Norwegian Troll

Jolly Troll doll bought in Oslo, Norway. I have a Norwegian sister. When I was a senior, my family was selected to host the first American Field Service exchange student in my high school; a foreigner was coming to live with us for a full year! We picked up Merete at the airport. Blond, of course. English speaking, although when tired or facing a question she didn’t understand, she just said, “Yes.” The first night she ate with us there was some confusion when Mother said she was full. “What?!” It turns out “full” in Norwegian means drunk.

We had a fabulous year. She taught us to knit patterns into sweaters. The basement bedrooms flooded and we three older girls slept in the recreation room in an extended slumber party. She was elected HomeComing Queen, went through several boyfriends, got contact lenses, and totally bonded with us, especially my mother.

When she left at the end of the year, I was among many of my classmates, seeing her off. We were crying. One of the male Terry’s (remember there were 3 of them in my class) said, “What do you think? You’re going to get together in Norway? You’ll probably never see each other again.” He wasn’t mean, just realistic, but I vowed that wouldn’t be true. And it wasn’t.

The next year my entire family went to Europe for the first time, meeting Merete in Paris. We traveled through Germany, Switzerland, and into Northern Italy where a group of young soldiers almost jumped into our VW van through the sunroof when they saw us sunbathing in bikinis. Eventually we made it up to Norway where we spent a week with her family and I fell in crush with Olaf Brinkmannhansen. There were tears again when we parted.

But we have been together many times. Merete came to a wedding. When I left the theater in Germany for good, Mother and I went to Norway to meet Merete’s husband, and their two daughters. Her family came to the States. Mother, my husband and I went there.

The ties have loosened a little now, even with skype, but what a wonderful friendship. I am grateful to the American Field Service for sending Merete to us!


  1. How lucky you were to meet! I’m sure Merete must be prettier than your troll — though he has a charm of his own too 🙂

  2. Turid says:

    And we are grateful for knowing you!
    How great it is to have our own American family 🙂

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