42 Signs you’ve Been Living in Norway for too Long

A Frog in the Fjord: One Year in Norway Book

Original illustration by Ole Johnny Hansen, all rights reserved.

A few weeks ago, I was watching the football game France-Iceland on television in Oslo. For the first time, my heart was torn apart between two choices: supporting France, my home country, or Iceland, the almost Scandinavian and underdog of the competition?

I could never tell my French friends that I wish Iceland won. But I felt so close to the Icelanders who are like Norwegians in many ways. Their country has the same number of inhabitants than Sør-Trøndelag. This is as if Sør-Trøndelag had a football team that got through to a European championship. Okay to be more realistic, let’s say Sør-Trøndelag puts together a skiing team that gets to the World Championship. Anyway, it’s massive, they are kind of Vikings, they deserve to win. Long story short, that day when I screamed of joy each time Iceland scored and cried inside each time France did, I felt like this was a sign I had been in Norway for too long. That happens to some foreigners like me, who become a little confused and cannot remember where they belong.

There are a few more things that might be a hint that you’ve been here so long you might as well as for the Norwegian citizenship. In other words, well done, you’ve successfully integrated! (a bit too successfully 😉

Disclaimer: these things are to be taken with a pinch of salt, it is humour, don’t go saying that it’s impossible to have been too long in Norway, or that if I don’t like Norway, I should go home you jævla utlendinger etc.

  1. You are addicted to snus  and tell everyone you’re going to stop soon (but you never do).
  2. You say things like “Så spennende” to people without thinking those things are
  3. Your English is getting worse, but your Norwegian is getting better. You say things like “But, but. It’s not only only to learn Norwegian”.
  4. You have adopted annoying Norwegian social habits like saying “yes” to three parties in the same night and then going only to the best one (cancelling the two others) or party-hoping the whole evening.
  5. Your kitchen drawer has 2 ostehøvel, and mellomlagspapir.
  6. You have at least 3 different sets of ullundertøy in your cupboard, all of different colours, brands and wool density.
  7. You cannot imagine your work life without coffee, your cake without lots of cream and marzipan, your winter without cross country skiing, your lunch without pålegg.
  8. As soon as it’s above 12 degrees you wear shorts and sit outside in the cold to drink an utepils.
  9. You flirt with people you like by looking at them in the eyes for three long seconds.
  10. You consider any beer in a bar that costs less than 70 NOK a bargain.
  11. You’ve started showing people interest in whatever story they are telling you with sounds instead of words: Mmhhh, and inhaling shortly while making a “ha” sound.
  12. You check http://www.yr.no more than 8 times per day and you know the weather for the next days in your city and minimum one other place in the world (Las Palmas, your hytte, your partner’s parents home etc.)
  13. You have come to the conclusion that everything is actually better the Norwegian way.
  14. When you meet a Norwegian abroad you say all the things which are wrong with this country: the roads, the privatisation of NSB, taxes. But as soon as you meet another foreigner you get offended if he/she talks bad about Norway. the only challenge here: the Norwegian might still see you as a foreigner and be offended that you talk badly about HIS country.
  15. Norwegians stop asking when you are moving back to your country.
  16. Norwegians have stopped telling you “Du er så flink i norsk”.
  17. You think it is fine to go around your office in your socks.
  18. You don’t find life in Norway that expensive anymore.
  19. Your parents think you’ve become crazy because you cannot stop drinking every time there is free alcohol on the table.
  20. Your cupboard is full of clothes for literally every possible weather.
  21. You have at least 2 pairs of skis and a dream of building a smørbod.
  22. Your other dream is to own a hytte, and you check http://www.finn.no regularly to find one.
  23. Once you’ve bought a hytte for example in the mountain, your new dream is to buy another one by the sea, and vice versa.
  24. To the question “Was the weather nice during your summer holiday?” (somewhere in Norway), your answer is “It did not rain”.
  25. You know exactly how much every flat/house was sold in your neighbourhood in the last year and you’ve even been to visninger in similar flats in your neighbourhood with no intention on buying them.
  26. You publicly disapprove of Sylvi Listhaug’s political decisions but quietly approve them because you don’t want to have to share the Norwegian wealth with all the asylum seekers in the world. But hey, remember, you came here at some point too, and were quite glad Norway opened its doors to you, whether you are a refugee or not.  Also remember that like you, those immigrants will work and pay taxes. If you are Norwegian and reading this, also remember that there was a time when there were more Norwegians leaving Norway than immigrants coming here. History has this way of turning the tide on you suddenly.
  27. You know just by looking at the style and colour a Norrøna jacket and pants which year and season the owner bought them.
  28. You say strange things like “uff da”, “oi oi oi” and “uffa meg” instead of the silly sounds from your own language (like Olala in French).
  29. It’s 5.30pm on a Tuesday and you are still at work, and you feel you are doing an all nighter.
  30. You make hilarious jokes using dry humour without moving a single muscle in your face.
  31. You think a warmed pølse and Toro lyophilised soup are both acceptable warm meals for children.
  32. Every time someone asks you how much these skis/expensive jacket cost, you say “it was on sale” before telling the price.
  33. You are a man and cannot wait to be on pappaperm.
  34. You do things you like only if you’ve deserved it, such as eating chocolate only if you ran a few kilometers.
  35. You never complain to others and pretend you are happy, but you are never really satisfied with what you have.
  36. You think these names are completely normal and easy to pronounce. You even know of which sex a person with such name is just by reading it: Øyvor, Øyvind, Brynjar, Herbjørg. You are Norwegian and this is obvious for you, but believe me, for newcomers this is mission impossible.
  37. You cannot believe Norwegian youth these days cannot make the difference between sjokolade, ski and kjøkken.
  38. It is less intimate for you to have sex with a person on a one night stand when you both were drunk than to talk to that same person in the street a few days later when meeting coincidentally (and when sober).
  39. You can sleep with someone for weeks and even months, but you don’t consider yourself in a relationship until you’ve agreed upon it while being sober.
  40. You don’t see why you should buy more expensive eggs just because they are organic, when the cheapest ones look like fine eggs too. Thinking of it, you think those buying organic food are kind of snobs.
  41. Your life on Facebook looks better than your actual life.
  42. When you say “I came home”, you mean to Norway!!

