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!