Vi ♡ Norge
“Don’t you hate it when …?” … “Have you seen how they?” …. “Why can’t they be more ….” “Why are they so ….”
We immigrants love to do this sort of thing. It makes us feel like we’re not crazy for thinking a certain custom/tradition/behavior/response is the most ridiculous thing we’ve ever seen. “This place would be so fabulous,” we say, “if only it could be a bit more like America or Holland or Tanzania. Then it would be the most perfect place on earth.” (Never mind that it would no longer be Norway.)
We readily admit to our love/hate relationship with Norway, which really isn’t so different from the frustration a wife feels for her husband when he loads the dishwasher all wrong, or doesn’t notice the toilet needs cleaning, or puts her bras in the dryer. I love all the wonderful things about you dear, but, you see, my way is just, well, the right way to do it.
But we immigrants also love to sit around and share what we love about Norway, because it reminds us of why we came here in the first place, or at any rate, why, despite continuous rain and painfully high prices, we stay.
Norway: in honor of 17 May, Norway’s National Day, here is a list of everything I love about you, everything you do just perfectly:
- fresh shrimp from the sea, cooked on the boat and sold at the fisketorget in Bergen
- the brick-colored sky when the sun hovers just under the top of the mountains
- the secretive blue world of late morning light in winter
- forking trails that invite me to never reach my goal
- the tradition of Sunday hikes
- chemical-free drinking water
- Hvitveis and Blåveis, carpeting the forests in spring
- the crisp and cozy smell of sheets dried outside in the sea air
- the word “kos” and for worshipping it when we need it more – in winter!
- that children are safe to run free and explore their world
- dagpenger and sykemeldinger for those who need it
- equal access for everyone to health care
- free education
- civil rights for everyone, even in same sex marriages
- the importance of “we”
- the explosion of wild berries in the woods, along the roads, and in our backyard in August
- the light of the midnight sun, even when it’s raining
- Christmas and Santa Lucia Day
- chili nuts
- feriepenger and half-taxes in June and December
- a workday that ends at 4 p.m.
- the value placed on families
- barnehage — a paradise for all 6 and under!
Please feel free to add to my list in the comments below!
To read last year’s post on the traditions of 17 May, click here.