Friday, 28 December 2018

I have now celebrated my third Christmas here in Peru:

From my sons Christmas celebration at his school.
Hello, again my friends here on the intraweb. I have to say wow, is it really Friday again? This time around it is the very last Friday of 2018. It is both scary and amazing how time flies. To be honest, it does not feel like a year has passed since we welcomed the new year of 2018, but the calendar to tell me something else. Anyway, since it is Friday it means that it is time for another post here on Beyond the Horizon. Today I want to focus on a more personal topic for today's post. Because today I want to share with you guys my very own Christmas experience for this year. Just to have it said, this years celebration went over all expectations and in a different league than last year. So I have so much to be grateful for.

Yes, my friends, you are reading correctly. This year's celebration has been a success in so many ways. To be completely honest with you, then I have to say that I can not remember a year with a better celebration. I am not even going to compare it with the 2017 version of it, because they are many leagues apart. So what have I been up to this Christmas? Well for me it started on Friday the 21st when we left for my in-law's house that is in Pasamayo or Chacra Y Mar as it also known as. Yes, you read correctly, I have been spending the holidays with my girlfriends family and it has been a success in my book. I had a really great time, especially on the evening itself. I am the type of guy that likes the big family happenings.
The kids at the beach in Chacra Y Mar.
So what have I done so far this Christmas? Well, as mentioned it all started on the 21st when we headed towards Pasamayo. On the day after it was time for my niece's end of school party and I had the honour of being her “date” for the day. If I am not mistaken its called something like prom in the United States, but without having a proper date with a boy from the school. Instead of either the father or godfather gets the great honour of following her through all the different ceremonies of the night, from the giving of a candle. Where the student gives the family member the candle. To dance with her or him for that matter to honour her special day. To be honest, I stink when it comes to dancing and naturally, I spent most of the Saturday being overly nervous. Didn't want to mess things up on her big day.

On Sunday we (my girlfriend, our son and me) went to Huaral for a family day trip. This one was my idea and wish for the holidays. I haven't been back to Huaral since very early January and have wanted to go back for some time now. We even went back to visit our old landlord and while being there we kinda decided that we should move back. We will be moving back to the same building, but not the same apartment. The apartment that we got is smaller than the old one but way bigger than the one we currently are living in. Not to forget way cheaper in every way possible, if you ignore things like water and light that is. Because things like that have more or less the same price no matter where you live.
At my nieces end of the school party.
The “apartment” that we live in right now is pretty much one room, but the one that we are moving into on the new year has 4 rooms in total. So it won't come as a big surprise that I am looking forward to getting some more elbow space, even more, space for my office. The only negative aspects of the new place are that there is no warm water, but that is something one can get used to. Because it's not like I am showering in super hot water now anyway. It's not like I dislike living here in Lima and that's the reason for us moving back, its just the financial side and that I miss my beloved Huaral. I just can't explain my love affair with Huaral. So after visiting the old landlord, we went for a tasty lunch, we had grilled chicken with fries and all of that good stuff.

On Monday the 24th or the big day itself, yes we celebrate the 24th. I know that especially in the U.S the 25th is the big day, but not here and it's not what I am used to from Norway either. On the big day, it was all about family time, good food and gifts for the kids in the house, plus something extra good to drink for all us grown-ups. No, I did not get drunk, far from it actually. My mother-in-law prepared an amazing meal for us containing roasted pork, roasted chicken and roasted turkey with salad and rice. To be completely honest, it was the best meal I have had in a very long time. After this amazing dinner, the kids were allowed to open their gifts and us adults could start enjoying our drinks. On top of it, we had some fireworks to put the final touches on the celebration.
Lets call this a family moment.
Sometimes early morning on Christmas day we went to bed and a few hours later it was time to wake up to a more relaxing day. For me, it meant trying to get some work done, both here on my blog and on my “day” job. Thanks to unstable internet that became a lot harder than I had expected, but despite that, The weird part is that I wasn't drunk when I went to bed, but I actually woke up hung over. I didn't really have that much to drink either, but maybe it is because I am not used to alcohol anymore? While I did my very best to get some work done, the rest of the house went to the beach. The same beach that you see in the top photo of this post and yes the beach is that close to the house. This is one of the reasons why I love staying in Pasamayo as much as I actually do. It's so peaceful and close to the ocean.

