like that!

I replied with the following:
I'd be interested in reviewing your book "Down to a Sunless Sea" on the following conditions:

1) You (or your publisher) send me a copy of your book free of charge. I write reviews as a volunteer and can therefore not have any expenses. Some publishers are not willing to ship abroad, so as I live in Denmark, this may be an issue.

2) I retain copyright of my review. However, you are free to publish or quote it, as long as my name is mentioned.

3) In return I commit myself to reading and reviewing your book within 4 weeks of receiving it.

If these terms are acceptable to you, let me know, and I will send you my address.

I was thinking about getting a PO Box if this continues, but then went to the webpage and discovered a box costs 1875DKK (~US$375) A YEAR! Never mind then.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Det har været en påskeferie af den helt skønne stil. Jeg har i gennemsnit læst en bog om dagen i 10 dage - ikke dårligt! :-D De to bedste bøger var afgjort "Mænd der hader kvinder" og "Pigen der legede med ilden" af Stieg Larsson. Jeg havde lånt dem af Henni og slugte dem på ingen tid. Især den sidste, som jeg fik fat i Påskesøndag, hvor Lars arbejdede fra 14-23, og eftersom jeg ingen andre planer havde, endte jeg med at sidde og læse fra kl 1300 hvor Lars tog afsted, til kl. 2100 hvor jeg lukkede bogen efter at have læst sidste side. Så koncentreret har jeg ikke læst siden Harry Potter 7!! Men jeg nød det - god bog og SKØNT at have tid :-)

Men æv - Henni havde ikke den sidste bog i serien, og på biblioteket var der 7-8 ugers ventetid. Hvad gør en klog huskat så?

Hun spørger rundt, og finder ud af at hendes kære tante heldigvis ejer hele serien! Heldigt sammentræf, og da der var menighedsrådsmøde i går aftes kunne jeg lige følges hjem med Morten og vupti! Endnu 600 herlige sider klar til at blive læst. Jeg nåede de første 40 inden jeg skulle på arbejde i morges, og da den starter lige hvor 2'eren slutter er jeg allerede helt grebet af den. Godt jeg ingen planer har i aften! :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Eftersom Nina er begyndt at blogge, tænkte jeg at jeg også ville. Det bliver nok mest ting kopieret fra emails etc. da jeg skriver det mere eller mindre dagligt alligevel, så størstedelen bliver på engelsk.

Jeg har også to andre blogs:
Kiwiria (opskrifter - opdateres kun sjældent, nu hvor jeg har lagt alle mine yndlingsopskrifter ind).
Bogormen (boganmeldelser - opdateres hver gang jeg bliver færdig med en ny bog... så alt mellem 1 og 7 gange om ugen ;) )

Velkommen til :-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I've decided to remove almost all applications from my Facebook profile. It's a decision that's been a long time coming, but today clinched it. First of all I don't agree with the chain-mail type structure of many of the applications ("Send this to 20 friends before you get to see your answer"). Secondly, I hate the popularity contest implied in many of the applications - and even more that I'm susceptible to it. Just today I was invited to join a "Circle of trust" application (you rate your Facebook friends by how much you trust them - rate each one individually I mean, not rank them) and discovered that although I had 10 votes, my average of how much people trusted me were just 2 stars out of 5. That upset and hurt me a lot more than it ought to have done, so I'm taking the consequence and throwing away all applications other than the ones I actually use. Probably won't be adding any more either.

Junior high was one long popularity contest, and I hated it. I'm too old to fall back into that trap now.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Lunch - Aftermath

Yesterday was absolutely brilliant! Lars and I both agree that this was actually the best Easter lunch so far. Not that that's any of my doing, because what was great about it was the atmosphere. Everybody had a great time. Everybody laughed together, talked together, had fun together. It was just perfect.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the evening:
The "adult" or "high" table:

The "kiddie" or "low" table:

This photo is pretty representative for the entire evening. Silly jokes and lots of laughter.

