Happy Birthday Ingvild

One of my six granddaughters, Ingvild Rishovd, turned thirteen on August 24, 2011. She was born and raised in Norway and has recently taken a real interest in writing in English.Mind you, she has been diagnosed with ADHD, but when Ingvild sets her mind to do something, watch out world.

To help Ingvild celebrate her birthday, plans were made to spend one-on-one time with her mom—our adopted Norwegian daughter, Bente Skalstad—in Venice, Italy. What follows is Ingvild’s story— in her words— of her summer holiday:

This summer I didn’t do much, although I did get my first dog, Vikki. That forced me to at stay home to train and socialize her. Vikki is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She joined our family a few weeks before Summer Holiday. Because of her super cuteness, neighbors would pop up for a quick visit almost every day. One of my neighbors, Lena, was one of those many visitors. Not just because of Vikki, but to watch Ugly Betty with me. I have all the seasons on DVD and we ended up watching two episodes every day.

My mom and I went to Venice two weeks later. We prepared ourselves by watching The Tourist. My mom fell asleep halfway through the movie and the only reason I didn’t join her was because I wanted to see Johnny Depp run on the roof top in his pajamas.

We rented three movies from iTunes for mom’s iPad on our plane trip to Venice. The plane was delayed, so we sat there for a couple of hours, which wasn’t good for me. My playlist had only five songs in it. But we did finally board the plane and Venice was just around the corner. We finished watching the first movie just before we landed, but it was in the middle of the night. The streets were empty and Venice seemed like a quiet place. That is, until we woke up.

Venice wasn’t so quiet after all. It was full of tourists, birds and, old buildings and churches, which means lots of history. The first thing we did was take a little trip around Saint Mark’s square to the Rialto Bridge. Then we took a ride on a gondola. After that, we ate some pasta (which was almost the only thing we ate during the whole trip). We just walked back and forth for the rest of the day, except when I wanted to sit in the hotel room and relax. (Mom didn’t like it when I wanted to relax.)

We visited The Doge’s Palace the next day. The Palace has thousands of beautiful rooms and lots of paintings. We had to turn and read many pages in our guide-book to learn the whole story. We ate some really good pizza, but we didn’t eat the whole thing, saving the rest in a doggy bag. It was fun to walk around and look in all the stores which were full of carnival masks and glass. We also took a trip around the islands. They were all very nice and very different from each other. The last island, the Lido, was the only island with CARS, and water that you could actually swim in. It has a very nice beach there.

Mom bought a book for me, which I hadn’t started reading. I thought it looked a bit boring but I wanted to give it a shot. We sat on the beach and read. I was kind of right about the book being boring but I hadn’t read any books except Twilight the past six months, so I was a bit desperate. When we got back to the hotel we watched one episode of 30 Rock on mom’s iPad. I couldn’t fall asleep that night because I was so hungry. We had leftover pizza in the mini fridge, so I took it out carefully so I wouldn’t wake up mom and ate it in the bathroom.

On day number three, we visited a big beautiful church with lots of amazing art and paintings. We later went to the Venice Biennale. It has lots of modern art that didn’t make any sense to me. I was reading most of the day when we weren’t walking. Mom wanted to take the boat through the Grand Canal during the night. She hoped there would be beautiful lights from all the houses in the canal. But she found out most of the houses were empty.

The fourth and last day, we took one last Gondola ride. But taking a ride early in the morning wasn’t that smart. The garbage boats were taking out the trash and it smelled awful. On the boat to the airport we met a Norwegian from Bergen, who really, really liked to talk. She was traveling alone and needed some company. We finally got rid of her when we took our seats on the plane.

When we got home, Vikki had grown a lot. She also had gotten into the habit of chasing our pet rabbit, Lurve. And eating his food, which he wasn’t too happy about. Lena and I kept on watching Ugly Betty. I finished reading my boring book. But mom had bought me another book and three books for my sister, Silje. I finished the next book pretty fast. But I took one of Silje’s books and kept it safe from her claws. Mom bought three other books for me. I finished the first one, but the other two books were boring. So I read the book I stole from Silje. It took me one morning to finish it. It was way more interesting than the first one.

I was really lazy the next two weeks when I didn’t have a book to read. But I got a new one when Vikki and I went with dad to his office in Oslo. That one went way fast too. Vikki had a big fan club at dad’s office, no matter how many times she peed on the floor. She was definitely popular.

Lena spent time in Molde during the summer, so I didn’t see her a lot until the end of the summer. Instead, a little girl named Julie, who had found out where we lived, came EVERYDAY to see Vikki and cuddle her to death. Luckily, Erle-Marlene moved in next door with her puppy Ziro. She saved the last week of summer from being total boredom. Now the summer holiday is over and school has begun. Let’s just hope Julie won’t pop up just as much.”

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  1. Bente Skalstad says:

    As you can understand, I am a very proud mother of this master understatements and her ability to describe the world like it really is (through her eyes). Since she was very little she has been able to pinpoint people and situations very accurately, which has has both impressed us and given us many good laughs over the years.

    The girl in yellow, with our dog Vikki, is my other daugther, Silje.

  2. Jackie Hendershott says:


    You and Helen have such interesting and beautiful granddaughters. Thanks for sharing.

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