On the second day of Christmas, it was time for us to return home to Lima and halfway back I got the regret of even thinking about going on this trip to Pasamayo because we got stuck in some really horrible traffic. When I say bad, I really do mean it. I have gotten used to traffic jams and stuff like that, but this time it was really crazy. Do not think I am wrong if I say that we spent 2 hours in one long “rush hour” from the outskirt of the city and to the bus terminal. In the end, I was hungry, thirsty and close to dying for a quick cigarette. I know that I might come off as extremely negative right now, but that bus ride back home was horrible in so many ways and all I really wanted was to get back to my babies (my two cats) that had been home alone for a few days. Yes, I was worried about them.
The view from my "office" in Chacra Y Mar.
It's not like I left my babies home all alone, but there was a person that was supposed to be checking in on them and this seems to not have happened at all. I got this feeling much earlier, but I couldn't go home. So on my way back to Lima, I was in a hurry to get back to my babies. Trust me, I didn't like the sight that met me. Gompina and Gompen were good, but wow what a mess they had made. Both of them went crazy when they saw me, especially Gompen. He has had problems with leaving my side ever since. Yes, Gompen has returned to our little family, but this is something that I will get back to in a later post. Just not gotten around to write an update on the cat situation in this family.

Now that I am back home I have the pleasure of looking back on what I will call a successful celebration, as mentioned it has been the best in years. First of all, I had my own family around me, we had some amazing food, the kids got some really nice gifts and us adults got our needed party. None of us got drunk or anything, but it was nice to sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. When it comes to a holiday like this I do not demand much, the most important ingredients for me are good food, something good to drink and my family around me. This year I got all these ingredients for my own celebration and that makes me both feel happy and good because isn't this what Christmas really is about?
A family selfie, sorry for the bad quality
When it comes to how I am going to celebrate New Year's Eve, I am not sure yet. I have not made any plans as of writing this post. As I see it I have to options. 1. I can stay home in San Miguel working or catching up on lost hours while I was away for Christmas. 2. I can go to Pasamayo and welcome 2019 while partying like a crazy man. To be honest, right now option 1 feels more natural since we are moving in the new year, from Lima and back to Huaral, something that costs a nice sum of money. Both options are very tempting, but since the first option will give me more peace of mind it will be the most likely candidate. Do not misunderstand me, I would love to go to Pasamayo and have fun, but as mentioned I have not made up my mind just yet.

Well, my friends, this post got a lot longer than planned. Originally the plan was just to update you guys on how my Christmas has been and nothing more. Instead, you have gotten a pretty detailed story from me this time. I hope it isn't too personal and if you enjoyed it, maybe this is something I can do more often? Anyway, thank you for stopping by and giving my blog some love. I also hope you enjoyed what you find and that you will come back for a later post. So while you are here, why not check me out on Twitter (Beyond the Horizon), on Facebook (Beyond the Horizon) on Youtube (Beyond the Horizon 2.0). When it comes to my Youtube channel, this is something that I am working on, so there is no content there right now, but I do hope to see you there as well.

Friday, 21 December 2018

This is why you should consider becoming an expat:

Photo taken on the Azores, Portugal back in 2008.
Hello again my friends here on the world wide web, today it is Friday and that means the long-awaited weekend is around the corner for the most of us, for me, it is also time for a brand new post here on the blog Beyond the Horizon. Today I want to cover a topic that is very dear and close to my heart. This is something that has been the main inspiration for starting this blog and an inspiration for every single post I have posted since. The reason for today's post is very simple, I want to answer the most asked question and at the same time tell you why you should follow your expat dream. The question has been how I got to the point of realizing my lifelong dream about living abroad or becoming an expat?

The answer I usually give is split up in 3 part. The first part is that I always have enjoyed travelling and exploring the world we are living in. The second part is that I got to the point by taking it in small steps throughout several years. The third part is that my Peruvian family has been a strong incentive for me to realize it. I could have included a lot more here, but this is just my way to explain why I moved and how I got to the mentioned point. So on to why you should pursue your expat dream and what should you do to make sure it doesn't end in failure? For me it is very simple if you are sure that this is something you want to do, then just do it. As I see it there is no reason to over plan such an event, just make sure that the important things are in place.
Photo taken in Malaga, Spain back in 2013.
There are a few important things you have to make sure is in place before going through with it. 1. update your vaccines according to the region you're going too. 2. Put aside some money (recommend 10.000 dollars) just in case. 3. start to learn the local language. 4. Get a good international health plan. 5. Connect with a local expat network. 6. Find a job before arrival. 7. Get an apartment ready for you. 8. Do some research on local culture and norms. 9. Just pack basics, usually, you can buy clothing and such cheaper at arrival. 10. Apply for a work-visa before leaving, that way you won't get into trouble with the law. Could easily add a few more things to this list, but that kinda contradicts the whole thing about not overthinking it right?

There might be one last thing to keep in mind while considering making this life-changing leap and that is taking a dry run or a test run. What I am thinking about when I am mentioning doing a dry run is that you take a break from your job and spend a while in the country that you are thinking about. Go there for an extended period of time and live like a local, to check if this is something for you and how it feels like. This is something that I did several times before ending up here in Peru. First, it was Canada, then Portugal, Spain and the Philippines. You do not need to do as many test runs as I have, but at least one is something you should consider. This way you have a general idea of what you are heading into.

