How is Your Norwegian???

Written By Chiropractic Health and Wellness on August 5, 2013

The answer is, “not too good” in my case.  And why should that matter?  Because over the past 10 days I had the unique and pleasant opportunity to spend time with my first cousin from Norway.  She and her family came to visit us and it reminded me of how important even remote family can be.  Some background:  My mother grew up in Norway and immigrated to Canada in about 1951.  She was 19 years old at the time in post-war Europe and she left behind 5 siblings and 2 parents.  She met my father in Montreal, where I was born, and they emigrated to the U.S. in 1955. I visited Norway in 1966 and met a few cousins at that time; we were all either barely teenagers or just young children and infants.  My mother died in 1969 and I had scant communication with my Norwegian relatives, save a holiday greeting or two, for many years.  Then came the internet and slowly we began to communicate with each other.  The family name is “Barlie” and my cousin, Ine, is about 10 years younger than me.  She is one of 10 cousins in Norway who I have either never met or met only briefly in 1966.  Imagine my excitement and anticipation to finally have a chance to see another face that looked strangely familiar and a voice that brought me back to my childhood.  We discovered that we are much alike in our interests and viewpoints and we thoroughly ‘got’ each other without having to speak what we thought. And I am happy to say that, at least in this case, blood is thicker than water - and particularly the ocean that now separates us.

I have always felt myself to be part Viking and now, after spending time with Ine, I realize how true that assessment actually is.  We hiked, canoed, biked and swam for hours.  We went to Crossfit together and I tried to get the better of her when I could.  That was difficult because she is the 19-time Norwegian and 2-time World Champion in Women’s Freestyle Wrestling. I like to think that I still gave her a run for her money, but she might disagree with that assessment.  I thoroughly enjoyed being able to take someone out and challenge them, only to see her smiling as if to say, “Is that all you’ve got”?

It is great to have family and to create and refresh those vital connections.  As we said our sad goodbyes I told her that the good news is that time and distance mean little in the face of love and the bonds of family. If you have a family member who you have not spoken with for a while, then today might just be your and their lucky day.