The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page...
At the blues festival we meet some new friends, and they were mostly from Canada. We got to talking to them and Arvid happens to mention that he actually has relatives living in Canada. Our new friends asked a few questions, but Arvid was not sure exactly who these relatives were and what they did. He knew they were some Norwegian relatives, but not sure of much more.
Next morning he calls his mother, and this was not a Sunday:) She's in her upper 80's but sharp as a tack. Within a few minutes she told him all about these relatives. I then asked Arvid if he would one day like to visit them. He looked horrified, like as if I had just asked something very strange. His immediate answer was, " never, I don't even know these people .". That was that.
Soon Arvid was talking and reminiscing about his first trip to the USA. It was 1978. He flew from Norway to New York and from there to LA with a friend. Their plan was to just see as many of the US States as possible. For this they decided to actually buy a car. Use it for the duration of their vacation touring the US. The plan was to drive from LA back to new York and see all the States in between.
On the way to new York there were many adventures and close calls. One of the stops was Minnesota were Arvid also has family. He did not know them but his mom had asked him to look them up. So this is how he tells it to me . " you know how I don't like parties, pictures and all that family gathering stuff?". I said, " yes I know." Then he says" just my luck when we got to the relatives house they were celebrating a birthday party. Can you believe my luck?". He sounded so mortified I just had to laugh because for those who know Arvid, knows that he still does not like this kind of stuff. He does not like large family gatherings. Too bad because I have a large family so when there is one we
go and truthfully I don't hear him complaining. Of course a party for Arvid is 4 people anything more and then he starts to not be too happy.
Being Indian, part of our culture is large gatherings. For us a party is 20+ at one time. Anything less is just considered a small gathering. Took Arvid a while to figure this out. I just wonder how he will fare at my cousins wedding,
Back to his family, he said when they saw him they started crying and hugging him. He was not too happy with this because as he said."I did not know these people". When I met Arvid he was also not used to to expressing himself too much as in hugging others. Again I come from a very warm family so like it or not he was hugged all the time and now he hugs back.
After the emotional greeting with his " American" family Arvid was very ready to bolt, but they did not wish to hear about it. In fact Arvid told me that they wanted him to stay with them. They even offered him a job as a farmer. Nothing wrong with that, but the last thing Arvid is, is a farmer. Just the idea must have terrified him. Imagine your first trip to the USA, seeing New York, California and living the dream many wanted and to be asked if you wanted to stay back and be a farmer?
All Arvid could think of was how do we get out of there and the faster the better. All he and his friend wanted to do was to continue on their tour of the USA and not think of becoming farmers. Arvid says they somehow managed to "escape" without hurting anyone's feelings.
While he tells me the story I just can't stop laughing. Every time I hear it I laugh because I know him. Nothing scares him as much as a family gathering. Just the mention of it and his face takes on this expression of how did I ever get into this and how can I get myself out.
They continued their US tour with a few mishaps, but seems they had the time of their lives. Arvid said money was short so every other night they slept in the car. In many cases the cops always seemed to be around asking questions as to "is there a problem gentlemen?" Arvid said once the cops even told them that a better place to sleep, if they were going to sleep in the car was so and so place. This way the cops said they could keep an eye on them and make sure they (Arvid and friend) were safe. Because it is "a bad area" as the cops said.
After many more adventures they made it to New York and to a dealership where they sold the car, recovered most of their money and made it back to their home in Norway with memories that was to last a lifetime.
This was just the beginning for Arvid. He has now been in the US for over 20 years and it now his home together with Brutus and I. We continue to travel and hopefully will do so for years and years to come...
When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money...
until next time...