So why should you pursue your expat dream? The truth is that this is a journey of a lifetime or an experience that you will grow greatly on. It is one thing to live safely back home with all your friends and safety nets, but living on your own in a strange country is a test and experience out of this world. Yes, it might seem super scary and a journey like this will be far from a dance on roses, not without a lot of thorns anyway. You might fail and all of that, but this is life. Most likely you will only live once, so why not make the absolute most out of it and make sure that you do not have any regrets when it comes to opportunities you passed on? A famous actor once said, just fucking do it. Make the leap, but prepare as good as you can without overplanning it.
A more recent photo from Lima, Peru.
I can promise you one thing, no matter if you fail or succeed in your attempt you won't regret it and you will look back at it as warm memory. Like my self do with both Canada and Spain, both where more or less in the category of failures. The Canada “trip” I would even label as a massive failure, especially since it marked the end of my marriage. No there was no cheating involved in the breakup. It just ended, so trust me you won't fuck up as big as I have done in my dry runs. What I am saying is that if you are carrying around on a potential expat, just go for it. Make the needed preparations and just make the leap. It will be a memory of a lifetime and you will love every minute of it. Just do it and regrets won't be any issues.

There is one thing more if you have made the leap already I would love to hear your story. Either leave it in the comment section or send me an e-mail ( Trust me on this, I would really love it and who knows, maybe your story ends up as a blog post sometime in the future? Anyway, I think its time for me to wrap this post up and get it ready for publishing. I hope you enjoyed reading my post and found it interesting or inspirational. If you did why not share it with your friends. You can also check out my blogs Facebook page (Beyond the Horizon), may subscribe to my future channel (Beyond the Horizon 2.0) and follow me on Twitter (Jack Bowler Sr). I would really love to see you there.

P.S Remember, just fucking do it, okay!

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Five things that I do miss about Christmas in Norway:

Photo credit: Nasjonalbiblioteket
Hello, again my friends here on the world wide web. I have to say one thing, wow isn't it crazy how time has a tendency to just fly away from you? For me, it is so hard to believe that the end of 2018 already is fast approaching for us. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was walking the streets of Lima kinda semi-homeless for 30 hours or so. This didn't happen over financial problems or no place to crash for the night, but because I managed to lock my self out from the apartment that I was staying in and no access to keys. Yes, I managed to lock my self out on Christmas Eve. Anyway, this is by far water under the bridge and I am not going to focus too much on this in this blog post, will return to the topic later in December for a recap on 2017 and 2018.

Well since we are already on the topic of Christmas I feel it is natural to continue on the path because today I want to tell you guys and girls the top five things that I miss about celebrating this holiday back home in Norway. Yes, I am limiting my self to just five 5 things, but believe that I could have made a list of 100 things without any problems. These are “things” that's spans from seasonal weather to simple things like candy, meals, sodas or snacks You know the small details that really make up your entire tradition? Do not misunderstand me, because it's not like I dislike celebrating here in Peru, far from it. As I see it is just that you miss some things that are very important for days like this and for me these are hard to get hold of. So maybe I should get started?
Photo credit: Juozas Šalna
1. Snow and winter weather: Well if there is one thing on this list that I have a very split attitude towards it has to be the winter and snow. I have always joked around and said that I have been born in the wrong part of the world. You can say that for the most part, I hate the snow, but for one day a year I hope for snow and that is Christmas. I know that it might sound a bit strange, but this has to do a lot with childhood memories I think. Just the idea of sitting in the comfort of my home with a warm drink and looking out on all the snow outside puts me into the Christmas spirit. This is something I have been struggling with after moving to South America since there is no snow here. So naturally, this is something that I really do miss.

2. Pinnekjøtt or salted and dried lamb ribs: Okay, if there is one Norwegian tradition that really screams out Christmas for me it has to be this meal. Norway has many traditions for this holiday when it comes to food and such. What you usually eat on the big day usually depends on what part of the country you or your parents come from. It spans from regular cod to grilled pork ribs, my pick falls on salted and dried lamb ribs, something that I have from my father, or he usually made this for New years eve, but I have it on both days, or at least I did until I moved to Peru. Its a really simple dish to prepare. The first thing you do is putting the meat in water for a few hours, when most of the salt has been “dragged” out of the meat its time to boil it and for the final touches it goes into the oven for a few minutes.
Photo credit: Prillen
3. Marzipan and marzipan products: For me, this is the snack overall snacks when it comes to Christmas, but from what I understand its an acquired taste. For me, it is the one single non-religious symbol for the holiday, but the sad part is that I haven't been able to find any marzipan outside Scandinavia. So if I am going to be able to enjoy the snack this year I have to make it my self or at least give it a good try. All I need to make it my self are almonds or almond flour, icing sugar and egg whites. I do not have the machinery to make it so I have to do it manually and as mentioned I have never made this before. So since I haven't made this before I can't guarantee the end result at all, but it will be a fun ride.

