Nils Anders on the town: Poulsbo, Wash.
Hello readers! It’s been a while since I wrote to you, so I wanted to fill you in on some of what I’ve been doing these past few months.
I continue to have a great time with my adopted family here at The Norwegian American. Molly and Chloe have taken me a lot of fun places. I got to learn about bunader (us little people never wore them, so it’s all new to me) and try my hand at skiing. I got to meet a lot of young people who are learning about Norway. And I even had front-row seats for a Syttende Mai parade here in Seattle. Big parade! To see some of these adventures, visit me on Instagram (@NAWnisse)
Recently Emily took me on an outing to Poulsbo, which is a very Nordic town across the fjord from Seattle. We rode on a ferry to get there!
On entering the town we immediately saw a lot of Norwegian flags. I thought it seemed a lot like home; perhaps I’d find some of my siblings here.
The very first storefront I saw had a familiar name on it!
I never knew Thor personally, back in the day. But everyone knew of him. It made me sad to see that he too had fallen on hard times.
Next we went into a shop called The Nordic Maid, which was filled with all kinds of things from home. I met a couple of friends there, including these nisser who turned out to be from two farms over!
The big guy in the red hat (Berhard) told me a harrowing story of his journey to the new world. He and his brothers were tricked by a weaver (apparently this kind of thing happened all the time!), and they were unraveled and re-woven into a sweater that was worn over and over again. Unlike me, he/they (because Berhard contained all the memories of his brothers and himself) was conscious the whole time. He was worn until he frayed, and then unwoven and re-made into yet another sweater. And then finally he was thrown into a trunk and pitched and rolled across the sea and waited in the dark for decades, slowly being picked at by moths, until one day, like magic, he found himself restored to a physical form. Finally. But there was a catch: they were all still wrapped together in one body! Berhard’s story didn’t always make a lot of sense. It was as though he couldn’t agree with himself on all the points. I felt for him. But at least he had company!
After that I was kind of sad, so I went down the street to Sluy’s Poulsbo Bakery and got one of these fabulous Viking cookies, which cheered me right up.
The next place I stopped in on was Marina Market. I’d heard a lot about this little shop and its collection of licorice before, and indeed as soon as I walked inside I was hit with the smell of celebration. They even have a shrine made of licorice!
But they don’t only carry licorice, and they don’t only carry products from Norway. I was enchanted by the large variety of beer and groceries from all over Europe.
Walking out the door, you run right into this fierce mural. Wow! Vikings!
My next stop was a cute bookstore, Liberty Bay Books. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for in there, but one thing I found was a whole section of Scandinavian books (in English). Yay! In fact, there were a lot of things to say “Yay!” about in that shop.
All together, Poulsbo was a lot of fun. In terms of my search, all it did was put things in perspective. I love the company of all these new people, big and little, but I miss my close family. No one knows you like they do. On the other hand, I’m glad they’re not all in my head all the time. There isn’t room in there for all that!
Take care, Berhard. I hope someone buys you soon so you can go on a new adventure!
To subscribe to the Norwegian American, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.