When my father was alive, his family in Norway contacted him, stating that he had a lot of family there.
His father came to the states at age 17 by himself and changed his last name.
So when they contacted my father, they asked, "why do you go by the name Olson when your last name is Hella?"
He never knew that his father changed his last name, so they kept in contact by writing and the phone, and we decided to get him a computer after my mother passed away.
So he was writing them all the time, and they invited us to go and visit them opening up their homes to us.
But my father could not travel and so he could never go, but then he said he would pay for airline tickets for his daughters to go and meet the family.
Well, my father passed away before we went and did that trip.
It was the best gift my father could have given us as I had met over 150 family members. They had a huge party at sea, gave us all sweaters, and we had dinner at most of their homes before the party so we got to spend time with them all.
It was the best trip ever and I plan on going back in 2010 with one of my daughters.
It was so heart-warming to meet everyone, and believe it or not I could feel my father by me during that whole trip.
The waterfalls I fell in love with, I remember, was on the trip Norway in a Nutshell, and on the boat I was looking at this farm and it had this beautiful waterfall in the background.
Breathtaking, that was for sure.
I wondered if that family knew what they had in their backyard. I sure did, and I'll never get that picture out of my head. It was that neat!
When I was there, they showed me where my grandfather waited for the boat to come to take him to the States.
His home that he lived in, the graves of my great grandparents...
I wonder at times why he would want to leave such a beautiful place.
I guess times were hard and my grandfather came from a family of nine or more kids. I never knew that until I went there, and I don't even know if my father knew that as some of his brothers and sisters were born after he was gone and he never seen them.
My grandfather never went back to Norway. Why? I don't know.
But my father and uncle offered to pay his way but he said no.
Too bad, but I'm glad I went and I will be back.