Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Long time, no seen

It was around noon the very last Sunday in July 2006. My wife Anna and I was sitting outside a Motel just South of Portland, OR.

I had called Shirley in the Morning. She said she happend to know where to find the Motel. ”I’ve been working in the Neighbourhood – we’ll be there in an hour or so. The girls are so eager to meet you. Can you propose what to do today?”

That’s why we were sitting outside. Reading Tourist Information: What to do in Portland, OR.

The Rose garden? The Chinese Garden? Colombia River Gorge with all the Waterfalls?

”This is what I want to do, Anna said, I’ll go to the Japanes Garden. It says here it’s one of the best in the World outside Japan”. I could not deny that. Besides, I’ve never been to a Japanese garden.

The Sky was heavy this Sunday. Might it be Rain? Or Shower? Or….?

Then came this car into the parkinglot. A woman went straight ahead toward me. Is it Shirley?

”Hi, she said, it’s so nice to see you after all this years (1995)”

”How are you”, I’m fine etc….

Then came the girls. A little shy. They had not seen me since they were 3 and 1 year. Could they remember me? No. Unless: They had seen pictures of me! Recently. And I haven’t changed that much in elleven years.

”Hi Tor and Anna, so nice to meet you”, said the two young ladies.

Could I recall them?

Kelly, yes, as she last time was 3. Only 11 years older and a little lady.

Brianna, no, she was 1 at that time. Now with tooth-regulation.

Both still blond. Nordic look. Wonder how long that will last?

After blah-blah, we came to the point:
Let’s go to the Japanese Garden.

Oh yes, that’s sounds interesting. Never been there before, Shirley admitted. Did she know how to get there? Yes, no problem (let’s forget all about parking).

It’s a free Coach from the Parking and up the Hill to the Entrance of The Japanese Garden.

The web-site starts:

The Japanese Garden is tucked into a cusp in Portland's West Hills, situated at about five hundred feet above sea level. It is a haven of tranquil beauty that has been proclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

The tranquil beauty of the park I can verify. So can Anna, Brianna, Kelly and Shirley.

In this Park you don’t run, walk fast, speak loudly, bring food. You just relax and clean your Brain and Soul from day to day stress.

When we’re about to leave the Park, Brianna suddenly said: Thank you for choosing this Park for our Sunday walk. You see, I’ve choosen Japanese as my first foreign language at school.

What a surprise. Who has telepathic abilities. Anna or Brianna?

Seals in pebble sea

The Well

Late Sunday Lunch – Fish, Silver and Immigration history

After the Japanese Garden, it was time for a late lunch. We headed west out of Portland to a restaurant reknown for it’s good seafood. Shirley had been there before, and the girls as well.

You can see from the pictures we did have a jolly good time, with lots of jokes and fun.

We all had fish. Delikatesse. Tres bon. Herlig.

What the girls did not know:

The day before Anna and I left Silver Valley in Idaho. And in the valley they still have silver mines and lots of places where you can buy silver jewlry. We did – also for the girls. We thought about it: It might be risky to choose exactly the design and color each of the girls
would admire. After all they were no longer 1 and 3 years of age.

Shall we believe the photos, it looks like we
were close to hit the nail.

Then came the Question from Shirley: How are you related to Kelly and Brianna?

That goes back to the 1890’s. My grandma’s eldest brother went over from South West Norway to North Dakota and got his promised land. He after relatively short time realised he was not a farmer. So he went back to Norway again and convinced all his 7 brothers to come along with him and receive their promised land. The only hindrence was his mother, who would not let him return back to USA without bringing a wife. They at the end agreed upon he could bring his mothers maiden, who later became his wife. They in turn gave birth to three girls. The oldest, born 1899, was very good in keeping connections with family in the old world. I met her (Marie) first time in 1995, in Portland, OR. In 1996 she did visit Oslo, with her Grandson.

Complicated? Well, I’m second cousin to these girls grandpa (i.e. Their fathers father).


PS. Did you know that Norway is second to Irland when comes to percentage of the population that emigrated to USA? Well, thats a fact.

From Wikipedia you can read som interesting statistics
  1. North Dakota – 33% of all white people are of Norwegian heritage
  2. Minnesota – 20%
  3. South Dakota – 17%
  4. Montana – 12%
  5. Wisconsin – 10%
  6. Washington – 8%
  7. Iowa – 6%
  8. Alaska – 6%
  9. Oregon – 5%
  10. Wyoming – 5%

After some wonderful hours with family in Portland area, we went further west and at the end of the day we arrived at Seaside at the Pacific Coast. That’s another story.

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Blogger RennyBA said...

Thank you for sharing this TorAa - a very nice reunion and what a surprice for the girls.
The pics was great and funny too - a well documented post too.
The last, sunseth photo with the golden sky was just breath taking!

September 21, 2006 1:40 pm  
Blogger TorAa said...

Thanks RennyBA for your comments. I can tell it was a lots of sentimental feelings meeting those wonderful people after 11 years.

September 21, 2006 2:33 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh wow - the pics are so nice, especially to see who you are talking about. What cute girls!! And the last pic, it's incredible... Absolutely love it!

Great story!! Thanks for adding me in the links, I'll do the same. :)

Did you know my family is from Norway in about the 1890's also???? We are from Oslo, it's long and complicated but I know some of my family still lives in Germany.

September 22, 2006 2:42 am  
Blogger TorAa said...

Thank you expat traveler. Interesting your family has norse roots. Do they still eat "lutefisk"?

September 22, 2006 11:33 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now I can read the story behind the garden photo that I liked so well on your Flickr.

I enjoyed your stories of your travels Tor.

My grandfather came from Denmark in the 1920's and returned to bring back his brothers, sisters and his mother, my bestamor.

Cheers to you and I look forward to reading more of your stories.

September 27, 2006 12:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tor,
Great story of your visit with the girls. They are sure pretty!!! They must get their beauty from their father yes????? ;)
(comment from their father) see ya soon, hopefully in Norway next time.

October 02, 2006 11:57 pm  
Blogger TorAa said...

Thanks Paul, no doubt who's the father here! May I post a story from our visit in Old Sac?

October 03, 2006 5:52 pm  
Blogger Irish Church Lady :) said...

Great story Tor! I love stories like that! How great it is that you have kept up with them.

March 24, 2007 6:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really impressive to have kept all the connections like that. It's always interesting to know all the roots. I have relatives in both San Franscisco (that I've never met or know were they are) and in Toronto I have 2 cousins I haven't seen in years.

March 24, 2007 8:01 pm  
Blogger kuanyin333 said...

I'm so touched that we shared a small world moment! Imagine you coming all the way from so far, and me coming so far from Maui, and we BOTH appreciated and posted about such a special place! I'm SMILING! Mahalo for giving me such a big smile!

October 11, 2007 3:29 am  
Blogger Rain Trueax said...

What a lovely story and pictures. I love the Japanese Gardens. The Rose Garden below them is well worth some time also. :)

February 15, 2009 6:51 pm  

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