During the 80s and 90s, Leonard and Katie Worth hosted an exchange student from Denmark named Annie Nielsen; in 2011 the couple made a trip to Denmark to visit her....
During the 80s and 90s, Leonard and Katie Worth called Redwood Falls their home.
During that time, they raised a family, and during one special year the Worths hosted an exchange student from Denmark named Annie Nielsen.
The Worths, who now call Cambridge home, have kept in contact with their exchange daughter over the years, and in 2011 the couple made a trip to Denmark to visit her.
The trip truly was a family adventure, as both Leonard and Katie also met up with some of their ancestors in Denmark and Norway while in Europe.
This past Tuesday the couple presented a travelogue of their trip at the Redwood Falls Public Library, providing information about everything from agriculture to art.
“We have always followed our culture and heritage,” said Leonard, adding they first started making contact with family in Norway and Denmark in 1989.
Communication began be-tween those in Norway and Denmark and the Worths, and the question kept coming up.
When were they going to make the trip?
In February 2011, the pressure increased, and after making all sorts of excuses, Leonard admitted they ran out of reasons and started looking at prices.
“They even told us they would send money to have us come,” said Leonard. “We told them they would not pay for our trip. If we were going to go we would pay for it ourselves.”
Katie began watching prices, and determined the time was right for them to pull the trigger.
So in July 2011 they boarded a plane for Denmark from Minneapolis International Air-port and landed in Copenhagen.
Denmark, said Leonard, is about one-fifth of the size of Minnesota, saying if one were to draw a line from the Twin Cities west to the South Dakota border, everything below the line all the way to Iowa would be the equivalent size of of Denmark.
After arriving in Denmark the couple met up with Annie Nielsen who lives in Holbaek, which is also the town where she grew up.
Today, said Katie, Annie works with an after-school program for youth, and she has a family of her own, including two children – one son and one daughter. The couple stayed with Annie and her family, and enjoyed all of what it means to be part of the culture.
“One of the things I was determined to do was have nothing that was made in America from the time we arrived until the time we left,” said Leonard, adding he truly wanted to experience another culture.
While Leonard said the European tradition does not include going to church Sunday, Nielsen made it a point to show them the church they attended, as well as the Christian school where her kids were enrolled.
When Nielsen had arrived in Redwood Falls she was not used to attending church, and even though she did not attend regularly, it appears the Worths had an impact on her.
One of the characteristics of both Norway and Denmark was the amount of art on display throughout the nations.
Leonard said he really appreciated that about his visit, adding perhaps that is something we as a nation could learn from for the future.
After visiting with Katie’s relatives in Denmark and seeing the sites, the couple boarded a ship bound for Norway. Leonard pointed out the ship served Norwegian food for those heading to Norway. On the return trip it served Danish cuisine.
While both have an agricultural economy, Leonard said Norway’s agriculture included corn, not for food, but for the many dairy herds scattered across the countryside.
As guests of their families, Leonard reiterated the fact that they wanted to do things the way their relatives did them.
“We wanted to give a good impression of Americans, be-cause we know that is not always apparent,” said Leonard.
During their trip, the couple experienced ethnic food, and at a family reunion ate food, in-cluding moose and reindeer.
Both Leonard and Katie said they very much enjoyed their visit, adding they were glad they finally made the trip and experienced a different way of life.