Katy and I knew we would meet my distant relatives on this trip to Norway, but what we didn't know or expect was that nearly every Norwegian I encountered during our stay would help to explain my own personality and that of my family. The quietness of the introverted people was striking. Furthermore we had no idea we would be met with such extravagant generosity. The Bjørdal and Hanken families in particular treated and cared for us in ways I couldn't have previously imagined. Never did I feel more like I was at home in the vast world.
My Turn On The Couch: July 18, 2015
“Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” - Hebrews 13:15-16
“With the busy nature of our week as Baristas at Jacu, coupled with Katy’s recent cold, a sickness of my own sprung up once we finally found ourselves in a moment of quiet. I was not surprised, and even half expected it would come to this; I even internally predicted it when a week prior Katy was on this same couch in a similar state of body and being.
By mid-afternoon I had slept off my fever, and although by now we had missed the Tall Ships’ departures, we still set off for a walk in the fresh air. One vessel remained at the docks, a German boat, “Alexander Von Humboldt II.” We then walked a bit more around the stairs and local hiking trails before going back to Jacu, where we were greeted by Oliver and Anne. They strongly suggested that we go to their family cabin in Almås in Stordal, and even lent us Arne’s Volvo to drive there ourselves.
Now we are in the midst of the Sunnmøre Alps with dropped jaws. Wow! Also, Katy’s pizza!!!”
Arne & Britt’s Cabin: July 19, 2015
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.” - 1 Peter 5:2-3
“Oliver was a strong motivated in getting us to come to their family cabin situated in the heart of the Sunnmøre Alps, just on the south side of the Trollstigen area. The broad south facing windows shown white this morning. This blanket of thick fog has rolled in and out, whipping the steep mountain passes and couloirs where white water cascades down to the canyon floor dotted with small farms, and our brunch has taken place overlooking it all. I am especially fond of the binoculars, and brown leather lounger next to the right side windows.
The original plan was to go on a short hike before heading out to the Trollstigen. That plan, however, was slowly altered as Katy and I were swayed by a false summit of the cabin’s backyard peak. We did not ever make the summit, nor did we even attempt to see Trollstigen.
Nevertheless, our attempt at tackling the very wet and marble covered Auskjeret fjord peak, at 1340 meters, proved quite the beautifully rewarding task. And later, the cabin remained a luxury beyond request.
We ate stew, drank red wine, partook of freshly baked bread, stoked a fire, and then watched the clouds roll in and out of the peaks.”
Diesel To Ø Emissions: July 20, 2015
“And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.” - Ezekiel 34:26
“From Arne and Britt’s silver Volvo to Oliver and Anne Birte’s black Nissan, Katy and I have had the full extent of luxury. Having left the family cabin in Stordal, we couldn’t help but dream of owning property out there ourselves (one cabin below theirs actually was for sale), and we very much want to return during our stay here now.
Upon return to Jacu we were soon offered just that! An extended stay in their cabin now awaits us, and we’ve even been handed the keys to their electric car. The rate of rise on these blessings are about to topple over on themselves. Or so I feel.”
Gunnar: July 21, 2015
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him–a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
“Today our time at Jacu was spent in and out of the company of Gunnar. He is the third figure at the Roastery, and had been on vacation in Denmark until now. The man is soft spoken, but not shy. Rather he is a bit of a comedic sort, but by no means is he slack in his work. Gunnar is also a very calculated man, and seems to enjoy working alone. My own analytical mindset can easily relate to his personality. Katy and I both can easily see how he, Oliver and Anne Birte make such a good team.
While Gunnar solo’d the day’s production tasks, Katy and I cleaned the upstairs apt., and at 4pm were parting ways for the Hanken’s place, aka The Mansion. We continue to find ourselves in good company as Oliver’s parents live next door, and his younger brother Peter, and sister Elizabeth, along with her husband Thomas, are all nearby working in the yards, gardens and garages. We feel welcome.”
Sula, Choppy-Choppy: July 22, 2015
“A little after discovering that ‘Holk-time’ is synonymous with Norwegian time, and with that discovery having extra time reading and relaxing with Katy, I set off to climb, or ‘walk’ as they put it, up Sula with Peter (Oliver’s brother) and his friend, Årane. The views of Ålesund were impressive when the heavy rain clouds permitted such a thing, and the unrelenting rain made the hike authentic while also soaking my feet to the skin and numbing my hands. It felt good for the moment.
Upon our return we were treated to dinner with the parents, and Elizabeth and Thomas. Afterward we helped them move many rounds of wood to later be chopped, and Thomas paid me quite the compliment when he said I definitely have Viking blood in me. We rounded out the night with stories while standing around a burning barrel salvaged from the fjord.”
Make It Home, Make It Choppy-Choppy: July 23, 2015
“Today was a day full of staying indoors so that we could prepare the Hanken’s home for their house-swap visitors, come tomorrow. Katy took care of the linens and kitchen primarily, while I did a little organizing and tackled the salt covered windows.
Rain came unexpectedly, so I never had the chance to chop wood for Oliver’s parents. Alas! We rounded out the day by watching, The Edge. ‘I’m going to kill the bear!’”
Same Date, Different Outcome: July 24, 2015
“For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” - Romans 2:12-13
Yesterday I was supposed to chop wood, and didn’t due to unexpected rain. Today, however, I did. Meanwhile Thomas built a fine fire in their yard barrel, and roasted some brats / hotdogs over and in it. I ate one with brown cheese, rhubarb-apricot jam, sour cream and a regular bun, which Elizabeth and Thomas had never seen done before. She too tried it, not sure of what she thought, but definitely not opposed to it.
We then drove out, after first learning that my phone was delivered to Trondheim by mistake (so close!), and made a pitstop at Devold before [heading back to] the cabin. At Devold we met a family from Eugene / Portland, the son’s name was Ashland, and we shared some Jacu coffee and stories with them. The drive out was nerve-racking, as we pulled up [to the cabin] with 5 miles remaining [on the electric car battery].”