Norwegian Language Blog

Norwegian Hospitality Posted by on Aug 19, 2010 in Culture

I continue to be impressed and thankful for Norwegian gjestfrihet (hospitality).  I really haven´t experienced anything like it.  I made contact with a woman with whom I have mutual friends and colleagues from a previous job and from college.  She lives here in Tromsø and she´s very familiar with where I come from.  It´s times like these that I really, truly appreciate the technology available to us today.  I shot her an email, explained who I was, and we met a day later at the university.  Had a cup of kaffe, made at least a dozen connections of mutual friends we have, and went up to her office to write down navn og telefonnummrer of people she thought I should be acquainted with.

Among those she suggested I get in touch with are one woman who might like to rent the apartment I´m currently in and another woman who may be looking for a roommate…I love making connections with people.  Tromsø is a small city, MN is a small state, and the Norwegian-American world is also small, so it´s no wonder there are so many connections to be made.

It´s especially interesting because one of the women she recommended I contact, as it turns out, is the ex-girlfriend of the ex-boyfriend of one of my best friends.  Seriously?  Just a little fun fact to think about.

As if meeting me for kaffe and chatting for a couple hours wasn´t kind enough, this woman promptly invited me over to her house til middag (for dinner) with her husband and son.  So I hopped in the car, we drove to matbutikken (the grocery store)  to buy some kjøtt (meat) and grønnsaker (vegetables) to grill and poteter to boil.  It was delicious.  Then a tasty Americano and ice cream sandwich til dessert.

We had great conversations and it was kind of nice to speak English for the first time since I´ve been here.  She is Norwegian, but grew up in the States and he is American.  So not only could we all speak English with ease, we could relate to many things together having spent significant amounts of time in both Norway and the U.S.  This family is great and I think it was a really good connection to make and I look forward to keeping in touch with them.  They may have even found me a small babysitting job!  I was even able to walk home as their house is just a 10 minute walk from my apartment.  I was on a jog this morning and ran right by there house without even knowing it!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Y:

    Hi Kari, I have been reading your blog for a couple months now, getting ready for my boyfriend and my trip to Norway. We’re here now (currently in Stavanger) and are going to visit Bergen, Trondheim, Bodo, and Oslo before heading back home. On the off chance that you’ll be in one of those cities before Sept. 6 and would be at all interested in meeting for lunch or dinner, please email me at the address I used to post this comment. No worries if it doesn’t work out – I know Tromso is a long way from any of our destinations, but I figured it was worth a shot! 🙂

  2. Addisalem:

    I visit norway on 2008 ,i notice that ,most people are helpfull.

  3. Ingeborg:

    Vet akkurat hvem det er du skriver om her–Er ikke den familien helt fantastisk?!

  4. Jen:

    Takk! I love the way you put Norwegian words in with the English. I am still learning Norwegian so it helps. I just subscribed to email notifications for your blog.

  5. Linda:

    It’s something you learn from your mom very early. She was from Bergen and taught me so much. My aunts and grandmother too. She always said you put out your best for your company. Make them feel very at home and cosy.
    Just take a look at how we set the table for dinner and for coffee. Everyone loves it.