Just WOW! End of blog.
Just kidding. Seriously though!!! I had no real expectation of Norway before I came. I don’t know about you, but every other day I’m adding another country, place or something I’ve seen online to my ‘list’. I started off with a ‘list’ of about 5 things;
- Visit Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
- Meet new people
- Go skydiving
- Try eating new things
- Get Scuba licence
Whilst these are pleasing ambitions and to some would seem enough for a life time, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to do more, see more. So I’ve set my ambitions higher. The list is crazy long now y’all. I have almost lost track of the amount of places I want to visit or things I want to see/ achieve. I originally thought simpler dreams are easier to achieve. Ergh, so boring! No, you need to dream BIG! HUGE even! So what am I getting at I hear you say? Add. Norway. To. Your. List. Immediately, if not sooner!
If you asked me if I fancied a trip over to Fjordland 10 years ago, I would of probably raised an eyebrow and said ‘errrr where???’. (My geography wasn’t great pre travelling!). Anyway, would of been way down on my list. It’s next to England, how great or different could it be? Answer: the polar opposite! From the second I landed in Bergen to me writing this blog now, I have been in complete awe. There’s something magical about every corner of Norway. You feel like you’ve gone to another planet, where there’s cleaner air and everything is picture perfect and pristine.
I’ve been here for 8 months now and I’ve picked up a thing or two about these mystical creatures. I should mention this doesn’t apply to ALL Norwegians and JUST my observations!
1. They are SO proud to be Norwegian!
And rightly so! Patriotism at it’s finest here folks. I think we can all learn something from the Nords. Almost every single Norwegian I’ve met has mentioned how much they love living in Norway or their favourite part of it. On May 17th they have their National day/ Constitution day. It’s a very colourful celebration and really something to see if you were to visit around that time! Men, women and children dress in traditional clothing ‘Bunads’. You can see blue, white and red ribbons everywhere you look. Many businesses close for the day to join in the celebrations! Every person in the country comes together!
2. They love hiking
Like fish in water. Give a Norwegian a bottle of water, a good pair of boots and a bubble jacket with high vis on it and you wont see them for days! Whenever I mention that I’ve either been on a hiking trip or are planning to go, you can see their ears twitching! They are all super fit. The last time I went on an 8 hour trip an 85 year old lady ran past me, uphill, dodging rocks. Put me to shame! I think it’s freaking awesome that they embrace what’s all around them and they soak it all in.
3. They are quite standoffish
They don’t really know what to do with us foreigners. You have to work for their affection. They don’t go out of their way to get to know you but are quite kind and helpful once you break the barriers. Don’t even think about jut striking up a conversation though unless invited! Haha!
4. They Snus
No, not snooze! Well, probably sometimes! Snus! Instead of smoking, they insert tiny pouches of tobacco between their gums and lips. Quite odd to see some people with an oversized top lip. Almost invisible for most though. I don’t smoke so I can’t comment on what it’s like to use BUT as a non smoker it’s quite pleasant to be with a snuser (?) and not have smoke puffed in my direction or having to accompany them outside in the cold! #winning!
5. Their ‘oi’ is our ‘sorry’
I can only speak for us Brits when I say we say ‘sorry’ for everything. Even when someone bumps into us we apologise! I once said sorry to a mannequin. Uhh. Well, I’ve noticed so many Norwegians use ‘oi’ for the same reason. It’s not meant to sound rude, it actually sounds really sweet! I’ve even started doing it! It’s so much easier than saying ‘sorry’ all the time!
6. They all dress exactly the same
Ok, I’m generalising. Buuuuut, there’s is a serious trend. Norwegians are so far ahead of the rest of the world in many ways, it’s unreal. Fashion however, not their strongest suit, so to speak. Don’t get me wrong they dress appropriately for the weather, always. They all wear the highest quality you could possibly imagine. I would say 95% of what they wear is sport gear. Other 5%, knitted jumpers, all with the exact same pattern!
7. They love cabins
Norway is expensive! Fact! Cabins are a fantastic way to take your family on an adventure for a small price or sometimes, free! Like I said, they love nature and being able to escape to a different part of the country and have everything you need in a little wooden house with plenty of hiking trails, is a Norwegians dream! They even have memberships where you can pay a small fee and visit unlimited cabins across the country for a year! Some of the wealthier Norwegians have their own summer cabins by the fjords or winter cabins up in the mountains which they journey to annually.
8. They love singing serious songs together
This is a weird one and one that I’ve noticed being around families and working in a hotel and witnessing it first hand. When ever there is a celebration the leader of the pack will stand u with lyrics in hand and everyone sings together in one tone then they just go about their business again. Totes weird!!! I’m not sure if it’s for religious reasons or it’s just tradition. Doesn’t seem to be something they enjoy though! 9.
They love singing serious songs together
9. They don’t smile until
they are drunk!
Happy, sad, angry, frustrated, Norwegians keep a straight face at all times. I guess that’s why they aren’t all wrinkled? Food for thought! Haha! Well, give them a ‘Gehenteh’ (G&T) and personalities start exploding! They are smiling, chatting and dancing the night away! So if you want to make friends, get ’em to a bar!!
10. They dress in red when they graduate school
This is a weird tradition and whilst some Norwegians obviously think it’s a great idea and hilarious, others despise it. When young students graduate and are taking steps towards adulthood they celebrate by wearing red clothing from head to toe from April – May 17th. They party and spend copious amounts of money, completing tasks and challenges. The reward is a souvenir relating to the task to which they attach onto their clothing. The challenges can be anything from crawling from one end of a road to the other to doing a sexual favour. They can change their name and sometimes have a ‘baptism’ where they are submerged in garbage. Weird!!! I will be continuing to observe these Norwegians and will report back