Help with kids, house and garden in a beautiful village in Norway




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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Corona update (November 2021): For updates on the constantly changing covid and entry restrictions, please check the Reopen-EU or Norwegian UDI web sites. If you are eligible to enter Norway or are already here, I will be delighted to hear from you!
    To visit Norway, residents of non-EU/EEA countries must have a visa or permit for Europe/Schengen. Please contact me only if you have the necessary permits - I cannot help with this, and Workaway cannot be used to obtain a visa or work permit.

    I am a busy mother of seven great kids aged 10-34, and work half-time (3 short days) as a special needs and language teacher. In my wonderful, old, large house, I have 1-3 guest rooms, depending on the season, as well as a café/pub/concert venue which is open in the weekends most of the year, and 4-5 days a week in the summer.

    The house is old and creaky, and it is cold in the wintertime - apart from the living rooms and bathrooms, which we keep warm and cozy. We moved in four years ago, and the house is turning into a pleasant and comfortable home - but there is still so much to fix and get in order!

    My main objectives are to create a well-balanced life, a welcoming home, and a beautiful garden. This house has a tiny garden, much smaller than my old one. I garden organically as far as possible. in the garden we have a rabbit, plus flowers, rhubarb, any plants that will thrive there. We live just 20 m from a little park by the lakeside, which is where we barbecue and swim in the summer.

    Harmony and balance in this season of life are very much about practical things - clothes clean and easy to find, good food ready for mealtimes, kids getting to school and to bed on time, the routines of the home running smoothly; when these things are more or less in place, family life is so much more pleasant and calm!

    The youngest kids - aged 10-18 - live here, plus volunteers and rental guests. The household can be noisy, and this is not a good place for anyone who likes to sleep late in the mornings. The kids are active and have many interests, and I do my best to raise them to be well-mannered, thoughtful and independent - though they are often challenging, and they behave very much like kids! They have very different personalities, each with good and not-so-good sides. Thankfully, they are growing and maturing, and I no longer feel that I am living in a minefield... :)

    The 18-year-old has Down syndrome, and we need to have an extra eye on her; she is independent and doesn't need much extra care, but she can be stubborn and spontaneous, and should not be left alone. I expect you to deal with the difficult aspects of the kids as far as is necessary for safety, and comfortable for you. This can be a challenge, and it is one area where it is important to talk and ask questions, find good strategies and avoid misunderstandings.

    The children are independent, but they need some babysitting and supervision when I am not there. Much more, though, they need time and attention - conversation, reading, games, and walks and outdoor activities; like in many homes, it is a challenge to keep them off-screen! In general, it is best if you see your main role as helping out in the household, so I can focus more on the kids; there will still be time for you to interact and hopefully enjoy fun and games with them!

    We speak English at home, so if you wish to learn Norwegian, our home is not the best place for you. I was born in the UK, but grew up in Belgium and Norway, and our home is multilingual and multicultural, with a strong Norwegian influence. The kids are all bilingual and speak both English and Norwegian.

    I enjoy cooking and housekeeping, and believe that work that needs to be done is worth doing well and happily. The household is mainly vegetarian plus fish, though the kids eat meat (but not pork). I am generally curious about everything and enjoy learning new skills. We have a piano, guitars and other instruments, and a lot of books.

    In my spare time I like to read, play games with the kids, walk or work out, sew, play piano, and many other things. I play timpani and viola in the local amateur symphony orchestra, and I am involved in local politics and cultural events. My aim for us as a family is that we should all play an instrument and have one or two other hobbies.

    Our village, Evanger, is one hour by car/train from Bergen. Evanger is a tiny, pretty place, with a lake, a river, and mountains on every side. In the village there is a shop and our small café, workshops and businesses, and everyone gets together to organize occasional festival and market days.

