One of the great bits of serendipity on our two month summer abroad adventure is that we are here, in Moss, to be able to take part in their several day celebration of their 25th year in existence. Paul has taught for ACN as a partner with UND twice before; Spring semester of 2002 and Spring semester of 2015. It was an extremely positive experience each time, and of course we would have desired to attend their festivities. However, had we not actually already been here, we could not have afforded the two round trip airfares and room and board for a short (or long) visit. BUT, here we are, and we were able to attend several events they had planned along with visiting alumni, both students and professors, staff, and, shall I say, dignitaries.
The staff of ACN had been painstakingly working and planning for this week for a long time. It was obvious in their social media blitz, their decorations, their event programs, down to the toast in the historically significant room in the Konvensjonsgården, where, in 1814, the king of Sweden signed the constitution which transferred Norway from Danish ownership to Swedish ownership. [at this point, I asked Paul, ‘so, how is that beneficial to Norway?’ to which he said, ‘good question’.] But apparently, some terms of the constitution needed to be adhered to in order for Sweden to keep Norway, and in 1905 (yay!!), those terms were not met, so Norway gained her independence!! Thus, we all celebrate the 17th of May (or Syttende Mai). Whew. I didn’t expect to write a treatise on European political history.
Back to the celebratory events. We returned from our little hyttetur (see my previous post) last Thursday, and on Friday, Paul was able to join a bus tour of Moss and, more specifically, the previous locations of the American College of Norway during the past 25 years. There was one previous location on the nearby island of Jeløy in an old group home for the disabled, one was an old mansion which they outgrew rather quickly, one was in the Moss Library building which did not have space for student living quarters, and the present (and, I feel, the best) location is in the building they share with the aforementioned historically significant room in the Konvensjonsgården in the Verket neighborhood. Since Paul taught in the building on Jeløy in 2002 as well as in the present building, he really enjoyed the tour. Plus, they all stopped at the Alby F 15 Cafe for lunch, so it was even better.
[You may be asking, where was I during this cool bus tour and lunch? Well, I had been previously invited to a friend’s house with some other ladies for coffee and cake. So, I was not just sitting at home alone. ]
After we both walked home, arriving within 15 minutes of one another, we were able to drop in on the waffle party open house which ACN was hosting in the dormitory garden area. Meeting up with additional staff I had not met before and previous professors at ACN was great; some of the guests had made a special trip to Norway just for this celebration. Later, from about 5-7 pm, there was another open house at the school, where a cash bar had been set up (at fabulous prices, I might add. Paul bought two Coke Zeros to go at the end of the evening!), with snacks, a toast, room and time to mingle, great raffle prize opportunities, and some even stayed for pizza afterwards.
But, the big event, the finale, was the cocktail hour champagne toast which took place in the ‘room where it happened’ [nod to all my Hamilton-loving friends] followed by a banquet of delicious tapas-type delicacies in a nearby restaurant along a waterfall and river near the old mill area. There were speeches, old friends catching up (oh my, there were about 6 people from the first class in 1992!), a slide show, representation from the US Embassy, representation from the Norwegian Parliament (not to name drop, but he and his wife sat next to us!), and a marzipan cream cake with coffee to finish off the evening!
After all this, I am even more enthusiastic about the American College of Norway and our small participation in its work. Here’s to you, ACN, and another 25 years!