Coming “home” from a different perspective.
Coming “home” from a different perspectiveThe Norwegian anthem begins with the phrase, “Ja, vi elsker dette landet, som det stiger frem.” In English it means, yes we love this land as it rises forth. The phrase suggests the happiness the weary sailor experienced as slowly out the sea rose the mountains of his home, Norway. And that’s the way it was for millennia. I imagine the feelings were reversed as one sailed away and the loyal mountains sank into the ocean’s horizon. I wonder what emotions my relatives felt as they left Norway over 120 years ago?
Now we have air travel. Norway has always been a fantasy home for me, something to dream about. Yesterday I finally came “home.” Here I’m not Norwegian. In fact it takes three generations for an immigrant family to be truly Norwegian. Okay, we’re only here for a year anyway. Although, it would be nice if they had a special deal for wayward sons like me.
My return was from the clouds. I slept, finally, from the Iceland leg of the journey until we were close to Oslo and began the descent. With the solid cloud cover I missed nothing since taking off. Closer, and lower until, there it was, Norway. My first focus point was a small lake tucked in and amongst the farmland and hills north of the airport. But it was underwhelming, too much like a Google Map. I desperately wanted to be overwhelmed. As we continued the descent, I finally gained some perspective and relief to the view and that changed everything.
Warmth surged through me, a swelling. Here, among these tidy ancient farms and fields were my ancestors. In this part of Norway that means the Gullicksrud side; dreadfully poor farm workers who left for greater prospects in America where thrive they did indeed. I am looking forward to my family thriving here during our oh-so-brief time here. And when we leave, and Norway flattens out beneath the wings of a jetliner, I expect there will be tears. The questions is what type, joy or sadness?