    Voss, just 15-20 minutes away by car/train, is a small town with lot of activity, summer and winter. It is a great place for hiking, skiing, extreme sports, and music. Every year, there is a jazz festival the weekend before Easter, an extreme sports festival in June, and a folk music festival in late October, in addition to regular sports events and concerts throughout the year.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Art Projects
    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Animal Care
    Babysitting and creative play
    Creating/ Cooking family meals
    Help around the house
    General Maintenance

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Depending on your interests, you can learn about all the ups and downs of family life and the logistics of running a household and guest house; childcare, Down syndrome and special needs; gardening and permaculture; English language, and Norwegian culture and society... You can expect to meet other travellers from around the world. You can hike, explore, ski, play piano or chess, read, garden, sew, play with kids, and do and learn many other things :)

  • Projects involving children

    Projects involving children

    This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.

  • Help


    I can host one, two or more volunteers most of the time. The main tasks are along the lines of maintaining the daily routines - with kids, activities, pets... In addition to the regular tasks, I am constantly sorting through clothes, toys, and random belongings and tidying the house as much as possible. Also, there may be tasks like painting, decorating, and making changes and repairs.

    I welcome single, couple or friend volunteers who would like to stay for a long time - one month, several months or longer, preferably not less than two weeks. Short stays are possible, but if you are looking for a long stay, I will be especially happy to hear from you.

    You should be enthusiastic about kids, and enjoy spending time and communicating with them. Living with energetic and sometimes uncooperative kids can be very tiring! (PS... They are growing up, and things are flowing more easily.)

    The main household tasks I need help with are:
    - help in the mornings from about 7 until the kids go to school at about 8 o'clock: Supervise in the kitchen and help with breakfast and packed lunches, plus help with clothes/dressing if necessary. (Not June 20th-Aug 20th)
    - do some housework and/or practical tasks most days: room clean-up, laundry, meal clean-up, vacuuming, take out rubbish - this helps us keep up with everything!
    - welcome the kids home some days and keep them happy and safe until I'm back, and babysit or help with activities as needed - our schedule varies, as some weeks are busy and others are more relaxed. Sometimes, life just happens!

    In the school year, I work 3-4 mornings a week. The kids are in school in the mornings until 15/16ish. I come home at different times; some days I do errands or work late, and other days I don't go out at all... You will have time to travel to Voss and Bergen, and to take time off many weekends and some weekdays; it is best if we plan together around the family schedule; whenever possible, I am flexible about when tasks should be done.

    One of the challenges of housework is that it never ends! It is good if you can work systematically and quickly, or if you are a quick learner. You should do a reasonable amount of work and make good use of your time and effort - and then stop, without feeling bad about the things that are not yet done. Another challenge is that people sometimes think that helping with the kids and household is a "piece of cake", a free holiday... In a home, there is real work that needs to be done well and at the right time. I try to explain things is a kind way and be supportive, but it can be stressful for you and for us if you really don't know how to do any everyday practical tasks!

    I appreciate any help with the garden, the kids, housekeeping, hospitality and maintenance... All through spring and summer, the garden needs attention. The gardening season starts in May; from October to April I mainly need help in the house, plus clearing snow, babysitting, or just spending time with the kids. There is always plenty to do, depending on the time of year, the weather - and everyone's level of inspiration and energy! Due to legal requirements, you cannot work in the café/pub, but you are welcome to observe and learn, if you are interested.

    During your time here, we expect you to be interested in contributing and participating in our day-to-day life, and to observe, learn, and try to fit in; we enjoy meeting and hosting volunteers, need and appreciate the help given, and have every interest in giving you a pleasant stay with us. When we are well organised and the routine works, the kids get to school on time, and the house is in a good state, we are all so much happier. This is my main aim, and I deeply appreciate the help from the workawayers who make this possible; in return, I try to give an enjoyable stay, with enough free time to travel around and have some good experiences. It is rarely perfect, but I try to get it right as far as I can. :)

    Some serious points (sorry):
    Please do not arrange to come here and then change your mind at the last minute. Even more important, if you do change your mind, for whatever reason, LET ME KNOW as soon as possible. I will leave a negative/no-show reference for anyone who does not come as planned and does not inform me. (Unless something very unexpected and serious happened, of course.) It's fine if you are hoping to get a job or a place in university, or if you just make other plans, but it is not ok to not tell me that you are uncertain, or to inform me on the day you were due to arrive that you are not coming after all...

