Hans Jørgen and I won some really cool prizes in Denmark for the World Cup, and we joked they would be good for our house – in 10 years time, when we eventually get one! Ultimately we are just 25 year old children, who live at home with ‘mum and dad’ although in my case more like adopted mum and dad!
Two days later, on Tuesday evening, we had less than 12 hours to decide if we wanted a house. A once in a lifetime opportunity, to get ourselves set up, for life.
Hans Jørgen’s grandparents have decided to move to a smaller more manageable place in the centre of Brandbu. We were offered to buy their house. At this point I had only ever been on the ground floor in living room to eat waffles on a few occasions. But on HJ’s assurance that the house is big, we decided we couldn’t let this wonderful opportunity pass us by. We both knew we would never have another chance like it.
The next day, I was in a state of shock and disbelief; 1) we essentially had committed to buying a house, 2) the bank (3 of them) had offered us a mortgage. How we conned them I have no idea, but clearly they have faith we can pay the money back. As an added bonus, the amount isn’t so large that we have to stop sport. With some careful planning, we should both still be able to continue our elite athlete careers.
The house itself has been lived in by HJ’s grandparents for 50 years. His father grew up there, so we’re quite proud to be able to take on the challenge of doing it up. The house is laid out over 3 floors, with the main living area on the ground and 1st floors. The ‘basement’ has an exit door in one of the three rooms, so we plan to use this as a ‘magic room’. Come in from a bike ride covered in mud straight into the ‘magic room’ (without the need to bring mud and dirty kit through the house), where there will be a washing machine, dryer, shower, shoe drying area etc etc. The other basement rooms are a 2nd living room that will become, temporarily our training room, and a cold room for food storage.
The ground floor has a large open plan living room with a large panorama window and a stunning view over the valley. There is a kitchen, large office space for our 4 laptops and 2 tablets (no kidding, we actually use all 6 at the same time on a regular basis), and a bathroom/shower.
Upstairs is the master bedroom with two (yes, two) walk in closets, and two good sized guest bedrooms. Oh, and another bathroom!
Outside is a double garage, and a large shed that will be converted into a ski wax room, bike workshop and ski/bike storage.
Everything was a bit run down, so we’ve spent the last weeks working on the garage and shed. Choosing the colour was a daunting task, but we settled on red with white borders (typically Scandinavian). We’ve replaced the roof tiles on the garage and just have a second coat of paint on the doors and shed, before that part is done. Hans Jørgen and his father have really been getting into the wood work and carpentry. Tearing off old planks of wood, and cutting new ones to fit.
The garden itself is big enough to have a BMX track built … but that’s for later! For now, I’ve learnt to mow the grass and the old tree stumps and roots are being taken out tomorrow. HJ pointed out this was so we could have space for a trampoline or badminton net, ‘for the little people’. Apparently, now we have a house, he has started thinking about ‘little people’ …
I can now be registered as living in Norway, get a job, pay tax and generally try to be a good Norwegian citizen. In 5 years time, Norway can have a super (and unbeatable) mixed sprint relay team at MTBO WOC. Watch out World, BenhamKvåle are coming (but maybe it’s KvåleKvåle by that time!).