4. Julebrød or Christmas bread: This is not a unique tradition or product for Norway since we have something similar here in Peru called Paneton, but the difference lays in how it looks and that kind of changes how I experience it as well. A Norwegian Christmas bread is as the name say shaped like a bread and the Paneton is shaped more like a cake, this is also why it kinda feels different when its eaten for me. I also eat it kinda differently. While I eat the Christmas bread as sliced bread with butter and brown cheese I usually eat Paneton just as it is, more like a snack. For some strange reason, I also have a hard time getting full on the Peruvian version. Anyway the Norwegian version I usually enjoy on the morning of the 1st day of Christmas.
5. Dinner for one: This is a short film or movie that has a very special place in my Christmas heart you can say. It's a movie that I have to watch without exception on the day before Christmas or little Christmas eve as we call it back home in Norway. This is a tradition I have had since childhood and it really doesn't feel like Christmas without this, sadly I haven't been able to watch the show or movie in the past two years. So this year I have made sure to be able to watch it when the little big day comes around. Okay, it's not a Norwegian production, but a British one and more or less every European country seem to have it as a part of their holiday celebration. I am looking forward to watching it on my computer this year.

Well, this is my top 5 list of things that I miss about celebrating Christmas back home in Norway. Feel like coming clean on something, because this has far been an easy post to write since I have had so much to choose between. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, I could easily have included about a 100 different “things” but I had to limit my self to just a few and this has made writing it much harder than it really should have been. Anyway, the post is done and my top five list is ready for the blog post. It does feel like I should have followed up with a part 2 and a part 3 as well, but maybe for next year? Most of the things on this list are childhood memories and that's why they are so important for me.
There is actually one thing that I am thinking about right now. Maybe I should document the first time I make marzipan, either in photos or videos? What do you guys think? Through videos or photos, what do you prefer? Anyway, this is something I am looking forward to and I will do it together with my little Prince Edward. Because for some weird reason, he enjoys cooking together with me, at least when I make my pancakes or the Norwegian version of it. Actually, when I am thinking about it, I do like the idea of filming us while making marzipan, but you guys will decide how it will be done, right? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post, just as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Just to have it said, working on more posts and future videos for my Youtube channel as well. One of these posts is meant as a recap of the year 20017 and 2018, just to wrap up all that has happened in my life the very weird past year. Yes, I can promise you it has been a crazy weird year for me in so many ways. On top of this, I am also working on a brand new Youtube channel. Since I have completely forgotten to work on the previous one throughout most of the year I thought it would be a good idea to start all over again with a 2.0 version. So keep your eyes open for the upcoming channel. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and if you did, why not leave a line in the comment section and share it with your friends?

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Has to say that November has been one crazy month:

San Miguel, Lima, Peru
The view from my new apartment here in San Miguel, Lima.
Hello my friends on the interweb, it does seem like it has been a while since my last update here on Beyond the horizon. Just let me put it like this, that I feel like I have a few legit reasons for this. The truth is that November has been in so many ways a crazy, stressful and hectic month for me and this has been the leading factor to my absence from more or less everything related to my usual online activities. It's not that I haven't tried to write and publish blog posts, but I have been unable to complete them for numerous reasons. I have tons of ideas for future posts and I have been stuck on one single one throughout most of the month. Loaded it up every single day just to run out of steam a couple of hours later, but I will complete the post.

As mentioned, this month has been crazy in so many ways and I have done my very best to balance everything. Take care of my job, updating my blog, give my cats enough attention, spend time with my family and prepare everything to move to our new apartment. Yes, we have moved out of our old apartment in Magdalena del Mar, we did that 3 days ago. Not just moving out of our apartment, but we moved to a whole different district here in Lima. We are now living in a district called San Miguel, that is about 20 minutes away from our old place. There is one thing that has shocked me and that is how difficult it is to actually find an apartment. The problem didn't lay with finding one to take a look at, but one that could meet a set of minimum standard.
San Miguel, Lima, Peru
I just had to show the other direction of the view. I just love it here.
Do not think I am mistaken if I say that we went looking at around 20 different places in Magdalena and nearby districts. They were either too small, too high up or too expensive. Believe me apartments in Lima can get very expensive, especially in districts like Magdalena or Miraflores. They do not even need to be that big either, just being in the right part of the district. Anyway, we found a place, not something that will be permanent, but more like until our son is done for the year. Because we have another place waiting for us if we feel the need for it when the school year is over in December. A much bigger one for the same price, more or less. Its really up to us if we want to go through this ordeal again so soon.

