Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What the future holds (for Norwegians)

One epoch of the Stensby family is over for now, South Africa. Another one has begun. I have followed the steps of my forefathers northwards all the way back to Norway. Somewhat unwilling to follow exactly that path, I expect (hopeful, you have to give me that) that the journey ahead will unfold their logic and reasoning for settling down here. Someday I might understand and even accept…We have landed ourselves back in "the arse end of the world" (Wife's favorite expression), but not amongst the hamarroids in my home town Hamar. More specifically we have settled down in Bergen on the very edge of the European continent. Europe feels far away and remote…From Bergen you can look out over the horizon of the North Sea/Atlantic Ocean. Somewhere out there is our national borders. We have borders to Russia, Iceland, an actual iceberg popularly called the North Pole and "Smutthullet" (Translates; “The Loophole”). Despite the fact that it’s probably a lot of fish out there in Smutthullet, nobody wants it. It’s stormy like hell and a very undesirable place. That's the kind of borders we’ve got and Norway is not much better! Norwegians were most likely the last people in the queue, and had to settle with the only patch of land that was left to claim. But wouldn’t it be better to go to war for something better than this? Not Sahara maybe, but except from that, anything in-between would be worth a fight.

The history books can give you many motives for going to war. Territory, power, money, natural resources, religion, love... But nowhere will weather and climate be mentioned. It's a secret pact that dates back thousands of years. Nowadays the treaty is a confidential UN matter. All countries have sworn to not mention it to provoke the Norwegian Vikings. It’s a human right to have better climatic conditions. It's an obvious legitimate reason to go to war. Everybody knows it, except the Norwegians. Tip toe and hush hush, don't wake the beast (Vikings/barbarians)! They are happy to keep us under control up here. This deep freezer seems to have a calming effect… duh! Meanwhile, non Norwegians around the world enjoy their cocktail drinks at the poolside and make jokes about us.

Cold or wet, Norwegians always had to look on the bright side of life. Gallows humour was often the only thing that made people reconsider and loosen the noose. The expression; “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!” depicts this. The desperation, hypothermia and deep depression shines through! Even our most successful exports in music, AHA, had to be sarcastic with songs like; "The Sun Always Shines On TV"! That's dilirium coming from a Norwegian!

Frenchmen drink a couple of glasses of wine a day. It neutralizes the effect of the fatty food. In Norway (except for one area in the South called "The bible belt"), every second household makes their own moonshine (traditionally). Brewing, we aim for no less than 96% proof! A lethal amount of alcohol in the bloodstream for a Frenchman is just what you need to keep the blood from freezing in Norway. During the dark Norwegian seasons, it serves as Prozac and wipes out the rest of the intolerable memories. A necessity up here! Bin Laden and Al Qaeda found only one way to hit the Norwegians where it really hurt. They flooded the Norwegian market with barrels of methanol. A few died, but worse still - people could no longer deaden the pain and have a dignified existence in Norway.

Extreme conditions pushes evolution forward though, so maybe something good could come out of it? Global warming, melting icebergs and rising sea levels could hardly benefit anybody better than people in Bergen and coastal Norway. With the amount of rain, we are pretty much in the water and busy evolving. People have wet and wrinkled skin on a regular basis because of all the rain... What about that itch under my ear that won’t go away… I might be developing gills already! Sharks has been around for millions of years and outlived dinosaurs, so it might be the right way to go. The only thing that worries me is that we would not automatically be on top of the food chain down there…

During the Norwegian season (alas when Norwegians are in their element) when it’s cold, it’s also pitch dark! Because of the lack of sunlight, the body can't produce its normal amount of vitamin D. That’s probably the only good reason for settling on the coastline, so that we can get access to vitamin D rich fish! My blue mutant eyes that I was so happy with, are worth f**k all and useless in the dark. Because of the darkness we are therefore busy developing night vision like owls. Evolution at work once again! When we have finalized the evolutionary steps and are 100% back in the water, I believe we will be bottom dwellers where no light can protrude and there are plenty of D vitamins (fish).
Wow, how great isn’t that! I'm not a big bully or warmonger, but this time it makes sense to pick a fight with somebody. Other than that I'm no closer to finding the answers. No logic and no good reasons, so the search goes on…


Peter Carruthers said...

