I’m Not Dumb. I’m Just Not Norwegian.

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A 135 page survival manual – includes a calendar of royal family birthdays.

There is no better way to humble yourself – should you want to – than by moving to a new country, as an adult, and learning a new language. And I am being kind when I say, “humble yourself”. What I really mean is “feel like a massive, bumbling, tongue-tied, dummy”.

To up the ante, I suggest moving to a country where the population are seemingly (and sometimes obviously) incredibly well-educated and intelligent. This is a brilliant combination. Place the linguistic-dummy in an intellectual environment and watch her go! The Romans may have had The Colosseum for their entertainment, but the Norwegians have me.

As a Canadian married to a Norwegian, I have a “familieinnvandringsoppholdstillatelse” (family residence permit – the Norwegians like to squish stuff into one word). As such, it is my “right and duty” to complete 550 hours of Norwegian classes, paid for by the state, and/or pass an exam in Norwegian proficiency. These are very recent changes to the rules. Prior to 2012 you only needed 250 hours and prior to 2005 there was no language requirement at all. The changes are a response to the huge influx of immigrants into Norway in the recent years. The government is tying to better integrate us into the population – which I am sure is no easy task. In my class alone, there are 22 of us from 22 different countries (which, by the way, is the most amazing experience ).

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The Royal Yacht – home of anticipated cocktails.

Along with the language requirements, and as part of the integration process, we are obliged to take 50 hours of “samfunnskunnskap” (social/cultural studies). This must be completed before I can apply for permanent residency in 3 years. I haven’t done the 50 hours yet but I will keep you posted. I’ve heard it involves knowing national holidays and all the names of the royal family (for real). I’m just looking to parlay this into an invitation to the palace (Slottet) and cocktails on King Harald’s yacht. We’ll see how that goes.

Learning a new language in 3 years shouldn’t be such a massive challenge, but the difficulty is that almost everyone here (especially in Oslo) speaks English. I try to practice Norwegian with my husband but his English is perfect (in fact he likes to challenge me on what certain English words mean – and in turn, I like to remind him he can’t always pronounce “w”s properly – it’s all I’ve got) and so we revert back to English without even realizing. Plus, it’s probably awkward for him to feel like he’s married to a 5 year old. Our conversations are something like this:

“Hvordan går det? Bra. Er du sulten? Ja. Vil du ha en kjeks med ost? Greit.”

“How are you? Good. Are you hungry? Yes. Would you like a cracker with cheese? Okay.”

I am instantly transformed from a relatively intelligent woman to a below-average, slightly boring toddler.  I remember actually saying to someone once “you know when I speak English, I’m really quite interesting”. And when you need that kind of disclaimer, you know you’re not doing well.

When I head into a new situation (perhaps an appointment with one of the various government agencies an expat comes to know), I practice my opening line repeatedly. This is often done out-loud, walking down the street – another challenge to blending in as a local, I assure you. By the time I get to my destination, the Norwegian phrase rolls off my tongue like an actor in one of Henrik Ibsen’s plays – confidence exuding from every foreign-language-pore. The recipient of such splendour assumes I speak perfect Norwegian and responds in kind, rapidly.

Oh oh.

I listen attentively praying that I will recognize enough words to make sense of the response. Mostly, though, it doesn’t work that way. I am left with no idea what has been said to me. I stand staring like a fool, in silence. (I imagine the other person looking at me – my eyes wide, my cheeks red, my mouth hanging open with the slightest bit of drool forming as I struggle to glean some meaning of what has been said). Mostly, I have to gather myself and respond with the same old standby:

“Unnskyld. Jeg snakker bare litt norsk. Kan vi snakke engelsk?” 

“I’m sorry. I only speak a little Norwegian. Can we speak English?”

MTIwNjA4NjMzNDM5MjkwODky
Henrik Ibsen – playwright. Probably spoke English too.

“Yes. Of course“, they always respond. (They almost seem happy about it. I’ve been told many times that Norwegians love speaking English). They then seamlessly, and without the slightest effort, shift into perfect English and I shift into shame, frustration and dismay. I’m convinced I will never improve. The upside is we are now speaking my first language so I am no longer 5 years old and can structure complex sentences. Small miracles.

So, language difficulties firmly in place, we move on to the next hurdle. How do you tackle sounding like a drooling toddler/dummy when you are surrounded by intelligent people who value education above all else (except cross country skiing ) and who aren’t all that predisposed to small talk?