In all of this, I do have some good news for you guys. Do you remember all the kittens that we had? If not, maybe you should read the post (TheBowler family has now gotten some new members) and then come back to this one. The good news is that every single one of them has now gotten a brand new home and family. The last kitten left us just days before we had to give back the keys to our landlord, so you can say that it had a happy ending since we couldn't take any of them with us. On top of everything, we have also found a home for the male cat (Gompen). This is actually a funny story, cause it was actually the cat of the previous tenant, that lived in our apartment before us. So we did a good deed by taking care of him.
Cute kitten
Sorry for the dark photo, just wanted to show how my reality was for a while.
So our beloved Gompen got reunited with his original food mom and that kind of made my day when I heard it. I will miss him a lot, but it would be wrong of me to keep him when I know that he has a home that really missed him. We took good care of him and gave him a home when he was lost and when we found out where he belonged we returned him to the rightful “family”. It's not like he is gone forever, cause we can always go and visit him if we feel the need for it. Since he still lives in the same building as we did. The lady moved back in as we moved out, to tell the whole story. So now we are back to being a family of 4, instead of 11. It is kind of crazy that we have managed to find a new home to nothing less than 7 cats in just a few days.

Well, my friends, I just wanted to update you guys on what was going on in my expat life and explain why I have been quiet lately, I also believe that you now agree with me on my reasons? Now things are about to start to fall into place and return to normal. The exciting part is that I have a brand new part of Lima that I can show you through photos and videos. This is something that I am really looking forward to, so maybe it is time for me to brush the dust of my Youtube channel for you guys? Take my camera out with me while I am going out on my exploration of the area? Well, I better wrap this post up and get it ready for my blog, a personal post like this shouldn't be too long, but I do hope you enjoyed reading it.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

I am now celebrating my third Halloween here in Peru:

Funny Halloween photo
So, my friend, I have a question for you today. Do you celebrate Halloween or is this a tradition you do your best to opt out on? Maybe you are waiting it out for the more family-friendly Thanksgiving that is just around the corner? Because for many years I was one of those who did absolutely everything he could to avoid this celebration. Had nothing to do with religion or anything, more than I took a silly stand against the introduction of just another money grabbing holiday. A celebration aimed at so the shops could improve their sales and profits ahead of Christmas. It's not like I am anti-capitalist or anything, far from it really, but the truth is that back then I felt it were more than enough shopping holidays through the year already.

Well, my attitude towards Halloween started actually to change gradually already back in 2008, while I was living in Canada and by the time of my Spain adventure in 2013 I had actually gotten used to the idea of this type of celebration. Okay, I still didn't engage in it back home in Norway, but I did see it from a whole different angle. Especially after experiencing how the Spanish celebrated Halloween. It seemed like they had a richer tradition attached around. From what I remember they celebrate it for about 3 days were the third day is dedicated around family members who have passed away. Spending the day at the graveyard and remembering their loved one. Please do not arrest me on this, if I have misunderstood the entire concept.
Trick or treating in Lima, Peru
My son getting his first candy for the day
After I moved to Peru I have really gotten into the tradition of Halloween, to such a point that I am actually excited about it than my own son. Like today, I have been tripping around in excitement and almost been unable to wait for us to go trick and treating here in Magdalena. For me, it's not about the candy or anything, but it is all about the joy and excitement that my son feels when he walks around from store to store. Seeing all the kids in the street and the joy. Okay, usually I end up with some candy my self, but that is usually what my prince doesn't like or what he wants to share with me. It's not like I am raiding his bucket or anything. The truth is that he gets way to much candy after his couple of hours long walk.

There is actually one aspect of how Peruvian celebrate Halloween that I really like. In most parts of the world, the kids go from door to door for the trick and treat part, but not here. Instead of going around knocking on the doors of strangers they do their trick or treat walk at the market or centre. Going from shop to shop where the shopkeeper hands out the sugar rush of the year. I can promise you if you start early wow, you will have so much candy by the end of the night. By early I mean 4 or 5 in the afternoon, we usually start around 6, but he gets more than enough anyway. To be honest, I feel that going from shop to shop is much better and safer than the alternative. I don't think anyone disagrees with me here.
Trick or treating in Lima, Peru
His bucket is really getting full now.
Now that I look back on today, I have to say it has been a major success, my baby boy is in sugar heaven and playing some sort of game on his computer. Since its no school tomorrow he is allowed to be up extra long, it is “his” day after all. Today he went out dressed as Captain America, he really loves his superheroes, last year he was Ironman. In his closet, he has an outfit of more or less every single one of the popular ones. I even believe he has one of Thor, minus the hammer. Anyway, I have to say that this day has been a complete success. On top of it, it was all 3 of us that went out together. Not like it was last year, where it was just me and my baby boy. Not that we didn't have fun that time, because we did.

