Category Archives: My life and travel in retrospect

Wanted: Pen-pals!

IMG_7952In my last article I gave you some glimpses of my childhood. This post is also about my childhood and inspired by Lola and her beautyifully written blogpost  about the good, oldfashion, snailmail letters, so called pen-pals. To be honest I do not think that the youngsters today know the term “pen-pal”, they even might think I have written the word “paypal” incorrect! Well, this post isn’t at all about paypal, but about a frindship that started many, many years ago.

When I learned to write and read, I fell in love (I still love it!). I read a lot and when I looked through my grandmothers women-magazines I often saw ads where children looked for pen-pals. I never found any that interested me so I decided to write one myself.

I ‘m a girl at 10 years old who want pen-pals my same age. My interests are….

My first one was to a Norwegian magazine “Norsk Ukeblad”. I can’t remember if I got lots of answeres, but I got one, from a cute boy that had some of the same interests as me: We both ran orienteering. (Yes, it’s true, believe it or not. This woman, Mrs. No-Backpacker, clean-freak and high-heels, used to run in the forest with a map and a compass and dirt from top to toe!)

We wrote letters, every week, maybe twice a week, for many years. We shared everything and I think he was my best friend at that time.

At one point we were supposed to meet. I remember it very well (and so does he and his family I have learned later). I was going to visit my big brother, living in Oslo at that time, and my pen-pal asked if we could meet. For a strange reason I didn’t want to meet him, but I didn’t dare to tell him, so I agreed to meet him. The closer the day came, the more nervous I got. In the end I had to tell my brother that didn’t  want to meet my pen-pal and that he had to help me out of it.

I called, last minute, and told him I had other plans. Yeah, right… Well, at least I didn’t have to meet him, we were still best friends and we contiuned to write letters as usual.

Until we were around 15-16 years. I don’t know why or exactly when we stopped the exchanging of letters, but it stopped.

Life went on. I got a boyfriend, married, we got out son, obs etc… etc… And then it was Facebook…

Are you the one I used to write thousands of letter to when we were children, and the one I never dared to meet?

It was him! We got connected again. Because I wouldn’t have liked that my husband was connected to a woman I didn’t know, I decided to get to know his wife. We got together very well and I wrote e-mails to both of them. I told about why I never met him and, of course, he made fun of me.

I ‘m going to Bergen for a meeting, do you like to meet up, after 20 years?

Yes, he is stubborn! And the worst thing was that I got exactly the same feeling as 20 years before: “I didn’t want to meet him!” I had to get advises from my husband and… his wife! She managed to persuade me to meet him.

I was incredible nervous the day we agreed to meet, but I didn’t chicken out, luckily! It turned out I had nothing to fare. We met, and we talked and talked and talked. Just like we did when we were children, but this was not by letters but face to face and we were 20 years older.

Are we still friends? Of course! The year after our first meeting he came to the summerhouse, with his wife and two adorable daughters, and stayed for a weekend. It turned out that the four of us connected very well and we had a very nice weekend with lots of talking, laughter and fun.

Last year we were all 40 and of course we were guests in eachothers parties. And I got to meet his parents and siblings…. who all told me they remember the day I rejected their son/brother…

Well, this is my sweet story about pen-pals and friendship, what’s your story?

(You might question why I write about this in my travel-blog. The answer is that all those letters (I had other pen-pals from abroad too) inspired me to be curious on other people, to travel and to write about it. Maybe this blog wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for all my pen-pals!)

A Norwegian summerhouse full of memories

IMG_7873This weekend has been great with nice weather, my brother and his family coming over from Oslo and a visit to our summerhouse at the island, Askøy, only 30 min. with car from where we live.

IMG_7945When I was a little girl I used to stay at the summerhouse with my parents and my grandparents and I remember that the weather was always warm and sunny. (For a strange reason my childhood weather was like this: Sun in the summer, snow in the winter. However I think it’s more selective memory than a reflection of reality!) My grandmother used to make thin slices of white bread with lots of butter, tomatoes and eggs for breakfast (my grandfarthers usual breakfast) and, because the weather was always nice, we had breakfast outside in the sun.

IMG_7907In the mornings it could be chilly after the night, but a t-shirt and a skirt was all I needed as I knew it would be warmer during the day. However it was cold on the ground and I can still imagine the feeling when my small feet tip-toed in the wet, cold grass, waiting for the sun to be warmer.

We sun-bathed all day and sometimes had a bath in the sea (I do recall it was cold, however it feels much more cold today) and the days were long and lazy. My brother and I used to play in the surroundings. (Correct: He played and bossed me around, nevertheless it is yet a fond memory, so it couldn’t have been that bad!)

IMG_7820On the “roof” of the “potatoe-cellar” (not sure what it is called in English, but it was a cellar where they used to keep the potatoes in the old days. Under the WW2 it was used as a shelter for my mothers family when Bergen was bombed…) we had our own little castle. We made weapons out of wood and a flag. I am not sure if the flag on the picture is ours or if it is my sons from when he was a toddler, but there is a flag on the castle today! Now the cellar is marked as a cultural heritage.

IMG_7938For a strange reason we didn’t use to fish a lot, at least from what I recall, but my son has fond memories from fishing from the dock when he used to stay at the summerhouse with my parents. He still likes to go fishing and so he did in the weekend. His two younger cousins followed after him!

I assosiate the summerhouse with flowers. Mostly because I was extrememely allergic, but also because of the strong colors and the sweet smell of summer. Luckily I have “grown away” (hehe) from the grass/flower allergy and can now enjoy the summer with all my senses.

IMG_7941 The sun rises early in the summermonths, around 4’ish I think, and it goes down… late. Yesterday it was still up at 11 pm.! It’s difficult to go to bed when the sun is still up, so my brother and I never managed to sleep before quite late in the summernighst. I think most parents in Norway still have this problem when it comes to getting the children to bed in June and July. It feels so wrong to go to bed when it’s still close to daylight outside!

When I was young I never saw the beauty in the Norwegian nature, at least I never appreciate it as I do now. Bringing foreign guests to the summerhous now makes me extremely proud of  my country. Everything  is so very typical Norwegian and most foreigners will say it’s spectacular and pictureseque at the same time. Maybe because of the Norwegian nature and the story behind the house?