Norway: An Outsiders Perspective


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  • Welcome to Norway! A small but passionate nation with
  • a richhistory,
  • inspiring landmarks,
  • and a well preserved landscape, lightly tread upon by hikers and hardy campers.
  • While I documented much of my ten days, I had help from many new friends and one old one to help
  • explain simple Norwegian quirks as I came across them, but also to help me interpret the culture and other
  • powerful symbols such as the holocaust monuments in Norway’s statue park. However, not everything I came across had meaning,
  • sometimes pieces of Norway were simply peculiar.
  • My friend Dyveke served as my guide and provided explanations to all of my questions. I say explanations, because I feel like there are no answers to cultural questions
  • Traffic lights are a good example, the yellow light shines not only from green to red, but also from red to green. The explanation I received was “so you know you’re about to go.” But to me, why should there be a yellow light when it could just shine green? I may just be used to American lights.
  • Once I started focusing on the more important things, my trip improved drastically. Dyveke introduced me to many of her friends and
  • I began to feel at home in no time
  • It was remarkable how everyone I met spoke English fluently, but they also loved to fuss over English, because there are too many words.
  • The Norwegian language is much simpler, with fewer descriptive words, the only exception is concerning love, different forms pertain to family, friends, or significant others,
  • They describe their relationships with one another in much more depth that cannot be translated easily into English.
  • Every Norwegian I talked to gave me the impression that they care about the other over themselves, but in some instances it seems that they don’t have a choice.
  • To illustrate my point, one day we attended a birthday on a sailboat. It was a large gathering, and everyone brought the birthday girl a
  • gift. Which I thought was a little odd, since she was turning 20. Then the “birthday game” was explained. Even though anyone throwing theparty will normally include a message saying
  • please do not bring gifts! It is expected for everyone to bring one anyway,
  • in order to show you really care about the person.This sort of social expectation made me suspiciousof genuine gift giving but maybe its just because I am
  • American
  • Whatever their intentions, what remained clear throughout the trip was the love Norwegians have for their country, and their traditions
  • For their national holiday, nearly all of the roughly 4.3 million Norwegians head to the capital to celebrate and parade past
  • The royal family
  • Being apart of a people so enthusiastically in support of their country and government was a refreshing spin on national holidays.
  • Experiencing the pride of Norway’s citizens erased many of the doubts I had about the way they function as a society.
  • They must be doing something right.
  • Norway: An Outsiders Perspective

    1. 1. Please DoNot Bring Gifts