Tag Archives: culture

Throwing the Shock in Reverse

Those of you that have been hanging out with us for a likely remember that we’ve written a bit on the blog about culture, and adapting to life in a new country. Things we’ve learned and experienced as we journeyed across the ocean. Differences in Norwegian & American culture. Things that were strange or difficult for us. Things we love about this culture and country.

Things like…
Our “What’s It Like” series (here)
Our “Christmas Cheer” series (here)
The boys’ school experience (here)

Yeah, three years of learning and being challenged, feeling frustrated at times, and at other times quite encouraged, struggling to understand differences, working to find substitutes for things that were once normal for us, finding balance in a new routine, and so much more.

We have grown to love life in Europe. It has become home. Then again, we’ve also learned that the idea of home has greatly changed. There is no longer that one place that is home for us. Instead, it’s a feeling, and it’s more about who than where.

But now it’s time for a bit of reverse culture shock… the Dove family is embarking on a visit to our other home! We’re headed to America soon (in 15 days, to be exact), where we’ll be spending the holidays with family and friends, doing a bit of work, and relaxing a bit as well.

Zack and I have each been back to the states once. But our boys have not been there in over three years. Needless to say, they are a bit excited!

We are excited as well – and maybe a bit apprehensive. Three years is a long time. And we’d be lying if we said this time and experience has not changed us.

Two months in America – this is going to be interesting!

So stay tuned to see just how much we’ve changed – and how much the world and life we left have gone off and changed on us!

Find us on Facebook!

Notes from Norge is now on Facebook!

UPDATED TO ADD: the Facebook page is not replacing the blog. It is simply a vehicle for sharing the blog via another avenue!

Join our Facebook page to get the latest news, as well as links to blog posts.
Our page has a specific focus on coffee and culture. We hope to see you there!

A typical day

One of the most common questions we get asked is what a typical weekday looks like for us. If you’re asking about the boys, that’s pretty simple.

But for us, every day brings different schedules and new opportunities.
Most mornings one or both of us drive the boys to school around 8:25. Often we will stop at the grocery on the way home. And then we have to pick the boys up a little after 3:00 pm.
What happens in between those hours varies. Many mornings we start by watching the news – language practice! A few mornings a week we work out. Mornings also include office tasks: paperwork, emails, and maybe a Skype call thrown in.
Afternoons vary. Some days we have meetings in the city. Once a week we attend a language conversation group for a few hours with 3-5 other internationals.

(One of our only consistencies is coffee throughout every day!)

And there are days like yesterday and today, where we find ourselves going in two different directions. Zack spent the day in Oslo yesterday. And now I’m on the train to Oslo.
So routine is a bit of relative term. We depend a lot on the calendar on our phones to make sure we are moving in the right direction! We have the occasional low-key day. But most days are a little bit hectic and quite a bit of fun!

Kaffetur / Coffee Tour: a new series

I’m working on a new series, highlighting one of our favorite things: coffee.Okay, actually two of our favorite things: coffee and cool coffee shops/cafés.

I’ll highlight some great – and maybe even a few not-as-great – spots that we’ve visited in various countries over the past few years.

And since he is even more into coffee than I am, hopefully I can get Zack to share a bit from time to time as well.

Stay tuned – coming soon!










So disconnected (I unfriend you!)

We typically don’t realize how disconnected we are from American culture. That is, until someone from the US comes to visit us.Case in point: this Esurance commercial (video below). We just saw it for the first time tonight. Hilarious.

Yeah, apparently we are always behind. In hearing news, seeing the latest and greatest from music or television, finding out about the newest technology (unless it’s Apple: Zack never misses any of that!), or being exposed to all the clever advertising.

But hey – at least we aren’t as disconnected as poor Beatrice!

Exploring a new part of Norway

Two weekends ago we attended a conference in Hovet, a village in central Norway. It is always fun to get to check out new areas of the country, and this is the farthest we’ve traveled (in Norway) as a family so far.The area is home to some ski resorts, but the snow is melting so most everything was closed for the season.  But it was still a beautiful setting and we enjoyed getting to explore it in the afternoon between meetings.

