It’s always hard to be away from home for the holidays, and this year was going to be my first time away. However I was going to be spending my Christmas in Norway with some very special people. My Dad had traveled to Norway in the 1970’s when he was hitchhiking through Europe and, upon running out of money, he found himself in Snasa, Norway, with only a backpack and looking for work. He ended up working on the farm of the Mona family for 2 months, the place I would now be spending Christmas. My family has somehow kept in touch with theirs for almost 50 years, which was truly incredible. I would be the first one of my family back in that same amount of time, I would see where my dad worked when he was near my age, and I would meet the children of the family he stayed with. I was so excited!
Before heading up to Snasa though, I was going to visit a friend of my own in Stavanger, Norway. Markus had been a foreign exchange student in my high school in Indiana and we had remained friends, so I was going to spend a few days visiting him at his home before traveling to Snasa. I had a great time in Stavanger, seeing my friend, seeing the city, even seeing the oil museum. It was really great. And taking the train from there to Snasa was very interesting. The train ride was very long, 7 hours to Oslo, then 7 hours to Trondheim, and then 3 hours to Steinkjer. At Steinkjer I got picked up by Pia Maria, the wife of one of the family members my dad knew, and we drove the last hour to Snasa. Snasa is a very small town of only 2,000 people and mostly farms. The Mona’s farm was one of them and it was very nice. Pia showed me around while Peter Asle and their sons were working. I got to see the house my Dad stayed in, different from the newly-built one they lived in now, and I saw the barns and animals.