    If you abuse the situation in a serious way, like violence or drug abuse, I may ask you to leave immediately and even report you. It may seem harsh to say this, but please do not come here if you have big personal or psychological problems; problems have a strange way of following a person, even to a new country and a new place, and it's important for the kids (and me) that you are a stable and positive person during your time here.

    People often stay here longer or shorter than they first planned, which is fine, as long as you give me forewarning and time to adjust. If you leave unexpectedly and without reasonable notice, I will mention this in your reference. At the same time, I am very aware that it is difficult for you to know beforehand if you will enjoy staying with us, and of course, we also don't really know who you are before you arrive...

    If you find that you don't feel ok here, it can be difficult to talk about it, but it is better to talk than to pretend that everything is fine! My experience is that it is best to "let the cat out of the bag" by saying something. If the exchange is simply not working out well, I will give you time to make plans and leave when you are ready. After a couple of bizarre experiences, I will add that there is no need for you to leave without letting me know... I do not want you to stay here if it is not right for you, as you will be sharing our family life, and it is essential that you feel ok here and that communication is comfortable and honest.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Norwegian: Fluent
    Arabic: Intermediate
    French: Intermediate
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    I enjoy learning and teaching languages. I love grammar and cultural twists...

  • Accommodation


    You will sleep in a volunteer bedroom, and have access to the rest of the house including living rooms, kitchen, bathroom, shower, washing machine, etc. I often ask volunteers to share a room, especially when visits overlap. For couples, I provide a separate room, of course. There is Wifi access throughout the house and a TV in the family room.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    I prefer volunteers who want a long stay, have good contact and experience with kids and, if possible, good housekeeping, gardening and/or maintenance skills. I try to let people do the tasks that they feel most comfortable with, though I believe it's also good to go out of your comfort zone - but perhaps not too much!

    If you want to stay a long time, it is a good idea if you first stay for a week or two, and then we can make a final decision when we see that both sides are happy and everything is working out well. I don't like to make definite plans many months or a year in advance, as I find that people's plans and circumstances often change. I try to be flexible, and you are welcome to contact me for a long or short stay - even at short notice.

    Please note that you will be here as a volunteer, and that I cannot employ you. It can be difficult to find work here, unless you have contacts and/or relevant skills. A workaway exchange will not qualify you for a visa or work permit if you are from a non-EU/EEA country.

    Your main motivation for visiting should be along the lines of volunteering, spending time with a family, contributing valuable and appreciated help, and experiencing the culture, in addition to enjoying nature and hiking/outdoor opportunities. If your motivation is only to find a free place to stay, you may find that workaway is not ideal for you. During your stay, I will do my best to make your time here a good experience, and make allowance for any other plans you may have - hiking, traveling, skiing, sightseeing, other activities, even online work - but you should also have a genuine interest in volunteering, contributing and learning...

    I usually try to have more than one person volunteering, so the house is not empty when I am at work and the kids are at school. Workawayers are welcome visitors and good company, and we all enjoy the positive energy that comes from meeting and hosting people from other parts of the world!

    To get here, it is easiest to travel to Bergen or Oslo, and then take the train to Voss (from Oslo) or Evanger (from Bergen). It's also possible to hitch-hike, and from some places in Norway, there are bus services. Please note that "Bergen" in Germany is a completely different place, and Flixbus will not bring you here.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    I have quite good wi-fi. In winter, the bedrooms are too cold to work in, but we heat the library/dining room as well as the living room, kitchen and music room, so it should be possible to arrange for quiet time and space.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    There is free parking in the street and in the car park behind the house. In the village, there is also a charging station for electric cars, and a garage for any repairs.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    I don't expect certain hours and times, but rather that you participate in our family life and help out in our home. Some tasks need to be done regularly/daily, and other tasks have to fit in with whatever is going on. I expect you to work independently;

These are extra optional ratings when members leave feedback. The average rating left for each option is displayed.

Accuracy of profile: (4.7)

Cultural exchange: (4.7)

Communication: (3.7)

Host ref number: 883836465424