Do you love traveling abroad? It's hard for me not to fall in love with new places. There is something spectacular about exploring, seeing things for the first time and feeling captivated by the unfamiliar. If you ever happen to fall in love with more than just the place, like perhaps someone from another part of the world, it's a pretty good idea to familiarize yourself with their cultural upbringing. Although this may not pertain to you, may I inspire you to read on anyway?
After living in Japan in 1999-2000 I increasingly became curious about how to absorb more as I ventured through various parts of the world. Typically you snag your Travel Guide Books, head to Pinterest for how to pack, download your Duolingo and boom you're on your way. You never know when an opportunity may rise for adventure or you become goo-goo eyed and end up sharing your life with someone from a country you’ve never been to and know very little about. How fun is that... and slightly intimidating.
This is my third winter bundling up and heading to my mans home town of Trondheim, Norway where the night falls nineteen hours of the day during this time of year. For three hundred delicate minutes the sun dances on the rooftops in this storybook town and we hurry out to frolic like school kids at recess in the crisp, fresh air. It reminds me of the perfect scene that once upon a time, only sat beneath my grandmas Christmas tree with little colorful houses and towns people arranged flawlessly amongst the marshmallow puffs of snow. Twinkling lights glimmer from everyone's homes as if stars laid upon the peaks and valleys of the city. The winter wonderland we sing popular holiday carols about... well it truly exists. My bare eyes can hardly believe I get to visit here for the rest of my life.
After twenty seven hours of travel, four flights and one rock-star five-month-old baby we are welcomed with open arms and brought into Eriks families home who’s bustling with holiday cheer– it's so koselig (cozy). The first two years I did the travel on my own and I wasn't sure what to expect. He sent me this video to prepare me for my arrival. I was nervous after watching it, to put it politely.
Americans try traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes.
Needless to say Erik's family has never made me try anything too crazy and we always have exceptional organic home cooked meals. It's a special part of being in Norway with them for sure. I was also gifted “The Social Guidebook to Norway” that has been quite helpful in my understanding of some differences between American and Norwegian expressions.
I’ve found this language even more challenging to try to learn than what little Japanese i picked up, so there’s been some resistance. While I often still sit quietly at the table, yet intently watching everyone's mouths as Norwegian dialogue flies rapidly from mouth to mouth and laughter often bursts from a story just told, I wonder, how will I ever learn this? I’m guilty of not putting enough effort into it yet and shame on me for that... I’m about to marry this man! I do plan to learn with our babygirl and get back to my Duolingo practice so I can at least say a few of my wedding vowels in Norwegian, wish me luck!
The amount of time you're traveling in a place will often dictate how much you immerse yourself in the culture. No matter how brief or long your stay may be... here are a few very simple tips of mine.
Find a Gallery
While you peruse a bit ask the employees for their favorite coffee shop or where the best place is to get an organic meal. Gallery peeps are in the know. They will send you to the most superb spots.
I often take a yoga class in whatever city I'm visiting. If not that... rent a bike, go for a walk or run. I love to just feel like a local and doing any of these activities will put you there and familiarize you with the area you're staying.
Get a Little Lost
I love knowing where I'm headed but being able to wander around without relying on my google maps guiding me every step of the way is kinda great sometimes! Don't be afraid to get turned around and head the opposite way you meant to. Ask around to find your way again and explore the places you stumble upon. (Choose wisely when to do this, don't get yourself in a pickle)
If you're anything like me you can always prepare before you go... research on-line, look at pictures, seek out the cities top 10 things to do and so on. Just make room for some spontaneity and excitement to ensue so you can come home with little gems. Moments that took you by surprise.
I hope to keep traveling the world and bringing you guys with me. I love hearing from you and by all means share some of your favorite places you've been with me. Hope you are rocking 2018 so far and thank you for stopping by.