Being Norwegian in Los Angeles is nothing but exceptional. I’m sure there are Norwegians who beg to differ, but for me and my fellow travel partner it’s our favorite place to visit. Even though the reasons are complex, I will try to break it down for you.
First off our love comes from a cultural perspective. We have both spent our youth years in small remote places in Norway where Norwegian culture stand strong. With that I particular mean what we call “Janteloven”. It’s a norm that have grown strong roots into our culture since 1933. The law of Jante comes from a text of Axel Sandmose’s book “En flyktning krysser sitt spor” and goes like this:
- You’re not to think you are anything special.
- You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
- You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
- You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
- You’re not to think you know more than we do.
- You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
- You’re not to think you are good at anything.
- You’re not to laugh at us.
- You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
- You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
After more thorough research I realized that this actually is a Scandinavian phenomenon. I’m not sure how well rooted this phenomenon is with our neighbors, but it sure is a reality in Norway. In other words put beautifully by a unknown source in Wikipedia:
The description of a pattern of group behavior towards individuals within Nordic countries that negatively portrays and criticizes individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.
When in Los Angeles we are free of this. People simply do what they want, they pursue their ideas and desires no matter what and I find it so inspiring. Being around individuals like this also gives me a feeling of freedom I rarely experience at home. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel like a free individual in Norway and i pursue what ever I want, it’s just that it’s usually frowned upon and that can be hard sometimes. Norwegians are in a very spoiled position where we have room to frown upon others: we have a safety net others only can dream about. This also makes entrepreneurship rare here. Why take a risk when everything is handed to you? On the other hand I always return home with lots of inspiration and creativity! I find it super inspiring and interesting to see how Americans go about their life, because I am so used to the safety net and the clock in/clock out mindset we have in Norway. Here work is just work, not a passion (even if they try to convince you otherwise). It’s lovely to see the passion in people and how excited they are about what they do – and all the hours they put in it – without the judgement of our fellow humans.
The second thing is networking and friendships. Because of the lack of The law of Jante, coming into contact with people is really easy. I hear the Norwegian Troll in the back of my mind at this moment go “ooh – but it’s all superficial. True relations take time” – hah. Yes, they do, but how the heck are you arrive at this point if saying “hi” to someone new puts you in a mental hospital? Say “hi” to someone on the bus here and they will look at you like they think you escaped from a mental institution. I swear, I’m not trying to paint Norway in a bad way – I love my country, but it really is the reality of things and a reason why I sincerely love Los Angeles. In the short amount of time I have spent there I already have several beautiful relationships blooming and I am so grateful to have these people in my life – both family and friends.
Then there is the food. I love how simple it is to stay healthy. I mean, I usually don’t because I’m on a holiday, but to be unhealthy in Los Angeles is seriously a conscious choice. No matter what your diet is, there are endless possibilities. And don’t get me started on all the freshness and tastes. I’m drooling right now, thinking about just booking my next ticket. I mean, I would move for Wholefoods as a single reason.
There are some cons though:
- My hair gets really, really thirsty. It seriously goes from softness itself to a broomstick. Wtf?
- The lack of sleep. There is to much fun everywhere!
- The endless sunshine. I mean, I love it, but it can drive me a little bit insane at times. I’m used to seasons and not having that is mentally challenging for some reason.
Coming home this time was like going from a rock concert to a meditation room. I’m dead tired. All I do is eat, sleep and dwell. I dwell a lot because I’ve actually come to the conclusion that I want to move over. I have no idea how I will make that happen practically, but I’m dwelling on it. I’m young, I don’t have children and it’s kind of now or never -ish. I mean, I have things to put in order in my life over here first, but I am seriously thinking about this day and night. It might be the best decision of my life, or the worst.. But how would I know if I don’t try? *Waiting for Norwegians to go all apeshit-Jante*
I hope that gave you some insight into my/our love for this city. I would like to do a “10 things to do in LA”-post, but I’m always blown out of my mind with all that is happening so I never get around to documenting anything. Maybe next time. Now I’m off to the gym and then I have a eating-date with my travel soulmate at her house – while walking down memory lane from our last trip. Enjoy your weekend – wish you all the best!