Category Archives: Random


Thanks for visiting the new home of Notes from Norge!

NOTES from NORGEWe are excited to continue to share coffee, culture,
and the day-to-day of an American family living in Europe.

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Weird People – hey, that’s me!

We often joke in our family that everyone is weird, and life is about finding those who share your same kind of weirdness.Okay, it’s not totally a joke. There is definitely some truth to it.

That brings a Dr. Seuss quote to mind…

So when Zack ran across this the other day, we thought it was fantastic!

I think I’ve always felt weird. And living cross-culturally probably intensifies those feelings at times, but I digress…

We were having a conversation with a friend and fellow parent recently, talking about how difficult the early teen years can be… and this is true in most any culture. Kids who don’t follow the norm or the most common way of living – be it fashion or hobbies, music or interests – those kids often struggle. They may be bullied or they may be ignored. But typically, as they get older, they find others with whom they share interests and dreams. They build up confidence. They find their place.

So if you’re feeling weird, know that it’s okay. You are making the world a more colorful place. You are creating interest and curiosity. Yes, you may be unique. But no, you are not alone.

Not Yet – words of encouragement

A friend posted a Rick Warren devotion yesterday that really encouraged me. And I thought, maybe I’m not the only one who needs to hear this. So here is an excerpt – may it be an encouragement to you as well!
(red text is my addition)

Why God Sometimes Says ‘Not Yet’
by Rick Warren
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’”
Hebrews 10:36-37, NIV

God’s delay [in answering your request] may be a test of your patience. Anybody can be patient once. And, most people can be patient twice. And, a lot of us can be patient three times. So God tests our patience over and over and over.

Why? So he can see how patient you are? No!

He does it so you can see how patient you are — so you’ll know what’s inside you, and you’ll be able to know your level of commitment. God tests you so that you can know he is faithful, even if the answers you seek are delayed.

You may be going through difficult times right now. You may be discouraged because the situation you face seems unmanageable, unreasonable, or unfair.

It may seem unbearable, and inside you’re basically saying, “God, I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t take it anymore!”

But you can.

You can stay with it longer because God is with you. He’ll enable you to press on. Remember, you are never a failure until you quit. Resist discouragement, and finish the race God has set before you.

Pray for Ukraine

My heart is breaking for my sons’ birth country. People trying to achieve freedom. But on the brink of war.

Please join us in praying for a peaceful resolution, and that these people will be able to experience the freedom they desire. Pray for the new/interim leadership to act with wisdom. Pray for Russia to back down and remove their troops. Pray for people there to be able to discern the truth amongst a lot of propaganda and lies.
Pray for peace.
(pictures from 2010 in Kyiv)



Olympics / OL – who are you rooting for?

We’ve had quite a few people ask us lately…

Who are you rooting for in the Olympics?

We are primarily about the red, white and blue… okay, that’s easy to say when our home country and our current home utilize the same colors on their flags. So here’s a rundown of the countries we follow closely, and why:

Zack and I are most loyal to the place we’ve called home most of our lives (it’s hard to change after 38 years!). There’s just something special when the US gets the gold, and you hear the Star Spangled Banner. And Zack really liked their (really loud and really odd) opening ceremony sweaters. I’m still a bit confused by them, but they definitely turned heads!

Then there’s our new home. We’ve lived here for a year, and we spent a couple of years preparing to get here. And you gotta give it the Norwegians: they own the Winter Olympics. They are the all-time leader in overall medals AND gold medals.

Plus, their curling team uniforms totally rock!

And Team Norway has really cool headwear this year, both in the ceremonies and on the medal podium.
(Check out this article from People Magazine about the Norwegian Olympic team:
6 Reasons Why You Should Root for Norway at the Olympics)

Most of you know our history with this country. It definitely holds a big piece of our hearts. And combine that with the unrest in recent weeks… we just can’t help but cheer for the yellow and blue.

Yeah, why not throw one more in the mix. We have so many friends in Germany, both nationals and ex-pats. And we just love visiting Germany/Deutschland/Tyskland. But I do have to say I wasn’t crazy about their opening ceremony outfits.

So in the end, it’s pretty hard to disappoint us when it comes to the Olympics. We are just happy to get to watch and cheer!

George Clooney and our street

A few months ago, some of our local friends mentioned an older commercial from a Norwegian bank, that starred George Clooney. In it, Clooney references a house in Lillestrøm, but it is actually in our city, Sandefjord. Not only is the house in our city, but on our street. And not just on our street, but right across from us. And on top of all of that, the commercial was voted the best commercial of 2011!We finally remembered to look it up last night. And I have to say, the commercial is pretty cute. And cool to see our neighbor’s house, too!

Not the Same

God spoke to me this morning through my washer and dryer.
Okay, before you think I’ve gone crazy, read on.
As I was thinking about our current living situation here at the training center, I was reminded of cultural differences.
Everyone here lives in a quad: four apartments with a shared living room. My assumption then, and apparently the assumption of many, was that all the apartments were the same.
I was talking to one family about the frequency of laundry because of the almost doll-sized washer and dryer. They looked at me oddly and we discovered that their W&D are full sized.
On another occasion, a couple couldn’t figure out why our boys were sharing a room – that is, until we realized that their apartment is three bedroom, while ours is two.
And as I thought over those interactions this morning, it hit me: what a powerful lesson for us as we prepare cross cultures and learn to live with another peoplegroup. Just because we do things a certain way does NOT mean others do the same. We must be careful to not make assumptions. We need to seek to understand the practices, habits, and cultural norms of those with which we want to meet. In fact, we may need to give up some of our preferences in order to really gain an understanding of their values and mindset.
It’s easy to think our way is the best way. It’s easy to just assume that others do things like we do them. But I have a feeling that over time our minds will be broadened to some of our habits daily practices that are extremely Western, and maybe even extremely unnecessary.
(And as I try to start wrapping my brain and heart around all of this, I am, appropriately, starting on this helpful book!)