Category Archives: Norway

Norwegian Food: Blåbær (healthy food #4)

The Five Healthiest Foods in Norway (original post here) – at number four was blueberries.

Homemade blueberry muffins, made
from the berries the boys picked in
the mountains on a hiking trip

Berries are quite popular here. And berry-picking trips are popular in the summertime. Last summer, the boys enjoyed picking lots of blueberries while we were hiking in the mountains.

We all like blueberries. Sometime alone, other times in a fruit salad or smoothie, and occasionally in a treat like muffins.

The NRK article’s nutritionists appreciated the antioxidants in blueberries. They were concerned that people do not eat enough berries, and also focused on the importance of ‘five a day.’ Furthermore, they liked that picking the berries yourself means additional physical activity!

(noun) Blueberry.

Used in a sentence
Guttene plukket blåbær og vi laget muffins.
(The boys picked blueberries and we made muffins.)

Related Words
bær – berry/berries
antioksidanter – antioxidants

Norwegian Food: Melk (healthy food #5)

The Five Healthiest Foods in Norway (original post here) – at number five was milk.The article explained that is the best source of calcium in Norway, and also a good source of iodine. We typically buy Ekstra Lett Melk because it has added Vitamin D – especially important in the dark winter months! (Eskstra Lett also has less saturated fat.)

We really like the milk in Norway. It is refrigerated! Sounds strange to some of you maybe, but in  Ukraine we learned that this is not always the case. Yeah, unrefrigerated milk was kind of strange to me!Price
There are two brands we can choose from: Tine Melk or Q-Melk. Most of the time we buy Tine, mainly because I have better luck finding the kind I prefer in the 1.75 liter carton instead of the 1 liter that seems to vanish as soon as it is opened.

The 1.75 liter costs a minimum of 21.90 Norwegian kroner. Our current conversion rate is quite favorable for us (not for Norwegians traveling to America!), so that is currently around $2.90 for 1.75 liters. That is the equivalent of about $6.24 per gallon (about double the price of a gallon in Georgia!)

We are occasionally able to find it marked down for as much as 50% off due to only a couple of days left on the expiration date. But the boys love milk, and we use it in a lot of recipes, so a short date is no problem!


Tine Easter Milk

Tine changes their packaging at Christmas and Easter. For the majority of the year, the photos on the cartons show scenes from the dairies located in your region. But at Christmas the nisser (the little trolls/elves) show up. And at Easter, Tine pays homage to the Norwegian tradition of Påskekrim – Easter crime novels* – by including mystery-based comic strips on the boxes.

Tine Christmas Milk

Like in the states, there are plenty of varieties: whole milk, low fat, lower fat (with the added Vitamin D), skim milk, as well as chocolate milk, culture milks, and kefir.

[Okay, I just have to say that this may be the most boring post I’ve ever written!]

(noun) Milk.Used in a sentence
Kan du kjøpe inn en melk for meg?
(Will you buy a carton of milk for me?)

Related Words
hel melk – whole milk

lett melk – low fat milkekstra lett melk – lower fat milk
skummet melk – skim milk
sjokolademelk – chocolate milk
geit melk – goat milk
økologisk melk – organic milk
laktosefri melk – lactose free milk
kulturmelk – culture milk/soured milk (similar to buttermilk)


*You read that correctly – Easter crime novels – I should probably revisit this in a couple of months!

Norwegian Food (norsk mat): Det sunneste man kan spise

I recently read an article on about the five healthiest foods you can get in Norway. (here – Google Chrome should give you a translation option if you want to read it in English)Fifth place went to milk.

Fourth was blueberries.

In third, oatmeal.

Second place was mackerel in tomato sauce.

And first place? Carrots.

There were other foods on the list, but these were the five that the nutritionists seemed to agree on the most. All seem to be quite popular here. And you can typically find all five in our kitchen, as you can see from this picture taken today. I’ll write a bit about each of these in the coming weeks, including availability, how they are used and what we think of them.

Norwegian Food: The series

I’ve recently had people ask for more posts about food here. So over the next weeks I will be introducing you to some of the food. You’ll see that some things are quite different from American food, but others are very much the same.Mat
(noun) Food.

