Adapting to Norway

Trying to ski like a local.
Trying to ski like a local.

Moving to a new country requires flexibility, patience, and above all, a sense of humor.  Not to say that I’ve always maintained mine.  But writing a blog helps me to put everything in perspective and find the comedy in situations that might otherwise tempt me into a meltdown.  My biggest goal in relocating to Norway has been diving headfirst into the culture and history of the country, and learning to embrace new ideas and ways of living while examining my old assumptions.

Some adjustments may seem more foreign than others, but inhabiting another person's shoes for awhile always pays off with greater enjoyment of and empathy for others. (I'm entering a mosque in Turkey here.)
Some adjustments may seem more foreign than others, but inhabiting another person’s shoes for awhile always pays off with greater enjoyment of and empathy for people and cultures. (I’m entering a mosque in Turkey here.)

It’s kinda funny, because the top three questions from my fellow countrymen (Americans) are:

  • “Do you get homesick?”  Nope, not really.  I miss family and friends, of course.  And sometimes I miss being able to understand casual conversations on the street.  (Yeah, not speaking Norwegian has really put a crimp in my eavesdropping.)  But am I ready to go home?  Absolutely not.
  • “What do you miss most about the U.S.?”  Not much.  Maybe more sunshine and the ability to read the newspaper (since I’m illiterate here) …oh, and fried green tomatoes.
  • “Is it hard living with so many foreigners?”  I usually counter this last question with one of my own:  Who’s foreign, them … or me?  After all, it’s their country, and I’m the immigrant and tourist.

Simply put, my mantra is:  no judgement.  I try not to ridicule or mock any of the cultures I’ve visited just because I occasionally feel anxious, alien, isolated, or even inferior.  When I do feel out of place and ignorant, I find that half the fun is figuring out why folks do what they do … and discovering that maybe they just might have a better idea.  I think exploring differences and discovering similarities breeds understanding and appreciation — something the world could use a little more of, especially as nationalism and intolerance seem to be rampant everywhere right now.

So here are a few posts that illustrate my observations, occasional exasperations, and enjoyment of the journey.

Learning to Live in the Land of the Midnight Sun

%d bloggers like this: