DC fifth graders visit Norway’s Embassy
A year of learning about Norway concludes with performances, gifts, and waffles
Christine Foster Meloni
More than 70 embassies in Washington, D.C., participated in the Embassy School Adoption Program this past year. The fifth-grade class of Angela Isom at Burrville Elementary School was paired with the Norwegian Embassy. Urd Milbury, the embassy’s Cultural and Information Officer, visited the school several times during the year to introduce the children to various aspects of Norwegian culture.
At the end of the school year, the class was invited to the embassy. Milbury warmly greeted the excited children upon their arrival. They were then officially welcomed by Minister Marius Dirdal, Deputy Chief of Mission, the official representative of Ambassador Aas, who was away.
The children began their program with a very impressive a cappella rendition of the Norwegian national anthem.
Salaysia then led her classmates in a rousing cheer. “Give me an N!” she shouted. “N!!!” the students responded. The cheer ended with, “What does that spell?” “NORWAY!!!”
They then simulated a trip to Norway and commented on what they were seeing, revealing how much they had learned about the country.
Next, each child shared a special memory from the year’s experience. A sampling of these memories follows.
My most exciting memory was…
Teon: when Ms. Urd brought her kids to our classroom and told us about schools in Norway.
Naylynn: when we had waffles at our Christmas-around-the-World Celebration.
Angel: making the welcome sign and flag streamers for Ms. Urd when she came for her first visit.
Shmya: when we made Christmas ornaments during Christmas time.
At the conclusion of the program the children gave Milbury a lovely bouquet of flowers. Thanking the children, she told them how much she had enjoyed working with them and how impressed she was with their final program. She was very proud of them.
They also presented Minister Dirdal with a beautiful Norwegian flag that they had made out of colored tissue paper. He was very moved by this gift and said that he would display it proudly on the wall of his office.
Then it was time for lunch. The chef had prepared a typical Norwegian meal with a choice of three different kinds of sandwiches (turkey, tuna, and ham & cheese), chips, and strawberries.
The children were most thrilled when the waffles were brought out for dessert. Milbury explained to them again that Norwegians eat waffles either with jam (usually strawberry) or sour cream or both jam and sour cream. They could eat theirs in any way they chose!
The acting chef was Asgeir Barlaup, an embassy intern from Bergen. As soon as he learned that he would be making waffles for the children, he contacted his grandmother in Hamar, Norway. She sent him the family waffle recipe, and we were given permission to publish it.
Asgeir’s Grandmother’s Waffles
7 tbsps. melted butter
2 ½ cups flour
2 cups + 1.5 tbsps. milk
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. baking powder
5 tsps. sugar
2 tbsps. sour cream
Barlaup has fond memories of his grandmother making these waffles for him and his two brothers while they were growing up.
Also present at the program were two representatives of the Washington Performing Arts, sponsors of the Embassy School Adoption Program, Trisha Taylor, Assistant Director of Education, and Raynetta Wiggins, Manager of Choir Curriculum and Performance.
To read about Urd teaching these children Norwegian Christmas crafts, visit www.norwegianamerican.com/neighborhood/dc-fifth-graders-learn-norway.
Christine Foster Meloni is professor emerita at The George Washington University. She has degrees in Italian literature, linguistics, and international education. She was born in Minneapolis and currently lives in Washington, D.C. She values her Norwegian heritage.
This article originally appeared in the July 13, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.