So now all we can do is wait for next years Halloween and enjoy the time in between. You know Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, summer and before we know it Halloween is back. We are out shopping for new outfits and getting ready for the fun day. Isn't it strange how your views on surten things change as you experience it up close? Like I have with Halloween and many other things as well. Have you had a fun Halloween celebration and how did you spend the day? Well, its getting kind of late and I am writing this post while I am working. Have to catch up on the time I spent going trick or treating. I do hope you enjoyed my post and leave a few words in the comment section? I know that I will appreciate it, greatly.

Monday, 15 October 2018

I am now going slightly mad in my own cat heaven:

Hello all my friends here on the world wide web, its Monday already and isn't it scary how fast weekends turns into a new weekday? Anyway, with Monday comes time for a new post on Beyond the Horizon and today I feel like ranting a bit. I guess that the headline for today's post reveals the topic. Yes, I am feeling like going mad in my own little cat heaven right now. Okay, I love animals and especially cats, but sometimes it can get a bit much. Especially with the numbers of cats that I have at the moment. I am not sure if you have read the post that I published a week ago (The Bowler family have gotten some newmembers) if you haven't read it yet, why not spend a few minutes on it? It put things into a better perspective.

So back to the topic of the day, I would say that 1 cat is a lot of fun, 2 cats are doable, but 8 cats are borderline madness. Yes, I do have 8 cats at the moment. 1 female, 1 male, and 6 kittens. I can't blame anyone else for the cat situation than my self since I failed big time on the part of getting my beautiful Gompina fixed. So it's my fault completely, but its only temporary. The plan is to only keep Gompina and find new homes for the other 7. I know that I might come off as a bit negative in this post, but with 8 cats in the apartment, I feel it is justified in some way. I am not sure about what experience you have with cats, but prior to this, I have only had one cat at the time.

So imagine this scenario, we have Gompina constantly nagging about food, Gompen is either angry or jealous 24/7 and on top of it, we have 6 kittens calling for their mom when she isn't in their bed. Let's say that from time to time they do test my patience. One thing that baffles me is how badly Gompen is reacting to this situation. Because prior to her giving birth they were like two peas in a pod, the best friends in the world and my girlfriend used to say that they were acting like a married couple. Now he can't even look at her without acting up, hissing and all that kind of stuff. It has been so bad at times that I have considered finding him a new home now, but the truth is that I love that little guy too much.

So instead of finding a new home, we are trying to give him special treatment. This in form of extra attention, his own place to eat and things like this, but I have to say that his reaction to the kittens saddens me a great deal. It seems like he is suffering because of the situation and it seems to influence my lovely Gompina too because she acts like she wants his attention. My theory is that he isn't the father and that his anger towards them stems from jealousy, but I don't think I am far off on this one. Because the first couple of days he was really eager and protective towards them, but all of a sudden he changed into this hissing and angry cat. Do any of you guys have any idea about why he is acting like this?

Well, this is my life in cat heaven, but do misunderstand me correctly. It's not like I am disliking having the cats and kittens around me. The truth is that most of the time I am loving it. Two beautiful cats and 6 super cute kittens. Most of them haven't even developed eyes yet either, but that does not stop them from crawling around and I can't help my self from engaging with them a lot more than I should. I knew it would happen sooner or later. I promised my self to keep a safe emotional distance, but I have failed big time, but can you really blame me for it? They are so adorable, you can't disagree with me on this one, or what? I guess this should be the end of my rant, but I hope you enjoyed it.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Top 5 must see Youtube documentaries about Peru:

Hello, all you travel and expat friends of mine here on the world wide web, the calendar tells me that it is Friday today and for the most of us it means the weekend is just around the corner. As usual, I am spending parts of my Friday working on a new post for Beyond the Horizon and today I want to revisit a topic that I have done a few times before. What I am thinking about here is my top 5 travel list, but this time I want to do things a bit differently. Because instead of focusing on things to do or to eat here in Peru I want to focus on vloggers or YouTubers who have made videos about this amazing country.

The truth is that I am a huge consumer of Youtube videos and what I watch spans from content like vlogs to more travel-oriented videos. I will pretty much watch or listen to anything as long as the content creator catches my attention. Yes, I have Youtube running in the background when I am working, both at work and while working on my blog, mostly because it keeps me focused and kinda inspired. In this list, you will find that I am focusing on topics like travel, food, and adventure. Things that Peru is famous for and who has not heard about Chevice right? Well, I hope you guys and girls enjoy my top 5 list.