Ja Boet. You're having a bad day. The Norwegian Nymph I married assures me that Bergen gets more rain than fell in Noah's time.

She also assures me that Oslo is different. (We're in the south of England where the predominant colour is grey.)

Jonny said...

Ahhh... Boet! Been a while since I heard that! Now I miss the boerwors with chakalaka, monkey glands and poitji...

The rain is starting to get on my nerves, but I'm lekker boet. No worries!

Anonymous said...

Don't believe everything you write J! Life in Bergen is great too...or maybe one has to be a child of the third world to be happy for the vitamin D rich fish, sunless days and never a dry patch in sight. Enough said there.

Peter: Oslo is far more stable weather wise but you will not find a city as hospitable and friendly as Bergen, I assure you. I might also have SA standards when it comes to these points...Oslo is a bitter pill to swallow. Good thing you already have friends there..it might have been hard finding a mate to hit the beer with had you not. Oslo is the town (they call it a city here) where one would stare at you as if you were abnormal if you tried to start a conversation in a bar! :-)
In Bergen, however,you might have a social life that far exceeds expectations even for a friendly South African, this three months after moving here.

Though nothing beats the braaivleis, rugby, sunny skies and chevrolet you are....
welcome to the arse end of the world.:-)

Sevika (the wife)

Peter Carruthers said...

Caroline used to live in Bergen. I have been reading about the Norwegian culture, and what seems to be a tremendous difficulty with communication. Caroline had told me about this, but to see it confirmed in print -- that's more powerful.

I was thinking about this and it occurred to me that the only people I have had a beer with in the UK are South Africans.

I am told that most folk have a fear of public speaking (pretty much my profession) but the British seem to confuse speaking in public (at a bus stop, for example, to some else in the queue) with public speaking! It seems that the Norwegians merely have an extreme case of the same complex?

After almost 3 years in the United Kingdom, almost all of my indication happens through Skype -- mostly to South African is elsewhere in the world. You can take the man out of Africa, but you cannot take Africa out of the man.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard. Thanks Bon-bon, keep it coming.
Sleepless in Manhattan

Quenut said...

Hahaha! If Norway ever goes to war for climatic reasons, I am sure the declaration of war will be made from Bergen!

But don't lay claim to the title 'Arse of the World' - we are about to move back to Norway soon: all the way up to 71 degrees north.. That's further north than pretty much anything.. Brrrrrr.. They used to say about useless people in the civil service a couple of centuries ago that even though they were useless for any other purposes, it might be that they could be apt to serve up north in Finnmark :)

Jonny said...

If I was a doctor, I would do research and specialize in surgically "taking Norway out of the man"!

Sleepless in Manhatten!
A good laugh prolongs life! Norwegians knows Norwegians best, so we laugh a lot on our own behalf and thus have to stick out the pain even longer.

By (my wife's) definition, "The arse end of the world" covers the whole of Norway. Welcome you shall be!!

Caroline said...

Well now you two have gone and done it. Hubby has decided that he just has to see this strange place termed 'the black (sinking..) hole'. Not only that - he has decided to take the train from Oslo (to Bergen).

When I said the scenery was beautiful I meant in summer.....

Jonny said...

I was a fool myself once... think they called that trip "Norway in a nutshell". Bottomless dark pitt or a black hole... same same!

Anyway - I refuse to take any responsibility. Black hole can hardly be called overselling it, LOL! Blame NSB and other fundamentalists trying to sell Norway!

Since he seems determined to go in any event I should warn him against rallarvegen from finse. Luckily I only cracked my helmet open there... and not my head!!