For some context, education in Norway, including college and university costs 350NOK (about $60) per semester. So, let’s just say it’s free. This might partly be the reason for a highly educated population. Even as a foreign resident, I can attend Oslo University for free. I have an American friend here (North Americans have to band together – we meet up and off-loud our hours of pent-up chats) and she is doing her PhD – but not just for free, folks. She is getting paid. PAID!

The philosophy is that higher education should be available to all those who qualify, and not be dependent on access to funding in the form of your parents’ income

[Dr. Karin Pittman, an expat Canadian, and professor at the University of Bergen, in Norway]

I’m pretty sure the excitement I feel about free university tuition scares my husband a little. I mean, really, why find a job when I can get my Masters in “Viking and Medieval Norse Studies”? Well, one reason might be because the hamburger I just ate cost $30, but I digress…

It is one thing to engage in small talk in a new language: I could happily discuss my favourite pizza toppings (everyone in Norway swears by their personal pizza dough recipe – and the first words I learnt were “skinke og ost” – ham and cheese). I could even chat about the events of my day or my take on the current weather. But it never seems to go that way. First of all, the conversation often starts with, “Are you going to work? What did you study?”. What did I study!? I graduated from university over 20 years ago. I barely remember that I even went. But in Norway, this still holds weight. It says something about who you are, in a way that I don’t think it necessarily does in North America. In response, I have to launch into a long explanation of having studied Political Science.. but then working in marketing… and then owning a Pilates studio… and then moving to France… but now I’m a writer… blah blah blah… and by then the Norwegian is so horrified and disgusted by my lack of career path that there is no recovery. And my vocabulary has long since run out.

When someone from home hears the diverse and twisty-turny career path I have taken, it may sound interesting, but not necessarily so unusual. In Norway, it is met with some degree of confusion and reservation. What might be seen as an “entrepreneurial spirit” in Canada, may here be seen as a bit strange and perhaps even flighty or lacking in direction. Norwegians tend to take a more linear approach. Of course in North America, I can wax on about how I “feel” and what my “needs” are, and about spending years “finding myself” and discovering my “true path”. If I say things like that here, I can actually feel a collective eye-roll of the entire Nordic population. Or as my husband would say:”Oh North America. So many feelings”.

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The three feared words: Quiz i dag (Quiz today)

The Norwegian interest in education and knowledge is highlighted in one simple example: their love for The Quiz. Almost every bar and pub in Oslo (and other small towns) has a quiz night. People meet up with friends to drink beer and challenge other teams on everything from world history, to football, to music and geography. It is intimidating. All the national, regional and local newspapers have a quiz on their back pages – every day. And, to make matters worse, most Norwegians have quiz books at home – dozens standing menacingly on their bookshelves, waiting to eat me alive.

The first time I went to my husband’s family cabin or “hytte”, the dreaded quiz book made it’s appearance right after dinner. Not only was I trying to speak Norwegian (and also understand the west coast dialect – there are hundreds of dialects in Norway) but I was being presented with The Evening Quiz Session.

“Yes!”, said all the family in delight (in as much as restrained Norwegians can express delight). “Quiz time!”.

May I also point out that a Norwegian hytte night often involves drinks – several drinks. So now I am speaking Norwegian, knee deep in “Akevitt”, and I’ll likely have to answer questions about Spain’s GDP, or the length of the Nile or the name of the goalkeeper of Manchester United.

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Akevitt: Helps nothing. But tastes good.

My husband’s dad, a delightfully kind man, is settled in his chair, glasses perched, quiz book open. He couldn’t be happier. I brace myself.

“Okay, Jill”, he says excitedly (in Norwegian). “This is for you! There is a whole category on Canada! Great!”

No, guys. It’s not great. It’s not even close to great. It’s terrible. It’s actually the worst thing that could possibly ever happen.

And so it begins: “What is Canada’s 2nd largest export to the USA?”

(What?! Oh shit, I think. Shit. Shit. Shit. What the effing eff? Who the hell would know this?! NOBODY I KNOW WOULD KNOW THIS!)

The whole family is looking at me eagerly. I feel my mouth start to hang open, and the first drop of drool forming. I look at my brother-in-law, in panic. Not only does he likely know the answer, but he could probably name the top 10 exports and he’s never even been to Canada. And he’s had at least 10 beers. And he’s 14 years younger than me. I take a sip of wine, I feel my face burning. I have no idea. Dummy is freaking out.