Dennis wouldn't give Frode any crackers, so Frode started singing "I get no kiks [crackers] from champagne..." and Dennis just couldn't handle it.

This is just a really good photo :) I'm going to get it developed and framed

Why I love Henni: I tell her "Do something silly" while having a camera in my hand. She puts her hand up and starts waving behind her head.

"The gang". Heads from left to right: Dennis, Frode, Henrik, me, Lars, Henni, Rikke, Wendy

Watching Jeff Dunham - GREAT way to end the evening :) People LOVED Peanut - and Lars and I love sharing the fun!

Again, I just like this photo

We put the chair up to put the camera on for the group photos, and afterwards it became a symbol: The party doesn't end until the chair is taken down" - so it stayed up the rest of the evening :-D

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Lunch

It's the day of our annual Easter Lunch with Henni, Dennis, Henrik and the rest of the gang, so 2 hours from now our flat will be invaded by 6 happy people :-) I'm so glad I'm off work these days, so I can prepare calmly and actually not be stressed out by getting the flat ready for such a visit. I've been spending the past days cooking and cleaning and believe that if Lars keeps up his side of the bargain (which he has been doing so far) it'll all go off without a hitch :)

This is by far the biggest crowd we've had over for dinner so far and it'll be a bit tight, so we've put half around the dining table and half around the couch table. Not ideal, but it'll have to do in such a small flat as ours. I've gotten hold of all the traditional foods for Easter - smoked salmon, shrimps, herring, tenderloin, liver pâté, home-made meatballs etc. It's a lot of work, and the clean-up tomorrow will be even more work, but I'm really looking forward to this chance of being 'the hostess'. Besides, we always have a blast together, so the company will be great even without trying :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

I just came home from church and from what I think was the most powerful Palm Sunday I've ever been to.

At our church the Palm Sunday service is always a children oriented service, so generally the sermon has been... less than inspiring. Not bad, just aimed at children. This year, however, Morten decided to skip the sermon altogether, and have a happening instead. He got the smallest child there (an adorable boy of about 2-3) to play Jesus, put him on top of a wagon dressed as a donkey and had the other kids pull/push him down through the middle of the church, as Jesus entering Jerusalem. Meanwhile instead of palm branches all adults had been given streamers to throw (think: the beginning of a football game where the audience cheers on the players - same kind of atmosphere) in order to celebrate Jesus' arrival.

I know it doesn't sound like much, but for the first time ever I was there. I was back in Jerusalem in the year 33AD, greeting Jesus and cheering his arrival. I've never experienced anything like it. I had goosebumps everywhere, chills running up and down my spine and a lump in my throat. It was amazing. So extremely powerful, and so extremely devastating because I know what happened next.

Jesus died for my sins... May I never forget it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

1990 - Part 4: Winchester School

This is far from an exhaustive list as it seems that everything I write down reminds me of 2 or 3 other events, but I want to get this posted now, and will just have to leave the rest of the memories for a later entry.

There's more than this, obviously, like the class play and the class camp, but I'll write about those later, as I felt this was long enough as it was ;)

Random memories from school
* The school had a wonderfully big playground as well as a HUGE grassy area for all sorts of ball games (and chasing butterflies in the summer - it was filled with white ones) and several paved courts for roller-skating, playing hopscotch, skipping etc. Among other things the playground had several bares at different heights. I learned how to swing myself up on one by standing on the ground, holding on with both hands, throwing myself around it legs first and ending up holding myself upright on top of it. An even greater trick (to me, at least) was learning how to sit on one, throwing myself backwards with enough momentum that I ended up right back where I started. I practised this for WEEKS on end in every recess, and could barely stand for pride when I finally succeeded :-) I also learned how to climb up a fireman's ladder and swing myself from bar to bar across the length of the playground. I was probably in better shape then than I've ever been before or after.

