Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On Norway

I’m not having a fit of homesickness, but as I’m currently enjoying the company of my friend Leanne who is visiting from Boston, I didn’t have much time to blog today (evidence: I’m posting at night instead of the usual morning-ish. To my defence, I left the house at 6:15 am today). However, instead of leaving an open post, I decided it might be time to introduce my home country.

The ten most important facts about Norway:

1) We have the original fjordsTM, designed by Slartibartfast. He even won an award for it.

2) We have snow. Lots of it. (Except for those years when we complain about global warming. The debate somehow arises only when there's no snow...) Last winter it snowed so much that there is still some left.
(Left: the snow depot this winter. Right: the snow depot a few days ago - there is still snow under the black sand)

3) Norway is not the capital of Sweden or Copenhagen or even Scandinavia. Norway is an independent country, located in Scandinavia (and it's a part of Europe too, even if we are not a part of the European Union. This explains why they cut us out of the €-coin).

4) Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback is Norwegian.

5) The international term "quisling" (as in “You quisling, you ate my lutefisk!”) comes from the not-so-loveable fanatic Hitler allowed to rule Norway for a while during World War Two. (For those who have never heard the expression, it means traitor, and it’s one of four words in the Norwegian dictionary under the letter Q)

6) Norway is a monarchy. Our king’s name is Harald the fifth. He’s kinda cool! He also has no real power. The (then Swedish) king lost that to the Storting (our parliament) at the end of the 19th century.

7) Norwegians speak Norwegian. It’s a language. However, if you ever go there, you will also find that most Norwegians know their English, they just tend to mix up verb tenses and pronounce a “W” like a “V”.

8) Sweden is Norway’s big brother. That’s why we always make fun of them (and vice versa, as far as I know). Really, it’s just love! We were under Swedish rule for almost a hundred years, and before that under Denmark for 400 years. And still, somehow, we are much angrier at Sweden…

9) Every year, an important-looking Norwegian man gets to say “This year’s laureate is….”, because Norway is the country awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. Sweden has all the others, but somehow, Norway got the BIG one! Ha! (See what I mean? Love between brothers…)

10) Even though Norway is a nice country to live in, somehow, during history, lots and lots of people have emigrated. First, the Vikings went to Greenland and Iceland and inhabited these islands. (One of them even went to America. It was, for those who didn’t know this, Leif Eriksson, not Columbus, who “discovered” America! After the Native Americans, that is…)
We kept going to America, and nowadays, most of the Midwest is inhabited by people with a Norwegian (okay, Scandinavian. Sweden and Denmark also sent people there…) great-great-grandfather.

Consider yourselves educated!


Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

"Did it have... oceans?"
"Oh, yes. Great, rolling blue oceans."
"Can't bear oceans."
"Tell me. Do you get on well with other robots?"
"Hate them."

Just had to share one of my favorite bits from Hitchhiker. Norway sounds grand! If I were wealthy, I would go there and wander around in the fjords and fiddly bits and look for vikings. I would probably find Starbucks, and that'd be okay too.

How long have you lived in the 'States?

Rayna M. said...

Isn't it crazy how they cut an entire country out of the Euro coin? Never seen one, but the one time I saw a picture of one, the map looked wrong. Now I know.

And just so you know, the first Scandinavian country I learnt the name of was Norway. And that was way back in Grade Two, when I didn't even know something called Europe existed. Mother Theresa won the Nobel Peace Prize in '79 you see, and went to Oslo to collect it. The rest of the countries came a few years later.

And the post is incomplete because you have not written about the defining characteristic of Norwegians - their fascination with giraffes.

Cruella Collett said...

I now realize that my list really is incomplete. In addition to not mentioning the typical Norwegian fascination with giraffes (or at there is two of us), I also failed to mention one thing I have complained about many a times:
Norway is probably the one remaining country in the industrialized world that does not have Starbucks. It's crazy, but true.

Paul - if the lack of Starbuckness did not put you off entirely, you're more than welcome to visit Norway (for when you're wealthy, y'know). I have lived in the States for a grand total of 40 days, meaning I have about 50 days left. Time flies.
I really liked your Hitchhiker snippet - it's been forever since I read it, but I wonder if it might be time to pick it up again...

Natasha - in my petty little way, I am immensely pleased that you learned of Norway prior to Sweden or Denmark. And I like the way you heard of it too. You know, the biggest mistake the committee ever made was to not give the Prize to Gandhi (and they admit this).

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