For the first time since we moved to Norway in August 2010, we traveled "home". First that meant one week at home in Minnesota, for a whirlwind visit with four grandparents and a silly aunt and uncle, not to mention a few lucky friends. Then we traveled to New England, namely to the Upper Valley of Hanover, New Hampshire and Hartford, Vermont, which was our home for six years before moving to Norway. There we spent 10 days hopping from one guest room to another, squeezing in as many coffee dates, play dates, dinner get-togethers and two-day trips around the region to visit dear friends as we possibly could.
|The Green at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire|
snapped as we drove out of town on our last day in the US.
We have mixed emotions about going and coming "home"--to Minnesota, New England and now back again to Lillehammer. I was worried, and anticipated, that the trip would be much harder, emotionally. That I wouldn't want to leave the United States and that I would dread and curse coming back to Norway. I'll be honest--there was a little of that, but those feelings were not nearly as strong as I had feared.
We had a little bright spot along on this trip, happily and easily adapting to new beds, new/old friends that she didn't remember, new/old haunts that she didn't remember. All that our four-year old daughter remembers is life in Norway, and for that I am a little sad. She had no problems whatsoever in switching into full-time use of English, and for that I am very happy.
As we drove down Main Street of the quintessentially New Englandy Hanover, New Hampshire, a street which I drove nearly daily for 6+ years, a street where I bought coffee and Christmas presents, ran into friends and patients, braved snowstorms and summer heat alike, Greta asked me from the backseat, oblivious to the emotions spinning ‘round in my head and heart: “Mamma. . . which land (i.e. country) do you like better: Norway or America?”
I sighed. Such an innocent, simple question. If only the answer were so simple. “Ohhhh. . . that’s a really difficult question to answer, Greta. . . “
Undaunted, Greta pressed on, “Pappa? Which land do you like better?”
Erik responded, also a little torn, but prepared to give a slightly more diplomatic (and non-binding) answer, “Well, there are parts of both countries that I really like.”
Greta responded, rather decided in her answer, “I like Sweden best.”