All my favorite things

(Post by Cindy Mom)

“Why don’t you sleep?” asked my Sande host-friend Ranveig, yesterday morning.  (I have been staying up too late, and getting up very early since I’ve been in Norway.) “What’s wrong with you?” she asked.  I sighed, and said, “I’m in love.  You don’t sleep when you’re in love.”

I do not use this word, love, lightly.  I have been asking for detailed immigration information from my guides.  Unless one can claim refugee status, or extreme economic or political distress, it is difficult to immigrate to Norway, especially if you are from a developed, privileged nation.  It appears that the only way for me to do it would be to marry a Norwegian. Ok. I can deal with that.  Erik (president of the Sande Rotary Club) had someone in mind, but unfortunately the candidate did not meet my “must be under 60” criteria.

I happen to have a lot of different interests, some of which appear to be odd or unusual when I am in my own society.  Somehow, none of these are considered odd here, and in fact this culture celebrates many of them.  I feel like I fit in here, like a puzzle piece that’s finally clicked into place with a satisfying sound. I am just going to list some of my favorite things that I’ve encountered since I’ve been here.

1. Pulken har tilhørt fra Nansens Grønlandsekspedisjon! (Nansen’s Greenland Expedition sled, on display at the Holmenkollen Ski Museum.)
2. Tyttebær (cranberry-like berries, cooked into a sauce and used as a condiment with meat), jordbær(strawberries), bringebær (raspberries).
3. Timber framing, decorative carving, wood burning, and other beautiful and utilitarian things done with wood.
4. Sitting at the table, long after supper and the good wine, talking with Ranveig and Arne about birds, mushrooms, wild leeks, music, farming, art, Bach flower remedies, yoga, philosophy, herbs, travel, and sewing.
5. Walking the decks of the Fram. This ship went the furthest north (with Nansen) and the furthest south (with Amundsen) of any single ship in the world, during polar explorations.
6. “Fisk og skalldyr er råvarer som skal behandles med respekt og aerbødighet,” said the menu at the Lofoten Fiskerestaurant. (Fish and shellfish are raw ingredients that should be handled with respect and dignity.)
7. Public art and sculpture everywhere, much of it featuring birds and animals.
8. Friluftliv.  Literally translated as “free air life.”  This is a general appreciation for the outdoor lifestyle: hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, hunting, foraging for wild foods, botanizing, birding, boating, simply spending time in beautiful natural places.  They have a word for that here.  A single word that captures it all.
9. Glacial grooves on Kyststien.
10. Wooden boats.
11. Playing “Torskevise” and “Barn av Regnebuen” on baritone ukulele, with Arne or Jan Torbjørn on piano.
12. The fly strips at Finstad Gard greenhouse, where they grow organic roses, herbs, and vegetables.
13. Seeing a Storfugl! (Europe’s largest grouse, a.k.a. the Capercaillie or Tetrao urogallus.)
14. Carpets of hvitveis and blåveis under the spruce trees on Bjørkøya.
15. Treehugging a giant elm on Bjørkøya.
16. People don’t seem to think it’s odd when I express interest in all of the above.

fly strips


Per Kveen and Cindy and giant elm

glacial groove

(Post by Cindy Mom)



  Charles wrote @

we will start posting your job replacement ASAP!

  Charles wrote @

whats the Norway equivalent of

  Gro Mikkelsen wrote @

Nice to hear that you like Norway! Gro

  debrarian wrote @

I am so happy to learn the word friluftliv! On the screen it kind of looks like what might happen if I spilled something on the keyboard and mashed a bunch of keys whilst mopping it up, but it is so much more than that! Are all the vowel sounds long? Free-looft-leev?

  Carolyn Belknap wrote @

I knew this would happen, Cindy You’ve still got 3 weeks to find a Norwegian man who lives friluftliv with the passion to match yours!

  Cindy wrote @

Deborah! You’re a natural Norwegian speaker! Free-loofts-leev. I believe I mis-spelled it earlier, and left out the S. Friluftsliv.

  debrarian wrote @

Friluftsliv is even better. Liltier.

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