* We always had lots of fun playing at recess. One day some of my friends got the brilliant idea to spin around and around until we got too dizzy to walk straight. Against my better knowledge I played along, resulting in getting so motion sick I had to go home from school. I was too embarrassed to tell my teacher why I felt sick, but I'm pretty sure she had a good idea ;-) The principal met Mum and me as we left school, and told Mum I looked like I needed some TLC... that's just the kind of man he was :)

* Other games we'd play were clapping games of various sorts, so naturally Nina and I taught them some of the ones we knew from Denmark - the ones with no words or made up words so that the language barrier wouldn't be a problem. Nina's teacher was so impressed that she got a bunch of us to get up in front of the entire school to perform them at an assembly.

* Being taught in English when you only understand very few words is difficult! Maths was my best subject as I was already pretty good at that, and fortunately the language of maths is international. Most words kinda 'sneaked up' on me, and I managed with the help of a simple dictionary, but one day we were asked to draw an "ad" for something... I was completely lost as this word did not exist in my dictionary, so I had no clue at all what we were meant to do. Fortunately, this was during first few weeks where Mum would come pick us up after school and could talk to our teachers and translate the essentials, (after we moved to Pahiatua street school was only a 10 minute walk away, and we thought we were too old to be picked up by mum that way) so it all worked out. I never thought about it at the time, but it must have been a chore and a half for the teachers to teach kids who spoke as little English as we did. The first few months I didn't say much, then suddenly it all clicked and I wouldn't shut up ;-)

* Related to the above. Since Nina and I were old enough to *need* to know English in school (unlike Rebekka and Mixi who were in small enough classes that they learned English and reading at the same time - a picture of a house and the word "House" written underneath is almost as easy to understand as a picture of a house and the word "Hus" written underneath) we had a few extra English lessons each week. I remember absolutely nothing of these lessons except the very last one. The guys teaching us were room-mates and they were pet-sitting a friend's two rats - "Shy" and "Uhm". Thanks to them I've never been able to see rats as gross pests, because these two were adorable and gorgeous white creatures and incredibly affectionate :-)

* A couple of the boys in class (Germain and Andrew A. in particular) found it funny to pretend I was a dangerous "alien" and run away when I came near as if it were contagious. All these years later I don't understand why I wasn't deeply hurt by it, but there must have been something to tell me it was all in fun which I don't remember any longer. Whatever the case, I thought it was a great joke, and they kept it up until one day we had to find words starting with "anti" and Germain yelled out "anti-Maria". Again, I just laughed (and as far as I remember wasn't even hurt on the inside - oh, to have that kind of self confidence now!), but Mrs. Gilliland was pissed!

* During the year my class was taught various first aid modules: dry land rescuing (how to save somebody from drowning while not getting into the water yourself... yeah, not quite sure of how well that'd work either, but we were a group of 10 year olds, so I guess they thought us too young for anything else), basic resuscitation etc. I most vividly remember the basic resuscitation module - we had to learn how to give others mouth-to-mouth and mouth-to-nose. I think I've told this story before, but my teacher was very keen on always splitting us into boy/girl pairs, but this time she said that if anybody had preferences, she would listen to them. A bunch of the braver kids put up their hands. I didn't, because while I would have loved to be together with Daniel (whom I had a crush on at the time), I knew that I wasn't the only girl in class who liked him, and I didn't want to upset anybody. Daniel DID put up his hand though. I was fully expecting him to pick one of the more popular girls in class, that I almost missed it when he said my name. I must have looked completely shell-shocked, because my teacher looked at me, and asked if that was ok with me. Was it ever! :) To this day I'm glad that I know some basic first aid. I should probably take a refreshing course, but at least I remember a few basics.

