Tracker Pixel for Entry

Back in Oslo

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | June 28th, 2017

By Robert Reeder

robertreeder@me.com

I am back in Oslo after living and working here for a month last summer. Nearly two full weeks passed this year before I noticed that I was going places without a map, getting on and off of metros without paying much attention to the signs indicating the upcoming stops. I pretty much knew where I was going like I do in Washington DC, where I live.

As part of the ieiMedia study abroad program in 2016, we were fortunate enough to have a local instructor at the Alfaskolen Norwegian school named Lene Ness. Lene’s task was to introduce our students -- and me -- to Norwegian culture.

If you look for descriptions of the Norwegian people, they are said to be stoic and distant, difficult to make friends with. Lene helped guide us through some of the obstacles to making friends.

My favorite bit of her advice and the one I most use and have had great success with, deals with how you approach a Norwegian the first time. Here’s the key. Even though they seem to be painfully introverted, don’t make eye contact or small talk. They love to solve problems. So when you want to ask a Norwegian a question, make it into a problem they can solve. All of a sudden they are open and friendly.

Last week I walked into Neseblod, a famous record store/Black Metal Museum here in Oslo. I had ducked in only briefly twice last year. The woman behind the counter, Rebellica, recognized me immediately when I entered the other day.

As Lene suggested last year I approached her with a problem. From what I’d read about the store, I’d been confused about its historical significance. Rebellica gave me a short, curt answer. After I left the store that day I remember telling one of the students that I didn’t think she liked non-metal heads and me in particular.

This had been just after Oslo’s huge Pride Parade last year, which closely followed the shootings at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Nearly everyone in the parade was wearing something black to acknowledge the atrocity. I had been wearing a black ribbon tied around my arm when I last stepped into Neseblod that day a year ago. Before I left the store I gave it to Rebellica. I was sure she didn’t like me and likely threw the ribbon away as soon as I left.

As I approached the other day, she turned, reached behind her and picked up the same ribbon from a hook on the wall where it had been hanging since I gave it to her. Largely because of Lene, my black ribbon is now part of a famous Black Metal museum. And I am known there. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, Rebellica and I had bonded on some Norwegian level.

There are a couple of very funny and insightful books written by an expat, Julien S. Bourrelle, that go a long way to comically instruct outsiders about the ins and outs of the Norwegian social interaction. They are “The Social Guidebook to Norway,” books one and two.

I have a close friend, Mel Burford, who has lived in Bergen for the past two years with her Danish husband, Nils, and their two children. She was telling me a number of things she’s tried to get to know her neighbors, including a standing invitation to “Friday Night Meatballs” at their house. She’s invited many but enjoyed only minor success. I just today sent her a copy of Bourrelle’s first book.

Maybe she needs to send invitations indicating she has a problem she needs help with…too many meatballs for her family to eat. 

RECENTLY IN

Editorial

Tracker Pixel for Entry Aaland Law Firm

Recently in:

FARGO – Two of the three Somali-American women threatened with murder two days ago by a white woman outside a local Walmart, met their attacker Thursday afternoon at the Fargo Police Department, and left in friendship.“We…

Culture

​The Dark Net

by Chuck Solly

Did you know that there is a backside to the Internet? I guess we all have backsides, don’t we? The backside of the Internet has many functions, none of which you can access from Google. Dark Net sites are just like normal web…

Thursday July 27, 5pmDowntown CasseltonTake a day trip and cruise down to Casselton. Free car show, 50/50 raffle, cash, prizes, fun galore and just maybe an engine blow up. Hot rods on hot sod? Count us in. Hosted by the Swanks,…

Editorial

Who asked you?

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: You cannot fool all the people all the time, unless they are from North Dakota.This week Gallup poll reported that at 59% North Dakota has the second largest Trump approval rating in the nation, nipping at West…

A reasonable conclusion: “We should have killed our baby.”For some unfathomable reason, some people think they are immortal, that death is not a part of life. Our culture tends to teach us to avoid the topic of death as if it…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

On a sultry Thursday night, I sauntered into Luna. Situated on South University next to Bernie’s Beer and Wine, it isn’t exactly a hole in the wall, but it is certainly off the beaten path, and as described by their motto it is…

Most of us only hear about world records secondhand. Many might think they’re not up to the challenge, others might not see the point of breaking one, and others just read about them in books and think of them as an exotic…

Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” -- touted as the costliest independent motion picture ever made -- simultaneously melts eyeballs with its gorgeous visuals and narcotizes brains with its stiff…

Within the borders of North Dakota lie many worlds that are each expressing themselves in traditional art and culture. During his time as the state folklorist, Troyd Geist has been documenting a diverse array of cultural identities…

Summer Arts Intensive performs main stage musicalUnder the summer sun, something’s begun, taking over those summer nights. The 1978 movie and musical hit Grease is taking stage as part of the Summer Arts Intensive in West Fargo.…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Minnesota is certainly well known for being a hotspot for craft brewing. While most of the action has been centered around the Minneapolis metro area, yet another brewer from the Northern part of the state has decided to bring its…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

“…the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera“It may seem kind of bleak to say that the future of our planet rests in large part on the consciences of Republican…