“Umm,  I’m not sure”, I whisper, almost inaudibly. “Can I have a different question?”.

This truly is the Colosseum, and Claudius (my formerly sweet father-in-law) is holding the quiz book. The spectators will decide if I am to be spared.

“Claudius” continues, smiling (but I’m convinced he’s silently wondering why his son married such a simpleton).

Next question: “Which Canadian singer was born in Charlemagne, Quebec in 1968?”

“CELINE DIOOOOOOOOOON!” I screech, almost falling off my chair and scaring the dog from his fireside stupor. There’s no stopping me now. I’ve got this. I’m in my element. Emotions are running high and I channel every bit of it into my finest rendition of Celine’s greatest hit…

Yooooou’re here, there’s noooothing I fear, and I know that my heart will go oooooon… We’ll stay foreeeeeeever this way… you are safe in my heart and my heart will go oooooooon and oooooooon…

I’m up on my feet, one hand raised in a classic “Dion” fist, the other hand gripping the empty Akevitt bottle, now doubling as a mic… the spectators can’t believe their eyes… they’re leaning in for more…

Dummy’s not a dummy anymore. She’s Canadian. And she’s smart. And she’ll entertain the hell out of this cabin Colosseum.

And the Norwegians are, dare I say, impressed.

Finally.

 

 

 

 

 

58 thoughts

  1. Oh my goodness! As a Canadian who’s dating a Norwegian, (who just came back from my first visit feeling a bit discouraged and maybe a bit stupid), I absolutely love your blog. Tusen takk for sharing everything, so glad to know that I’m not alone in the struggle, and your perspective on it all is just phenomenal! Definitely chuckled out loud… Especially to the “w” comment haha.

    Now to brush up on my trivia….

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    1. Hi Amanda, thanks for your reading and for your comment. I am so glad you’re enjoying my stories 🙂 I have now been to quiz night twice and we have one BOTH times… so there is hope for us 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I laughed out loud!! from a fellow Canadian (European born) and totally understand your frustration!! here because of Sarah at BuffalloSchnitzel and I think I’ll stick around a little longer 🙂

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  3. Thank you so much for this post! I guess I won´t feel that much of a dummy trying to communicate in norwegian now, thanks to you 😉 It is very comforting to know you are not alone in this… It´s been one year for me in Norway, learning the language for 6 months now. My kids are already better in norwegian than me, especially the younger one (he speaks with perfect norwegian accent!) but still I can see the light at the end of a tunnel 😉 Good luck to us!
    Ps. I´ve actually had no idea about the quiz thing!

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    1. Thanks for reading Anna. I am so glad you enjoyed it and can relate! Kids learn so quickly… but we’ll get there eventually. Try a quiz! I’m sure you’ll be better than me! 🙂

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  4. Thanks for sharing your feelings on this topic. I so can relate. I have been struggling with the language for 3 years now and am left with only having to take the exams in Norwegian proficiency and “samfunnskunnskap”. It is a bit frustrating with all the young adults in the class that are picking it up seemingly quick.
    The nice thing is most everyone that I come across is more then happy to either speak in English and most of the time I can get away with them not even knowing I don’t fully understand what they are saying even if they don’t speak in English. And then they are surprised when I end up replying in English. So blending in I think I have accomplished.
    I thankfully have married into a very understanding and dare I say loving Norwegian family.

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  5. Great read! As another Canadian here in the land of Vikings I found myself laughing and nodding along as I read your post. So true about the Norwegian love of squishing multiple words together to make one. Thankfully I am at the point now that I can at least pick out individual words when I’m confronted with a megaword. Making sense of it, at times, is another thing. 😉

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    1. Hi, thanks so much for reading. Glad you enjoyed it and glad to hear from another Canadian up here! The megawords still trouble me… and as you say, even when you pick it a part it can be hard to decipher. One day we’ll succeed 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great blog post! My partner is Norwegian and lives in Skien, Telemark. I’m currently working between there and London (cheap Ryan air flights :)) I’m planning on moving once I have a job but that is proving difficult with my very poor Norwegian and the IT job market in Telemark is very slow! I can totally relate with your language experiences, the W’s crack me up every time! And the unessesary pluralisation of words such as sheeps! When my UK friends ask me what it’s like dealing with Norwegian groups just speaking Norwegian I often describe it as watching a foreign film without the subtitles!
    Anyway keep the blog posts coming!

