"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sunday Salon: Friends and Family edition

Three sisters. The sightseers. Traveling with my sisters was so special

Overcast, occasional rain showers. Temperatures in the low 60s. Yesterday we had a few hail storms followed by sunbreaks.

Trip update: Last Sunday I promised I would give a fuller account of my recent trip after I recovered from jet lag. I did that in my Top Ten Tuesday post, Favorite Moments from a Recent Trip. I have received lots of positive comments about that post which made me realize that the format of showing photos and making brief comments is one that my readers enjoy more than talk, talk, talk. Please take a look at that post if you missed it. Today I decided to fill in a few more details of the trip and the week following the trip by focusing on my friends and family.

Reason for the trip: my siblings and I wanted to reconnect with our family in Norway, especially so our youngest sister, who hasn't been to Norway since 1969, could see the sites in the homeland of our grandfather. We also wanted to spend time with our niece and her family, which included spending time with her two-year-old son we'd only met for moments before it was determined that the family had COVID and we shouldn't be around them. Of course, sightseeing was a bonus.

We all wanted to make the trip to visit Hroar, our mother's third cousin, and his wife Astri (left) and their daughter, Eva. When Mom made the initial contact with her father's family in Norway in 1969 she didn't know about Hroar and his family. We visited with other family members, most who have passed now, including our grandfather's second cousin who looked just like Grandpa. Later, when Mom learned about Hroar, she struck up a friendship which led to visits both directions: Norway to USA/ USA to Norway. Hroar has done a lot of research on the family line and has everything printed out so we can see our family connections. His grandfather and our mom's grandfather were brothers. Eva, Hroar and Astri's daughter, is our contemporary. She and her husband Guttman very generously housed, fed us, and showed us around during our stay in Vikersund.

Here is Eva with my sisters, Kathy (sitting) and Grace. We were waiting for our order of delicious and famous waffles. The weather was mostly lovely during our whole trip, with sunny skies worthy of all the beautiful photos we took.

The waffles were as delicious as they looked. Eva joked that the local paper had reported some people thought the waffles weren't as good as last year, rolling her eyes at the level of news in the paper.

In addition to being toured around the county by Eva, her cousin, Per Ole, took a turn showing us around. Here he is with his mother, She is Astri's sister-in-law. Per Ole is not really our cousin but he is related to our cousin, so we claim him. We met Per Ole Bøe when he was going to school at Washington State University 25 years ago. It was so fun reconnecting with him. We not only got to see the old Fossen family farms, we also got to see the old Bøe farms as well. Norway has a remarkable system of saving family farms and it really gives the countryside an old-timey feel. At the end of our touring around the countryside, Per treated us to a fjord-view lunch. I had trout and it was delicious. In 1979 when I visited Norway with my friend Anne Marie, my relatives took us out for a fancy meal and I had trout. It was so yummy I've never forgotten it. Now I've had two yummy trout meals in Norway. Keep that in mind if you ever visit.

When Per Ole dropped us off, Eva was sitting on her porch with her son, daughter-in-law, and her darling and very social granddaughter. Hroar assigned each generation a number on his family document. Eva and my sisters and I are 'sixes.' Our children are 'sevens.' And our grandchildren are 'eights.' We don't think his numbering system lines up with the numbering system on heritage.com but it works for us. Eva didn't think her son would like to visit us in the US until we mentioned our children (other 'sevens') being at the same stage of life he is. We are so lucky to have connections with our Norwegian roots through Hroar and Eva and her family, and vicariously through Per Ole, our friend.

A few items in the Fossen gård store. I think the owner said some of the furniture was from the old house.
The Fossen family farm (gård) is no longer owned by anyone in our family line but it is still being run as a farm. The women who owns it even runs a little shop full of foods she has grown or foraged. I only bought little trinkets for my grandsons but my sisters both bought some dried mushrooms to carry home that were foraged from the woods near the old farm. 

How lucky are we? Three American women who have such a loving family to visit and get to know across the Atlantic in the homeland of our grandfather. So many people have told me that their grandparents were also from Norway but they don't know any of their Norwegian relatives. Thank you Mom and Hroar for doing the work of making connections.

After we left Norway, we flew to Munich, Germany to visit our niece. We experienced a new side to our relationships: Great aunts with a new member of our family and solidifying our connections with Samantha and her husband. We did some sightseeing but the best part of the visit was hanging out and getting to know the little family better.

Samantha (left) and Kathy kissing our grand-nephew on his head. We were asked not to share any images of the little guy and I will honor that!

Here we are at beer garden not far from our niece's home. It was a lovely evening and the service the best we had in all of Germany. Traveling helps us to not only to learn about other cultures but also to appreciate the positive aspects of living in other countries. Samantha shared many positive things about her life in Germany like the excellent health care and the low food costs. I would add public transportation and amenities like having a grocery store and a beer garden just down the block!

We had a fantastic trip and it was made more wonderful by the people we interacted with along the way.

After I arrived home just a week ago it was hard to slip back into the rhythm of life at home. Thankfully I had a few happy events to look forward to:

Lunch with Gail, Rita, and Anne -- best friends in junior high school days. It was a delightful reunion of old friends. What stories we had to swap!

Attending the 6th birthday party for my cousin's grandson. What a Star War-sy celebration. Love, love our family!

After the party our immediate family came over to celebrate Father's Day together (a day early). We ate t-Bone steak, a rarity, and laughed together. Our eldest grandson told us next to his parents he loves being with us best. (But my youngest grandson told me he didn't love me, so bad news tempered good news!😀) We didn't take any family photos of the event. How many times do we celebrate our togetherness without memorializing them with photos? But I will share one photo taken by my daughter of our young grandson who got into the raspberries set aside for dessert -- they were are big as strawberries!

Photo credit: R. Adams

This coming week our whole family will gather to say goodbye to one of us. Our dear cousin-in-law died earlier this year from esophageal cancer. This coming Saturday we will gather to celebrate her life.

I know that I am lucky to have so many loving connections in my life. 

I have been reading, blogging, and finishing books but I'll save that update until next week.

Love to you, my blogging friends!  Have a lovely week.


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