Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Games

With the Olympic Opening Ceremonies taking place tomorrow, I have been remembering our trip to the 1994 games in Norway. 
Yes, we went. 
Hubby and I....
...and Shaggy, in utero. 
We had discovered I was pregnant very shortly before our trip and had told no one. 
 We stayed with Molly and her soul mate (they had not married yet at that time).
 Anyway, while we were staying with them, they guessed my "condition". 

We shared our news, thus beginning the superstition that with each of our next pregnancies, Molly was the first person we told.
Molly and Max were the perfect hosts as they shared their city of Trondheim with us before the games and what a beautiful city it is. 

 On our way to Lillehammer, we spent a few days with Molly's family in her home village as well as meeting Max's parents in a neighboring village. 
 There was time to play and enjoyed these most gracious people. 
Max's mother had begun a knitting business and while we were there, it had been arranged for us to receive one of her creations....made just for us!
This was a window display of her work in Oslo
Years later, we had her make a sweater for Shaggy and and hat for Lollipop Pop. 
 All four of those were worn in our family portrait....the hat is in Hubby's hand because at the time, having a pleasant little girl in the photo was more important than matching.
 It is cute, though!
I remember having to borrow Molly's folks' larger car because the luggage that these two Americans brought was so stinking ginormous that it, along with Molly and Max's, would not fit in theirs.
Embarrassing as well as a cure for my over packing.
  I have become a MUCH better packer now.
We stayed with Max's uncle in Lillehammer and I must tell you there was not a more welcoming and kind couple on this trip than those two...unless you count Molly's parents...
 or Max's parents ... 
or  Molly and Max themselves.
We attended 4 events over the next several days and it was great. 
The vibe and excitement was palpable at the Freestyle skiing. 
The music...the cheering...the excitement and people.
This is before I had a fancy camera...point and shoot...we were that close.

We watched Brian Boitano and Viktor Petrenko skate.

We watched Norway and Finland compete in a preliminary hockey match...any guesses on the favored team in this one?

We also watched the end of the men's downhill.
The temperatures during these Olympics were frigid. 
 In fact, there were days that events were delayed because of the cold. 
 This was the day I seriously though I might have been on the verge of losing toes. 

Molly was the second exchange student from Norway that my parents had hosted. 
The first one, Ellen, was from Lillehammer. 
 We never caught up with her while we were there, but we met her father. 
He was working in some capacity at the games and had enough clout that he took the four of us up the ski lift at Kvitfjell. 
We had coffee and breakfast where the public was not allowed.  
It was breathtaking.

When we were not at the events, we had some time to see the impressive ice sculptures.
Too cool.
No pun intended.

We spent a bit of time in Oslo before catching our flights home. 

Visiting the ski jump from the 1952 Olympics brought back memories of my first trip to Europe with my high school band 10 years previous. 
 Still beautiful.


 Growing up, my family always watched the Olympics.
I want our children to have a respect for what they represent as well.
The history of the location.
The coming together of athletes...politics and differences set aside for a short time.
The patriotism for one's country.
I brought out some momentos from our trip as well as my two matryoshka dolls.
 Both came from trips to U.S.S.R. 
One from my grandmother and the other from my former boss.

.  I hope that the Sochi Games are no different. 
If the hotels aren't up to par, so be it.
 I pray everyone stays safe and the only news we hear are the heartwarming personal stories of the athletes and the results.
(Although I will be cheering for Norway as well)

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