Norway Under My Skin

There is a song by Cole Porter, made famous by Frank Sinatra –

I’ve got you under my skin.
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me.
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me.
I’ve got you under my skin.

Norway did it to me, and I never even suspected it.

I have always lived in the sun…… and it’s mostly cloudy and rainy here…….. and I have come to love the rain, and miss it if we have too many sunny days in a row.

I’m used to people saying hello on the street, even if they don’t know you …… many Norwegians will look at the ground as they pass so that you can’t catch their eye. Don’t get me wrong, I have met lots of friendly people as well, and I’ve found that having an unusual dog has helped spark conversations. I was told once that Norwegians are like thermoses – hard and cold on the outside, but warm on the inside. It’s a good description.

There have been frustrations to be sure. The hassle getting drivers licenses without having to take the course like an 18 year old…… and waiting for them to change the rules because Norwegians don’t make exceptions.

Learning to shop on Saturday mornings because the stores all close in the afternoon and don’t open again until Monday morning.  this is a great rule, actually, as that way almost everyone gets some weekend time with their families.  But it does take getting used to.

Remembering that NOTHING will be open on Christmas or Easter, even though Norwegians as a whole are not religious.

Wanting to talk to older people and not knowing the language well enough……..I think that must be how a two year old feels, and why they throw tantrums when we don’t understand.

I love the green of the hills and trees, and the ever changing blankets of flowers. I’ve been so blessed to live near a park, and have good neighbours. I’ve even gotten good enough at the language that a time or two I was mistaken for a native…. For a few seconds, anyways.

Being one-quarter Norwegian (my great grandparents left Stavanger area in the late 1800’s), I found it fascinating to see where they had come from, and just what the conditions were that made emigrating look so inviting. I wish that I had tried sooner to try to find grave stones, or remaining relatives, and quit feeling immobilized by the cold.

Well, I left Norway in early March, and have seen an amazing number of new and exciting things, but you know….. I left a big part of my heart in Norway. I definitely have to return someday to get it back….. Or maybe I’ll end up leaving a bigger part there. It sure felt like home to me. I guess there is something that is in the blood, after all.

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6 Responses to Norway Under My Skin

  1. Marie Marfia says:

    “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Another song phrase that seems to have a lot of truth in it. You’re not alone adjusting to new surroundings. Good post.

  2. Kathi, I understand a bit. I was only in Norway visiting for 3 days (one in Stavanger with Dave’s relatives, one in Tonsberg with mine & one for travel to/from), but I would go back in a heartbeat. Right now I’m losing my heart to Korea with the cherry blossoms coming on and the whole country awakening to spring. While we won’t stay here long, I know I will also leave part of me here. I think when you plant yourself wherever you are, part of you will root and grow there, whether you move on or not. I hope you find the same happening where you are now. Be blessed in the rooting process.

  3. Sue says:

    I also fell in love with Norway in just the few days I was there. It was blustery when I arrived and rained and snowed off and on. But I grew up with rain and snow. Celebrating New Year;s with champagne and the neighbors and the fireworks was so special. Getting up in the dark was wonderfully weird. I want to find how out the long days of summer feel. I really want to go back and see more. and I want to get the pics off my camera. . . I may have to go back to my PC to do it. . . sigh. . .
    So when You are ready. . . I’ll meet you there. 😉

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