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Chapter 10 Excerpt


28 August 1997
...The rain was really heavy by the time we reached Berit’s apartment. She greeted us in her usual jovial manner.

“So nice to meet you Lisa,” she said.

“Så hyggelig å møte deg,” Lisa said for the first time.

“Oh, Michael has been teaching you,” Berit said.

We walked into the living room. “I’m sorry the rain has taken away the great view,” she said.

Lisa was still impressed by the depth of the view.

“I think we should have some champagne,” said Berit. “I can’t have much because I will be driving.”

She also had a gift for us. It was Lisa’s turn to open the present. It was a pack of candles and a black iron candlestick in a Norwegian pattern.

“I made sure it was small and light enough for you to carry,” Berit said.

Of course, she wanted to know how we met, so we gave her the versions, as well as the planning for the wedding...

“I’ve been on my own for so long that I’m used to being independent and deciding what I want to do,” Lisa said.

“Women tend to be independent and men tend to take care of the person or be taken care of,” Berit said.

Soon it was time to leave for Torbjørn’s. We ran in the rain to the car...Skådalen wasn’t much easier to find with a car in the rain than when Mark and I tried last year by train and foot in the light.

Are, Torbjørn’s oldest son from his first marriage, was at the house. He must be about 21 now, and had just finished building an extension to the house, which was completely made of wood... It was Are’s turn to ask how Lisa and I met, while Torbjørn prepared wine, crackers and cheese. Lisa deferred to me this time.

Then, Debbie (a transplanted American) and the girls arrived, earlier than expected. Ingrid was as social as ever, switching between English and Norwegian with ease. She remembered me this time, but couldn’t quite remember when she had seen me last. Anja, who a year ago I had carried up the four flights of stairs at the Dalgards, said little more than hello. That day last year in her child’s years was probably quite distant. Anja had changed her hair style. She climbed with facility all over the house, including the stairs and railings.

We got an update on Ingrid’s jewelry, her sales and a look at her latest work. Later in the evening, Ingrid and Anja performed a musical routine for us. Ingrid hid in the next room and sang Singing in the Rain, while Anja, standing in the living room, moved her lips to the words. “Usually at home, Anja is very dramatic,” said Debbie. “She throws out her arms and acts. She must be shy tonight.”

Together they performed Get Me to the Church On Time from My Fair Lady in honor of us, and Ingrid played Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the flute.

The family had also bought us a special gift, two wooden cups made by the rosemåling artist of Rauland, with Lisa painted on one, and Michael on the other. Custom made! Every gift we had received from Norwegians was a Norwegian craft.

We took out the wedding pictures and my mother’s CD. They couldn’t get over the shots of my beaming parents. As with the Dalgards, they, too, felt the excitement. “Torbjørn, we should have gone,” said Berit. “I wish we were there. We must play the CD...”

At one point, Lisa snapped a shot of Ingrid on my lap, as we translated some Norwegian. Since she was four Ingrid has helped me with my Norwegian...

Berit drove us to Majorstua. In the car she commented to Lisa how hard it must be for her to be meeting all these members of Michael’s Norwegian family.

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