    Steve

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    1. Hi Steve, thanks for reading and writing! Ya, it’s hard not to smile when you hear “Wiking” from a big burly “norskmann” 😉 One day we’ll conquer the language, I’m sure. Good luck with the job search!

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  7. Hi Jill! great post!! I am Italian and living in Oslo since may 2015… European have no duty to follow courses, but I think is a great opportunity… and I am curious about your samfunnskunnskap course… when you are going to do that, could you tell me if you are going to use any book? Thanx and good luck!

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    1. Hi Silvia, glad you liked it! I am not sure when I’ll do the samfunnskunnkap course. I have heard that it is offered in the summer. I still need to do some research. I am also not sure about the book. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! Good luck to you too 🙂

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  8. Hei! So loving this post. I am presently trying to learn Norwegian. My husband is from Norway and while we don’t live there right now, it is always a possibility for the future. I love visiting Norway and am looking forward to our trip in Juli and hope to be able to say more beyond, “Jeg kan snakke litt Norsk.” 🙂

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    1. Hi Michele, thanks for reading the post. Glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure it is even harder to learn Norwegian while you are living elsewhere. I’m impressed you are trying! Good luck with it and have a great trip in July! 🙂

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  9. Great writing. Thank you for sharing. Life in Norway has been a lot different experience than I had anticipated. The norkkurs I’m in (Oslo) of about the same number of people you mentioned-we are all educated, master degrees, several years of professional experience, plus diverse experiences which are really great at rounding a person out with real life skills and not only theoretical knowledge. Quizzes do not measure intelligence. Samme ting. Finding work has been, you could say interesting.

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    1. Thanks Rachel! Great to hear your experiences. Yes, I haven’t embarked on the job search just yet – still settling in. But I hear interesting stories and challenges. Lykke til 🙂

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  10. What a great blog! If it’s any consolation, I feel like a toddler too when I speak English. And….as i write this comment, i had to look up how to spell “consolation”. I think my grammar is pretty bad to xD Most of the English i know, I’ve learned from american TV shows, haha. And I never get the hang of when you are supposed to use capital letters and when not to use it. And the thing about squeezing words in to one word, I can’t get the hang on that either. In english that is 😛 A least we have a logical rule to follow in norweigan, in english I just have to guess xD

    And….I don’t like quizes. I feel stupid to, if it’s not made for children. Then I can manage.

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    1. Haha! Thanks Monica. It definitely IS a consolation to know you feel like that too. And I have heard that English is very hard to learn so you have all my sympathy! 🙂 I think it is amazing how many people learn English from tv/movies. Very impressive really! Do we squeeze words together too!? So funny how one doesn’t even notice the things in our own language that make it hard. Thanks for reading and commenting! It’s so fun to hear your story.

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  11. I can so relate to your amusing and beautifully written blog post! I’m an Australian (though formerly from Lesotho/Southern Africa and it was my father’s cousin, Paul Kirchmann, who said you were a relative of his, and who emailed me the link to your blog…so, small world.) Twenty years ago I married a Norwegian bush pilot I met in Botswana (hence my Norwegian surname). After a splendid wedding ceremony at the Oslo Castle (I was very lucky!) Norway became my home for a year so I truly understand your frustrations regarding learning the language. We often return to Oslo, Hamar, Lillehammer and Holmestrand mostly, and are regularly visited by my husband, Eivind’s extensive family. Coincidentally my sister also married a Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana (my husband’s best friend) and they live up the road from us, just north of Melbourne. I must ask Paul what the family connection is. Anyway, I do love Norway and I wish you every success with the language and every happiness in your new home. Regards, Beverley

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    1. Hi Beverley. So nice to hear from you – what a small world! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’d love to hear more about the bush pilot / castle wedding! Let me know when you come to Oslo and perhaps we could meet. Thank you for your kind wishes.

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  12. Hei Jill 🙂

    Utrolig artig blogg du har her, jeg ler godt av dine beskrivelser av oss nordboere 🙂

    Ikke gi opp, dette klarer du helt supert, for du har oppsumert nordmenn i et nøtteskall her.

    Masse lykke til videre med norsktimer og eksamen 🙂

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    1. Hei Siv og tusen takk! Nå snakker du med “den 5 år gammel Jill” 😉 Du er veldig snill. Jeg er veldig glad at du har lest “bloggen” min og tror det er artig og interessant. Jeg skal fortsette å lære norsk og en dag jeg vil kanskje skrive en artikkel på norsk – et stort mål! God helg 🙂
      I hope that made some sense! Thanks again 🙂

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  13. «I am instantly transformed from a relatively intelligent woman to a below-average, slightly boring toddler. I remember actually saying to someone once “you know when I speak English, I’m really quite interesting”. And when you need that kind of disclaimer, you know you’re not doing well.»

