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Off topic: what I learned while in Norway

By the time this posts, I’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic heading back home after 10 days in Norway. While I’ve been outside of the U.S. (Canada, Mexico, Guatemala), this was my first trip overseas. It’s been a fantastic experience and I can’t wait to share it with anyone that will listen.

I don’t think it’s possible to engage with another culture and walk away without a few things learned or valued. So if you’ll indulge a wildly off-topic post, here are my top five things I think Norwegians do better:

1. Waffles. They’re smaller, thinner, crunchier and are considered a treat and not a breakfast food. I’ll have to find yet another waffle maker (I already own a Belgium maker), but there is something simple and pleasurable to winding down the day with a warm waffle with jam.

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2. The duvet. I’ve seen these in US hotels, but from what I understand, they are common in Scandinavia and Northern Europe homes. It’s basically a sheet wrapped around a down filling that does the job of both sheet and comforter. They’re warm and comfortable and the sheet portion is machine washable. Some couples have their own, which removes the whole tug-of-bedding war at night. Functional genius.

3. Eat meals outside. Summer is so short in Norway they enjoy eating outside when they can. Many restaurants even provide a thin blanket to wrap around customer’s shoulders while dinning in the cool evening. Dining in the open air is very relaxing.

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4. Spend more time outdoors. Most Norwegians own Nordic skis AND use them. I saw a map of an area trail system (groomed and maintained mind you) and it looked like a cob web of networked trails running for miles around. Walking, hiking, cycling are also popular. Life is short, enjoy it.

5. Become conversational in a second language. It was fun to watch my friends and work associates switch back and forth effortlessly between languages. Many people I met knew three or four. Oslo was so diverse, but because people knew multiple languages, rarely was there ever communication problems – they simply switched to the one they had in common and carried on as naturally as their native tongue.

I’ll resume blogging on Tuesday provided jet lag overtakes me. Thanks for reading.

Community Comments

#1 Justin Riley
September/2/2013
@ 9:50 am

Yeah… Duvets are the best. You can get them for any sized bed. They make normal blankets seem like crappy sleeping bags.

Artists are a curious bunch. Off-topic posts will probably be more popular than the average on-topic.

#2 Donald A. Rex Jr.
September/4/2013
@ 2:09 pm

As an artist I find nothing off topic. Welcome back Alan.

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