Travel

Travel soulmate

The last week and a half has been a nonstop party rant. We’ve been having such a good time meeting good people here in LA and now Eline sadly has to return to Norway – which gives me a week left with family and friends. Have you ever met your travel soulmate? I’m seriously so sad to see her go. When we travel together we meet the greatest people, find ourselves in the most random situations and just live it up like there was no tomorrow. I will admit that my body isn’t appreciating my lifestyle right now though, but it’s definitely worth it. So here is what we’ve been up to for the past week:

Pool parties spread across Los Angeles

Tanning in the backyard during the day

Brunching with new friends

Dinners

Dates

Hanging out with loved ones

Clubbing

..and that is really it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot in a short amount of time and my body just can’t deal today. If my head wasn’t attached to my body, it would have been lost now.

I haven’t really taken any pictures either. Time just passes and I’m too caught up in the moments – which is a good thing. So this little collage is all I got. Unless you follow my Instagram and get around to see my stories.

Right now I’m in bed waiting for Eline’s return from whole foods because I’m starving! Just wanted to give you a little update and share my heartache with you. Have a lovely day and see you soon!

x Rebecca

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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

Personal

Goal digger.

Today is a great milestone for me. Today is the day I get the keys to the apartment I bought some time ago and to be honest it feels effing good. There is one habit I’ve learned and kept, and that is to reschedule and feel my life goals from time to time. I review them and take time to reflect appreciation and gratefulness for the things I have achieved and to picture my dream-life for the time to come.  This is one of the big ones. An apartment own fully by me, and only me – and the bank of course. This one is the impossible made possible. It also reminds me that the work I do with myself every day has such importance in how I achieve my goals. And how fast I get from A to B.

My life wasn’t always on track, even if it might have seemed that way to the outside world. A few years ago my life got turned upside down. Everything I knew was pulled from under my feet and I was forced to rethink my life completely. This made me realize that I had been living my life in regards to what was expected of me: from my social relations, from society, how I myself and how others thought I ought to live it. Not how I wanted to live it. The truth is that loosing everything gave my life meaning and was the greatest gift I ever received. It was a revelation that changed my view on what life has to give and how we go about to get it. I wasn’t happy and I didn’t even know it. Most of us go about every day the same and we forget this precious gift of life that we are given. I often think of this when I view this picture from my trip to San Francisco:

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Get in that little yellow, vulnerable car and learn how to drive in the traffic of life. I had no clue what I was doing, but I sure as hell learned how to drive – and enjoy it!

Today is one of those days where I am super grateful for everything that life threw at me, no matter good or bad. Everything shapes us and it’s your choice if it’s for the better.

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Life is a gift, wake up every day and realize that.

 

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!

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!

 

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!