Debbie has been keenly interested in the number of visits our various blog pieces have generated. It is her hypothesis that the more exciting sounding blog titles generate more visits. Being an academic, I am always looking for a good hypothesis to test, thus the racy title. This blog really has nothing to do with sex, drugs, alcohol, rock ‘n roll, puppies, or vaccinations. If you visited this site just to read about such topics, I must apologize, while still thanking you for participating in this study. We have also had a very minor competition between the two of us to see whose blog can generate the most visits, and this title is my final and best effort to win.
This blog really should be called: Random Musings by Paul (Part 2).
Norwegians drive fewer and more fuel efficient cars than Americans. This may have something to do with the 13 Kr / liter ($7 / gallon) gas. I asked my American and Norwegian students in one class about how many cars were at their parents’ homes. All of the American students said 3-4 cars per home, while all of the Norwegian students said 1-2 cars per home. Hmmm.
Shopping malls are more common now in Norway, and, as a result, you see more empty retail spaces available for rent along the sentrum (downtown). Main Street, Norway is beginning to look like Main Street, USA. Norwegian culture appears to be more consumption oriented than in 2002. What a shame.
The next generation of Americans may be the first generation to not live as well as their parent’s generation. A similar thing may happen here in Norway. Younger Norwegians will live their entire lives at a very high standard of living, with secure jobs, a good healthcare system, and a strong retirement plan. The cost of housing, however, is SO HIGH that I do not think younger Norwegians will ever be able to own their own hytte, foreign cottage, or travel as much as did their parent’s generation. We recently heard of a young couple that bought a one-bedroom apartment of 45 m^2 (500+ ft^2) for 2.8 million Kr ($375K). Yowzers!
We try to go out for lunch about once a week in a local eatery. They are pretty pricy, so lunch is a more affordable option. The food is always very tasty, with fresh ingredients, and different dishes than we can get in the States. It is also not quite as expensive as we first thought when you consider that the menu price includes taxes, and tipping is only about 5% or so (Norwegian waiters make a good salary, so tipping is just a way of saying thank you). One thing you immediately notice, however, is the presentation of food. The sit-down restaurants that we have been to have had as nice a dinner plate presentation as the finest restaurant have had in Grand Forks. We take a photograph of each plate to remember them.
One thing I really like about Moss is that the climate changes very gradually and steadily. This creates a variety of distinct seasonal changes: (1) cold, short days in January with snow; (2) slightly warmed and longer days in February with snow and occasional rain; (3) generally snow-free days of twelve hours duration in March; (4) snow-free warming days in April, with twilight at 9:00 pm. I would love to be here in July.
While walking through the downtown last week we were struck by a garden shop with a huge display of flowers and greenery that could not be moved indoors for security after closing hours. In the U.S., this is an invitation for free flowers and greenery. Apparently Norwegians are more honest or else their thieves do not like to garden.