Used in a sentence
Jeg lager mat til middag.
(I’m making dinner.)

Related Words
måltid – meal
tilberede – to prepare (food)
oppskrift – recipe
smak – taste
frokost – breakfast
lunsj – lunch
middag – dinner
kveldsmat – a light evening meal

Healthcare in Norway

With my recent surgery, I’ve had a lot of questions and curiosity about the healthcare system and medical insurance here in Norway. While it seems like a very boring topic to write about, I know sometimes it can be interesting to learn about cultural differences.Norway has both public and private healthcare, though the majority of people access the public system (private is primarily used for elective procedures). The public system is managed and financed nationally. All legal residents have access to the same level of healthcare. So as legal, tax-paying residents of Norway, our family receives all of the same public service as Norwegian citizens.

For adults, there are co-pays for doctors visits, medication, and for procedures such as MRI or CT scans that are done apart from a hospital stay. Hospital stays do not require payment. For dependent children, all medical coverage is free of charge.

My personal experience began in late August 2014, when I first visited our primary care physician in our city. From there, I met with several different specialists and went through a CT scan and MRI. Referrals were extremely quick. Even getting my initial date for surgery didn’t take very long.

Most things about the hospitalization didn’t seem that different from being in an American hospital. There is much less fanfare to checking in. You walk up to the nurse and confirm your name and personal number (like a social security number), and receive your bracelet. You’re given some medication by mouth to help you relax, and you change into hospital gown and wait. My wait this time around was FAST – I arrived just before 7:00, and around 7:30 they took me back.

Post-op/recovery seemed normal compared to what I’ve experienced in the states. It’s a typical ICU type set-up: a large room with lots of bed spaces separated by curtains, so that the nurses can quickly get in and out to each patient.

From Zack’s perspective, it was a bad experience in that he could never get anyone to tell him if I was out of surgery, or how it went, or anything at all. Thankfully after an hour in recovery, I asked if I could call him and they brought me a telephone.

Maybe the biggest difference was the regular room. I was in a room with four beds. The first few hours was just me, but two other ladies came in later in the evening, and one more the next morning. This was a lot different for me, but I managed okay.

Each floor apparently has its own small cafeteria/lunchroom. So as you begin to recover, you are encouraged to walk down the hall and have your meals there. It’s really not a bad idea: it encourages getting up and moving, and it means you have a bit more choice in what you’ll eat (probably a lot less wasted food that way, too!).

I was also waiting for lots of paperwork in order to be discharged. But there was nothing much to it. I met with the doctor and he gave me info on what to do if I have any problems. And that was pretty much it. I could go whenever I was ready. And I just walked myself out. No wheelchair.

Overall, the system and process have been good. I have been very pleased with the level of service and care I have received. There is not too much I can really complain about.

Boats: living by the sea

Living in a seaside town means boats. Lots and lots of boats! Summertime is especially fun, walking down to the brygga/harbor to see what might be docked that day.Many times we see names of cities – or even countries – that aren’t exactly close by. Interesting to see all the different people and places that end up in our little town here in Norway. I always wonder who they are, how they ended up here, what their story is…

Here are just a few of the boats we’ve seen in our area.









Summer: so far, so fun!

While we haven’t done our big summer travel yet, we are enjoying summer holidays so far.
Life here really is quite different during the summer. The rhythm changes. People seem a bit more social and a bit less rushed. Our city’s normally quiet and distant veneer seems to fade in the summer sun, as many travel to the area to spend the summer in their seaside cabins.
With that comes a big population increase, but also a population shift. While we do have a lot of tourists, it seems the majority of the faces we see most often have also travelled away from home. This is especially true in July, the official holiday/vacation month. This means most regular events and activities are suspended during the summer, including the majority of church services. This was a big cultural difference for us!
So what have we been up to the past few weeks?We’ve hiked a lot, been to the beach a number of times, attended some cookouts, and strolled around the city. We’ve made some new friends, and worked on building upon existing relationships. We enjoyed a weekend visit from an American friend, spent a few days in Stockholm, visited Oslo, and grilled by the sea. We attended a couple of conferences. We’ve experienced some disappointments, as well as some much-needed encouragement. We’ve met folks for coffee, and shared meals as a way to slow down and grow closer. We’ve taken the time to rest a bit, to practice language in less formal settings, and to simply enjoy each other.

