The spring of 1969, I traveled across country with my grandma and grandpa. Just before leaving California, I had heard The Beatles song “Help!”. The movie had been showing on TV one evening at my mother’s. I liked the song and I remember singing it in Maine, where we’d stopped off at Grandma’s son’s place and I got to meet my cousins. Only days after that visit, we were on our way to Norway.
Norway has been good to me, dentally. My grandpa was also good to me. Orthodontics are subsidized but still cost out of pocket. So the year I had no cavities I started wearing a retainer.
One thing Norwegian children have been through together, is the school dentist. In my part of Norway, the school dentist got the nickname “pinaren”, which translates to “the tormenter”. An awful lot of kids ended up afraid of the dentist.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” —J.R.R. Tolkien
As a native Californian, I still feel a bit of worry when I let the water run, like I see so many Norwegians do. It’s standard: They let it run to get it nice and cold. They well afford to: The one place that never seems to run out of fresh water is Norway. Continue reading
As healthy and as long-lived as Norwegians are, they are plagued by one baffling disease: Osteoporosis. As a woman who has lived here for part of her childhood and all of her adulthood, this is something to be concerned about. Is it genetic? Is it dietary? We may have the answer, finally. Continue reading
I have been to the US embassy in Norway only twice. The first time was when I was 13, and had to say an oath in front of some embassy officer in order to get my passport renewed, seeing as how I was living in a foreign country. I remember my first passport, probably lost in a move, and I assume I’ll remember my last, currently on its way to the Department of State in Washington, D.C.
Of all the life advice I’ve ever been given or heard, the only one I’ve ever faithfully followed is the admonishment to stop and smell the roses.
I did that last when I was visiting the museum garden at the university of Bergen earlier this month, even thinking to myself, “Roses. Stop and smell.” Continue reading
Disastrous: Causing great damage. Fortunately (heh, see what I did there?), I have never experienced a disaster. Neither of the natural kind, nor the personal kind. And that leads me to the word’s origin: From “disaster” which means “ill-starred” or to be ill-fated because of the stars.
The thing about growing up with a Norwegian grandfather is that you assume everybody has a cheese slicer and egg cups. Turns out that one of the things American immigrants left behind in Europe were egg cups. Continue reading
As Eddie and I carefully set our feet down between sheep droppings, we caught a whiff of fresh manure. Instantly, I was transported back to my childhood in Norway, spent in the country with a potato field in front of the house, a couple of steers grazing in a pasture next to the carport, and my uncle’s sheep passing by our house on their way to and from their barn.
View from above Lygra dock