* I was in the last year of primary school, and as a special privilege the smartest/most well-behaved children were allowed to get out of class one day a week, in order to go to the staff room and do their dishes (amazing what was considered a privilege at that time. Everybody wanted to do this! I guess getting out of class was more important than having to do dishes ;) ). Eventually it became my turn, and by some stroke of luck I was paired up with Daniel! This gave us the perfect opportunity to talk and get to know each other better, and I loved every minute of it. The very last time (I think we had a month or so) we got talking about people in class, who we liked and disliked. That's when Daniel made my year by saying: "I think you're the nicest girl in class." I walked with my head in the clouds the rest of the day :-)

* One last thing about Daniel, I think many girls had guessed. One day Monique (best friend to one of the other girls who had a crush on Daniel - he was one of the two most popular boys in class) came up to me and said, "Daniel likes you." I tried to play it casual and just replied, "Oh, what makes you think that?" "I asked him, and he didn't say no." Ah, the logic of 10-year-olds ;-) It was still A Big Deal to me though.

* Every day we'd have a "read aloud" session where Mrs. Gilliland would have us all sit on the mat and read to us from some book or the other - usually Roald Dahl if memory serves me right. This was actually a great way for me to learn how to read, as I'd make sure to take the same book out of the library and follow along in the book while she read. I blame my love for Roald Dahl and Margaret Mahy on these reading sessions :)

* Unfortunately, not everything was pleasant that year. I had a class mate, Jeremy, whose younger brother, Byron went to Nina's class. One day they didn't return to school after a vacation. A couple of days went by before our teacher told us that Jeremy's brother had been killed in a car accident during the vacation, and Jeremy was (understandably) staying at home until he felt up to coming back to school. I'd been good friends with both and was completely shocked. This was the first time I'd really understood that children could die too. A good lesson to learn as not long after another of Nina's classmates died (I forget her name - Monique I think). This death was more expected however, as she died of cancer and had been going through chemo (I never knew she was wearing a wig, but Nina told me she once took it off to show them), so their teacher had been able to prepare them.

Friday, March 7, 2008

1990 - Part 3: Getting settled in "our" house

In February we moved to our motel-house to the house we'd be renting for the rest of the year. This house was AMAZING! I wish I had more photos to show of it, because it was just perfect for us. Instead I'll try to take you on a verbal tour of it and the grounds.

Pahiatua Street is a residential road like most others. Villas on either side with green gardens. You arrive to where number 72 out to be and almost think you've missed it, as the numbers skip right from 70 to 74. You backtrack a bit and realise it's because number 72 cannot be seen from the road. Instead there is a LONG driveway taking you behind the other houses to the one you seek. I don't know exactly how long the driveway was, but at least a couple of hundred meters.

When finally reaching the house, the first thing you see is a huge garden. I'll take you through that later. First, we make our way underneath the grape-covered entrance way to the back door (no-one in their right minds uses the front door in New Zealand). You open the door and enter a small hallway. To the right you see a door leading into a small room (Nina's) with two beds, to the left, a door to a small combined scullery/bath with a sliding door to a toilet. This toilet's watertank would occasionally not fill up all the way, so we had to manually press down the leveller to force it to fill in more water. At the end of the hallway was the kitchen. The kitchen was actually split up into three parts. Right on the right-hand-side when you entered from the hallway you could see a pantry door (the only place I've ever lived in that had a REAL PANTRY!), right past that was what we called the "TV lounge". A small room with the TV, a couch, 2 chairs and a gas-heater. Turn the other way from the pantry door and you'd see first the 'normal' kitchen (looking as kitchens do most) and then the dinning room. The dinning room was really just a continuation of the kitchen, but the walls were painted differently, making it seem like a separate part. The parents in the family we'd rented the house from were very creative. The father did stained glassed windows and lamps, and the mother did murals. The dinning room had a lovely stained glass lamp hanging over the table, and a mural on the wall showing a branch with flowers (almost a vine I guess) and a nest with two birds!

From the dining room was a door that opened up into the living room. We actually didn't spend much time in the living room, especially in wintertime as it was too big, and too high to the ceiling to warm it up properly. The living room had another sofa group and a door leading out to the terrace, a dining table for fancy company and a piano :-D. But like I said, we didn't use it much, so let's go back to the kitchen.