    I know the feeling. I’m trying to learn French! But unlike the French (stereotype) we do love it when people from other countries try to learn our obscure language. 🙂

    And for the record, I hate skiing and dislike quizes.

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    1. Hei Veronica. Bonsoir! I lived in France for a few years and luckily I speak French… but living there had many different challenges – that could be a whole different blog for me. Hehe. And yes, I think the Norwegians are incredibly gracious with regards to foreigners attempting your language! I am glad to hear you also dislike quizzes. I must say I just bought my first pair of langrennski and it’s been quite fun. I only wanted to throw them out once so far. 😉 Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Merci!

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  14. I enjoyed that! And sympathise! but a) What is the biggest export from Canada to the USA… Im interested now… and b) Dont you get that ” How long have you been living here? question? Thats the worst, they might as well say, “I hope you answer in fluent Norwegian if you have been here longer than a few weeks…” Me? Ive been here 17 years, and still no where near fluent… Ive adopted a grumpy but humorous and polite attitude… “Ive ben here YEARS.. I should really start learning Norwegian I suppose, but.. there no real need…” Doesnt go down well, but puts them in their place…
    I have s simerlar blog at https://grumpyenglishmaninnorway.wordpress.com/ its a bit “ruder”, but my wife made me start it, so I would stop moaning to her… its meant to be ironic.. I LOVE it here… but sometimes… you know.. shops shutting early on Saturday, lutefisk, påskekrim.. it IS a bit ODD here…

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    1. Hey Mark, thanks for reading! So… a) apparently it’s vehicles (who knew?!) and b) yes, I feel like that’s a trick question to test just how dumb I am. I’ve only been here since September so I feel like I get a bit of a break but I know it won’t last long. I think grumpy but positive is the best possible approach. Looking forward to checking out your blog. The title alone makes me laugh 🙂 Cheers.

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  15. Thanks Jill! This is an excellent summary of the language issues an English speaker faces in Norway. My favourite response from the Norwegians, when they are asked if they speak English, is “Ja, litt. But I am not very good.” This is always followed by a conversation in near perfect English. Sigh…

    If you are interested in keeping up with the news in Norwegian, you could also try klartale.no. They post news stories in simplified Norwegian.

    Lykke til!

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    1. Haha… that is so true, Rachel. Great observation. 🙂 And yes, I have been reading Klar Tale a bit. We also use it in class sometimes. It is a great resource and makes me feel less “dummyish”!

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  16. Instead of answering ”great” etc. try to come up with new ways of saying the same thing or making the sentences longer as you progress. Like ”Ja, det hadde vært godt. Har du også lyst på?/Syns du også det er godt?”, after a while add on descriptions to why you like it and advance your language further. ”Ja, jeg liker at smaken av eple vokser i munnen.” etc. If someone asks how you are, instead of saying ”bra” try to add on to why you’re feeling great or how you’re feeiling. ”Jeg, jeg føler meg veldig bra i dag” and if your partner is up for it he can make the conversation longer as well by asking ”Noen spessiell grunn?” and try to stay away from one word replies unless you can’t come up with something or not limit yourself to the first thing that comes to mind as that’s the word you’re most familiar with and is already in your memory bank.
    And easy tasks like going to the store, instead of going to the store knowing what to buy make a shopping list in Norwegian (without a dictionary first) and make a rule for yourself to make all kinds of talk in Norwegian until you reach a point where you can’t understand something and continue to talk in English from there. You can also further practice your skills on your shopping list with ”Grønne epler (fordi det er en god frukt)” and ”Kjøttdeig (den skal stekes og brukes i taco.” and read it out loud or speak it out loud while you’re writing it down. Repetition is key to most learning and I think doing small things like this will keep expanding your knowledge and use of the language.

    I’m also pretty sure that if you make people around you aware that you’re trying to learn Norwegian by speaking it most people would probably help you out a bit too. If you make use of the small talk rule it’ll go by itself pretty fast. An exchange student I got to know when I was in 8th grade learned really basic Norwegian conversation in just 3 months by asking things like ”how do you ask someone if they want to go skateboarding this thursday?”, I answered: ”blir du med å skate på torsdag?” and with a grin on his face he asked: ”Blir du med å skate på torsdag?” and could keep easy conversations going after just a year by speaking to everyone close to him in Norwegian and switching to English when it wasn’t feasible for him to do so. He was Canadian as well btw.