Still to come: a weekend trip to a cabin, and then a big road trip to Germany!

How is your summer going?
Enjoying coffee with a friend from Georgia
Strolling through our city
Our version of a ‘church fellowship dinner’
Look what we found while driving through Sweden!
Zack took this shot during a bike ride with the boys
Making a meal with friends
Silly friends taking a break during a summer conference


Daniel made a tree friend 🙂
Just a few of the beautiful flowers in Sandefjord


Crab catchers
Dinner break in Stavern
You never know what you might see around here!
Evening concert after a day filled with conference seminars
Driving home from Larvik
Hiking at Bøkeskogen
Hiking at Bøkeskogen

Det som du er, vær fullt og helt, ikke stykkevis og delt

Daniel i Oslo, med et sitat av Henrik Ibsen (Takk til vennen vår Alan – en flott bilde!)
Daniel in Oslo, with a quote by Henrik Ibsen (Thanks to our friend Alan – a great picture!)

Norwegian Strawberries: what do you think?

It’s that time of year again. The stands are popping up all over the city. Just in front of the mall, in fact, you can find two set up right next to each other.
A price war in the making, perhaps?
Yes, it’s time for Norwegian strawberries again. And people here seem to be quite serious about them. Countless times, we’ve been told of the far-superior berries grown in Norway.
Don’t get me wrong: they are good. Maybe it’s just my inexperienced palette – but I can’t really taste a difference between them and the strawberries we can buy at the grocery stores.
So while many around us are snatching up local berries for 35 – 50 kroner per basket (prices are continuing to drop as supply has greatly increased the last few days), we were happy to buy the Belgian berries at our local Kiwi last week for 18 kroner for a basket.
So to our friends who live in Norway…
What do you think? Can you taste a big difference? Do you spend a little more to get the Norwegian fruit? Are we missing out?

Gratulerer med dagen: how we celebrated 17.mai

Last year I shared a little about the seventeenth of May (syttende mai), Norway’s constitution day. (You can read about May 17 HERE and the rest of the weekend HERE).This year is the 200 year anniversary of Norway’s constitution*. This was our second year to celebrate syttende mai in Norway.

Syttende mai is a fun day, and especially when the weather is as great as it was this past Saturday! We enjoyed a nice walk to the boys schools to start the day. Their classes then proceeded into the city to join all the other area schools for a program and parade.

After some music and speeches, the ‘barnetog’ began. The barnetog is the children’s parade. Much of syttende mai is focused on children, remembering that they are the future. Zack and I enjoyed watching the parade with three families from our neighborhood. Lots of language practice!

After the parade, we had lunch in the city. A big theme of the day is food, especially pølser (hot dogs) and is (ice cream).

We took a short break at home, so everyone could rest a little. Next up, we were back to the city for the ‘borgertog’. Borgertoget is the citizens parade. It includes teams, clubs, corps (marching bands) singing groups, etc. William participated with his football team. Zack, Daniel and I met up with several friends to watch the borgertog.

After the second parade, and an obligatory ice cream, we drove to Larvik/Faris Bad for a cookout and evening with friends: really good food, lots more Norwegian practice, and plenty of time to relax, Plus, the boys got to drive a boat and relax (yeah, right!) in the hot tub!

It was a really fun day, and we all slept great afterwards! Thanks to so many wonderful friends for including us and making us feel at home on your country’s special day.












*A quick bit of history, if you’re interested in it: Norway boasts the second oldest constitution in the world that is still in use. The constitution was signed on May 17, 1814 in Eidsvoll, just north of Oslo. It was the first major step the nation took towards becoming a democracy. (Norway and Sweden ultimately dissolved their union on June 7, 1905, as the first Norwegian king took the throne on November 18th of that year.)