1. Mike Chen and strictly Dumpling: This guy is just simply amazing and hands down one of my favorite content creators on the platform. He seems like a genuine and extremely enthusiastic, this is something that is important for me when I choose to subscribe to a Youtuber. One thing that I really love about his creator style is that he includes his “fans” in his videos. From what I know her is from New York with background from China and as I am writing this post he has no less than five extremely popular channels. This is channels with content that spans from travel, food, and science. Recommend that you check him out!

2. The Vagabrothers: To be honest, this is a channel I do not know that much about. I bumped into this channel while I was researching today's post and kind of fell in love with their vlog take on Peru. As I see it, they show the very best of this amazing country. The channel is run by two brothers (Marko and Alex) and they are traveling the world while vlogging about their experience. This is content that I love, mainly because I love to travel and exploring new countries my self. Yes I have subscribed to their channel and both of them has individual channels, but these I have not had time to check out yet.

3. Wolters World: This is what I would say is one of the funny content creators out there. This is a type of Youtuber I have a tendency to fall in love with when it comes to content. Because he is focusing on facts and has a specific story to tell and when you start watching him, you will have problems with turning off his videos or click on another one. What can I say, I love factual videos and this is the theme for many of the other videos on this list. They do not just aimless film a trip or anything like it. My recommendation is, check this guy out and you will love his content, promise!

4. Lost Leblanc: Okay here is a more typical travel vlogger and I have to say that he is pretty honest in his way of showcasing my current hometown. This is also what I like about his channel. He travels the world and it seems like he is trying his best to be honest about his way to portrait the city that he is visiting. This is something that is very important in my eyes because you might be in a position to inspire people to go to one of the destinations you have vlogged from if you know what I mean? All in all, I would recommend that you check him out and if you like his content, subscribe. I did at least.

5. Justin Poor: The last one on this list is also a typical travel vlogger and as most of the one that I have seen while researching for this post they do a pretty good job showcasing Lima and Peru. Justin Poor is actually the absolute smallest one on the list with his 5800 subscribers. As I see it, he deserves a much higher number then he has at the moment. I would say that he is a clean cut and has high-quality content on his channel, it is absolutely worth checking him out and maybe subscribe to his channel.

Well, my friends, I think it is time for me to wrap this post up and get it published on my blog. I do hope that you enjoyed this new top 5 travel post with a twist and that you will check out the content creators I have mentioned. Just to have it said, I worked hard to find smaller channels to showcase, but these had either given up their career or the quality was way under par. That is also why you won't find any small or new creators on this list, sadly enough. Anyway, this is my top five YouTubers who have made videos on Peru, what is your thought on my picks? Would love to hear your opinion on it.

Monday, 8 October 2018

The Bowler family has now gotten some new members:

A peruvian cat with her kittens
Okay this is the first time I am including a video like this, so I hope it works.
Hello, my friends here on the world wide web, today is Monday and for most of us, it means the beginning of a brand new week with brand new opportunities. For me, it also means it is time to publish a new post on Beyond the Horizon and today I feel like it is time to do an update on the life of the Bowlers here in Peru. This time I feel like I have some big news and changes to update you guys on. Let's say that our tiny Peruvian family is not that tiny anymore. This growth is not all that new, because in the past couple of months our family has grown from 4 members (including Princess Gompina) to now 11. No my girlfriend and I have not had a new baby, but our baby girl has and on top of that she has kinda gotten a new brother as well.

Just to do a quick recap, back in March this year I published a post (Let me introduce a new member of the family, PrincessGompina) and since then she has become an important part of the family, in many ways I would say she has become the centre of attention. So around mid-July, she started to walk around in the front of the house and it would not take her long to get a “friend”. After a while, it seemed like she wanted to introduce her new friend to the family and he has been sticking around ever since, neither have I been able to find out who actually owns him so it feels kinda wrong to kick him out. The funny part here is that Gompen is more or less identical to Gompina,
Peruvian cat mother with her baby kittens
Here is Gompina with her babies, sorry for the blurryness, it is not my photo.
Actually, the only visible differences between them are that he has darker and more fluffy fur. Like Gompina he is a real beauty of a cat, but he is impossible to get to pose for a photo, much more so than our baby girl. Anyway, the end result is of course that she gets pregnant and last week she gave birth to six super cute and perfect kittens. The best part is that I got to witness it and be a part of the birth process. Because I was actually wrapping up my workday (at 5 in the morning) when I all of a sudden heard something that sounded like a tiny kitten. So I rushed to where the sounds came from and right among my girlfriend shoes she was cleaning a tiny kitten.