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    1. Thanks so much! These are all really great suggestions. But now I have to learn to skateboard (just joking!). I need to be better about trying more. I’ll just take some more effort and time, I’m sure 🙂 Thanks for reading and for such a thoughtful comment!

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  17. Hi Jill,

    Tried to post a comment in your blog but the page kept disappearing as i tried to type out my message ever so slowly on my iPhone. Finally gave up and decided to send you an email. Hope your “comments box” isn’t filled with all my partial messages!!

    Just wanted to say that i can relate to so many of your experiences, esp around learning/speaking the language of your new country of residence. It does get easier and i find i’m not having to say “pardon?” or “quoi?” quite as often. And people don’t immediately switch to English anymore as soon as they hear my first few sentences (talk about humbling!). I used to memorize sentences and phrases and practice them out loud, too, esp for my annual visa renewal visit to la prefecture, where they don’t switch to English, no matter how bad your French is!

    I’m grateful that the French don’t seem to go in for quizzes like the Norwegians – that would be humiliating!! Sounds like you aced that last quiz with your rendition of Celine Dion’s song!! Well done!! Any chance of a video of that performance appearing on your blog sometime soon? 😊😀😛😉

    Thanks for sharing your adventures with us in such a well written blog. Bonne chance avec ta nouvelle vie en Norvege!!!

    Bises, Lynne

    On Friday, 26 February 2016, norway times <comment-reply@wordpress.com > wrote:

    > Jill posted: ” There is no better way to humble yourself – should you want > to – than by moving to a new country, as an adult, and learning a new > language. And I am being kind when I say, “humble yourself”. What I really > mean is “feel like a massive, bumbling, tongue-t” >

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  18. “Aquavit : helps nothing but tastes good”.
    I find it exactly the opposite.
    Helps the digestion after eating oily or smoked fish:
    Best for the stomach at room temperature and does not taste good!

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    1. Haha. True William. It does actually help digestion, but not my ability with quizzes 😉 And I like the taste but I’m a bit weird. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  19. As a Canadian living in Oslo I can relate to pretty much all of this. Thanks for making me feel like I’m not the lone wolf here. By the way, I actually did the Masters of Viking and Medieval Norse. I now know old Norse and how to built a Viking ship, but don’t dare ask me how to do anything useful in current Norwegian society.

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    1. Haha! No way!? That’s amazing!! Please build me a viking ship. Then I won’t bother with King Harald’s yacht 😉 Nice to know a fellow Canadian is relating!

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    2. Hey Ashlie! So nice to meet you today! I hope your goodbye was okay… always so hard, I know. Best of luck with the masters application and getting back to Norway!! Jill 🙂

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  20. This was great.. Loved the bit about Norwegians squishing everything into one word.. So true! He gets me to read news articles off VG to practice pronunciation and such and then I get to a daunting 26 syllable word and then I get drool forming. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius was originally a Norwegian word I bet.

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    1. Well at least if you are being asked to read from VG he’s not trying to tax your Norwegian too hard . . you’re improving when you’re presended with Dagens Næringsliv.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. At this point it’s hard for me to imagine reading any newspaper… but I try. I subscribed to Aftenposten for a while and mainly looked at the pictures, and tried the quiz (of course).

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  21. Wow my friend, you are a delight at writing what it feels like to move to a foreign country…I so relate, remembering my own dumb feeling trying desperately to learn a new language having never taken any while so much younger then I was. Oh and those looks, the vacant stare as I tried to image what was said….lol yes, my hats off to you lady. YOU GO!!!!

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  22. Oh and also, the king and queen here are not as distant and far off as you might think.. I actually shook hands with them last fall at work! I personally taught the Queen how to use a microscope. It wasn’t cocktails on a yacht, but you never know what might happen 😉

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    1. That is amazing! Ya, I actually saw the King at the winter coronation celebrations up at Slottet. He walked right past me. But I still really want a little cruise on the yacht. If the Queen needs more microscope classes, tell her you need to bring an “assistant” 😉

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      1. Very good to know! I’m actually working on my application for that permit right now so I will keep this in mind for if/when it is approved. Those courses can be really expensive! 550 hours paid out of pocket would cost a fortune.

        Liked by 1 person

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