Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SERIES: Cultural ambassadors: NORWAY (Cross-culture email connection)

The second part of the series is coming to us from Norway. Thanks for the more satirical insight to one of our northern European countries.

Hello everyone =)
This is the Cross-culture Email Connection from Norway!

a description of what you eat for breakfast:
Well, I don't eat breakfast. I'm from a family that has been growling
at each others over bowls of cereal for ages, and, well, it's no use.
I can't find any appetite unless I've been up and about for a while.
But most people in Norway eat slices of bread with some kind of
disgusting stuff on it. Seriously, jam and cheese are OK, but fish in
tomato sauce, some mushed up stuff from liver and other parts of
animals you don't want to know what is... is that a way to start the
day? Not in my world. Some eat cereal, but no one cooks in the morning
here. No egg and bacon, no waffles, hardly any toast, no scrambled
eggs. If you can't make it all with a knife it's not breakfast.

a short description of a typical work day:

Well, for Norwegians it's mostly "management". People here are so damn
spoiled, and eastern European people flock into our country to do the
work that no one here wants to do. If it's not fun and well paid it's
hardly worth doing. And even though Norwegians are winning cooking
competitions all the time we would just starve to death without
Asians. The work hours are 8 hours a day including a 30 minutes paid
lunch, and it's not hard work. I have no idea how we came from Vikings
to this lazy ass shit.

a description of your favorite day off (weekend or holiday):
I have nothing else than days off... But I'm not normal. Most
Norwegian has busy weekends. People that have moved to Norway often
comment about our strange habit of going to "hytta" most weekends. And
yes, it's strange. Norwegians often have at least one "hytte" in the
family, a cabin or second home, either in the mountains or by the sea
(or both). When I grew up we had both a sea and a mountain hytte, one
on either side of the family. It's usually owned by the grandparents
and either sold or inherited when they die. My soon-to-be-in-laws have
a mountain hytte, and me and my boyfriend often go there. Most folks
go there and stay the whole weekend, but we just go after work on
Friday, bring hot dogs to heat in the fireplace and watch all the good
stuff on TV (almost every single good show is running back to back on
Fridays), and just hang out. It's nice to get away from everything,
there is hardly any phone signals up there, the computers stay home,
and there is not any visible neighbors there either. We go back home
again on Saturday morning so that we can do something useful during
the weekend too. Like fix our house, cars, chop wood and things that
take time and has to be done.
But what I want to do over the weekend, when I don't want to get away
or paint something with a big brush is Geocaching. It's not a huge
sport, but there is a lot of caches in Norway, and if the weather is
nice there is nothing better than to get out and see something new. I
prefer caching in cities, mostly because my boyfriend is such a whiner
when it comes to bushes and shrubs. He is scared of bugs, and it's so
funny, because I grew up SO close to the city, and he grew up in the
countryside, and I'm the one that has no problems with nature. I also
like traveling, but a weekend is too short time to see much. We have
been to every single county in Norway, so we need more time to travel.

a short description of your country and its position in the world,
including something you like about it and something you don't like

Oh boy... Norway is a very very small country, with a very very VERY
big ego. Yes, I know, we are rated as the best country to live in in
the world, every single year by the UN, but we are not important. Ok,
so we contribute with a lot of stuff, Norway is a rich country that
can throw a lot of money at things like earthquakes and tsunamis, and
our doctors seem to want to travel a lot and help out, but we really
don't matter. 4,5 million people can't make a huge impression on the
world. We win in winter sports that hardly anyone watches, we haven't
had a world known politician or musicians since the 80ties, and the
only thing people seem to mention about Norway when I get postcrossing
cards is Eurovision (witch we won last year and hosting this year) and
that they have some relatives that came from Norway. It seems like our
biggest export is people, especially to the US.
I like that we can help out with stuff, and actually be a good example
that it's possible to get over a war (WW2) and come out on top like we
have done. We are lucky to have oil, and we know it. I like the fact
that we stand up to our neighbors in the north with no fear. The
Russians don't seem to get used to being treated like everyone else,
and it's fun to see how they react!

a list of languages (optional: dialects) that are spoken in your country

OH BOY! Seriously. I could talk about it all day. I'll try to keep it short.
We have 3 official languages in Norway. It's Bokmål (regular
Norwegian), Nynorsk (new Norwegian) and Samisk. Samisk is spoken by
the Sami people that live in the area around the common borders of
Norway, Sweden and Finland. If you speak Samisk to someone that is not
a Sami it will get you nowhere. It's a VERY strange language, and you
don't learn it in regular school. Nynorsk is something very strange.
It's a written language, but no one really speaks it! It's a written
version of a lot of dialects, and there is a LOT of dialects in
Norway. It's quite hard to understand people from many places, and I
feel really sorry for all the people moving to Norway that are not
from Sweden or Denmark, because we have soooo many dialects and
strange words from strange places. If you are an expert in dialects in
Norway you can pinpoint where people are from just by listening to
them talk for a while, but it seems like every little town has it's
own words. Just the strange words and dialect from around where I live
has it's own book now. And many of the words make -no- sense. Words
that mean one thing in one part of the country means something very
different somewhere else.
Bokmål is not really spoken either, but close. It's the language that
is most common around our capital Oslo, and it's the language most
kids learn in school. But all kids have classes in both Bokmål and
Nynorsk. The languages are not very different, but most of the grammar
needs to be learned. I really don't think learning Swedish or Danish
would be any harder than Nynorsk or Bokmål. Most Norwegian speak
Swedish quite well if they just dare to try, because we have watched a
lot of Swedish television programs on TV, and nothing is dubbed here.
That also means we speak English very well here, and we actually start
learning English before we learn our second Norwegian language.

