"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other Plans"
-John Lennon

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lessons I have learned in Norway....the hard way.

I have been here about two and a half months now, and I cannot even count the ways in which my life has changed!

Along with these changes, I have learned a few very useful life lessons that I had to learn the hard way.
Here they are:

1. When it's raining outside, don't walk too closely to the curb....(or make your boyfriend walk on that side of the curb)....a lesson you only need to learn once!

2. Since moving to Olso, I have come to realize there are both pros and cons to not driving. While it is nice not to have to worry about sitting on the 405 for 3 hours in rush hour traffic, or not worrying about gas money, car payments, insurance, repairs, or designated drivers, the god awful stench of the bus some mornings is maybe worse than losing 3 hours of my like in traffic.

This isn't the worst part of the public transportation commute. One particularly cold morning, I was on my way to work, and layered up in a thick sweater and coat, and didn't think much of the fact that the bus seat felt cold....until I got up and realized "cold" really meant WET! It has taken all of my strength to not think about why on earth the seat of the bus would be wet, but I am going to just decide right now that someone must have spilled their water bottle.....right?!?!

3. "Slippery when wet" really does mean slippery! What the sign should read is: "Watch out asshole! Just because you can't see it, does not mean ice is not there and you will fall on your butt!"....now that would have grabbed my attention!

We have these little pebbles on the ground near my work, and I didn't understand what they were for. It looked like some truck had just spilled a bunch of tiny pebbles out of the back. I hated them because they get stuck in your shoe. Then, all day, you would click when you walk....they drove me crazy! That is until the first snow....now the pebbles and I have a new found friendship.

4. I never cared much for socks....living in CA my whole life, I never had to worry too much about them. We wore rainbows, ballet flats, or heels 90% of the year, and the other 10% we were either in gym shoes or boots, no one ever sees your socks and therefor you don't put much thought into them.

Here in Norway, socks have become something I need to worry about as much as the rest of my outfit. Not only do I need to worry about having warm enough socks (apparently only wool socks keep your body heat in), but I need to worry about them being aesthetically pleasing as well!

When you go into someone's home for a party, dinner thing, or just for vorspiel (the pre-drinking that happens at someones home before hitting the town), it is customary to take off your shoes. The first time we went to one of Knut's coworkers home for dinner, I had to change my whole outfit just so that I could make my socks work with the ensemble!

5. I grew up in the land of the Santa Ana winds. One time when I was a kid, the wind actually shattered my bedroom window just from the sheer force! I thought they were the worst thing in the world until I felt wind in Norway. Imagine a strong wind, but instead of being pleasantly and surprisingly warm, it is bone-chillingly cold!

6. Eating a hamburger or sandwich the "polite way". We have all seen that Seinfeld episode where everyone starts eating the Snickers bar with a knife and fork. Here it is considered rude to eat with your hands. Try eating a burger with a knife and fork without making a mess. It is maybe the hardest thing I have ever done!

I am sure that as the months pass, more embarrassing moments will come along to remind me on a daily basis that I am, in fact, a foreigner! I guess it's all of my bad karma for calling Knut a silly foreigner all those times when we were back in the U.S. Oh well....live and learn!


  1. Hmm, not sure where you've been eating, but most people I know (I live and work in Oslo) will use their hands for hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwitches (unless they are unwieldly thick) and sometimes to help get those last bits off of the chicken or steak bone (not sure if steak is the right word, "kotelett" is the norwegian one)

  2. in bergen people eat their hamburgers with forks and knives, so i completely get it. they eat the french fries with forks too :)

    and im so with you on the socks thing. i cant remember the last time prior to moving here that i consistently wore socks. now i have to or i get frostbite LOL :) and i brought my rainbows with me here...screw converse high top sneakers (which i hate). sometimes i forget about the 'no shoes in the house' thing here and i wear my hello kitty socks. it is so embarrassing once i realize that i have to sit at someones place in pink hello kitty socks (at age 28 mind you!)

    i have only been on the trikk in oslo and it was quite nasty...not e.european nasty, but nasty nonetheless. makes me SO thankful for the public transportation here in bergen...the train and the buses are impeccable. i might be the only person in the world who loves public transporation...but i do! surely beats increased insurance rates everytime i decide it is convenient to total my car.

  3. still laughing! can imagine that you need some heavy socks up there in norway :) I just moved from Europe to Australia and same thing over here... many things to learn the hard way!! happy holidays!

  4. Haha.. This is hilarious. I can relate with the adjustment period. Being in a foreign land myself. I never thought there will still be big adjustments though Im just in the same continent =)

  5. In so many ways life is so similar, but there are those everyday little things...THAT'S what really reminds me that I am so far from home.

    Megan: The Train here is really nice too, and usually the bus isnt too bad, but once in a blue, you get on the one bus that has been in rotation since 1954 and hasn't been reupholstered or updated in any way...those are the worst! I need to learn to just turn around, get off and wait for the next train when they are that bad!

    I haven't seen anyone eating a burger (or really much else for that matter) with their hands, so "anonymous", next time you're out, I would love an invite! Eating with my hands would be a pleasant change once in a while!! :)

    Happy Holidays to all!!! xoxo

  6. Bobbie ray-sannerudJanuary 3, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    Thanks for your blog. Me, hubby, and baby are moving there next summer. We are looking forward to it... I am also from CA (lived in Long Beach and Los Feliz) so moving to the cold will be a huge adjustment! :)

    1. Big adjustment for sure! I am sure that you will find that there are great things about life here, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the beach and the California weather! Especially when I hear that it has been in the 80's the last few weeks!....jealous! My skin hasn't seen the daylight in months and I miss the feeling of sunshine more than I can put into words!!!

      What is bringing your family to Norway?

  7. I anticipate the cold being the biggest adjustment :) We are stocking up on winter clothes to move over. So, my husband is Norwegian. He moved here four years ago. After we had our baby we decided that Norway may be a better environment to raise her in :) we are moving to his hometown just outside of Oslo, very exciting! :)

  8. Wow. I am grateful to have found your blog. I live in MD. My boyfriend and I are moving to Norway for a year. You blog is very informative... I have been looking for a blog of a girl that is like me (fashion, views, style, hobbies, health, etc) and see what it is like for her to live in Norway. :)