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!  

 

Advertisements
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 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.

few-words

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!