This morning I attended a welcome breakfast for new international workers commencing at the University of Oslo. One of the presenters was a PhD candidate from NTNU in Trondheim and founder of a group called “Mondå”. He gave a talk about how he found adapting to Norway as “the most challenging cultural experience of his life”. He stated this having lived in four other countries prior to moving to Norway.
He gave some examples of how strange the Norwegian culture can be, but the more I listened, the more I felt like I had more in common with the country. I am aware that a lot of foreign people struggle with Norway and will complain to one another about how weird Norwegians can be sometimes. In my case, I feel I fit here very nicely because a much of how I think overlaps with the society here. So in response to this morning’s talk, I have compiled a list of things that I feel I share in common with the stereotypical Norwegian!
– THE OTHER DAY I boarded a train and each aisle in the carriage had at least one person sitting in it. I decided to stand until the train arrived at the next station. A few aisles emptied and so I decided to sit in one of them.
– ONE TIME I was walking down the street and somebody walking in the opposite approached me. I was wondering why they were talking to me.
– WHEN I get home from work I enjoy unwinding and relaxing in my room. I sometimes decline events if I want to spend time by myself too.
– WHEN I am in a small grocery store and somebody blocks my path, I stand and wait until they see me before giving me space to walk past.
– THAT PERSON is wearing nice clothes, but I don’t want to freak them out by telling them that.
– I ENJOY working in my office without having to share with other people.
– WHY is that person in the corridor smiling at me? Have we met before?
– ONCE I was in a fruit and vegetable shop and it was so busy that they stationed staff to pack your items for you. I thought that person was trying to steal my food.