I was going to pass on writing today, but once I realized it was September 1, I thought it would be remiss of me not to write. Rather than post about my Norwegian life or travels, I thought I would piggyback off of a post I saw online that was similar and talk about my impressions of the people of Norway.
I don’t want to offend anyone by what I write…let me just start off by saying that. And these are merely my observations. And if you were to give an opinion on American people… I would respect it as long as it was not completely unfounded. The reason I am doing this is I get several emails daily from people asking questions like this… some are just curious and others are actually moving to Bergen and want to know these kinds of details. Here goes.
Norwegian people are some of the kindest people you will EVER meet….once you know them. Until you get to know them, they can quite possibly be the coldest, rudest people I have ever encountered. At first, I took offense to a lot of it, but once you realize it is the demeanor of the society, it is a lot easier to live with it and get used to it. After all, I am the foreigner here, I should have to adapt to them, not the other way around.
I will make it a point to state I believe the younger generations are a bit warmer than the older generations. I feel the teenagers and young adults here are not quite as cold to strangers and (sometimes with the help of alcohol) will actually talk to you if given the chance. Despite being a society that is freaking phenomenal in English, many of them are a bit intimidated when they hear me speaking it….and shy away from making conversation with me.
At first, I was confused, but now that I am on the opposite side of the spectrum…I realize I kind of shy away from speaking Norwegian just as they do English. The only difference is that their English is going to be good (even if it is not great) and my Norwegian sucks (non-existent is the more proper term).
Norway is undoubtedly a society of conformity. True, you do have some individuals in terms of fashion, music, and interests, but I have realized that most everyone here is the same. You can see this from the girls’ Converse All-Star tennis shoes with their bleached blonde hair. I have realized that not everyone here is a natural blonde, but if one is not natural, they try to fake it… and it can look terrible. I think being blonde for someone who is not naturally blonde is fun if done appropriately.
Here, the girls have hair down to their butts…very straggly and bleached to the core. When I see hair that is not platinum and looking damaged I want to give the girl a pat on the back. Anyways, fashion, particularly regarding females, is where I can tell how conformed this society is. I think Scandinavian fashion is incredible. There are a few things I hate (white leggings, high-waisted shorts, the presence of Crocs still floating around these parts…), but the things I love definitely make up for it.
If one thing is in style here, EVERYONE will go to lengths to own it. There is very little individualism when it comes to fashion. People like to blend in and wear what is trendy.
With that being said, the girls here are beautiful. And I mean beautiful. They have the most stunning skin and eyes I have ever seen. Some girls have really nice hair (when not overdone with the bleach). Some are skinny, some are not, but almost all are beautiful. One thing that makes the girls here a bit less attractive is tobacco usage, on the other hand.
Nothing is more repulsive than seeing a gorgeous girl with snus in her mouth. Or cigarettes hanging out of her mouth. I don’t mind when people socially smoke and what not, but to see people at the dinner table shove snus in their mouth is downright disgusting. (to see what snus is, click HERE).
Most observations I have had here are based on females…. because guys are well… guys.
Another thing I have noticed is people here mature much sooner than Americans. People are buying homes and apartments at such early ages here! I think it is a lot of responsibility for someone that is age 20, but it seems like people here are much more mature at 20 than Americans. And on the contrary, I think they are more mature with certain things, but other things I don’t. i.e. DRINKING. People here binge drink. When they drink, they drink to get drunk.
And while stupid shows like Jersey Shore give us the impression that Americans do the same, we don’t to the extreme of the Norwegians. People here get so wasted and throw bottles and act like fools. I actually have had a change of heart and do feel the drinking age should be 21 after seeing the way people act and drink here at younger ages, and that says a lot because I was traditionally against the US having the drinking age be 21.
There are so many things I could say… both good and bad about what I have experienced with people in Norway, but really to sum it up… I love them. While some differences in Americans and Norwegians can be difficult for me, I really embrace it because the people are so genuine once you get to know them and have no ill-will towards people.
Norwegians: I adore yall and thank you very much for making this American feel at home in your country!
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