This week was officially my last week at work, before I leave my beloved colleagues later this week. They are lovely people, and before we left we all took a day and sailed the fjords of Northern Norway. Safe to say the views were incredible, and the company even better.
In a few days I am jetting off to the Netherlands for a few nights, then off to England again. I go to seek a Great Perhaps. No plan, but a whole lot of studying to do. Wish me luck xxx
In August this year, a few weeks after I moved home, my boyfriend joined me in the North for an adventure we were unprepared for, but determined to complete: We were going on a 5 day cycle trip in the Lofoten Islands. Never has my butt hurt more, but the nature, the memories, the nights camping and the places made the trip utterly unforgettable.
Hope you enjoy the little video diary we made, from some of the most beautiful islands and archipelago in the world.
I never quite know how I feel about my hometown. When I am away, I long for the mountains, for the food, for the friends and family that I left behind. When I am home however, all I do is dream about interailing and flying and going away to the farthest corners of the world.
After living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for three years I feel too foreign for Norway. I can’t quite settle down and the travelbug is bugging me (Ha.) more than I thought it would. Is this little town in Northern Norway still my home? I don’t know. I know that it is where I came from. But I lived in over 15 different houses/flats/apartments in two different cities growing up so I don’t have much of a tie to the place other than my family. I don’t have a house that I’ve lived in all my life and a room that still has toys from when I was a kid on the shelves. I have boxes and suitcases and a lot of books and clothes that I have unpacked, but most of my stuff? It’s waiting for me to decide where home is as much as I am waiting for figure it out.
I guess looking back it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I struggle to find peace and a true feeling of home anywhere. I grew up on the go, shuttled between places and schools and parents. I was loved and spoiled for attention, but I grew to love the change of scenery too. The new room, new decorations, new sights and sounds and routes to school.
I thrive on new situations and new places because for a large part of my life that was all I knew. I don’t know how to stay still. I can feel at home and I certainly consider where my family lives for home… but I don’t think it will be my permanent home. I want to live in more countries. I want to see more of the places I have read about. And make no mistake, when I can’t travel in flesh, I travel in mind. Thailand, India, Italy, Australia, Narnia, in my mind I have visited them all.
I read a lot as a kid. As much and as many books from remote countries and imaginary magical realms as I could get my hands on. I scoured the library and spent any and all savings on books. The pattern seems to be that the constant in my life was movement and imagination and travelling the only way I could at the time.
What “home” is to me then, are the people I love and the few things I bring with me wherever life takes me. It is the things I treasure, the values I have and the lessons I learn. It is the comfort and peace of mind I, like many other travellers, seek when we go abroad. Home is the paved road, the gravel path and the rough rivers that bring me to and from moments in life. Home is the little smiles, the warm fuzzy feelings of reunions and the knowledge that a small town as a home is in no way limiting, but inspring. Home is the roots of who I am and the safe and loving web of family who will support me wherever I go. Home is not a place to me, but a concept and a feeling, and to find the peace I seek while spending some months at home this is what I need to focus on. Wanderlust and a travellers “home” are often juxtaposed as people forget that where you came from is why you belong in more places than one.
Hello, and Merry Christmas!
It’s the evening of the 24th of December today which is traditionally the day where Norwegians celebrate Christmas, namely “Julaften”. I’ve just sat down after a wonderful evening with my closest family and then thought of you guys. In my group of friends and in the blogosphere there are countless ways of celebrating Christmas. Some don’t celebrate, some have their own version of Santa Clause, everyone have different traditions, different cultural heritages. I’ve been thinking a lot about the unique aspects of a Norwegian Christmas, especially as an expat living abroad, and thought you guys might want to know a little bit about how we celebrate.
- “Lille Julaften” aka “Little Christmas Eve”
The evening before Christmas Eve we start the “Julaften” (Eng: Christmas Eve) preparations. As a rule we never decorate the Christmas tree until Lille Julaften. This mainly because up until Julaften itself we focus on the advent period, which plays a bigger part in Scandinavian celebrations than in most other countries (I should probably have made a post about this – coming up next year). On Lille Julaften we often eat Rice Porridge, watch the black and white sketch “Grevinnen og Hovmesteren” (Eng: Dinner for One, been on every year since 1980) and finish whatever cleaning is left. The gifts are put under the tree and once the children are asleep the adults put out stockings.
Norwegians do give their children stockings to open on the morning of the 24th, much like British or American kids get to open on the 25th. Often there might be a Christmas Comic (Nor: Julehefte) of the Donald Duck variety or any of the wide range of christmas comics that come out in December. There is of course a range of sweets and candies in the stocking, but often Norwegian parents try to add a little bit of healthier options in there like raisins and clementines. Clementines is a Norwegian Christmas staple.(Brief sidenote: Can someone please decide whether the orange thing is a Clementine, Tangerine or Mandarin Orange? I just can’t comprehend the difference and see them time and time again in british shops with different names.)
- Christmas Day Television
Like many other countries Norway has its regular Christmas television shows and traditions. I won’t mention them all, because that is an entire post in itself, but some of the following are the most important ones. “Tre Nøtter Til Askepott” (Eng: Three Wishes for Cinderella) has been shown on television every Christmas morning since 1975 and is without a doubt a Christmas must-see. Jiminy Crickets Christmas and the old version of the Norwegian film “Reisen til Julestjernen” (Eng: Journey to the Christmas Star) are also absolute must-sees that have been on during Christmas Day for as long as I remember. Norway also has a tradition of making Television Advent Calendars, or stories that go through the entire 24 days and the finales of these are usually on in the morning as well. Some morning talk-show Christmas Specials are also sent.
