Saturday, January 23, 2010

Norway, Selbuvotter (traditional Norwegian knit mittens), and Obama


Here is a heartwarming story that made me appreciate (again) how knitting brings, not only yarn, but people, together. It is particularly meaningful for me as my dear father was Norwegian and we are planning a trip to Norway this summer with our three children to share with them their rich cultural heritage at a family reunion. With luck, you'll be seeing some Selbuvotter on my website in the near future! [Story printed in Dagbladet.no on 4/19/09, written by SIRIL K. HERSETH...awkwardly translated by online automated translation software]

Mary Mentha Andersen (52) is perhaps the most happy day. Her great dream to see Obama again will soon come true.

She met him for the first time when she would move from USA to Norway, on 2 November 1988. Mary had just married the Norwegian Dag Andersen, and looked forward to starting a life together with him in Åsgårdstrand outside Horten.

Obama as rescuing knight: But first she must get all their belongings to Norway.

At the airport in Miami, it was hectic with long lines at check-in counters. When it finally was Mary’s turn and she had placed the baggage on the tape, she got the message that turned the world upside down: “You must pay $ 103 in overvekt if you carry both suitcases to Norway, said the man behind the counter. ”

Paid for Mary:
Mary had no money. Her new husband had gone on ahead of Norway, and Mary had no one else she could call. She tried to explain the situation to the man behind the counter, but he showed no bamhjertighet. Then she began to cry. It was when she heard a friendly voice behind him say: “I pay for her. ”

Mary turned and there stood a tall, dark man she had never seen before. She promised him to pay back the money as soon as she had come to Norway. The man wrote down the name and address of his on a patch, and gave it to Mary.

There was the Barack Obama, and address in Kansas where his mother lived at that time.

Got a letter from Obama Mary to pay him back as soon as she arrived in Norway. Since then she wondered who this man was friendly. “He exuded an authority already at the time, “says Mary.

She told the story of their Obama-meet for the first time in VG. There she showed the letter that her parents had of Obama dated 4 May 2006 and stamped “United States Senate, Washington DC.

“I want to thank you for writing such nice words about me and that you reminded me of the incident from the airport in Miami. I’m glad I could help back then, and is happy to learn that their daughter is doing well in Norway. Please send her my lykkeønskninger. Sincerely, Barack Obama, United States Senator. ”

The letter was a response to a letter of thanks Mary’s parents had sent him.

Had a dream: Now she tells Dagbladet how it has gone to her to see Obama again.

“This summer, I had a dream that Obama would come to Norway one day. Since then I have tried to think of what I would give him if he shows up. When I learned about nobelprisnominasjonen, I was in the fire and flames, “says Andersen.

She has told her story to friends and acquaintances, including the sailor minister Dagfinn Kvale. He was so touched by this that he wrote a letter to Thorbjørn Jagland and requested that Mary had to be present when Obama gets the peace prize.

Though Mary wrote to the U.S. embassy in Oslo to ask how she could have given Selbuvotter to Obama and his family.

See awards: This week she received a call from the Nobel Institute, who told her to get two tickets to the peace prize because of the letter from sjømanspresen.

Mary hoping for a chance to get as close to Obama that she can deliver mittens. She will also carry Selbuvotter to Michelle and two daughters. All the pairs have a close friend knitted.

“I want to give him something back, since he helped me at that time. Maybe he’ll take on the Selbuvotter while he is here. It would have been fantastic, “says Mary.

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