My Story - Elizabeth Curtiss
Published: August 13, 2017
Going to Skogfjorden changed my perspective and the direction my life has taken. When I was in grade school, I wanted to become a writer or a doctor. I loved math and reading. I loved playing my violin, and I figured that I would probably follow one of those paths. I was also terribly anxious in social situations and really believed that I was going to have one or two friends in my life, but that was about it. I decided to go to Skogfjorden because I always thought it was sad that my grandmother's parents followed her teacher's advice and stopped speaking Norwegian to her in the home. She always kept her connection to Norwegian culture, but the language was gone, and that bothered me. When I heard about Skogfjorden, I thought this is a place where I can learn the language that was lost. Little did I know the real impact Skogfjorden would have on my life.
Going to Skogfjorden for the first time was like finding my people. It was a culture and atmosphere where I felt at home. The kids in my cabin and activities were goofy and fun, interested in learning, and welcoming. I kept coming back summer after summer and realized that Skogfjorden was so much more than a place where I could learn Norwegian. I started working there when I was 18, with no intention of ever becoming a teacher, but then I learned that I really enjoyed finding new and creative ways to teach the language and the culture. I began to feel like I was really making a difference. I went to school and lived in various places, but every summer I would come back to Skogfjorden. It has become my base and my jumping off point.
At this point in my life I can honestly say that Skogfjorden and the connections I have made there have shaped my life. Instead of becoming a doctor or violinist, I became a teacher, published author, translator, and business owner. Instead of feeling like I would only ever have one or two friends, I have realized that I have one or two friends in multiple cities and multiple countries around the world. Because of Skogfjorden I have met and worked with people from major industries and government agencies from multiple countries. Maybe most importantly, because of Skogfjorden I have become a more compassionate and worldly individual. It is pretty amazing to realize that the wish of connecting to my family's language has led to so many adventures and accomplishments and connections around the world!