Saturday mornings have become a new routine…check that, every other Saturday morning. Usually, we could go for weeks, sometimes months without making it up to the city. After all, it’s a good hour drive away. Not so anymore. There’s a Norwegian Seaman’s Church just a block up from Ghirardelli Square and a few hilly blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf. This church/community center must have one of the best views of Alcatraz Island in the bay. It’s mesmerizing. Gazing at the bay from the building’s large picture windows is like watching a painting with tiny parts moving unexpectedly. One moment, you’re staring at the scene, the next you’re wondering what just moved. But I digress…we’re not here for the view (though it is a great one).
It’s not easy making sure your children learn and keep much of their parents’ heritage, living here in the States. While I am Filipino, we never visited the Philippines while growing up, neither did we speak Tagalog in the house. It was much later in life that I rued the fact that I’d lost much of my parents’ traditions. Our children are half-Norwegian and half-Filipino-American. We certainly don’t want the girls to lose touch with their Norwegian side.
Living over 5,000 miles away from Norway, it falls to my husband to keep all the traditions and customs alive for them. Yes, they understand the language – thanks to their Pappa. Yes, we have traveled several times to the country. And while my husband teaches them what he can through storybooks and songs at bedtime and makes favorite dishes from his childhood, there’s nothing like a bit of extra support through live events with the (sorta) local Norwegian community. Every Saturday morning, the pastor and his staff put on Smaarollingene – an hour of children’s songs and bible stories all in Norwegian. It’s a wonderful hour with all the kids and parents singing along while sitting on pillows on the floor in a circle.
Afterwards, we head upstairs to enjoy traditional delicious Norwegian fare that might include hot rice porridge flavored with butter and cinnamon, soft heart-shaped waffles with raspberry jam, lox, scrambled eggs, krumkake, and more. This bi-weekly event is such a charming taste of Norway, I’m almost tempted to start my language lessons so I know what they’re saying. Almost, that is.
Cross-posted at Silicon Valley Moms Blog.