Norwegian culture

First came summer, then came spring.

It’s June. It’s supposed to be warm, summery and nice. Well, it’s not. May was such a wonderful and warm month. I actually went into the ocean in the Oslo Fjord – which I haven’t done for the two past years. And now.. it’s 14 Celsius and a wind that could make a grown man cry.

The weather in Norway is never stable. There is a reason why we Norwegians own wind jackets so high tech you would think their made for a new matrix movie and honestly I’m surprised no one has invented a backpack in the line of Hermine’s purse (you know the one with the tent and all in Harry Potter) – because we need to pack for every season when leaving the house! I mean, I’m grateful that we had a whole actual month of warm and sunny weather, but come on! For the last five years or so summer has been a one day deal or a myth that we’ve been told about, dreamt about and gone to bed with misbelief about. So let’s sum up a Norwegian summer:

Thinking about vacaying here? Bring everything, because you never know what you’re gonna need!

Thank you for sharing my pain with me. I hope your summer is amazing.

x

Advertisements
Norwegian culture

Norwegian trends: Fitness

Good Friday to you, fellow human on planet earth.

I was hovering over the smoothie blender the other day and it crossed my mind that I should let you in on some Norwegian trends: Fitness to be more specific. I mean, Norwegians has always been considered a sporty type of people in connection with skiing and other winter sports, but then something happened which resulted in a fitness wave across the country. I’m not sure what exactly, but I suspect social media – it’s always social media right? And I did let you in on this before: when something’s trending in Norway, it trends hard. Our entire country is populated in the same capacity as a small village other places, so that kind of speaks for it. Anyway, let’s get on with it.

I’ve never been the winter-sporty kind of girl myself, but in Norwegian spirit I did join in on the fitness wave that hit our country about four or five years ago. The phenomenon was actually more of a “girls who lift heavy”-thing and girls took over gyms all across the country – still owning them by the way. The trend is a fact and you are more likely to be looked at with disbelief and suspicion if you say that you do not work out than if you do. I’m pretty sure that if we measure the amount of fitness clubs against the population, that we would have more clubs per resident than any other country in the world. And everyone is educated as a personal trainer. So why is this? Well, there are three factors that comes to mind:

  1. We are a very competitive people, even if we try to hide it.
  2. Sports is a cultural value than runs in our bloodstream.
  3. We have 8 months of winter and let’s be honest: Training produces endorphins than makes life bearable.

The trend does not stop there though, the Norwegian fitness trend is complex and involves diets, food products and a business like no other. Which is why everyone is educated as a personal trainer. But let’s be honest, too many Chiefs and the lack of Indians makes that business kind of hard right? It is a very competitive business in our country, but it doesn’t stop anyone from trying. I remember when I could get a box of cottage cheese for like ten kroner, then this whole fitness-thing happened and they tripled the price. Yes, tripled. And now our stores are full of stuff like non-fat-high-protein milk, bars, high-protein ice cream, fitness yogurts and you name it. Every inch of this trend is being squiiiiized to it’s maximum. And what gets me is that it’s a trend that is supposed to radiate health, but at the same time it’s all about unhealthy products being turned into a fitness-business must. Remember that time when we ate food and that was enough? No foods for you anymore mister, eat this instead:

I must admit that I buy all of this stuff, but it’s not in my everyday diet. Hey, I like options and I’m colored by the trend too! It is hard to keep my head on at times, honestly, I do get affected. Like with fitness clothing, I used to buy a lot. The clothing industry sees a goldmine and yes, it is. I made a decision to keep it at a minimum though. Environmental reasons and of course I don’t need to spend thousands on clothing I wear once. What a waste and a bad sense of economy, right? Anyway, it paints the picture of what a trend does to little Norway and its inhabitants, myself included.

That’s the Norwegian fitness trend and all that comes with it – even if I might have forgotten something. I mean, personally I love fintess, so I don’t mind. I just think its necessary to keep your feet on the planet and don’t get carried away. Does trends like this hit your countries in the same capacity? I’m curios to know.

Thanks for stopping by! And please let me know if there’s any specific topic you want to know about. 🙂 Enjoy your Friday!

Norwegian culture

May and 17th of May.

Hi there!

