How does it work, Norwegian culture

O’beautiful May: the most celebrated month of the year

I started mapping out this post yesterday and was very excited to invite you in to the Norwegian world of May, but waking up today was like having a brick thrown at my face. It’s snowing. A lot. And it just sucked all the joy out of my summer-hungry soul. As I walked my zombie like body towards the coffeemaker in the kitchen this view hit me:

 

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Oh well.. It’s a part of May as well. It happens every year. It’s just so traumatizing that I put it in that little box in the back of my mind and throw away the key, which puts me in the same soul-sucking situation every year.  Anyway, May is a month of beauty and celebration for Norwegians. It’s the last month of spring, blooming season (when it’s not snowing), a month filled with days off work and the celebration of Independence Day.

I picked out some appropriate pictures to give you a sense of what May looks like in Norway:

 

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  1. May Day – our first day off. As a teen you will use this day to recover from a terrible hangover. As an adult you will march the streets for you rights. I will stay in bed, especially with today’s weather.
  2. From late April until the 17th of May you will see high school grads in their overalls doing weird things in the streets. They are called Russ, which is a tradition Norwegians have taken with them from the 1700s Denmark. In 1905 we introduced the red hats in to the graduation process and it’s just grown from there. Now we have a different color for different main subjects, but mainly you see the reds and blues. Red usually means history students and the blue is for economics. We put a lot of effort in to this celebration, so you should not be surprised if you see painted buses driving around with loud music. It’s pretty much a 17 day long festival filled with craziness. Every year the board of the Russ introduces that years knuter (knots) which sets the mood for what the celebration is going to look like. We tie knots and different things into the line of our hats when we have accomplished a task, like a twig for having sex in the forest – or a dog treat for crawling into a shop barking at dog food for 4 minutes. I feel insane as I write this, but it is actually something all Norwegians look forward to from an early age. Children often collect Russekort which is more like a business card that the Russ exchange with each other. Here’s mine from 12 years ago:

 

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Which reminds me that my hat is somewhere in storage with a 12 year old dog treat attached to it. Yackh! We do actually have a Norwegian TV series called Skam (shame) that went viral – where the plot is revolved around this celebration. I think it just got remade in American, but I have no idea how they would make that work..

3. Independence Day: 17th of May is the day of the year when Norwegians actually smile at strangers and say “Gratulerer med dagen” (Congratulations with this day) while they wave their flag with one hand and eat ice cream with the other. The day starts very early, often 07:30 which in practice means 05:00 because you have to dress up in traditional celebration clothes (Bunad) which takes forever to put on. And then we go into the city centers to watch all the children march and sing, in Oslo the Royal family waves from their balcony and there are popup carnivals all over the place. Well, that’s more of a family thing, I on the other hand celebrate a bit differently, but I’ll save that for the actual 17th of may.  I’ll add an old photo of myself in my Bunad here, because I’ve been to lazy to get a new shirt, so I might not be able to wear it this year:

 

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17th of May is many Norwegians favorite day and it’s not without cause. Norway is a fairly young independent country and it brings much joy to celebrate the liberation from both Sweden and Denmark.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the May introduction and if you’ve ever wondered what would be the best time to visit Norway: May. You might want to be prepared for some snow, but all in all there’s usually a lot of sunny warm days, filled with happy and crazy Norwegians.

På gjensyn!

 

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Norwegian logic

5 Brilliant Norwegian laws that will make you question humankind.

It’s not unusual to trip over articles about silly laws around the world. What surprises me is Norwegians lack insight into our own tragicomic laws. I did quick google search and let’s just say that I wasn’t impressed. What it taught me is that we love to make fun of American laws, but that we lack the self insight to humour ourselves by our own stupidity. So, to help correct this awry image I’ve taken the liberty to list five nonlogical laws of this wonderful country we call home.

Doesn’t this make you want to be a naughty person? Let’s run around in the forest picking mushrooms dressed in balaclavas while drinking double rum&cokes! I’m not going to encourage you to help out with the prostitution business, but you get my drift. Actually in most small cities you’re not allowed to buy food after 1am on the weekends, so let’s make it in to a picnic! You see, some politician thought food queues was the answer to the question “why do drunk people fight?”.

So there you go. Norwegians aren’t any better with legislation than anyone else. It might not be the most serious of laws, but good luck with the law enforcement. We tend to make up new laws without correcting old ones, like the prostitution law, which makes us end up with ironic laws like these. Or think for that matter: let’s forbid something that grows wild all around us!

Got to love Norwegian logic.

På gjensyn!

Norwegian social codes

Norwegian social codes: Dating, relationships and sexuality.

