You know you're in Norway when you...
#1 Start snowball fights. In July!
#2 Acquire a taste for brown cheese
Above all else, Brunost (“brown cheese”) is the most unifying aspect of Norwegian culture. If you're Norwegian, you eat brown cheese. If you eat brown cheese, you're Norwegian. It's soft, verrrry strong and, well, brown. I promise you won't like it the first time you try it, or the second, but by now, I'm contemplating emptying the clothes from my suitcase and filling it with brown cheese!
#3 Eat brown cheese with the “ostehovel”
Behold the ostehovel- (a Norwegian invention, along with the paper clip) the one and only, I repeat only utensil that may be used to slice brown cheese. Any other grating device would slice either too thick or too flimsy, which would be a travesty.
#4 Consider Skiing a Four-Season Sport
Contrary to popular belief, snow is not a prerequisite for skiing. Not when you have roller skiis, that is. On any given day, I'll see just about as many roller skiers as rollerbladers, though I have yet to try this curious contraption.
#5 Believe “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.”
A popular saying which must be embraced if you want to survive in the arctic circle. The secret? Wool. Wool sweaters, wool socks, wool blankets. My friend Cathrine, who visited Chicago this past April, knit for me my very first wool sweater!
#6 Have no sense of what's sensible when it comes to water temperature. It doesn't matter if it's cold, hot, rainy or sunny- it's always good weather for a swim in the sea.
And finally, a photo from the orchestra's latest concert in Elverum., which featured none other than Mahler's Symphony No. 2. My time here is quickly coming to an end, though it still feels like I just arrived!