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“Sånn er det”

20 May 2011

“Sånn er det” (pronounced something like “sone are day”) is a national motto in Norway. It’s like a Norwegian version of the Serenity Prayer, without the “change the things I can” part. It basically means “That’s how it is.” When you have planned a BBQ party in mid-July but it is and 50 degrees and hailing, your guests will turn up and cheerily say, “Sånn er det.” When the bus gets stuck on the ice and you must wait in the freezing rain for the next one, the older woman standing next to you will shrug and say, “Sånn er det om vinteren.” That’s how it is in winter. When your three-year-old child comes home from daycare with a bandaged finger because he cut himself on a saw, the daycare teachers will most likely give you an encouraging pat on the back and then say: “Sånn er det med gutter.” That’s how it is with boys.

There is a comforting side to this phrase – not only can you not do anything about the events of the world, you can take joy in knowing that you are not the unluckiest person in the world, that the planets have not aligned to conspire against you personally; things, it would seem, just happen this way for no reason in particular. So when your hands are too full and you drop a glass jar of pizza sauce while waiting in line at the check-out and it splatters bright red paste over everyone’s legs in a three-meter radius, you are relieved when then gruff looking man standing in front of you with his cartload of beer and potato chips wearing sweatpants that now look like a Jackson Pollack painting turns to you and says, “Sånn er det av og til.” That’s just how it is sometimes.

“Sånn er det” will be a new category of blog posts with some shorter snippets about life in Norway, just as it is sometimes.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 20 May 2011 13:15

    Hahahaha! So true! The other one I hear all the time is:
    Det ordene seg! (It will take care of it self)
    Me: Our daughter´s ballet recital is in 2o minutes and I can´t find her ballet shoes!
    My husband: Det ordene seg.

    The frustrating thing is…he is always right!
    Thanks for the giggle!

    • jenaconti permalink
      21 May 2011 20:00

      Ah yes! I forget about that phrase! And the two can sort of work in tandem — things just happen and things will just sort themselves out. Love it!


  1. Sånn er det i naturen (That’s how it is in nature) « up-rooted
  2. Everyone is nice! « up-rooted

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