Dating has always been a movie-concept for me. Not because it doesn’t happen, it’s just not how our romance culture is built in Norway. If we can call it romance. We don’t even have a Norwegian word for dating, which is why we call it *drumbeat*: Dating. Norwegians go about finding partners in another order than going on dates – but it has definitely become more normal to be in the dating game here as well. So how do we find a partner and how does dating work in Norway? I’m going to take you through the Norwegian way of dating, explain how and why the concept of dating has become more of a normal thing and why chivalry is dead.

Let’s start with how we come in contact with potential partners.

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In my lifetime I’ve seen the development from our normal ways and into the concept of dating. You see, we’ve had two ways of making human contact. Earlier (and now for that matter) Norwegians would find a potential partner at the bar, take them home and if the chemistry hits – they might meet again. Later that might grow in to a relationship. The other way is through a common social setting like a workplace or school. In this setting you would get to know the other person a little, take them home and go through the same development as the bar-alternative. That, or you’ll have a really awkward setting at work for the time to come. Now, with all the dating apps available there’s a third option thrown into the mix: Random dating. Which consists of chatting for a long, long time through the app until both parties has worked up the courage to set up a date (unless it’s just for a fun night out. Shit, we sound like a slutty kind of people).  The development often go as the other alternatives, but it has become more common to go on several dates to see if the interest is thriving.

“Why?” you might wonder. I’ve written a little bit about this before: We are a very introverted people, in lack of a better word for it. We don’t openly socialize with strangers. We stick to our social comfort zone and we let loose over drinks (You can read that post -> here <-). Which might put you on to the question of how we can go home with strangers.. Our sexuality is another story. I’m theorizing here, but as a gender equal country, we are very free when it comes to sexuality and relationships. Actually, Norwegians rarely marry in comparison to other nationalities. We’re not dependent on marriage to live a fulfilling life. Our society is built on gender equality, which means:

1. Equal opportunities

2. Equal rights

…..In our society we’ve also focused upon the strengthening of women. In every position possible. As a Norwegian female you don’t really have to depend on anyone other than yourself.  Actually, in this day and age there are more females than males in higher education. Women here are career driven. I would say that we are free, in every aspect of life. Ah, the freedom of choice. There has been a lot of bickering about low birthrates and so on – often blamed on this.  Anyway, our sexuality is relaxed and free – because we can. And it’s been like this for as long as I can remember. Same with nudity. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself at a nudist beach.. There’s a lot of them. Norwegians like to be naked for some reason. So the whole sexuality aspect isn’t really a big deal to Norwegians.

What this does do though is kill the chivalry. Chivalry in Norway is dead. the concept of equality has, in my opinion, been confused with gender roles. I’m not saying that one should have them, we certainly do not, but it really kills off romance. Gender roles in romance is nice, I’m not going to lie. I think we just haven’t found a way to have equally strong genders in a romantic setting. It creates insecurities – I guess. I’m being very harsh here, it’s not like everyone is like this , but it is a part of our social concept and our culture. On the other hand we do divide everything between us when in a relationship, so both parties contribute the same.

So now you know our socially awkward dating ways. It pretty much goes like this: Boy meets girl, the hookup, relationship develops, they move in together and live happily ever after dividing stuff equally – maybe. And that’s it.

På gjensyn! 

How does it work, Norwegian culture

How Norwegians save money

Norway is a very expensive country. Or we like to think so and complain about it. Truth be told, we’re not way off other European countries when it comes to earnings versus cost. The thing is that our earnings and costs are in the higher specter and we enjoy living the good life while visiting other places in the world, which is why we save where we can. I don’t think saving makes you Norwegian, it makes you human… Who doesn’t like a good deal?!

Norwegians who live close to the Swedish boarder goes to Sweden, regularly, to shop (In the north they go to Russia). Martine and I did this yesterday and I went ahead with the creation of my first video-blog. I want to apologize in advance: I’m not very tech savvy when it comes to doing vlogs (sorry not sorry), but it’s a start! So enjoy the video and I will explain what I bought and why further down in this post.

 

As you can see we bought soda, liquor, proteins and food of course, but we were very focused in the food store, so no filming. Here are my favorites and why I bought them:

I also buy cigarettes. Because i smoke. A lot. Like a chimney. And guess what? They are cheaper. Way, waaaay cheaper. So we drive for two hours to shop – just because it’s cheaper. I think I spent about 3400 NOK – ironically enough I have no idea have much I “saved”, but I know I would have spent much more if I were to buy this amount in Norway.

I hope you enjoyed the video. If there’s anything in particular you would like to see a video blog about, please let me know.

På gjensyn!  

 

Personal

Handy women: Blurred lines

Hi there!

I’m sorry the activity has been low the past week. I’ve had so much on my plate, there hasn’t been enough hours in the day and time has just passed me by. One of the reasons why is that I just bought myself a new apartment! So between the open houses, the bidding rounds and everything else that goes on – I forgot to live a little. I woke up this morning totally in the fog, in my sweatpants, wondering what year it was. I was going to post a vlog for you guys, but that will have to wait a bit. Instead, with these new circumstances, I’ve decided to share some insight in how women in Norway go about handy stuff.