In the evenings most channels will send Christmas films (The Holiday, Anywhere but Here, anything with Sandra Bullock, Home Alone, Elf, Polar Express, Frozen and so on) and christmas concerts from orchestras and churches. Especially notable is “Sølvguttene”, a all boys choir who performs in Oslo Domkirke and on television every year.
- Traditional Christmas Dinners
There are many variations of Christmas dinners depending on when in Norway you are, but here up North we often have either “Ribbe”, “Pinnekjøtt” or “Lutefisk”. “Ribbe” is pork ribs roasted with the skin on, often served with gravy, sausages and vegetables. “Pinnekjøtt” is cured and dried lamb that is then watered out and damp boiled for 3-4 hours. Pinnekjøtt is quite salty and therefore served with a simple and traditional Swede mash with boiled potatoes on the side. “Lutefisk” is made out of dried stockfish treated with lye. Some might describe it as “fish jelly” and if you haven’t grown up with it it might be an acquired taste, but I much prefer “Lutefisk” to “Ribbe”. What all of these have in common is that they are based on old traditional ways of cooking and preserving meats and fish, which ads a certain nostalgic flavour too (see what I did there?).
- Father Christmas & Gifts
Today Santa Clause (The Coca Cola version) comes to every house and gives out gifts to all the children, but in Norway we have long had the concept of the “Nisse”. A “Nisse” is a cheeky little elfish creature that would live in secret on the farms and do good and bad deeds to help or to disturb the people living on the farm. The “Nisse” would have a big knitted sweater and often lived in the barn to help take care of the animals living there. On the night before Christmas the family on the farm would put out a portion of Rice Porrige as a treat to the “Nisse” and in return the “Nisse” would make sure the Christmas peace settled all over the farm. Nowadays the portion of porridge is still put out, but only for Santa Clause. In the 2000s the phenomena of the “Blånisse” (Eng: Blue Santa/Elf) appeared as well. “Rødnisser” lives on the farms and in towns, while the “Blånisser” lives in the mountains and takes care of nature and the winter light.
- Christmas Day and the week before New Years Eve
Julaften may be over on the 24th, but Christmas certainly isn’t, with family dinners all throughout the week leading up to New Years Eve. Some Norwegian people will invite their friends and family over for a “Julefrokost” (Eng: Christmas Breakfast) or maybe a lunch or maybe even a full second Christmas dinner. With so many different dishes to choose from most people will have more than one grand meal over the holidays, to make sure they have them all at least once. Very few shops are open and most people get most, if not all, of the Christmas time off so the focus is all on family.
If you’re from Norway how does your Christmas traditions differ from these, and if you are from somewhere else in the world, how do you celebrate? God jul! xxx
Hi again! It’s a lovely and sunny day here in the north (finally) so I won’t spend much time inside today blogging and so on. BUT. BUT! The Northern Norway Mini Adventure is over, but while we were exploring I filmed some clips here and there and this is the result! Originally I thought I would make vlogs from the trip, but then I decided a mood video-ish thing was more appropriate.Struggled with finding a song to use though hmm… anyway, here you go!
Below are links to the blog posts in chronological order if you’re interested 🙂
- The Adventure Begins
- Strandheia and Norwegian Hiking Culture
- Harstad in A Day
- The Magical Trollfjord and the Norwegian Coastal Express
- The Old Fisherman’s Village of Nyksund
- Midnight Sun Camping
- Sunny Hiking and Deep Sea Fishing
Hope you enjoyed this video and let me know what you think in the comment section! Xxx
Good afternoon ya’ll!
The last little text post from our Northern Norway Mini Adventure is here! I might do a Roundup post and I will of course be posting the Youtube Video I’m working on with clips from our trip, but other than that this little adventure is over for now. I might do a Norway Q&A at some point however if I get enough questions so if you have any please leave them in the comment section or tweet them at me!
Kjære met my family for the first time on this trip and towards the end of the trip he finally got to meet my Mamma. She made whale steak (a first for him the poor man haha) in a red wine sauce and yum! I’m not usually one for whale meat, but this was good! And Kjære approved too, which came as a surprise to both me and my Mum. He’s liked or approved of almost everything he has been introduced to, including Pinnekjøtt, which leads me to believe he will probably thrive in Sweden with Scandinavian cuisine 🙂
We had a lovely night of introductions and over the next few days we spent time with some rabbits, some sheep, some ghosts in a 300 year old haunted shed/house and a lot of flies while hiking. We were determined to do another hike since the weather interfered with our plans earlier in the week and when the sun peaked out we put on our gear and started trekking up Øksnesheia, a 470 something meter high mountain-ish mountain. The heat took it’s toll, but the views from the top were spectacular.
We also went out fishing the very same day and had a lot of fun wheeling in pollock after a pollock. Kjære even caught three decent sized cods in one go, proclaiming it “feels like a little one” when it was in fact three big ones that took us all by delightful surprise! I haven’t been deep sea fishing in years and I had forgotten how fun it was and how good the fish tastes when you’ve caught it yourself. We cooked some in the evening, but left gutting the rest of it (we caught quite a lot) for the next day. Gutting fish involves removing the head and the intestines which is not for people prone to gagging at disgusting things. I won’t go into more detail than I already have, but trust me when I say it’s not a pretty sight. The sunset we were treated to while fishing was however stunning beyond words.
We had a wonderful few days visiting my Mamma and I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday in my home region. Getting to spend time with loved ones and getting to see my country and my hometown through SwedCars eyes was also grand. It’s easy to stop appreciating the views and the food and the opportunities for activities we have when it’s so accessible. These two weeks have been just what I needed to get my spirits back up for this last month of work before uni starts again. Thank you to everyone that helped make it happen, but especially my Pappa, Mamma, Farmor and Kjære.
Next up on the blog is my to Paris in March 2015 and London in February 2015! Xxx