Good ol’ Magnus and Britt. Dear friends who we’ve known since our first stay in Moss in 2002, they initiated the welcome wagon starting on our first day in Norway yesterday. Magnus, who said we should take the ‘Magnussen’ instead of the Flybussen from the airport (I thought that was a pretty clever play on words), was there, camera in hand, waiting for us as we stepped out of the Arrivals gate at Oslo Gardemoen. We had been traveling for 22 hours from our Uber ride to Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, but we found a new energy seeing his face. He drove us the nearly 1.5 hours to his and Britt’s home in Våler where a delicious lunch and additional friends were waiting for us.
It had been three years since we left after Paul finished his teaching here at the American College of Norway, and it hardly seemed that long at all. Everyone just immediately began visiting in Norwegian and English and enthusiastically hugging and greeting one another. There were Øystein and Ragnhild, Astrid and Asbjørn, and Britt and Magnus all here; the latter two couples stayed at our home in Grand Forks for two weeks in September 2016 so we all have had the opportunity to host gatherings. The food that Britt prepared for this luncheon consisted of smoked salmon with a mustard-dill sauce, roast beef, deviled eggs, shrimp, potato salad, brie, fruit, bread, plum jam, berries, yogurts, and lunch was followed by the requisite chocolate and coffee. We ate outside in their ‘garden’, and the weather was sunny and warm with a slight breeze.
After an appreciated ride from Asbjørn to our little flat at 7A Verket (the street on which the factory workers lived a couple of centuries ago), we had about 40 minutes to change and freshen up before leaving for the Wednesday night Bible study at our home church while we are in Moss, Den Frei Evangelikirken. We will only be here this time for about two months, so we don’t want to waste any time or opportunities! It takes about 15 minutes to walk there. The Norwegian flags were waving out front as we arrived, and Marie was waiting for us. She said that the flags were put up in our honor. There were eventually 15 people in attendance for the singing/Bible study/prayer time lasting a little over one hour. Again, it was great to see these dear folk again after three years. (in spite of my faux pas of greeting Alice by calling her Åse–oops!)
We were offered a ride home, but we are hoping to take off a few unwanted pounds by doing some walking while we are here, so we declined the offer. The sun was still bright on the horizon over the adjacent island of Jeløy on our walk home at 9 pm, and it was still light enough to play ball by (according to Paul) on our walk home from the market at 10 pm. (This long daylight helps to make up for the sun setting around 3 pm in January.)
It was 1 am when we finally hit the hay, so to speak, but there was food in the cupboard, our clothes were put away, and we were cleaned up after a rather long, tedious and joyous, 35 hour ‘day’ of travel.
Thanks for listening. More to come.