This was our home for a weekend –
a really cool two bedroom cabin.


The view from our back porch


We took this one somewhere along the drive.


Out for an afternoon walk


A ski jump built in between two cabins!













What’s it like: Easter break

Easter holidays play out differently here than what we experienced in the states. As far as I can tell, all schools have the same spring break, the week adjacent to Easter. And the break is called påskeferie – Easter vacation.Almost all businesses are closed the Thursday and Friday before Easter, and the Monday after Easter. Thursday is skjærtorsdag, Friday is langfredag, and Monday is 2.påskedag. All the shops in the city are closed. You might be able find one of the small Sunday grocery stores open, but that is about it. Most shops are open on Saturday (påskeaften – the day before Easter), but only for a few hours.

Here are some photos from our Easter break – it was a great week with beautiful, summer-like weather, lots of outdoor time, hanging out with friends, and getting to know our neighbors better.















What’s it Like: Eating Out

Eating out was a frequent part of everyday life when we lived in the states. It was typically inexpensive, and was the most common way to meet up with friends.But not so much in Norway. Going out to eat was a pretty big part of our culture in the states, but not really a norm here. While we do have restaurants, you don’t normally find yourself having to wait for a table due to large crowds. Most of the time if we want to meet up with friends, we do so in one of our homes, or maybe at a park or out for a walk.

We do go out occasionally. I kind of like that it isn’t so common: that makes it more of a treat! Here are some shots from various restaurants we’ve visited since moving here.

Enjoying fish & chips in Sweden
Excited over Swedish pancakes
A special dinner out with friends
at a traditional Norwegian restaurant
One more perk of a visit from grandparents:
a trip to Oslo and a meal at TGI Fridays
Our anniversary last year:
Chinese food!
Our favorite burger place: Star Grill


A national favorite (and a family favorite!):
the kebab tallerken
The boys enjoying kebab
A rare trip to McDonalds (not our fave

Happy One Year Friend-iversary!

One year ago today, we sat down to Norwegian waffles with a couple I (Jenn) had met just a few days earlier. They invited us into their home to share a bit of their culture with us that day. Little did we know, they would quickly become some of our best friends here. Kai & Synnøve are always quick to share important cultural events, introduce us to traditional food, help us with language questions, and make sure we are doing well in our new setting. Synnøve has also been the one who’s taught me all about Norwegian baking!We are so thankful for the way God blessed us with such great friends!

So, happy “anniversary” Kai & Synnøve! We are grateful for your friendship and look forward to many more adventures together.
















Norsk Baking Lessons

The breads and pastries in Norway are great. I (Jenn) thought it would be cool to learn to make them, even though I’m not much of a baker myself.Thankfully, I have an outstanding teacher! One of my new friends in our city offered to have me over for the day last Wednesday, and she taught me the basics. There is one dough that can be used for a variety of different items. Her excellent lessons left me feeling confident about my future Norwegian baking attempts.

So we started with the dough. From there, you can make boller, skolebrod, kanelsnurrer, klippekrans, and more. S taught me three of the more common items.

A couple of things to help you along…

  1. A boller is a simple roll. Many traditional Norwegian boller includes raisins.
  2. As I am learning more and more, cardamom is a staple of any baking recipe here!
  3. Even if you think you baked a lot, don’t expect these items to last long. Seems like they were gone as soon as Z, W, & D spotted them!

First up: skolebrød. From what I’ve read, it gets its name from the fact that it used to be packed in lunches for dessert, or sold at bake sales.
A delicious boller, filled with vanilla cream, baked, and then topped with a confectioner’s sugar and coconut glaze.

Kanelsnurrer, or skillingsboller… or for our American friends, cinnamon rolls!
We made a LOT of these. This was a pic I snapped quickly as we were taking them up from the trays.

Finally, we made klippekrans, or kringle. The word klippe is Norwegian for cut, and comes from the fact that you use scissors to cut it before baking. Our variation included a thin layer of vanilla cream, and chocolate.

So if you notice us looking a bit ‘thicker’ around the waist in the coming months, you’ll know why 🙂