If you turn your back on the hallway that leads out, you'll see another, longer hallway leading straight to the front door! Walk down it, and first you come to the big bathroom (on your right-hand-side) and then another large'ish room (mine) with two beds, two desks, a closet and actually not much else... Nina and I would share it when we were friends, and when we weren't, she'd move back to her own room. Continue further down the hallway and you'd reach my parent's room on the right and Rebekka and Mixi's on the left. The room Rebekka and Mixi shared had a huge blackboard on the wall, which we had great fun filling with various small-scale murals :-)

Some of my best memories of the house is sitting in the TV lounge with my entire family, watching "The Comedy Company" or something similar that we could all enjoy :)

Going back out the back door you see a pathway leading around the house, and another leading to the garages (yes, plural) These garages were SO much fun to roam around in, as they had all sorts of weird knick-knacks to look at, as well as a toolshed with real hammers and saws that we were allowed to play with! :) Right next to the garages was a big walnut tree with a real two-story treehouse in it!!! We'd always wanted a treehouse, but had no trees at home that were suitable for it, so this was a real treat! Next to the walnut tree were red-currant bushes and a large (but empty) greenhouse with two swings and bars for playing on right outside.

However, this is a dead-end, so we'll go back to the back door, and walk clockwise around the garden. The first thing you'll notice is the AMAZING number of fruit bushes and trees. In the garden we had lemons (mum made homemade lemon squash... she's done that in Denmark too, but it never tasted better than with homegrown lemons, freshly picked from the bush!), oranges, kiwifruit, fijoya (DELICIOUS fruit I've never seen outside NZ, and I miss it :( ), apples, pears, tomatoes, and of course the aforementioned walnuts, grapes and red currants. Along all the fences was a thick strip of was can best be defined as 'bush' - great for hiding and playing in. There were also two lawns for ball games and two GREAT climbing trees. One of them especially soon became my preferred reading spot in the summer.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

1990 - Part 2: Staying at Awatea Park Motel

I can't remember if it were they or my dad's company who'd found us a place to live, but the family whose house we'd be renting weren't actually moving (they were going to Japan for a year) for another month, so the first month we stayed at a motel that had a separate house for rent as well. It wasn't big - only 4 rooms - but a gloriously large garden to roam around in, a trampoline in the back yard and the city's best ice cream place just cross the street! We got VERY fond of Blue Moon's orange-choc-chip ice cream :)

The first couple of weeks were spent getting settled. We visited the family whose house we'd be renting (friends of the Martises) and the two schools in the neighbourhood. One immediately appealed to us kids because of the huge pool and because the daughters of the Betteridge family went to that school. However, as Mum wisely pointed out to us, that would only be for a month, so it was a bad reason to base our school choice on. After we got to see the other school, we realized she was right. I can't explain it, but this one just had a friendlier atmosphere. One of the teachers took us three oldest girls for a swim in their pool (in NZ every respectable school has a pool apparently ;) ) while Mum and Dad talked to the principal. They were very taken in by him, as he was extremely friendly and open and caring. Michala (who's a bit shy and would rather sit on Mum's lap playing with her dolls than go swimming with the rest of us and an adult she didn't know) accidentally left one of her dolls behind in the principal's office, and we were in the car, just about to leave when he came running out to us, calling out that she'd forgotten her doll. I know it seems like a small thing, but it was just the kind of person he was. Extremely kind and generous with his time and affection. He ended up being Nina's teacher and took very good care of her :)

Anyway, my parents ended up deciding to send us to that school. A wonderful decision and I think it's probably the best school we'd ever been to. That's not to say it wasn't difficult at first - not knowing the language that well it was really only maths I stayed ahead in (thank goodness for maths being an international language!), but when forced to learn a different language, it's amazing how quickly you pick it up.

