going back to longing
Throughout my life, I have been traveling back and forth to Norway. I have been fortunate to be a first generation Norwegian. I was raised in the USA but Norwegian culture has been one of the main influencers of my life. Now, I’m heading back to a place I long for, and I can’t wait to get there.
This is the first time I have traveled solo to Norway. I was just under 3 years old when we launched our first trip to Norway via a ship from New York City. I don’t know if I really remember that excursion but with the aid of photos, it has become part of my memory. Apparently, my older brother Kurt was seasick most of the time while me and my brother, Brian, ran around the boat. I suppose we were a bit mischievous. I’m uncertain if our rambunctious behavior was considered irresponsible, but I’m sure we were reigned in when it became necessary. I can only imagine the reaction my parents had when we were deposited back in their care. Who wouldn’t be a bit frazzled, having three kids in three years. I’m sure they were a little shellshocked as we rocked back and forth on the ship.
Since that maiden voyage, I have made numerous trips with my family to Norway and have had the good fortune of marrying a man that allowed me (and I don’t mean that in the text of permission) to pass on my cultural influence to our three kids. Together as a family we brought them to Norway several times. I have been able to immerse the next generation in Norwegian culture and lifestyle as well.
This trip will take on a different flavor. As a child, it was all about connecting with kids in the neighborhood, which meant the neighboring farms. When we were there, the outdoor activities abound. We played in the fields and woods. We went bike riding, rode mopeds and horses. Went swimming in cold water and bathed in a running river. We picked blueberries and strawberries and when the rain never ended, we played cards, and dare I say, cross-stitched. Kurt, Brian….do you remember? (They may not admit to that) When your world is absent of endless TV shows and computers, to keep yourself entertained on rainy days,-you become somewhat desperate and resort to all sorts of unusual behavior.
When we traveled with our kids, I wanted them to experience some of the things I enjoyed the most, at least to some degree. Fortunately there were many hops in the hay, swimming in cold lakes and fjords and going on long walks in the mountains and woods. As they got older, we introduced them to the more culturally side of Norway and visited museums in Oslo. We took them to see the Kon Tiki, Roald Amundsen’s Fram museum, Viking Ship Museum and of course Holmenkollen. A few years back we went to the Oslo Opera and Ballet, designed by Snohetta and the Nobel Peace Center. Each trip had its own variety and flavor.
This is more than a trip for me, its a visit. It is about reconnecting with family. It’s an opportunity to add to the plethora of memories and make new ones. It will be a chance to see my aunts, uncles and cousins as well as childhoods friends and hopefully those kids we once hung out with when we were young.
I’m looking forward to walking through the steps of my family history and reliving some of the stories that have been passed down and shared. Hopefully I’ll be able to revisit some of the places I walked with my grandfather on the many paths that were once trampled upon by the generations that came before me.
It will be a different trip to Norway this time around. I’m hoping it will allow me to experience an unencumbered journey with conversations shared and new memories created.