Sunday, March 7, 2010 1:23:45 PM
First, I must aplogise for the long delay between blog posts. As an upcoming update will illustrate, I was kept busy with a three-week trip home to Australia, followed by the inevitable busy period at work attempting to catch up and wade through my inbox.
When we last left off, we were fast approaching the end of the year. This is always a significant time for Norway, because Decembers herald when the country distributes the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize.
Thursday, November 12, 2009 9:21:12 PM
One of Norway’s most famous musical exports is a band called, rather imaginatively, A-ha. What? Never heard of them? Don’t worry – that’s what I said, too. But even if you haven’t heard of A-ha, you have almost definitely heard
Synth-pop trio A-ha (correctly written ‘a-ha’, but I’ll keep the capitalisation for easy reading) are most renowned for their breakthrough song Take On Me
, a classic 80s icon made so popular by its catchy melody plus the funky mix of animation and live-action in its music video. (See below.) The video was nominated for eight awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards (winning six), and has been parodied in Family Guy
. I knew Take On Me
well before coming to Norway (okay, not well enough to tell you the band or the title, but well enough to say “Oh, yeah, that song!”), but had assumed the band were one of the one-hit wonders so typical of the 1980s; little did I know that the group has had a successful global career spanning almost 30 years.
Saturday, October 31, 2009 8:21:43 PM
Earlier this month, Norway was claimed as the number one best country in the world to live. Well, sort of. Each year around October, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ranks 182 countries on criteria including life expectancy, literacy, school enrolment, and gross domestic product per capita. This enables them to calculate each country’s ‘human development index’
– which enables them to slot countries into the categories of developed, developing or underdeveloped. The media often translate this index into which countries have the highest standard of living, or are just plain the best places in the world to live... and this year Norway won!
Saturday, September 26, 2009 5:57:34 PM
Those who know me well will wonder why it has taken so long for me to broach a subject of such eminent significance: candy. The types, the tastes, the firms, the fillings, the restrictions and the repeats... it all gets very fascinating here in Norway.
Saturday, August 15, 2009 7:56:24 AM
Before those with one-track minds get their hopes up, note that I said ‘covers’ in the blog title – plural
. You see in Norway, and in some other European countries, it is common for a couple sharing a bed to have two separate covers: one for each person. Huh? This was a surprising change from the system of just one large duvet stretching across the entire bed that I am accustomed to.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009 6:09:03 PM
Previously titled "Ten Things I Hate About Europe" as a movie
reference, but it was offending far too many people who thought I was genuinely angry and not simply making a wordplay. I apologise for causing any offense, and it was not my intention.
These lists of cultural differences are not all-out provocations for hatred by any means, just a few niggling annoyances that I experienced in getting used to Norwegian culture as someone from another country. Every foreigner seeking to integrate into a new region would experience similar challenges, and I point these out only as observations of differences in culture and not to start an argument, and as a reminder that cultural differences can encompass both the large and the small. I am sure a Norwegian visiting Australia would also experiences these differences and many more. Please ready and enjoy the post in the spirit it was intended.
Friday, July 3, 2009 9:45:16 PM
There is a strange middle language that flickers somewhere between Norwegian and English, that I like to call ‘Norwenglish’. It is a dialect spoken by those Norwegians who are maybe out of practice with English or simply not used to speaking it (or speaking about particular topics), and which - understandably - almost always results from them trying to directly translate a Norwegian phrase or pronunciation into English. Norwenglish is usually not that
far from the correct English version, but far enough for you to stare at the speaker blankly for a second, thinking “Huuuuuh?”
Saturday, June 20, 2009 8:48:25 PM
As the days become longer and summertime offers more opportunities for lazing around in the park, so too increases the visibility of one of Norway’s most unusual phenomena: the can-collectors.
The can-collectors, as I’ll choose to call them, are people who go around public places (particularly popular parks) diligently picking up empty bottles and cans in order to take them to recycling. However, they are typically neither environmental enthusiasts nor civic minded people feeling a compelling duty to clean up the community – they are usually less well-off immigrants, who do this for a living.
Thursday, June 4, 2009 6:20:07 PM
As well as being the time of year for Eurovision
and constitution day
, another annual milestone that just passed in Norway is the conclusion of Russefeiring
– graduating high school students’ two-week orgy of parties, drunkenness, hormones and youthful stupidity before they buckle down for final exams. I wouldn’t normally dwell on this (as my home state has a similar ritual called Schoolies, though we have the foresight to hold it after exams and before students reach legal drinking age
), but there are so many just plain bizarre
traditions involved in Russ that I can’t resist sharing.
Thursday, May 21, 2009 3:16:38 PM
You may recall from my previous post
my review of the competitions in Norway to determine who would be our representative in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Admittedly, I was unimpressed with our chosen entry, which I thought was folksy, cheesy and nothing like a mainstream song – in short, something that might just
be bad enough to win Eurovision. And, as it turns out, it was.