This article was published in the daily newspaper VG on the 28th of August 2016 under the title Du har bodd for lenge i Norge når….

9 thoughts on “42 Signs you’ve Been Living in Norway for too Long

  1. Most of my family is in Norway and I aspire to live there someday, but I am getting old. You seem to have assimilated well and I am laughingly jealous that you have done so well. Thanks for another terrific blog entry!

      1. I’m really impressed about how many particular things you have unveiled about Norwegians. You’re spot on at every point you make. I can’t even find anything to add to the list other than, it seams Norwegians are really proud of their strange behavior too.

  2. “You check http://www.yr.no more than 8 times per day and you know the weather for the next days in your city and minimum one other place in the world (Las Palmas, your hytte, your partner’s parents home etc.)”

    That made me laugh ! :)) I wasn’t remotely interested in the weather when I lived in France, it started slowly when I moved to Norway and has only gotten worse for every year. I recommend checking Pent.no for a comparison between yr and storm.no 😉

  3. So true, all of them! Except for no 31, this is not something I would serve children – but I was fed stuff like that when I was a child, so it’s still spot on. Oh, and no 11! I had no idea this was a Norwegian thing until my (Greek) boyfriend, who only knows one Norwegian word (Skål, of course), listened to me speaking to other Norwegians on the phone and doing the inhaling thing.

  4. I really like you Frog in The Fjord blog. I lived in Norway as a child. I have lved all my adult life in Austalia. I have many cousins in Norland and I find you observations very funny. I still feel simpatico for all things Norsk and eat brown cheese regulalry.

  5. I must have forgotten what it’s lik being Norwegian.

    Save from a few things I find wrong with my country, a decade abroad in 5 countries certainly has put a lot of perspective on things.

    During winter time… You won’t find me anywhere near the slopes anymore.
    Much more likely I will be inside…. Smoking a toke.. Writing some hit pieces on Norwegian politics.
    Or doing the same thing as some smoker’s club on some Spanish island.

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