(CNN) — When Ida Skibenes pulled up outside the Solstrand Hotel, her stomach quivered between tension and excitement. was
Solstrand is one of Norway's most beautiful hotels, just outside Bergen, surrounded by fjords and over 125 years old.
Each year Ida's Bergen-based workplace camps around dreamy Solstrand for a few days of her remote work. rice field. That year, 2014, was the year Ida first joined the company. Her colleague intimidated her with Solstrand's story, which aroused her. But her excitement wasn't about leaving the city and relaxing in the mountains. It was all about Hannah Ardal.
Hannah was Ida's colleague. When Ida joined the company, the two hit it off right away, but they were in different places in life. At the time, Ida was married and focused on settling into her relationship and her new job. Hannah, on the other hand, was a single parent with her teenage daughter who had just moved to America to study for a year.
But as the months passed, their situation changed. Ida's relationship fell apart and she divorced. Hannah got used to her daughter being abroad and interacting with her colleagues made her spend a lot of time. Over time, Hannah and Ida became close friends.
"Our energies are aligned," says Ida. "When Hannah was at work, she always had more fun at work."
"I think we had a similar sense of humor, so We became instant friends," Hannah says.
Hannah and Ida started a fun side project together. It's a short mockumentary in the vein of 'The Office' that showcases their workplace quirks. The film was to be screened at Solstrand's hideout.
Norway's historic Solstrand Hotel played an important role in Hannah and Ida's relationship.
The two began working on projects after hours and sharing regular dinners and drinks. They messaged regularly, often texting each other good night.
Looking back on this time today, Ida and Hannah suggest that they were "dating without realizing it."
"I was used to dating men and never dated women," says Hannah. "Looking back, it's clear we had feelings for each other."
Ida wasn't sure Hannah would accept dating women . And she didn't know if her feelings were rewarded or if it was all in her head. Yet Ida, she felt, was a sign that the relationship was much more than that.
A few weeks before the trip to Solstrand, the two stayed up late at Hannah's house chatting. When she suggested Ida should go to her house at 2 am, Hannah took Ida's hand and asked her not to leave. It felt like a "turning point," at least for Ida. But she just left. Since we were both drinking, we felt that this conversation should be handled differently.
Ida decided that Solstrand was the perfect opportunity. Especially when Ida and Hannah are accidentally chosen to room together.
"I had a crush on Hannah for her. I definitely had a crush on her," she says, Ida. "But if it was all in my head, I had to make it clear. And we were going to work together. So if we're in the same room I decided that when it came down to it, it was a sign that I would actually do something about it."
Plus, Solstrand was a beautiful and romantic setting.
"At least if she had turned me down, I wouldn't be somewhere like this dump. I'm still in a beautiful hotel. I guess,” jokes Ida.
Ida brought up the topic at the end of her first day in Solstrand. Late at night, the two women were lying in separate twin beds.
Hannah's reaction surprised them both.
"He started saying, 'I know we've become close friends. I love you like a friend.' I realized there was of course more than that,” recalls Hannah.
"I was stunned when she said that," says Ida. "I was like, 'Wait a minute. That's not happening.'"
After the initial shock, the conversation continued.
"We talked, we kissed, and we settled down and finally decided to figure things out," says Ida. presentation. They didn't talk about what happened the night before, but it was their company's tradition for everyone to give Solstrand's roommate a greeting card at the end of the trip.
Ida and Hanna's cards describe their burgeoning emotions. Ida excitedly broke the news to her close friends.
"But other than that, they kept quiet for a long time."
Solstrand is surrounded by Norwegian fjords and mountains.
Hannah took time to come to terms with her newfound feelings.
"I have had a few relationships, but for the most part I am a single parent, very self-sufficient in some ways, and not very good at intimate relationships. So I think it was really terrifying and exciting and confusing at the same time.”
Both Ida and Hannah were not only willing to put their friendship in jeopardy, but also their friendship. , for Hannah, this increased her anxiety.
"I think we were really afraid of screwing things up between the two of us," Hannah says. Working together, if I got something wrong, it would have had bigger consequences - I thought it would - at some point.
Ida and Hannah took it slow, but they grew gradually. Exactly one year after her conversation in Solstrand, the two returned to their Fjordside hotel on their annual business trip and decided they were ready to tell their colleagues. Hannah later returned to her home in Bergen and shared the news with her.
"She was so happy for us," Hannah says, recalling her daughter joking. women's house.
"She came out to us two years after her, so she's in a very gay family," adds Hannah.
She returns to Solstrand
Ida revisits her To Solstrand, who proposed to Hannah at the time.
Hanna and Ida moved in together in 2015, when they shared news of their relationship with their loved one. It was right after. They started talking about marriage and decided that Ida would propose when the time came.
"I like surprises, but Ida hates surprises," Hannah explains.
Ida knew exactly where she wanted to propose: Solstrand. Three years after she voiced her feelings for the first time, Ida and Hanna returned to the historic hotel on their annual company trip. The company had just aired a traditional office "mockumentary" when Ida interrupted her proceedings.
"She stood in front of everyone and said, 'Here's another video,' and gave me a box of Kleenex. I'm a crybaby, so I cry all the time. And then she made this really sweet and romantic video with music, depicting our relationship and ending with the proposal.”
Wiping away tears of joy, Hannah said, I said yes.
"Otherwise it would have been really awkward," she jokes TODAY.
Hannah and Ida got engaged at the Solstrand Hotel and married in Bergen in 2022.
"I was very nervous," recalls Ida. "Maybe I told a few people before I went, but five minutes before the movie started, I ran around and told everyone."
Her colleague was delighted and encouraged the panicked Ida.
"I had a complete meltdown and got two glasses of wine and her two cigarettes. After that I was all set," Ida said. say.
"It felt very right to do it at that hotel, with people who have been with us the entire course of our relationship. It's been a lot of fun." Especially the part where we were able to celebrate with so many people who love us and want us to be happy.”
Some postponed After a pandemic wedding planning, Ida and Hannah got married in the summer of 2022. The long-awaited ceremony took place outside Bergen Park near the couple's home.
"It was a really special celebration," Hannah says, recalling her day of sunshine and festivities.
Embark on a journey
Ida and Hannah will someday celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. celebrate together.
Hannah and Ida no longer work together. When Ida left her company a few years ago, her coworkers gave her a gift card for a romantic weekend at Solstrand. The couple look forward to returning and hope to one day celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary at their favorite hotel.
Hannah and Ida describe their years together so far as "a fascinating and enjoyable journey."
"It was this feeling that your best friend was there the whole time. No matter what happens, you have a best friend and it feels like things are going well. In-law Ida adds that becoming a parent "changed her life" and taught her a lot.
Hannah also learned a lot from Ida, she says.
"Ida is very brave," says Hannah. "She is much wiser than I am when it comes to relationships and emotions, and when things get tough she is very brave in speaking out about things."274} "We got to know each other so quickly, and we trusted each other so completely that we were able to be ourselves. I've never been in a relationship this close before. Life is a blast." There are many ways to be, and you have a partner who loves your daughter, family, and the larger family."