…or We Don’t Say Good-Bye; We Just Say, See You Later!
That pretty much is our departure philosophy in a nutshell. Over the decades that Paul and I have been married, going on 31 years this summer, we, as most people of our age, have had the privilege of knowing and considering our friends, many wonderful people. Along with growing up and growing old comes the not-so-uncommon fact that people move away. Sometimes, these people move so far away that ever seeing them again seems like a very distant and unlikely possibility. However, I refuse to acknowledge that I may never see them again. So, I , and Paul as my partner, just say, when that time of departure comes, “See you later!”
All that to say, this past weekend we had the enjoyable opportunity to visit with a dear friend, Jorunn, who spent four years in Grand Forks from 2000-2004. Then, three years after our last semester in Moss, Paul and I returned to Norway in 2005 for a short visit, and during that time, we also flew from Oslo to Stavanger just to see her for a bit. (That’s when Jorunn, a very fit lady of my age, convinced us to take a ‘little hike’ up to Preikestolen. We did it, but it took us 2.5 hours, one way, of strenuous, over-boulder, hiking to reach the summit! Crazy! Look it up.) So, soon after we arrived here this time, she and I visited over the phone, and she graciously invited Paul and I to come to Sandnes to stay with her and her husband, Odd Olav for a weekend.
I must say, it was very hospitable for Odd Olav (that is his real name, by the way), who had never met us, to agree to host a couple for three whole nights and days. They had renovated a five-bedroom, two-bath, nearly 70 year old home next to a lovely park in Sandnes, and we felt absolutely pampered the entire time. They prepared a dinner featuring skrei, a delicacy of Norwegian cod which is only available a few short months of the year. We sampled wines and cognacs, the latter of which we had never had before, and we learned a bit from the experience of Odd Olav. We talked late in the evening over coffee and cakes, one of which was a version of a Norwegian wedding cake, the kransekake.
They planned two interesting and educational days of sightseeing for all of us–but not so long as to get tiring. Our first day was actually on our own while Jorunn and Odd Olav worked or ran errands. Paul and I walked along the pedestrian street of Langaten in downtown Sandnes–while the rain gently fell off and on throughout the afternoon. We found the need to stop for refreshment no less than three times–of course, for the purpose of research for this blog. 😉
The next day was a beautiful day with the sun shining through the occasional fluffy clouds. We drove down the coast to Obrestad Fyr, a lighthouse which was built in 1873 and went automatic in 1991. We walked along the beach on the Kongevegen, the King’s Road, which was a way of passage from the time of King Christian IV. One thing that amazed us was the sheer number of stones in fields which had not been cleared. We could not imagine the amount of work it would have taken a farmer to clear land for his crops. After a nice break for coffee and lunch at Hø Gamle Prestegard, an old vicarage which was now an art and cultural center, we stopped to see the Sola Ruinkirke, the old stone church in Sola, where Jorunn and Odd Olav were married four years ago.
It was raining when we left the following day for Utstein Kloster, the Abbey of Utstein, on the island of Mosterøy, a bit north along the North Sea. This abbey is mentioned in historical records dating back to the 9th century. The construction was started in 1260, although some parts may be older. After the Reformation, the Abbey was empty during long periods until the Garmann family moved here in 1750. While we toured the Abbey and the property, the wind howled and blew fiercely from the Sea, and the rain continued to fall, giving us the impression that the monks who lived here did not always have it so easy.
The weekend ended quickly later that day as we finished our early dinner (‘middag’) of skrei, baked fennel, and potatoes. Jorunn and I had to make one more little trip though….During Paul’s and my walk through Langaten on Friday, I saw a ring in the window of a jewelry store, and I couldn’t get it out of my mind. 😉 So, she and I visited the closed store (it was Sunday, after all), I took a photo of the ring, and I gave her instructions to ask about it after work on Monday. [Paul loves it when I do this.]
Our flight was to leave Stavanger at 7:30 pm, so our visit with Odd Olav and Jorunn ended at the airport. We hugged, said our tusen takks, and repeated “See you later!” 🙂