I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth.-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Mona's Musings

March 29th, 2011

Norway: Of Seas and Sails and Dreams

Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you. ~Marsha Norman

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Nearly fifteen years ago, I became enraptured with my family history: one line in particular. A string of sailor-grandfathers they had accumulated real life-and-death adventures like most people collect books or postcards. My overactive imagination ignited and I spent years seriously investigating, not only their personal lives, but nautical history itself. Our home filled up with books, papers, letters, model ships, fine art, seashells and lighthouses. I painted everything blue – even the new carpet was blue: our Florida pool  drained and re-coated so that it took on a stunning aspect out the sliding glass doors. My aspiration was to write a historical fiction based on one g-g-g-grandfather in particular – something I still hope to do. I had traveled to all the American ports he’d touched just to further my research, but without a trip to China or Scotland, I’d gone about as “fer” as I could go. That is, until Sea Trek.

It took only a day or two after hearing about an upcoming historic crossing of the Atlantic by two tall ships – from European ports to New York — before my honey had signed me on as crew. I still wonder where he got the money back then, but in his mind, that was not the issue. He was fixated on making my dreams come true — an ideal I had not even specifically articulated – he just knew it and he just did it. Can you imagine that? He sent me off to Bermuda, duffel bag in hand, to join the voyage (commemorating the emigration of our European Mormon ancestors) for its last 600 nautical miles. The year was 2001 — and the month was October — days after 9/11. My ship, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl, would sail straight down the Hudson, past Ground Zero, and anchor in New York harbor — if they would let us.

We bulldozed our way through a one heck of a storm, all twenty-two sails straining to wrangle the hefty breezes, propelled toward our open ending.  I credit my imagination, which was in top form after years of reading and studying photographs and movies (or perhaps I’m a Viking if you go far enough back) to the illustrious fact that I was the only one in the amateur crew of 100 who could keep a meal down! Over and over again, they put me on bow watch, with a rotating partner, since few  could “stomach” that position for long — the plunging and the rising being so dramatic in current conditions.

The real drama however, lie ahead of us. We glided into New York, the only ship allowed to do so that day: the solemn and tension-filled city distrusted all strangers. Our poignant night, alone in that vast harbor, usually one of the world’s busiest, made us sad and made us heady. What else could we do but dance? Later, in the early hours of morning, while the lights of the Manhattan glistened to starboard, and Lady Liberty radiated port side, I finally fell asleep with my friends on deck, dreaming of my Dale and how much I loved him for this.

He waited in the city for me, a tranquil October moon blessing both of us.

Clearly, my husband considers it his life’s mission, his delight, his passion, to make my dreams come true — even the still, silent ones that never pass from heart to lips. Like now, like Europe. We live in London. We have been to Jerusalem, Athens, Barcelona, and Brussels. Next we will be in Budapest and Paris. After that, I will go with him to Munich, Stockholm, Salzburg, Vienna, and Rome. Close to the end of our stay here, we will return to Tel Aviv and have a week in the South of France. It is his work that carries us to places I never hoped to be in, but that is why he works. For us. For me. For our children. For our grandchildren. For dreams.

Our visit to Norway last week was spectacular to say the least. It won’t surprise you that I spent my free day in Oslo at the Viking Ship Museum, the Kon Tiki Museum, the Norwegian National Maritime Museum, and the Fram (famous Polar vessel) Museum. After that, Dale was keen on getting to Bergen, which we did by way of “Norway in a Nutshell” — an excursion on buses, trains and and ferry through the fjords (see previous Musing: “Norway’s Sognefjord: Too Beautiful For Words“). Bergen itself is all charm, despite it’s three hundred days of rain, and I was all too happy the next morning to venture out into the puddles and mist as long as I could share an umbrella with Dale. But we didn’t stroll leisurely down cobbled lanes — I had to step lively to keep my head dry. My man was on a mission.

With a twist here and a turn there, we suddenly stood at Bergen’s harbor, which, predictably, was lined with boats and yachts of all varieties, bundled up for winter. I reacted as I always do to that particular scene:my breathing stops and my heart races. At this marina, I added tears to the rain drops.

Straight ahead — towering over the wharf, the boats, the buildings, even the mountains — in all her glory, in all her splendor, in all her majesty, in all my dreams — stood the Statsraad Lehmkuhl.

Dale had remembered that Bergen was her home.

And brought me here.

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For lots more pictures from our visit to Norway visit
Mona’s Musings on Facebook
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To experience the Sea Trek adventure with me visit
My Very Own Voyage

Hint of Romance

Caring about one another’s dreams while living a common one is what marriage is all about.

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Discussion

  1. jane says:

    Wonderful to read about your adventures!

  2. Bri Z. says:

    I’m glad Dale and you are our examples in this. I’m so grateful for a husband who cares about my dream of finishing school. We’ve been cosupports to each other for almost three years trying to graduate together with our bachelors, and now, he’s making it possible for me to finish up right after him in December (at the same time as incorperating our little addition to the family).

    There is no way I can do fall semester without him, but he’s rearranged so many things to make it possible, because he can tell how important it is to me: from taking a 1 hour lunch break from work 3 times a week so he can watch our little guy while I’m in my one day-time class, to keeping him outside my two time a week afternoon class so I can feed him between classes, to caring for our newborn at home twice a week so I can attend my night classes. This not even mentioning all the other things he does to support us financially and emotionally right now. I can’t seem to count my blessings enough: that he has made my dreams his, as important to him as his own dreams.

  3. Heidi says:

    What a neat interest, and that your husband is so wonderful and thoughtful to do such amazing things! This was such a sweet post in so many ways, a reminder of what I would like to have. I love reading of your experiences that show how much you are loved, and am so happy for you that you have him in your life!

  4. Debbi says:

    this brought tears to my eyes.

    hugs,
    Debbi

  5. maritza ardila- perez says:

    ” you are never alone” I love of your wonderful notes. You are loved and bless to have a wonderful husband who care and Jesus loves both you for the marvellous examples to couples, and many more. To conclude ” you are never alone” Love both of you xxx

  6. sue simper says:

    Incredible!!! I can’t believe you found your ship! Who in the world would have guessed where you’d be just 10 years later – traveling the world together. You have charmed lives – I’ve always known it. Charmed because of all your hard work and passions, and because you and Dale make such a dynamic duo. Love you guys!

  7. Sara Lyn says:

    This is one of the sweetest love stories. Thank you for being willing to share such inspiring stories. They make me more and more grateful for my own husband, who is the most incredible husband. He helps make my dreams come true! And we love living our dream together. It’s such a beautiful life.

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