Christmas Celebrations and the Norwegian Medical System


Like every Christmas, we over-eat, over-spend and make a New Years resolution that next Christmas things will be different.  Last year, (Christmas 2008), I definitely had my fair share of pepperkaker, trimmings and marsipan pigs.  A week after Christmas I had to walk around with the top button on my pants undone!

Then came the heaviness, the sleepiness and the uncomfortableness – the second button had to come undone.  I was definitely sick.  You might have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while, since Christmas, actually.  Food just wasn’t my thing anymore.  Even the smell of it made me run to the loo.  Finally, Moose dragged me to the doctors and even though I hadn’t eaten for a week, we discovered I had a bun in the oven.  Phew!  I’m glad it wasn’t the Christmas rib.

You know the first thing I thought was… well, the second thing actually: What an excellent opportunity to document a patients point of view about the Norwegian Medical System.  I have been through the process once before in Norway, with Lilu, who is now one, and it is a very peculiar thing to go through, to be so vulnerable in a strange place where you don’t speak the language and are considered a foreigner.  This time I’m sure I will have more of an objective point of view as I have a goal to document my journey.  I will also be presenting information on the Norwegian Medical System, especially concentrating on the Prenatal care, Birthing and Midwifery services as well as baby’s first year, that I trust you will find helpful.  However, I will also draw from my personal experiences from my previous pregnancy, especially about the bond that I shared with an American and a Russian as we travelled through the heartache, fear and joy of difficult pregnancies in a foreign country.

As the introduction of this two year series, let me welcome you on this exciting journey and I look forward to discussing the process with you and reading your comments.  I hope that the information that I will be providing and documenting will be a valuable resource to all those interested in Norway and the Norwegian medical system but especially to those who are new to Norway or who are planning to make Norway their home.

How Vikings Shaped the English Language


For a more indepth look at the influence of Old Norse on the English language take a look at the series: How Vikings Changed the English Language: Intro

The English language has certainly been a heavy influence on many languages around the world – including modern Norwegian. Thanks to ‘internationalisation’ from the Internet, TV and film, Norwegians frequently use words like baby, drink, cool, jeans, web and chips – to name a few.

But once upon a time it was the other way around. Many English words actually come from old Norse language – brought by Vikings to England in medieval times. Here are some words you have probably uttered without realising you are speaking Norwegian!

  • Anger – from angr (“trouble, affliction”)
  • Bag – from baggi. Norwegians use the word bag today but, ironically, with an English pronounciation. The word has actually been re-imported from English!
  • Berserk – from berserkr (“bare shirt”). Fierce warriors who fought without armour (and ate magic mushrooms for courage).
  • Crawl – from krafla (“to claw”).
  • Dirt – from drit (“feces”).
  • Gun – from gunn (“war, battle”)
  • Hell – from Hel, the ruler of the Underworld in Norse mythology.
  • Hit – from hitta (“find”). Another example of a re-imported word.
  • Husband – from husbondi (“master of the house”).
  • Knife – from kniv, kvifr. You may have guessed this one already. In fact, any word starting with kn- is probably from old Norse.
  • Raft – from raptr (“log”). Today we use the (English) word rafting in Norway when talking about the popular sport.
  • Reindeer – from hreindyri. In modern Norwegian: reinsdyr.
  • Scare – from skirra (“to frighten”).
  • Steak – from steik, steikja (“to cook, roast”). Curiously, the word steak house is common in Norway today.
  • Town – from tun, referring to the open space between buildings.
  • Ugly – from uggligr (“dreadful”).

There you have it – no need for a dictionary when travelling in Norway. All you need to do is roll your R’s and you’ll be speaking Norwegian fluently!

Boats at Noon


When the snow is here, even the sea is silent and the boats sleep together, nice and warm, at the marina.

Home-made Julebrød


One thing I have learnt about coming to Norway is that bread and cakes turn out much better when you do as the Norwegians do.  I’ve tried many times to bake my Australian bread recipes and for some reason they never quite turn out the way they should.  I don’t really know the reason why – it could be the weather, the fact that they use sugarbeet instead of sugarcane here, or maybe it’s some kind of magnetic shift with being so close to the North Pole, and all?  Whatever it is, when I bake Norwegian bread with Norwegian recipes, it turns out perfectly.  Go figure?

I baked the traditional Norwegian Julebrød for the first time this Christmas, using the Julebrød recipe from the Christmas pages, and I must admit, I am very pleased with how it turned out.

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  • Parenting in Norway
  • Having a Baby in Norway
  • The Cost of Living
  • Norwegian Name Days
  • How Vikings Changed the English Language
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