description of the role of men and women in your country:

Norway is the country of social inequality. We pride ourselves on the
fact that anyone can be anything in Norway, no matter if they are
rich, poor, man or woman. Education is free and available to everyone.
Men in Norway has to take their part in everything that goes on in the
house, like cooking, cleaning and watching kids. There is absolutely
no rules or regulations that differ men and women in Norway. Still,
women usually earn less than men, and there is more men that are
mechanics and more women in the kindergartens, but it's not because of
any thing other than peoples own choices. We even have high government
officials that only work with equality. Discriminating is frowned upon
from all angles.

a type of craft that is typical for your country
We have something called Bunad. It is a traditional costume, made both
for men and women. They vary from place to place, over 200 versions
are known, and it's a very old tradition. It's kinda hard to explain
how it looks, but it's VERY time consuming to make, and it's way too
hot to wear in the summer. Usually it's worn on our national day (17th
May), weddings and such.
I don't have a Bunad. Mostly because the one made where I grew up is
so damned ugly, and the tradition is that you get the one from where
you came from. But also it's so expensive and they are so heavy to
wear, and sooo much work putting them on. On 16th of May you really
should not call any females, because they are probably angry as hell
as they try to get their Bunad ready, ironing the shirt and polishing
the silver stuff.

[I added links to some pictures for better understanding:
girls wearing bunad
fashion photo of women with bonnets ]

a list of the three most important holidays of your country and how
they are cebrated:

We REALLY do Christmas. Not in the "buy as much as you can and eat
until you drop"-Christmas, there is a lot of gifts, but it's also very
much about the traditions, family, cards, friends, advent calendars
and that the sun is turning and we can look forward to seeing it
again! Much of Norway has what we call Mørketid, Dark Times, when the
sun is not seen for months, or just a tiny bit in the middle of the
day. It is a big deal that it's coming back, and our Christmas
celebration has way more to do with the old Norse mythology, the one
the Vikings believed in. They also celebrated what they called Yule,
that is pronounced much like what we call Christmas now; Jul. It is
believed that Christmas was put to the 24th of December (not 25th like
in the US) because of Yule, witch was celebrated on the 22th, because
we would never give it up anyway and the Christians had to make it
their own. Norwegians are not a religious people at all, so Christmas
is more tradition than anything else. I guess we would celebrate it
the same way if Christianity had never arrived. We also insist that
Santa comes from Norway, and if a letter is sent to "Santa, North
Pole" it ends up in Norway. Someone in the town of Drøbak opens every
single letter.

So that was Christmas. We also have Easter, witch is spent at the
hytte, or if you are a geek, in the worlds biggest LAN party in the
Olympic stadium Vikingskipet. I've been there for the whole easter 5
times, but since I live just 30 minutes away I can meet people that
visit anyway, and I don't have too sleep on the floor and get a
headache from the noise in there. When 5500 geeks are in the same room
it's not quiet! It's very much fun if you know a lot of people that
are there though, and I had a blast, but most of the people I know
that are there are arranging it, and have no time to goof off. Some
people go south for the easter, but it's not very hot yet in the
southern parts of Europe.

Those are the two most important ones, we also have a winter and
autumn-week off, also spent at the hytte (*giggle), and we have time
off on some more Christian days of importance in the spring, and 1th
of May (workers day, most people fix their gardens this day, but it's
supposed to be a day for protest) and 17th of May, witch is The
National Day, spent in Bunad with too much ice cream, walking in
parades with marching bands and waving with flags. It's such a day of
nationalism... But it's fun for the kids, and usually it's a great day
to spend outside.

Hope I didn't bore you to death ;P

How much I'd like a hytte where no one can reach you through modern technology... Preferably this one, oh and the inside, soo nice.

All umarked text in this post was supplied by a third party. The opinions expressed are not the same as those of the author of this blog. According to §§8 to 10 of the German Tele-Media Act, I am not obligated to monitor third party information provided or stored on my website. However, Ishall promptly remove any content upon becoming aware that it violates the law. My liability in such an instance shall commence at the time I become aware of the respective violation.


Yoshi said...

I love that you asked such great questions for this swap and that you posted the answers. It has been so neat to read about other cultures.

Yoshi (libertunity from Swapbot)

sweetdaisydreams said...

thank you for sharing your blog and ideas, love glendas sb