Quotidian Serendipity: What is a Latin girl like you doing in a Nordic country like this? Part I

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The title of this article might sound as a cheap pickup line, but it is, in fact, a phrase I have heard A LOT since I moved to Norway. The incredulity that my decision on self-location seems to arise is due, in most cases, to the weather-factor. «It is so cold here… and it is so sunny in Spain!». There is no discussion regarding that I used to live in an area where the minimum temperature was -2, and summer temperatures started in May… lasting until the end of September. Despite all, I live in Norway, and I fall in love everyday with its little peculiarities. And because I am a words person, this love extends to the Norwegian language as well. Here are my favourite Norwegian expressions, words and sayings. I think that they describe the Norwegian character pretty well, and leave me always thinking «Ja, jeg elsker dette landet…»

«Takk for meg»
This one made me laugh pretty hard the first time I heard it. I was watching this Talk show, and suddenly I hear the guest of the show say «Takk for meg». I laughed and I mumbled «well, that is humble… Thanks for me!». Still sounds weird to me even though I have heard it a lot by now, but I understand it is actually a polite way of telling your host «Thanks for having me».

«Frisk som en fisk»
This one you do not hear that often, but you will come across it at some point. It is easier to understand before you actually know what frisk means; at first you might think it means «fresh like a fish», but in this context, frisk is actually healthy, so in the end, you are comparing your health status to the one a salmon has. Pickiness aside, is not that the Spanish variant of this phrase makes any sense («Healthy as an apple»), either.

«Takk for sist» and «takk for i dag»
This two, I love. Takk for i dag («Thank you for today») is just the most wonderful thing to hear after a long shift of work. Think how crazy it is, to thank someone for the time spent together working! Takk for sist means literally «Thank you for last time», which implies you have seen each other previously, and want to thank them for that time in the present. Altogether, when you say goodbye you get a thank you for the day, and when you see each other you get another thank you to remind you of the last time! So on point, you Norwegians!

The hug rule
Pay attention, because hugging in Norway is a big deal. You definitely cannot hug someone until you get to know them a little bit. For them it is awkward and makes them deeply uncomfortable. But, you can hug someone if it is the second time you see each other, even if you did not share a longer conversation than «Hei, jeg heter…». In addition, hugs are mostly saved for saying goodbye, not at the beginning of the interaction. Be aware, if you break this rules you will find yourself hugging a very stiff person with wide open eyes who is not understanding what is happening or if you have a mental condition that makes you ignore all sense of personal space. I love that look so I break the rule as often as I can. My theory is that Norwegians love it. Deep, deep down.

Overall, I understand that if you base your opinion on Norwegian’s character based on the facts here exposed, you might just still think it’s a weird choice for me to have moved to Norway. But, Norwegians are more than people who is polite, like their fish and the rules for physical contact. Hug them once, and next time it will be them who open their arms voluntarily to embrace your intense level of affection. If you give Norway a chance like this latina girl did, you will be submerged in a dimension of kos. If you are still not convinced regarding my choice of low temperatures over perpetual sunny days, please, take your dyne, light up on some candles… and wait for it, there is a Part II.

«Quotidian serendipity» is a column about everything and nothing. Columnist Aneley Lampugnani writes about whatever is on her mind.

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