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!

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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! 

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:

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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! 

 

Norwegian social codes

Norwegian social codes: An introduction

Norwegian social codes are very hard to crack. To be perceived as aggressive,  to overstep and simply scare Norwegians away is always at high risk when approaching a wild and untamed Norwegian. Especially in our own habitat: Norway.

The Norwegian habitat is very unique. First off we have an enormous amount of space and we are not exactly overpopulated. These two factors combined with thousands of years of evolution (whom am I kidding? We’re pretty much the same) has resulted in a very privacy-orientated people.  I’ll make it visual:

You see, we have the liberty to be private and some of us might not even see another person throughout an entire day. Still there are two aspects to our privacy:

  1. Fewer people makes others opinions of you more valid. The risk of becoming an outcast is higher.
  2. Safety, comfort and strangers. We live in a bubble where everything is known to us, everything unknown is a threat.

And we most certainly do not approach each other without a valid reason. Oooh, the horror! Besides, we do not small talk. Unless we have a common friend. That’s a no-no. I myself enjoy the awkward silence rather than forcing something unnatural, because it is unnatural to Norwegians to make small talk. We are born with social comfort-zones and we stick to them.  Occasionally we integrate some new friendships, but this takes time. A long time. Unless there’s alcohol. We’ll come back to that one at a later time.

A Norwegian might be perceived as antisocial and rude to outsiders. This is not intentionally and if you’ve experienced an awkward situation with a Norwegian where you thought that this person was being very rude – it’s not you, it’s the Norwegian social codex. We do not put ourselves in situations and conversations without intent, anything  unpractical gets dismissed and we most certainly don’t small talk unless we intend to start the long journey of growing a friendship. Or have a serious question we need to work up the courage to ask. We don’t greet strangers and we do not randomly smile at each other – Unless..

  1. You’re in a boat and we happen to cross paths. Waves and smiles are a handed out like candy at Easter. We might even small talk and visit each others boats at the harbor.
  2. Hiking. We always greet fellow hikers, even if we’ve never seen one another before.
  3. Drunk. Like I said, I’ll come back to this one at a later time.

There are always exceptions to the rule, but don’t get overly excited. It’s still at a superficial level. Getting under a Norwegians skin is still a long process. Unless we’re drunk.

A socially awkward Norwegian in her natural habitat. 

A cautious approach is always recommended when crossing paths with a Norwegian, especially in their natural habitat. Too much excitement might just kill the vibe. If you’re eager to learn how to grow a friendship or communicate with a Norwegian, make sure to subscribe by clicking the follow-button either to your right or in the bottom of this page.

På gjensyn! 

Norwegian language

Norwegian language: Dialects part 1

We’ve embarked on Norwegian logic, which will be a permanent category with posts on a regular basis.  Today we will set about the Norwegian language, which is a category in itself.  I dare to say our language is the star of our culture. There’s really nothing quite like the Norwegian language. “What about the Swedes and the Danish?” you might think. Well, they usually don’t understand crap of what Norwegians are saying, even though we understand them perfectly. Maybe not always Danish though. They sound very queer. Like they’re chocking on something. Anyway, the thing is that we Norwegians don’t always understand each other either and I will explain why.

So what do you think happens when you live in a fjord with three other people? You start to talk peculiar and your dialect differ from the people in the forest on the other side of the mountain. Actually Norwegian dialects with it’s significant differences has existed as far back as Norse time and despite population growth since then, I’m willing to bet we have as many dialects as we have villages. No one knows for sure how many there are and some of them are impossible to even identify as Norwegian. I’m not sure that some of our kindred dialect speakers understand each other in between themselves. Even so, the Norwegian language no matter which dialect you speak, is an just as important identity mark as your Bunad. I lied, it’s more important. And because this strong sense of identity emerges from our language and dialects, which can be impossible to understand, we are a people of few words.

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Easy enough, don’t you think? This also counts for the number of Norwegian words, which means we use the same words in different variations of contexts. This might make it very, very tricky for you non-Norwegians out there whom want to learn Norwegian. Let’s do two examples:

Tre:

  1. Plante, f.eks. Gran bjørk, furu. Et tre – flere trær / A tree
  2. Materiale: Eska er laget av tre. I denne formen kan ordet ikke brukes i flertall. / Materialwood 
  3. Handling: Tre i nåla (verb, tre eller træ) Tre, trer, tredde, har tredd / Thread a needle 
  4. Tre frem, tre i kraft (verb, tre eller trå) Tre, trer, trådte, har trådt / Emerge 
  5. Tre, 3 – tallord / The number three 

Heller:

  1. “Jeg vil heller bruke skje enn gaffel.” / Rather
  2. “Han heller vann i glasset.” / Pour 
  3. “Vi skal legge heller på trappa” / Sorry, I have no idea what this is in English.. Some type of stone.
  4. “Det er viktig at baderomsgulvet heller inn mot sluket.” /  Paving

The words does not change in shape or sound, their meaning simply depend on the context. I’m sorry Norwegian-students! We expanded our dialects rather then our vocabulary. By the way, I lied again – the sounds can differ, but only depended on spoken dialect, not the word itself. To make it harder, note that the pronunciation of Norwegian dialects may have nothing to do with our written language.

I appreciate a good Norwegian dialect. First off I grew up moving around the country. I’ve lived in East-Norway (Østlandet, Oslo), West-Norway (Vestlandet, Stavanger) and North-Norway (Nord-Norge, Harstad) and I have family spread out across the country – like those three people in the fjord. My family members speaks all sorts of dialects, but mostly Northern Norwegian (Nordnorsk) and Eastern Norwegian (Østlandsk), although there are hundreds of variations within these categories. I myself speak Østlandsk/Oslo dialect, which often can be perceived as boring by other Norwegians. Reason why? It’s all about character, identity and culture. The raw and untamed Norwegian. And frankly – my dialect is similar to one of our written languages and considered an affiliation to the capital city with it’s tamed, astray Norwegians – shamefully occupied with all things non-Norwegian and lack of  patriotic engagement. Which is not true by the way.. But as a country where villages flourished separate from each other, micro cultures thrive. Our culture is therefore just as complex as our language.

I hope you have enjoyed your first Norwegian lesson and my insane skill of drawing explanations. It will not be the last, there is much more where that came from. And remember: If you feel frustrated that you can’t understand the Norwegian language, use the comfort of knowing that neither do we.

På gjensyn!