Friday, October 10, 2008

Being Norwegian

I’m back in Norway, and reflecting on being Norwegian. Norwegians are nationalistic (I’ve heard), and they (we) love to show glorifying programs on TV about themselves. I watched one of these programs recently, and got more resentful than ever before against my forefathers for settling down here…

Here’s just an example from history to put things into perspective. Scott, an English explorer (but I suspect a Norwegian wannabe!) tried to get to the poles (North and South Pole), but failed. Shackleton, one of Scotts previous companions also tried but failed miserably. Then came this new guy, Roald Amundsen, from out of nowhere. His anonymous existence and home land was of course Norway, which resembles the North and the South Pole for most of the year. He made a slight detour from his back yard and his natural habitat. On this stroll, he passed Scott and his hardy explorers and planted a flag on the South Pole. How could this guy from Norway, where everybody is expected to be nobodies, beat the tough explorers from the proud British Empire? He is Norwegian, that’s all! After two years abroad I have lost touch and forgotten what actually goes into being a Norwegian. Norwegian broadcasting though is too sharp to remind me!

In Norway we have an expression; “sweat oneself to death” (å svette seg i hjel) ! Do not make the mistake and translate this into “sweat like a pig”, coz it’s not! Far from it! Sweating to death makes you think of a very hot and humid place, but wrong again! The expression originates (I swear!) in Norway and applies to Norway, the North Pole and the South Pole only. To develop a sweat under these extreme conditions can be lethal. It’s fine whilst you’re in motion and keep up the temperature. When you cool down though, sweat leads to frost, gangrene and you lose limbs or life altogether! Thus sweating to death! Norwegians are therefore not hasty and quickest of the lot, but don’t call them slow… they are just survivors! Norwegians won’t get too excited and worked up, knowing the warnings from the childhood tales. These normal Norwegian instincts are regarded as extreme survival techniques by Navy Seals, spetsnaz and other special forces. People think twice about attacking Norwegians on their home grounds. Still, Hitler attacked on April 9th (early spring), knowing that he had precious little time before the seasons changed and the Norwegians where back in their element. Those summer months proved to be the Achilles heel for Norway.

Roald Amundsen did only what came natural to him, and Scott must have been like Bambi on the ice in his eyes. As a Norwegian he was simply better fit for the task. Born in the cold (with skis on his feet of course) he was brought up with all the survival tricks like all Norwegians. It was a walk in the park for Amundsen. I should be happy and grateful, but why? You shouldn’t have to know these things. Back when vast areas of the planet were still untouched by humans, there was no sound reason to challenge the territory of the polar bear and the mammoth. Norwegians proved fitter than the mammoths and have long outlived them. Stuck in the cold, the victory is a bitter one. I wish I could have a good talk with my ancestor that was responsible for my Norwegian passport! He was a bigger schmuck than Scott for sure!
Maybe I have no right complaining about my ancestors. After all I came back, and settled down in Bergen of all places! People here live in a steep hillside on top of each other. The amount of rain that pours down here can drown you in no time.

When the water pulled out from the shore in South East Asia, the elephants ran to the hills instinctively. They knew the tsunami was on its way. Likewise, people in Bergen settled in the hills. When the weather here shows its real potential, no stream or sucction will be able to cope with the amount of water. The sea level in Bergen will rise! Tales from early Norwegian settlers has shaped our instincts accordingly... just another Norwegian survival thingy. When all life is washed away and Noah's ark is searching for a place to start over again, they will be surprised to find myriads of Norwegians and elephants. So Norwegians are the chosen people whenever God finds the timing right to reset with clean sheets. Good prospects for survival in other words, but imagine what a heavy and unpleasant burden!! The burden weighs heavily on broad shoulders. From the tall Vikings, I'm down to 176cm above ground level... up in the hills!If you’re a non Norwegian, here’s a tip for ya. God will of course give his chosen people a real chance. I derive from this that the Bergen flood will not start during summer (our Achilles months, remember), but rather during the harsh months of January and February when Norwegians are in their true element! Just in case you want to improve your chances...

Future prospects for norwegians in an evolutionary perspective!


Caroline said...

ROFL. I sense that somebody is taking strain in the dark of the coming winter months.

I'm sending hubby to spend a week in Oslo with some fam/friends. He thinks I'm being kind and sending him on a holiday - little does he know.....

Jonny said...

Did you miss all the optimism and lightheartedness inbetween the lines??

How can you torture your husband like that? Hope you have some real good and caring friends and family here... Have you prepared him mentally btw??

beaverboosh said...


Welcome home, and to a dramatic change in climate, Bergen eh! Well, at least you are out of mortal danger and only in intellectual/ideological danger!

Drop me an email with you number. The next time I am in Bergen we can sink a couple of jars!


Caroline said...

lol, I've shortly explained janteloven, I've warned about the cold and high beer prices and armed him with a list of phone numbers for friends (incl SA friends). My best friend has assured me that she will make sure he is dressed warm enough and I've packed the gps for him.

There are some things one just has to experience for oneself.

Lifecruiser said...

Came here from Carolines blog - and she was right, top post! *LMAO*

That's why we were visiting in TorAa in Norway 19-23 September - you know when the sun was shining? Oh, right, you live in Bergen, maybe the sun weren't there? *giggles*

Poor (pour?) you. I've heard about it. And must add: almost all of our bad weather (that actually reaches Stockholm) comes from west - you. Luckily most of the rain has poured out already :-)

I've heard that Norwegian loves boating though.... *giggles*

...or was it boots...? Hm.

Jonny said...

Thanx man! Bergen it is, at least for some time... You shall be welcome, the Hansa jars are waiting!

It seems a bit irresponsible to send a South African unaccompanied to Norway, but I wish him good luck!

Welcome, and thanx to Caroline for marketing then! Lifecruiser sounds very un-Norwegian btw.

I totally missed the sun... can only recall buckets from that period!