Karina Snare Daily’s grandfather built the house she now lives with her husband and two children in Edmonds, north of Seattle. He came from Svelvik, the grandmother from Odda, other grandmother from Lofoten and last grandfather from a small village called Snare in Kongsvinger near the Swedish border.
– I took one of those DNA tests. It said: "You are 100% Norwegian!" Karina laughs.
Karina says that when her grandmother from Odda came to America, she was not at all interested in becoming American.
– She did not like the English language and did not want to assimilate into society.
Therefore, Karina experienced a lot of Norwegian in her childhood: – Grandma and Grandpa had a very Norwegian home. Food, decorations, everything was Norwegian. We went to Leif Eriksson Hall three times a week. So I grew up with a lot of Norwegian culture around me. We said "god jul" and "julenisse." We sang "Ja vi elsker" and Christmas songs.
Today, Karina has dug out something quite special she got from her grandmother, two Hardanger bunads. One for a woman and one for a little girl. Karina’s daughter Kaia, 2, is really excited about trying on the dress. Karina does not have bunad shoes, but some strappy sandals work fine for her. Kaia first tries on some cowboy boots but ends up with a pair of small rosemaled clogs. Mother and daughter go outside in the street with their bunads to take some pictures.
Karina wishes she had kept in better contact with her Norwegian roots.
– I’m still quite annoyed at my mother because she didn’t teach me to speak Norwegian.
Karina thinks she tends to idolize Norwegian society. She talks about how the American food industry makes people unhealthy and sick and thinks Norwegians seem to have healthier conditions both for nature and food production.
– Politically, I like to call myself neutral, but I’m worried about where our country is heading. We have a lot of insecurity about education, health care, and the social safety net. Large parts of the United States are worse than developing countries, where people live without very basic necessities like clean water.
Outside in the street, huge SUVs drive slowly past mother and daughter in their colorful costumes.
– I feel that I do not give my children "enough" Norwegian American culture, only American. I have a little bad conscience for that. I enjoyed relating to my Norwegian culture as a child. I was fascinated about where my family came from and the story of their migration. I would like for my children to also have this connection with their heritage.