Life in Norway

The realization that I have only a few weeks left in Norway has hit me hard. Everywhere I look, I feel like I see aspects of my life in Norway that I’ll miss. Cultural quirks, observations, routines. Some of them are as follows:

  • The corner of the grocery store dedicated to taco supplies. Tortillas, shells, sauce, with meat and cheese in easy reach. Norwegians are one of the largest consumers of tacos in the world, and this has bled into the layout of many grocery stores.
  • Speaking of grocery stores and tortillas, lomper. Lomper is a Norwegian-style tortilla, made from potato and flour. It’s a bit thinner and more flexible than typical tortillas, and has an almost velvety feeling when you touch it. They’re versatile and delicious, and I’m already trying to think how I can get them in the United States.
The storefront of a grocery store, with a sign reading "KIWI mini pris"
Kiwi, a popular and common grocery store in Norway.
Several shelves filled with supplies for tacos, such as shells and seasoning
The infamous corner of the store dedicated to tacos.
  • The dedication to personal space on public transport. As someone who is selfish with the room I take up on public transportation, I feel right at home on a bus in Oslo, where people would rather stand than fill up the empty seat next to someone else. The few times someone has sat down directly next to me, despite other options, I was shocked and felt the side-eyes from those standing around me.
  • The deep love of bundling up. “Cozy”, as a concept, is imbued in Norwegian culture. My personal theory is that no matter the temperature, Norwegians want to feel warm and cozy. As a cold weather lover, I tend to wear just enough layers that I do not freeze. Yet, Norwegians can always be seen in several layers, pulling out their scarves and gloves long before the temperature truly calls for it.
View of a stone gazebo from a sidewalk lined with bare trees.
The perfect opportunity to take a cozy walk.
Students sitting around a small campfire
Another reason to get cozy– lunch outdoors while on a hike!
A wide empty park with grass and a few trees in the distance.
Personal space isn’t just limited to the bus. The park is a great place to be on your own!
  • And my favorite, the greeting of “hei hei” (hey hey). When I first started hearing cashiers in grocery stores, Norwegian students I met, and anyone else I encountered start with “hei hei”, I was almost confused because of how childish it sounded. In the United States, I don’t know anyone who would greet someone else with “hi hi” as opposed to just “hi” of “hey”. Except, now I love it. I feel like I’ve entered into an inside joke when I reply in the same manner at the store checkout. I already know I’ll repeat it until annoyance once my semester here is over, even if just to remember the small ritual.

    Cady West