Random memories from the motel
It'll get too complicated trying to write these chronologically as my memory really isn't that great, but some of our experiences while living in the motel deserves to be written down:
* Right next to the trampoline was a tree wonderful for climbing... wonderful for climbing up anyway. You had to stand on the tramp to get to the lowest branches, but after that it was smooth climbing. One day I climbed almost to the top enjoying the view, but when I was about to climb back down again, I froze. I no longer remember what happened to make me freeze as I've never suffered from vertigo and would climb on just about anything as a kid. I called out to dad that I couldn't get down, and he had to stand underneath the tree and guide me, promising to catch me, should I fall. Of course I didn't, but that was the last time I ever climbed that tree.

* The tramp was lots of fun, and while I never became an expert, like my sisters I'd jump at any available minute. One time I almost jumped myself off the tramp, but caught on to a twig of the aforementioned tree at the last minute. It was enough to give me my balance back, but the twig broke off. I remember feeling absolutely terrible about 'hurting' the tree, after it had just saved my fall. I was a very weird child at times ;-)

* Like I said, my sisters loved the tramp as well. One day Rebekka and Mixi were jumping on it at the same time and Rebekka got too close to Mixi and accidentally bounced her off it. She felt awful about it. I remember Mum and Dad comforting Mixi and making sure she wasn't hurt, and I sat comforting Rebekka because she was crying harder than Mixi. After that Mum and Dad made the rule that only one person was allowed on the tramp at a time.

* The grounds of the motel were right next to a forest. Funnily enough I don't remember us spending too much time in that forest - probably because we only stayed there for a month - but one day Nina and I ventured out there and discovered that the grounds were COVERED with clover. They looked so soft and inviting that we rolled around in them and started talking about how neat it would be to sleep on a bed of clover. This was January and thus summer, so the nights were warm enough, and we soon received permission from our parents to pick clover and make a 'bed' with them in our garden. We got Rebekka and Mixi involved in the picking, and eventually got enough for a nice, soft mattress. However, either due to the excitement of sleeping outside, or simply because it got too hard after awhile, we never actually fell asleep, but moved back inside.

* One day we were playing outside, when suddenly we noticed that all the birds had gone strangely silent. We heard a rumble sounding as if it came from far away, slowly moving towards us, until the entire ground underneath us shook - very weird experience to see the car shake back and forth with nobody touching it. It was over too quickly for us to be scared by it, and Nina (who was running around in the forest, playing tag with Mixi) never even noticed it. I've experienced a few, smaller earthquakes, but this was the only really major one. It measured 6 or 7 on the Richter scale if I recall correctly.

* A less pleasant experience: it turned out that our living room had FLEAS (or something similar). Funnily enough only the living room - the rest of the house was clean - but obviously it was unacceptable, and we got some very itchy bites, so the motel-owners sent us away for the weekend and had exterminators over.

Monday, March 3, 2008

1990 - Part 1: The Journey to New Zealand

When I wrote about the year 1991 I realized I really wanted to write something similar for 1990 in order to keep hold of those memories I still have of that year. I know it's going to be LONG and therefore have split it up into several parts. I'm not quite done writing it, as I keep thinking of more details to put in, but I felt like posting part 1 today.

In order to fully capture the 'spirit' of 1990 I need to start with a few events of 1989, and as I remember too little of that year to write about it in full, I hope you'll allow me this digression.

During 1989 my parents had talked to my sisters and me about the possibility that we might be moving to New Zealand for a year. My parents had friends there, and they'd always been fascinated with the country, so when the company my dad worked for were talking about starting a branch in NZ, and asked my dad if he'd go help them set up, he jumped at the chance. We spent most of the summer talking and praying and learning about the place, and one day in August dad called home from work. I was the one to pick up the phone, and still remember the conversation.
Dad: Hi Maria, do you still want to go to New Zealand.
Me: YES!!!!
Dad: Let's do it then!

