With May looming, it got me thinking of 17th of May, Norway’s National Day. Not only do we dress up in national costumes that make us look like milk maids (or is that just me?) to celebrate that Norway was declared as an independent nation in 1814. This is kind of strange to me, as we were still under Swedish rule at that point.. Ah well. Anyway, it’s a day we get to dress up in expensive costumes (“bunad”) and eat as much ice cream and as many hot dogs as we want, and walk in parades waving the red, white and blue flag proudly.
Unfortunately I don’t have my “bunad” with me in London, but there are some pictures of me somewhere. But it looks something like this:
I read an interesting article online the other day whilst on the bus on my way to work about Twitter and popularity, false popularity actually (article link to follow so that credit is given where credit is due).
Much like Facebook, people like to think that the more followers (or friends) you have, the more popular you obviously must be. True, if you have lots of followers, your tweets could be interesting, funny, insightful and whatnot. And for some they probably are. But for others they are possibly just an unreal reality. With all the spam and obvious promo Twitter profiles around some, if not a large part, of follower lists may not be actual persons. Or who were real persons at the dawn on Twitter who never really got into tweeting and gave it up.
So if you haven’t looked at your list of loyal followers for a while, you may be in for a surprise. And if anyone asks you how many followers you have (apparently an employer in the States demanded a certain number of followers for interviewees to qualify for a job. Correct answer: 250), you might want to spring clean your list of devotees before answering. The actuality might be very different.
Having lived abroad for most of my adult life (Italy, Norway, England, Norway, England – but that’s a whole other blog entry), I have come across people who have heard many things about us Norwegians, some true and some not so true.
So I thought I would address some of these oddities and, perhaps, misconceptions as well as truths about my native country and folk sooner rather than later.
No, polar bears do not roam around freely in our streets.
Surprisingly enough, Norwegians aren’t predominantly tall and blonde (*sighs, looking wishful into the air..). That would be the Swedes, and the Danes. But we do love to colour our hair to keep up appearances (bottle blonde me)!
Yes, parts of Norway will have (almost) complete darkness during winter, and perpetual daylight during summer. That is the place I call home-home. Only 4million of the world’s population of 6.8billion live in the Arctic region, so when you meet one from there, truly treasure the moment! That goes for Norwegians too – only 4.8million of us out there!
We are not all death/heavy metal loving church burners. Yes, some do like death/heavy metal, and yes, some also sadly torched churches. That’s what made the press and it was back in the 90s. But you can find both Hell and Paradis in Norway if you go looking!
We are not all depressed due to the dark polar nights (see point 3).
Nor are we all obsessed with skiing. Personally I much prefer après-ski.
Norwegians invented the ostehøvel (cheese slicer). It goes perfectly with our brunost (brown cheese).
Since our country is fairly cold most of the year and situated on the outskirts of Northern Europe, we do love to travel! Much like our Viking ancestors. But these days we are much more amicable when travelling.
Our alphabet contains three more letters than the English: Æ, Ø and Å.
We may be one of the richest countries in the world, but we can still only buy wine and liquor from special Government owned shops called Vinmonopolet (the wine monopoly). Not to be confused with Vinopolis in London.
These are only but a few of many Norwegian stereotypes out there. I would love to hear any that aren’t listed above!
Elisa, and I’m a Norwegian expat living in London.
I’ve been living here for a total of five years, and have to admit I’m not tired of the city yet. After three years at university, immersing myself in the UK media, I “briefly” returned to the motherland before packing my bags and relocating my life to the big city once more in 2008 to pursue a career in PR.
This is my story of life the city I call home, with a sprinkle of Scandi – I hope it will entertain you.