Several weeks ago I got the opportunity to join a Norwegian company that is doing some really cool things in the field of video conferencing and even better, to travel to Norway for a few weeks to meet the team. I not only love to travel, but to see how people live and do things in other parts of the world so I couldn't be happier. I got here exactly one week ago today and here are a few of the most interesting things I've noticed so far.
1. When something is really crazy or messed up, Norwegians call it "Texas".
I had to ask three times when I first heard them say it but yes it is true; even Norwegians who have never even been to Texas call a bad situation "Texas". I was told a story about a recent fire where people stood watching the blaze saying "Wow, that is so Texas". Sorry Texans, I know you're not all that bad but the reputation of your state for being totally nuts has gone global. Yeehaw.
2. Not all of Norway is super freezing cold all the time.
The first thing people said when I told them I was going to Norway was "Oh man it must be so cold there!" Not true, at least on the Western coast which benefits from a current of warm water and air all the way from the gulf of Mexico. It's been around 50 degrees fahrenheit since I got here (sorry to my friends in chilly Boston).
3. The currency is some of the coolest I've seen.
And it gets smaller in size as as it gets smaller in denomination. Look at the 50; such a little guy! Also don't think I'm ballin' out with a 500 there. $500 in Norwegian currency is around $70 U.S. Also if you think their currency is cool, check their new passport design.
4. People don't mess around with drinking and driving.
Not buzzed, not just "a" drink, not one sip. I was told this as soon as I arrived and almost didn't believe it right away. Then I observed some social situations in the first few days I was here. If someone was driving they didn't ask for a drink, nor were they offered one. And I am in a very small town where if people are driving their home is only a few minutes away, not to mention there are only a couple police officers for the whole town. My first reaction was "wow" followed by a strong sense of respect. It would take a lot for Americans to have this kind of restraint, but to Norwegians, it's just normal.
5. Norwegians love cheese.
Be still my heart people that love cheese as much as me. The cheese sections in markets are huge and I didn't go into one home or even office where there weren't several of these (even the place I am staying had two in the drawer):
Not that it really needs to be mentioned, but Norway is a beautiful place. Check out my album on Flickr for some shots. I'll be adding more as I go.