A new culture is more like an adventure; a totally new experience, one that needs to be taken one step at a time. It can be a moment to shake a person to the core with its many shocks that come courtesy of the obvious yet new cultural differences. It could also be a moment full of joy especially with the realization of how expeditious it can be. That having been said, I must attest that fitting in can be quite a task! So, in the endeavor to find a place in this amazing Norwegian culture, I have had to become a baby again. I know this sounds hilarious but to say the least, that is the best that one can ever do… 😉
Some of the things I have had to take part in sound easy but to say the least, they take both energy and courage. And I am grateful to everyone that has made this possible. Here is a preview of some of them:
- The language: It is said that language is the key to any culture! This is true to the letter. Inasmuch as English is a language that is readily used in most of the activities and encounters I’ve had, taking a step of learning a new language is quite an experience. Så snakke jeg litt norsk nå (So, I now speak a little Norwegian)! I have practically noted that acquainting with a new language takes a lot of practice and determination. It has been an undeniable difficulty especially when it comes to pronouncing some particular letters that are not found in English. I, however, don’t regret trying out a few words every now and then. It has been quite periodic but I can now understand most conversations especially when they are said slowly. But then, what can one do if everything you’re doing involves that very new and estranged language! 🙂
- Meet new people: After trying out the language, it is always good to know the very users of the language. It has been a memorable journey just meeting new people; getting to introduce myself and making follow-ups. This may seem an easy step but it oozes every bit of your creativity especially if you are to remain reliably relevant. This has usually ended up being accompanied by an invitation for a cup of coffee, tea or chocolate (commonly called “kakao“) and/or dinner. Being Kenyan, preparing a Kenyan delicacy has also been a plus. And truly most of the Norwegians love these very simple kind gestures of concern and care.
- Cabin trips: I have tried out cabin trips and I have loved them. They have become part of my favorites. Just going out to a place where you can be away from all the “destructions” and have a time to know each other more. They create an opportunity to interact closely but also to get to appreciate each other’s strengths. I love those cabins that are far in the woods and without many aspects of modernity like electricity; because they are more serene. Jeg liker å gå på hytteturer (I like to go for cabin trips). Getting to use my sleeping bag is also quite exhilarating!!!
- Play games: Most of the student fraternity loves games of different kinds. It is undeniable that to become effective in such a student culture, one has to try out some of these games. So, I have had a strong and lasting attempt at various games including card games like normal cards and ligretto; board games like chess and “Ticket to ride”; outdoor games like football, volleyball and most recently, frisbee. All these have not only created an atmosphere of getting to fit in but also getting to improve on my own personal fitness… 😉
It is indeed a joy getting to live in such a new culture and it is continually a journey that I have kept encountering varied realities. And the fascination continues…