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Renovating my moms place last summer.

As a new homeowner I want to pull my hair out when I think about all the work that’s coming up in my future. The thing is, I will have to renovate the entire thing and I do that myself. Well, as much as possible that is, let’s be honest – I’m not a plumber. I’m not sure if this goes for all women in Norway, but in my family and with my female friends we tend to do a lot of stuff ourselves – including putting in new floors and walls. I’m very lucky to have such a handy mom, because she has taught me how important it is to be able to do shit yourself.  I’m not going to lie, it would be nice to just hire someone and get it done, but it’s always the risk that things wont get done properly and the way I want it. In my social circles it’s not unusual that women do handy work,  it’s just as common as babydaddys taking their kids for a stroll in the sunshine (we’ll get back to that one later).  Norway is a country where gender roles are blurred. Kinda kills the romance sometimes (we will get back to this one as well), but all in all it’s a good place to be female.

I’m not sharing pictures of my new place just yet, but I promise you will get to see the horror at some point – and the end result of course. Here are some of the stuff thats going  in to my new flat once it’s ready for it (look at that beautiful floor color! I’m dying):

If you’re curious and want to see some progress a long the way, you are more that welcome to follow me on Instagram – I will be posting stories about this project as time progresses.

Thank you for stopping by and have a lovely Saturday!

På gjensyn! 

Norwegian logic

Blonde hair

Welcome back to Norwegian Logic!

Have you ever asked yourself why the people of one of the blondest countries in the world bleach their hair? I have. And I do it myself…

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….So why is this?

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I could begin to explain why I do it myself, of course, but there isn’t really any good answer to that other than the fact that I love blonde hair. And mine isn’t as blonde as it used to be naturally. But if we were to dig deeper? ..I can think of two reasons:

  1. The perception of how we think Norwegians are supposed to look.
  2. Youth. Youth. Youth.

We are proud to be a blonde nation, but isn’t sort of fake when we know that most people aren’t as blonde as they set out to be? Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of fair haired people, but I’m not gonna lie about the fact that most people enhance it a bit, myself included. We all know that Norwegians are supposed to be blonde, but reality is a little different – and bleached. Sorry.. (not sorry).

Second reason is a cultural one we share with a large part of the world: the strive for youth. We might not want to admit it and we might not even know it ourselves, but I think one of the reasons we bleach might be to look younger. You see, as children (not all of us of course) we were very, very, very blonde. Very blonde. I was anyway. And isn’t it obvious that it might be in connection with the wish to look younger?

Either way we are one of the blondest nations in the world, naturally.,even if it’s not platinum blonde. And we bleach. And that’s Norwegian logic.

På gjensyn!

 

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How does it work

Norwegian Work life

Good day people of the world,

There has been expressed some curiosity towards how the Norwegian job scene works and I will happily share with you. Norwegians are spoiled beyond recognition when it comes to work, let’s be clear about that. Even if we do complain, it’s just because we don’t understand the outside world or we haven’t had a moment to appreciate how lucky we are. The Swedes do though, which is why they come to Norway to work – like many other Europeans. Here are three reasons:

  1. Great pay.
  2. Excellent work conditions.
  3. Fabulous pay.

Norwegians are payed very well compared to other countries. We don’t have any rules for minimum payment, but we do have different organisations that work for different branches to make sure workers interests are safeguarded. For instant, if you work in the local supermarket your minimum hourly pay would be 157,- kr (approximately 21 dollars/17 Euros) and it goes up if you work after 16:00 in the afternoon. A full workweek is 37,5 hours and we have very strict rules for overtime. Actually, if you work in the public sector you are not allowed in to the office the next morning if you’ve spent to many hours the night before, it’s an enforced rest time. Not so much in the private sector, but they also have to follow the rules. There is also a limit to overtime during a year and rules for what percentage you are to be payed on top of your normal salary. There will of course always be employers who tries to take advantage, but if found out that will really sting. All in all, Norwegian work life is good!

The question I got prior to this post was “Does a place of work tend to be pretty quiet?” and the answer is: it depends on the workplace. Personally I’ve worked in both a calm environment and in a stressful one. Usually the stressful one – I’ve worked a lot of projects and they never create a clam and quiet environment due to all the deadlines and the organizational changes they bring both on the supplier and the client side. On the bright side I do have the freedom to work from home in peace and quiet when I need to. In which I am very grateful for. Now, as I have mentioned before Norwegians are trend followers and the trend is a mobile office, so unless you work within a specific branch that requires you to be in place, most employers provide this freedom.

With that said, here are some simple facts about the Norwegian work scene:

If you have any other questions related to this, I will be happy to answer.

På gjensyn!