This must be one of my all time favorite post card to send to new acquaintances, or those who have just made the infamous Post Cards from Edee list! In 2012, I used it as a Christmas card for my husband, promising to take him to the archives at the National Library downtown to learn more about his family history on his father's side. Anyway, if you are on my list then you probably have received this very card with some silly paragraph that I made up about this photo.
First, let me explain this post card situation. Currently, I send about 23 to 25 post cards on each trip I take, whether it be domestic or international. My grandmother has about a dozen shoe boxes spanning the past eleven years or so with a total ranging in the 200's or so. Most of my friends who have been on the list must have a fire hazards stack of them or have been able to keep their fires going in the winter with all the excess paper. Hopefully, some have kept up with them as I am depending on some photos in order to write about each excursion with a copy of a post card that was sent out. Now, back to this particular card and Norway...
There is a sign on the cabin to the right which reads "Ekte Geitost Til Salgs." This translates to "Authentic Goat Cheese for Sale." That is all I can explain from this photo taken on "Senterjetens Fridag." Wait a minute... what exactly is Senterjentens Friday?That was when farm girls would bring their animals out to graze in the summertime. Basically, it translates to "The Start of the Farm Girl's Friday." So, there you go! Arne Normann, the credited photographer of this post card, captured a very spirited farm girl who was able to get her sow to cooperate in some remote Norwegian village. Perhaps since I am a spirited farm girl myself I feel a kinship to the one featured above. I was born and raised on a farm in a small community not even big enough to make the map of the Peach State. That's Georgia for those of you who aren't in the know of stately nicknames!
Welp, Norway has been my home base these past six years. A country girl from Georgia moving to Oslo wasn't as easy as baking a pie, however, I had been "vetted" so to speak the previous five years before making a permanent move across The Pond (otherwise known as the Atlantic Ocean). You see, I met my now-husband in Georgia my second year of college. After we began dating we then started the most expensive hobby of our lives: our relationship. You see, Norway isn't the most economically friendly place for one sweetheart to be while the other is making minimum wage at a bakery in Athens, Georgia, U.S.A. No indeed. However, through a lot of hard work, perseverance, and sheer stubbornness, my college sweetheart and I hatched a very elaborate yearly schedule of international travel. It went a little something like this:
I would visit every summer from May-August, usually with a jaunt out of Norway to say, Rome or Paris or Stockholm, then be back by the second week of classes at the University of Georgia (the first week of school is practically pointless). Then Jan Henrik would come during two weeks of the autumn, usually around 3-4 weeks after my feet were planted again on the red Georgia clay. Around Thanksgiving, I'd pack my over-sized suitcase for a week of braving the cold of Oslo. After celebrating Thanksgiving in Norway we would have to wait about 3 more weeks for Jan Henrik to come to Georgia for a good long monthly visit over the holly daze. We once changed it up and I spent Christmas of 2008 in the Norway Way..but that is another story. Come spring time I would come to Norway for a two-week Spring break and about a week after that trip Jan would take his Spring Break visiting me. Only four weeks to summer after that and then we were all set to start the cycle over again. As you can imagine, we racked up some frequent flyer miles.
After finishing my education at the University of Georgia, we decided to take that big leap together, deciding I'd give it a go in the land of brown cheese, rotten fish, reindeer, and trolls. I moved to Norway in August of 2010 leaving behind a very loving family that wasn't too keen on me being permanently planted an entire ocean away from them. You see, I come from a place where a set of binoculars is the must have accessory to keep up with neighbors, who are all kinfolk as luck would have it!
I had had my big town experience in the biggest small town of Georgia: Athens. Thus, it was refreshing that my "big city" experience be in Oslo, another big small town, nestled in the middle of a scenic fjord with a major national park being only a twenty minute ride away.
These past six years have held many highs and lows as I've attempted to tackle the language, subtle cultural differences, fitting in, while maintaining my Southern accent and remaining true to myself. Not to mention, mastering the art of cross country skiing! Now, there is a sport that will make you ask, "Why didn't I go for a Spaniard?"
Anyone who has braved the ex-pat experience is acutely aware that it isn't all Hemingway and F.Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein romanticism rolled up into a fancy cigar or corked into a bottle of champagne. Especially when you are in need of a decent piece of fried chicken but have no idea where to go the first six months all the while missing your Mama as us Southern ladies tend to do.
Navigating a different country is similar to navigating a whole other sphere of your individuality. It teaches you resilience, acceptance, patience, and at times can be substituted for a crash course in anger management.
Due to some recent events involving a starkly drastic experience in both the U.S. healthcare system vs. the one here in Norway, I've found myself appreciating the nuances in Norwegian society more than ever. It isn't to say that the U.S. doesn't have its up-side. However, I find myself thankful to be back in Vikingland in a society where the individual valued most in daily life is him/herself.
A place where taking a break isn't seen as indolent or slothful but as a necessary must to be productive. A place where mental health is treated like any other health problem: such as diabetes or high blood pressure or any type of physical illness. A place where doctors take the time to listen to their patients and take in external factors of situations. A place where you won't go into an absurd amount of debt to have the treatment you need, which is seen as a right instead of a privilege. And a place where (most of) the society in general understands this approach and places a high value on it: high enough to pay a bit more in tax so that everyone who lives here is taken care of.
Now, I am leaving a lot to y'alls imagination with this first post. Perhaps you will have to take a look at my Tall Tales page in the future to "get the full picture." But seeing as this is supposed to be a Post Card Post (pun intended) I believe that I've already gotten Edee Carey'ed away! Thus, here is a jam that I'd like to dedicate to my hometown of Oslo. It's my favorite song in the entire world... I play it when I am happy, sad, and sometimes in-between emotions. Moreover, I play it when I am home; whether that be in the small community of Winfield, GA where raised or here in Oslo, where I've grown up a bit. It's Talking Heads "Naive Melody" and I hope you enjoy it along with this very first post.
Post cards sent from me to others all around the world.