by Christina Schöneck

On Sunday, against 5 p.m., I received the message from a-ha.com that I am invited to the award of the Order of St. Olav. I had read that much later. I had not been expecting that after I applied on Thursday at a-ha.com. Because I received a rejection on Saturday when I registered at first. I was almost sick with excitement when Sunday at 7 p.m. I read the message:

“Hello Christina, someone who was chosen to attend the ceremony on Tuesday has said they can not make it. Therefore I am able to offer you a seat! ….”

Yeah! But, is that even possible? Can I do that? It was my birthday on 6th of November and these year I invited no one. Actually perfect for traveling. After finding out that the flights were overpriced from Hamburg so I already got a bad mood. For almost € 1,000 to Oslo and back?

Luckily, I received support from many friends on Facebook, which crawled with me the internet. By train to Oslo, via Color Line to Oslo, to fly to Oslo everything was there. Then the correct flight was found: arrival on Monday evening, overnight stay and then the next night back. But from Berlin.

Then – problems with internet booking and my credit card – I made it at 23.55 on Sunday evening.

But I had not packed my suitcase, still attract no idea what I could wear at such an event and I really wanted to color my hair. But I had to sleep urgently looking after 5 hours online for the travel!

I have not slept well. It was more of a wake-sleep with short nodding off with a strange dream about butterflies, which was divided in the middle and still more fluttered. Scary. Completely whacked, but with heart-palpitation I got out of bed the next morning. I brought my daughter to kindergarten, packed my bag with several options for appropriate clothing for the occasion. Everything bad more than good, but in such a short time … At 11:30 noon I took the train to Hamburg. In the luggage a sandwich, which I will eat all day because I barely got a bite down, but I always try to eat. At 5 p.m. I went flying out of Berlin-Tegel to Oslo. Even overlooking the Oslo Gardermoen Airport I got a warm feeling and the memories of the weekend in September came back. Nice to be here again! Starting with flytoget to the city center, and from there to the hotel with a view of the spectrum: again memories that rose up in me! Against 8 p.m. I was finally relaxed and was looking forward to the two-hour visit with a friend. The view over Oslo at night is amazing. How beautiful all lit up looks! I was so tired that I had to go to bed early. And I knew that I would not sleep the next night for long. Luckily I was able against 11 p.m. go to bed and had a wonderful sleep without dreams – until my alarm woke me up at 8 a.m.

I opted for the hopefully right outfit for that special occasion and went for breakfast. However, I got down barely a bite. I watched on TV at breakfast room, the election in the U.S. Almost too early, I checked out and sat around in the lobby. It had been -6 degrees in the morning. My friend told me the night before to go by foot to Gamle Logen. It is indeed just around the corner. But only in a dress walking? As now the receptionist said that a taxi was unnecessary, I opted for the walk, which ultimately was not even cold.

I arrived about twenty minutes before the venue should start, but was not the first. I came straight to the first German fans and joined them. There are other people standing at the entrance, possibly friends of the three. I saw no one I recognized. Then I saw a fan from France again, greeted her and for a photo with fans that I did not know, I stood in it. Then we were allowed to go inside. What time it was, I do not remember. My heart started to race and I was sick again. It was kind of funny to call my name at the entrance for the guest list and then to be greeted and invited inside. I was on the same list as family and friends. Really unbelieveable!

The Gamle Logen is an impressive building. Inviting large carpeted stairs. And I remembered gold and velvet. On the first floor we could leave our wardrobe. In front of me Mortens father and Ingunn went upstairs. I thought that happened not in reality. However, the first face I knew was Erik. He sat on the ground floor with a man engrossed in conversation. On the second floor we came into a room in which were offered champagne and appetizers. Prosecco was just the right at that moment. But I could not eat something. The lobby looked very festive, with red curtains and small chandeliers and columns. Noticeable were the media people with film and photo cameras. I realized more fans, saw Karl, Magne’s mother and Morten’s brothers. It was really surreal. We thought about what would happen after the ceremony, and after some time we were allowed to enter and went through the doors to the hall. The room was gigantic beautiful. Five huge chandelier, maybe 100 red velvet chairs, placed in two groups in rows with a center aisle, columns on the right and left side of the hall. At the end of the room was the stage with a lectern and four chairs. The stage was framed in a semicircular vault. The stage was decorated with colorful flowers. Really impressive!

The chairs were not labeled. All were allowed to sit where they wanted. I did not know where to go and so just went behind the other fans. In the end, I was sitting in the fourth row between two people I did not even know properly and after ceremony I will liked so much.

It was so exciting that I cannot tell how long we sat there until finally Morten, Magne and Paul entered. All are accompanied by their wives and their kids, although not all kids. Magne was sitting on my side with his family, while Morten and Paul sat on the other side. I could admire all the time Magne’s back of the head. Of course, they were greeted with a standing ovation.

After everyone was seated, first four violin players sat down on the chairs on stage, were playing wonderful melodies. Then – one by one – the four speakers came on stage. Terry Slater was for me a real highlight. I was really touched by his speech, and that not only because he was the only one I could understand. Then time came: Morten, Magne and Paul were called. They looked really smart. Morten was (still) in his stage outfit of September 🙂 So it was very difficult to him to put the order to the thick leather jacket. It was a special moment as the three came together on stage. As I saw the three arm in arm – like after a concert, I got goosebumps. This was a picture that I will probably never see again. I am particularly pleased that Paul was there. He still exists. I hope he comes back musically! Morten gave a short speech, even without glasses. Unfortunately, Magne and Paul did not speak. I would have liked to have heard them talk.

Somehow part of the presentation ceremony was relatively fast. Right after the media had taken photos, the three left the hall. We passed with great applause. Then we went out of that memorable hall. We all asked ourselves what was going on now. When we arrived in the lobby, but nobody of them were there. So we took pictures of the room and we went down stairs and outside. And ….? It was snowing. Thick white flakes as at 4th of December 2010! Everything was white. We agreed to meet in a cafe and sat there – international – together. It was so fun and nice to get to know all these people. Something I appreciate very much! Unfortunately I had to leave at half past five already, because of my flight to Berlin. I just did not go away. I would want to stick around and still want to talk to the others. Then, when someone made the start and got up, I went, but only after a long farewell with exchanging e-mail addresses. When I sat on the plane, I was sad to leave this beautiful city, this beautiful country again. In Berlin, I was picked up by a friend from the airport and we were celebrating with two other friends my birthday in a memorable beautiful hotel in Berlin! I stayed in Berlin, although after two and a half hours of sleep you cannot probably talk about stay. At half past five in the morning I had to get up again to come in time to take the train directly to work.

The 6th of November 2012, my 37th Birthday, was truly a memorable day: Obama was re-elected and our three Norwegians were named knights. And I could be there! Thanks!


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