Many people asked me, including my Norwegian relatives, why I named my Page on Facebook for my Norway trip, “Sojourners to Norway”. Why didn’t I just say
Travelers? Sojourners…what does that mean?
: a period of time when you stay in a place as a traveler or guest
- : a journey
Does that explain it a little better? We traveled to Norway and stayed as a guest. We journeyed to many places while we were
there, but we lingered as guest of some very special people. I took my middle son and my grandson with me. What an experience they had!
We left at 6 p.m. in the evening and flying all night, arriving in Amsterdam in the afternoon. We flew from Amsterdam to Trondheim Norway and arrived at 4:40 p.m. It is about a 2 hour trip from the airport to their home. We were tired but very excited to be there!! Ethan did a happy dance in the airport saying, “I can’t believe we are in Norway!” I did a little happy dancing myself! We met up with my cousin and her husband, and started the drive home. I thought they would sleep, but they were pretty excited to see what was around them. It is a beautiful country and it is hard to take your eyes off of what you see. It is full of farms, mountains, fjord, rivers and waterfalls! You see it everywhere! There is something about being there that just pulls on the heart strings…like coming back home. It’s like a good friend said while I was there, “It’s my spiritual home.” I can agree with that. It’s not heaven, but it is pretty close. You definitely see God’s gorgeous handiwork!
Here is a beautiful old farmhouse that I saw as we were driving and took the photo. I love how it turned out. In Norway you often see the farm houses with varied amounts of chimney stacks. It usually indicates the size of the farm. Three or more means the farm is quite large. It also means that it is multi-family dwelling. Parents may live in one end and the son or daughter with family, who have now taken over the running of the farm, live in the larger end. Beautiful, isn’t it?
We had some very busy days of traveling to see the sights in and around the area before doing some day trips to see other relatives. I can’t even begin to thank our hosts enough for their willingness to take us around. We saw relatives on both my father’s side and my mother’s side. Aaron got to see where his great, great grandfathers and grandmothers grew up. Ethan, even one more great. That was awesome. I have a Page called “Sojourners to Norway” where I have posted several pictures from Norway. I also posted them on my website, JoAnnShiley.com. A lot of the pictures I took were while driving by the country side. But I didn’t want to miss sharing what it looks like for those that were interested.
The hardest part? I think it is not being able to totally speak what is on your heart. When you don’t speak Norwegian, it can be difficult. However, many speak English and that helped a lot. I found they are shy to speak English, just as I was shy to speak what Norwegian I knew. Even at times when I thought I could use it, I didn’t. Why? I was afraid of my accent, or that I would use the wrong words. Silly, really. They would have understood it just like I could understand when many of them used English. But, it sure encourages me to keep studying the language. Ethan had a book and he wasn’t afraid at all to ask for help to pronounce a word or to use a word! Love that! I wish children were taught foreign language at early ages. In Norway they start learning English in 2nd grade! In the end, I have learned through traveling that you can speak with your heart and still understand each other. But it does challenge me to work harder at it!
What did I notice about their culture?
- The pace of their life is slower.
- Tradition is important to Norwegians and they keep it alive.
- They are completely dedicated to their children and their experiences.
- They are out in nature at every chance they have.
- They spend time together with family and friends.
- Coffee and a special something is at the ready for guests.
- Take coffee and lunch or treat with them on a drive, and stop to enjoy it at a spot along with way.
- Definitely enjoy their porches to sit, have coffee, and enjoy nature.
- Have winters where it never gets light.
- Have times in the Spring and Summer where it is light all night.
- Use their fork and knife for eating in a way different from ours.
- Their homes have deep windows sills and they decorate them.
- They have a light or lamp in many windows of the home and they are on at night, and some all night long.
- Food revolves around different kinds of meat than ours.
- All grounds are public roaming, so you can view areas anywhere for free.
Those are just a few I observed and there are many others. But I found I really liked that lifestyle. It fits nicely with my perspective on living a slow life so that you notice it. We strive and strive to get somewhere our culture, and then pretty soon time is gone, and we wonder what happened. I like enjoying nature and the people around me, as well as, listening to the birds, and the roaring of the ocean, or the quiet of a lake. Breathing deep and dialing down. It had the same effect on my son and grandson. That did a mama’s heart good to see that. I think it changed the way they may do life too, in their future.
I had fun looking through shops too! I found my number one purchase goal just a few days into the stay. My bread trough. Oh my! So cool!! It is vintage and even had some of the red color to the outside of it. THAT was one thing I have wanted for a very long time. The fact that I got it in Norway? Priceless!! It looks great on my kitchen on the table. Someday soon, I hope to have it on my dining room table. It was very special to me to bring back.
I will leave you with these thoughts and share more in Part 2. Get out in it!! Even IF the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t mean you can’t put on a jacket or sweatshirt, and take a walk, or have coffee on the porch or deck. Listen to you heart and soul…it may be trying to tell you to change your every day life so you notice what you have around you, as well as, creating a life that counts for even more!
Until next time…