You know you’re Norwegian when…part 2

Well, after some more time here, and a first attempt at defining some Norwegian uniqueness, I have found some more elements of “Norwegianness” that help me to determine how much I have been influenced! So here they are, you know you are Norwegian when:

  1. You assume that a stranger on the street who smiles at or greets you is:
    a) a foreigner
    b) insane
    c) All of the above.
  2. You enjoy the taste of lutefisk (jelly-like, bad-smelling fish) and cod prepared in any way, including fried cod tongues.
  3. You can prepare fish in five different ways without cooking it.
  4. You don’t question the habit of always preparing a “matpakke” (packed lunch).
  5. You eat salt liquorish without wincing.
  6. You are not shocked to see babies left outside in their pram when it is -10°C.
  7. You have two cars, a cabin and a boat, if not more.
  8. You think there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
  9. It feels natural to wear sport clothes and backpack everywhere, including the cinema, bowling alley, and to church.
  10. You are think it’s weird if a house isn’t wooden.
  11. You know at least five different words for describing different textures of snow.
  12. You don’t fall when walking on ice.
  13. You earn more than you spend.
  14. You associate Easter with cross-country skiing with friends and family in the familys mountain cabin.
  15. You are shocked if there are not 2 months of snow every year, at least!
  16. You fall 3 metres, and don’t get hurt. If you do, you’re not worried at all.
  17. You can’t understand why foreigners haven’t heard about Bjørn Dæhlie.
  18. You have a barbeque party during rainy weather.
  19. You’re more afraid of customs officers than terrorists.
  20. You miss your flight to shop at the tax-free shop.
  21. You get a bad conscience because you are inside when it is sunshine.
  22. You vigorously defend whale hunting but do not eat whale meat.
  23. You’re proud to be Norwegian.

On this list, I score 10/23 🙂 how much do you score? Do you have any other examples of Norwegianness?

17th of May – Norwegian Constitution Day

This week on Sunday we will celebrate the Norwegian Constitution Day. This is a highlight of the year for all Norwegians, as they invade the streets of their cities with flags, traditional norwegian costumes, hot-dogs and ice-cream. In Oslo, all the primary schools parade in front of the King’s Castle, while the royal family stands and waves at the crowd.

The tragedy of Norway’s Russ…

[highlighted_p boxed=”false” center=”false”]Sex, drugs, drunken debauchery and dares are all part of the “fun” for Norway’s final year high school students called the russ.[/highlighted_p]

1st of May marks the beginning of the festivities, and from then until 17th they can be seen wearing their characteristic red overalls and caps and with a bottle of beer in the hand. What was meant to be an amusing rite of passage has become a destructive tragedy…

Typical Russ Clothes
Typical Russ Clothes

The dares

Each year a competition goes on among the students as to who can get the most knots on their cap. A knot rewards a certain accomplishment during the russ period. These range from the most inoffensive…like:

  • Spending a night in a tree
  • Eating a big Mac in two bites
  • Spending a school day crawling on hands and knees

To the most stupid and immoral such as:

  • Drinking a bottle of wine in 20 minutes
  • having sex with at least 17 partners
  • Picking up a tender teen
Different knots according to what dares have been accomplished...
Different knots according to what dares have been accomplished…

Expensive buses

In addition to the uniforms, caps, and dares, one of the most important parts of the russ celebrations are the “russebil” – cars or buses the russ decorate and equip with immense stereo systems. Inside, the buses are often fitted with TVs and entertainment equipment, couches, refrigerators. These buses can be a large financial burden; contributions of up to 22 500€ (200 000 Kr) per member have occurred. The average is between 1500€ and 4500€. Including sponsors, the cost of a bus can reach over 230 000€!! (2,000,000 Norwegian kroner).

Inside one of the most expensive buses!
Inside one of the most expensive buses!
Another one of the buses
Another one of the buses


Luckily, the Christians do not shy out. Young Christians in their final year can join christian alternatives to russ: JesusRuss and KristenRuss. These set up tents at the russ events where they take care of sick and injured drunks, give out buns, being salt and light for those that realise that the partying is not as satisfying and liberating as expected…

One of the Jesusruss tents
One of the Jesusruss tents

So…what happened in 2008?

You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
Henry Drummond

As Christmas and New Year approach, I look back and realize that although the years may not always be as I have planned or expected them, God’s hand is always there, steadily guiding us. Here is a little glimpse of our lives in 2008.

Some glimpses of 2008
Some glimpses of 2008
  • Moving to Norway, and into a new apartment that God provided for us.
  • Leading a team in Oslo, called the Headquarter team, in charge of the running of the missions base.
  • Travels. I traveled in France and Germany with a concert team and saw people saved and healings on the streets.
  • Summer Team in Italy, where Guro instructed dance, and I led a group of crazy young people for outreach in the south. Here also people were saved and healed on the streets.
  • Holidays. We gladly had  some time of rest in both France and Spain.
  • Teaching. I enjoyed teaching both for YWAM in France, and our Mission Training School in Oslo.
  • Work. Guro has been working part time for a Norwegian company, and will start working 100% for Jesus Revolution again, in a couple of months. I have had an great time working with the Jesus People project.
  • Church. We became members of Jesus Church in Oslo, and have a great “house church” fellowship.

We are looking forward to see more of God in action in 2009!

Norway here we come

Well it has finally been decided! From January onwards, we will be staying in Norway to work with Jesus Revolution. We will still visit France regularly and travel there with the concert teams, but we were only going to be two people going back to the French base, so we decided that it would be wiser to work from here. Feels a bit strange, to move from a place you have been living 5 years, and we will miss the people, the weather and the food :-). But we will make it up with norwegian brown cheese (hmmm) and weather (skiing) and fish for breakfast :-)… Just kidding, Norway is a great place to live, and we know quite some people here, so it will be a pleasure to move! Here is some Norwegian humour that I like :-).