If I am going to be completely honest here, then I have said that the entire process of giving birth is the most amazing thing to be part of, do not matter if it is a human baby or an animal baby. I was like super proud and excited when I saw the first kitten, to such a degree that I woke up the entire family so they could be a part of it. It was all over within maybe 90 minutes and there we had six perfect kittens and a very proud mom. The sad part of this is that we can not keep them, we have to find new homes for all six, with time. It will be especially hard on our son, that has already connected with them, I and my girlfriend have done our best to keep a healthy distance.
Peruvian kitten on the floor
Here she is as a baby her self, just relaxing on the floor.
Anyway, they will stick around for the next 2 or 3 months, until they are ready to go to their new families around Lima. Until that happens, I am sure that the situation has changed and I want to keep them. I had the same problem while I was acting like a temporary dad for animal rescue cats and dogs in Huaral as well. I usually managed to keep a distance for a couple of days and then I got emotionally attached to them. Especially the two pit bulls, that started with me being scared of them and ending with me crying when they left for their new family. They were two amazing dogs. Well, guys its time for me to wrap this post up and get it published on my blog. Hope you enjoyed today's update from us in Peru.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

I am having a case of the expat blues these days:

Kristiansund bathing in fresh snow
I love this photo. Not to brag, but I think it is one of my best photos.
Well, my friends, it is this time of the year again, where I am looking at photos that I have taken back home in Norway and watching the weather forecast for my hometown. Yes, I am feeling homesick at the moment or as the headline says, I am having a visit from the expat blues these days. For some weird reason, this always happens at this part of the year. Where the season of summer turns into the season of fall. On top of this, I am actually struggling with a horrible cold these past few days. This cold thing is most likely because of changes in weather here in Lima. As summer is turning to fall in Norway, winter is now turning into spring here in Peru and that usually puts me into a situation like this, almost with no exceptions what so ever. So you can say that I am in a perfect storm right now.

I know it might sound like I am complaining in this post, but the truth is that I am trying my best to not come off like that. All I really want is to give you guys a fresh update on my expat life here in Peru. Because in all honesty, I have to say that life, in general, is really great at the moment. I have a job that keeps me occupied, a family life that has improved greatly, my girlfriend and me are doing great, so  I really have no reason to complain. My life feels better than it has done in a long time actually. The only two things that are bothering me right now is my expat blues and my cold, so things could have been a lot worse. At the same time, I guess that feeling homesick is part of being an expat in the first place, think that this is a feeling that most expat feels from time to time.
Statue in the bear park in Kristiansund
This photo is from a park called Bjørneparken or Bearpark back home in Kristiansund
For me it is all about missing my hometown, my family, friends and old habits, I mean old hobbies. If there is one thing that I miss especially it has to be the clean air and the smell of the ocean. I have almost all my life lived by the coast, so the ocean has always had an important part in my life. In my last apartment back home in Kristiansund I lived maybe less than a hundred meters away from the shoreline, so basically, all I need to do was look out my kitchen window to get a nice ocean view. Today I have to walk more than two miles to just to get a look at it. So it is not something I do every day, that is for sure. So when I am getting the blues I try to occupy myself with things like work, blog or anything else that gets me to think on something else. Luckily for me, I have finally found myself a job.

These days I am focusing on my plans to turn the blog into a proper website.  Doing things like working on layouts, checking out webhotel providers, brainstorming around potential domains and working some on the existing content.  At the same time, I am working on new content for the blog and my Youtube channel.  To be honest, I do love the creative process, sadly I have been so pre-occupied this past couple of months, to such a degree that my blog and channel have been forced to take a backseat, but this is changing now. I am getting used to my new every day rhythm regime and such. So I am able to balance things a lot better now and that is good for the future of my blog, especially. The plan is that my website will go live in January if everything goes as I want it to.
Winter covered Kristiansund
My hometown covered in snow, isnt it beautiful?
Back to the topic, I know that I am not alone as an expat who gets homesick from time to time, believe it’s a common thing.  Especially when it is a long time since the last time you were back home. Like me who have not been back home in over 2 years now, yes I am on my third year here in Peru. Yes, I do miss my native country from time to time, but not to such a degree that I feel like giving up and go home. Far from it actually, I still enjoy living here, but I am planning a trip back home in the future. Just to visit friends and family for a while.  Bring my family along on the trip and stay in Norway for a month or two, that would actually be nice. My son has never been in Norway, so for him it would be an adventure out of this world. This is something that will happen in the near future.

Well, my friends, I guess it is time for me to end this post. It was never meant to be this long, but as usual, I have problems with keeping my posts short and sweet. Anyway, I hope you guys have enjoyed my update. Despite it got way longer than first planned, but that is life right?