Now followed 3 very busy months of packing everything together (we would be renting a furnished house, but would of course still need our own clothes and some playthings etc., besides, we were renting out our house while away, so everything valuable had to be packed up too), making practical arrangements and speed-learning English. Not that I knew much when we left, but I could at least say "I'm from Denmark, I don't speak English" ;) (funny to think of now - I have difficulties remembering a time I didn't feel fluent in English.

A couple of days before Christmas we'd packed up the entire house, and moved to my Mormor and Morfar's place to stay there the last few days and spend Christmas with them. I hardly remember any of those days, except that this was where Nina and I started calling each other Sigurd and Sigurt (don't ask me why, I honestly couldn't tell you), we slept in the same room and I scared her by telling her made-up ghost-stories and jumping on her when she least expected it.

On the 26th (we were to leave on the 27th) Morfar took us out for a long walks in the forest so we'd be properly tired out and be able to go to sleep early, and Mum and Dad allowed me my first (tiny!) glass of wine with dinner - also in an attempt to get me to sleep early. Of course it didn't work, I was FAR too excited.

We arrived at the airport very early on the morning of the 27th. I seem to recall our plane scheduled to leave at 6'ish or something like that. So imagine our surprise when we arrived and the airport was EMPTY! No check-ins open AT ALL. We were told to sit with Mormor and Morfar and then Mum and Dad went around, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Turned out that the flight we'd been placed on wasn't just cancelled - no, that'd be too easy - it was a flight that only left in the summer! Well done travel agency! Sheesh. Fortunately we had quite a few hours to spare in London, so Mum and Dad found a different flight we could get on, and even though we were 2 hours late leaving Copenhagen, we still caught our flight in London without (as far as I remember) any problems.

From London we flew to Miami, Florida. I honestly don't remember much of the place, as we were only there a week before flying on to Orlando. Here we spent three magical days in Disney World - two in the Magic Kingdom and one at the Epcot Center. Ever since then I've wanted to go back, because I think I missed out on SO MUCH by not being able to understand English at the Epcot Center. We celebrated New Years at Disney World... or rather, at our hotel just outside Disney World, as us girls couldn't stay awake until midnight (we were VERY jetlagged) so Mum and Dad toasted the New Year with Sprite in plastic cups ;)

While in Florida we also visited Cape Canaveral, which was absolutely fascinating, but again, I wish I'd actually understood English.

On January 3rd we left Florida to fly to Hawaii. This was truly amazing. I wasn't old enough to realize how touristy the place was, but definitely old enough to realize "I'M IN HAWAII!!!!" I don't know about other places, but in Denmark, at that time, Hawaii was the place to go.

And we had a great time too. We stayed at a hotel right by Waikiki Beach on Honolulu and played on the beach practically every day. Some people noticed us, and when they left, gave us their inflatable water mattress as they didn't want to be bothered with it on their flight home. Another couple taught us how to "look cool" and play with our sun-glasses. This couple also saved Michala when she almost drowned. We were at the hotel swimming pool/Jacuzzi and it had a 'bench' around the edge where you could sit and still have your head above water (which is why I think it must have been a Jacuzzi, even though I don't remember). This 'bench' was the perfect height for Michala to stand on and play with the rest of us. Of course the inevitable happened and she fell off the 'bench' into the deep water. The man was quick and immediately stretched out his arm and caught hold of her. She was never in any real danger, but naturally still got a huge fright.

Of course we also went sightseeing, got to experience a luau (where mum and dad were really impressed that it started by somebody saying grace - my sisters and I just got bored with the long prayer in a language we didn't understand ;) ), learned to dance hula, saw a dead volcano and lots more.

On January 10th we left Hawaii to finally fly the last stretch to New Zealand. As we'd be passing the date line, Rebekka had been very adamant that we didn't skip the 14th - she still wanted her birthday! We flew first to Auckland and then jumped directly on a 'pencil plane' to Palmerston North (how funny, I still remember the book I read on that leg of the flight! I didn't realize that until now!) where my parents' friends, the Martis family, waited to welcome us and get us settled.