Yes, I am still alive – I’ve just been busy being Norwegian, which in this case means spending time outside for all intents and purposes. You see, when the nights get lighter and longer and the sun is shining we all move outside for the season. After what feels like a 100 year long winter, it’s a blessing to the soul to feel summer upon our see-through, D-vitamin hungry skin. Even if I have to restrain myself from complaining about the heat at the moment. It’s been a month since my last post and I know I promised you a peak into my 17th of May celebration, so I will start of by doing so. The normal family person would, as I mentioned in my last post, be up at the crack of dawn getting ready for the school parade, eating ice cream, playing games and wave their flags. I on the other hand choose to go with option number 2: sleep in for a bit (which was lovely this year since it was raining in the morning) and then have to kick myself into getting dressed and be off to bubble lunch. Yes, champagne for lunch (my case: breakfast). With friends. That is what I do. It usually last for 4 hours before we move to a bar to drink some more. I took some pics to show you:

 

I captured some Russ for you too, even if they are half dead after a three week binge.

The thing about our Independence Day is that it’s pure joy. It’s the one day of year everyone just enjoy themselves. Not only was the 17th a great day, but summer came early this year. Since that day we’ve had up to 30 degrees Celsius almost every day! Can you believe? So I’ve pretty much been outside in the sun with friends, enjoying myself. I also took a very spontaneous trip to Israel, which I will post by it’s own. So you see, May has been busy. But I promise to update more often throughout the summer. Even while on holiday.

I hope your May has been as good as mine.

På gjensyn! .

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:

 

img_7995

 

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:

 

img_0125.jpg

  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:

 

img_7998

 

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:

 

img_7999

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!

 

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!  

 

Norwegian culture, Uncategorized

Springtime!

Oh the joy! Spring is finally here after a long, dark, cold and snowy winter! I cannot describe the feeling it gives and unless you live in a raw seasonal place with hard winters and (sometimes) hot summers, it’s hard to comprehend the sensation.

We’ve got some signs of spring other than the temperature going up and the snow melting. I’m going to walk you through them.

  1. Hestehov/Coltsfoot: First spring sign – this flower sticks up through the snow.
  2. Cafes and restaurants set up their serving zones outside: Norwegians sit outside for the whole spring/summer – which is why we have both heaters and umbrellas – in case of rain or cold. Summer is summer and summer is spent outside! Even if it means wearing a scarf.
  3. Humans outside in the streets: People come out of their winter caves to enjoy themselves and  each other.
  4. Sunshine: It speaks for itself.  We are not spoiled…

If you ever want to experience Norwegians at their best, spring is the time to visit! Not only are we happy, we’re friendly too!

So this was a quicky – need to get back out and enjoy while I can. Have a lovely day, reader ❤

På gjensyn!

Norwegian culture

Norwegian culture: Alcohol

Drinking alcohol is essential to the Norwegian culture. How else would we make friends and partners or open up about our feelings? With our social codex it’s hard to connect and to make connections out of nowhere, so what do we do? We drink. Actually we binge. Welcome to a requested topic: Alcohol. I will share with you why we drink and how we drink. And of course why we do Vors (pre-party) before we go out.

It’s not socially acceptable not to drink, unless your pregnant or you’re an recovering alcoholic. Drinking is rooted deep in our culture and is the easiest way for us to feel comfortable with other people. So if you don’t drink, it means that you are an uncomfortable element.  And we certainly don’t appreciate that.  Why, you ask? Well, it’s all about the way we drink. We don’t have a glass of wine for lunch or dinner, we don’t consume a little here and a little there. No, we save up the entire weeks quota and unleash our thirst on Friday or Saturday night. We are hardcore binge drinkers.  And all those feelings, questions and our suppressed courage come out all in one night.  Have you got any idea the anxiety that comes with it knowing that a sober person was watching it all?

The way we go about it is usually with a Vors. We gather at a friends house with twelve beers, a bottle of wine or some easily consumed spirits. This is where we stay until the time reaches about 12 or 1 pm and then move on to a bar or a club. I’ve been asked why we do this and here’s the reason why:

  1. We are binge drinkers. We consume large amounts of alcohol. (Very charming, huh?)
  2. Drinks are f*cking expensive.
  3. We need to get in to a comfortable setting before joining strangers out on the town.

Once our self-confidence is on top and we’re nearly to drunk to get in to any bar, we hit the town, ready to make some new relations. Let me explain with my super skill:

 

Or it may end more like this:

Funny-Drunk-Girls-Sleeping-In-Bathroom-Passed-Out-Picture

Either you got yourself a new friend or you too embarrassed to ever see this person again – till next weekend.

There is a lot more I could explain about our alcohol habits, but because alcohol is such an important and fundamental key to our culture it would make this a very, very long post. Therefore I will save some for a later time and present the different themes to you in coherence with some other topics.  Just note that alcohol is important to us and that our habits don’t mirror the European ways. I guess this has been the Norwegian way since the beginning of time and it will probably never change. That means that we have to change, and we don’t. So if you’re ever visiting and are wondering where all the Norwegians are at 9 pm – give it four more hours and we’ll see you then! Drunk and ready to mingle.

På gjensyn!