Paul Wagner in Lom and Oslo
Norway – my home
Amazing fjords, fantastic mountains and freezing cold glaciers. Norway’s landscape is unique. The highest mountain of Norway, ‘Galdhøppigen’ is located in the region of Lom, where I grew up. The village I lived in, with some 2300 others, is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. You can also find an 850 year old stave church, apparently the oldest still in use.
There’s a lot of snow here in the winter months. Sometimes that might get a little uncomfortable but in the end the skiing makes it all worthwhile. There are several ski slopes and cross-country ski runs in every district. Skiing is one of the most popular winter hobbies amongst Norwegians. Even with your school class you go on skiing trips.
Especially in the rural areas there are certain unwritten rules of social conduct, the so-called ‘Janteloven’. These are rules which everyone should follow. One example of a rule would be: “You mustn’t think you’re better than us!” If you don’t follow this rule, there is a big chance that you’ll not be accepted in the community.
A really good public holiday that reflects the Norwegian feeling of national spirit, is the 17th May - the Norwegian national day. Much more consideration is given to gearing the celebration towards the children and instead of military events , as in other countries, a lot of people go onto the streets and sing the national anthem. The Norwegian people hold on to their traditions and most of them wear a so-called ‘Bunad’, the Norwegian national costume. Every region has its own version of the costume which reveals where people come from.
The Norwegian school system is very different from the German one. All pupils visit the same school and receive the same assignments. Due to the fact that not all children have the same level of ability, the level of difficulty will correspond to the ability of the weakest pupils.
Since I felt I wasn’t being challenged enough by my education, I moved to Oslo with my father. I had always dreamt of living in a city. Our main reason for moving was the schools. I am now a pupil at the German school in Oslo. The teachers are very professional but that also means that they expect a lot from their students. Now I have four times as many lessons as I was having in Lom.
There is also a difference in the leisure opportunities here in Oslo. When I moved here, I started to play badminton once a week. I used to play badminton in Lom with my father in the garden, but I wasn’t able to play in a club as there weren’t any near to where we lived. This of course doesn’t pose a problem here in the capital. I now also go to taekwondo and piano lessons.
Norway is a stunningly beautiful country to live in. You have all you need but much less stress than in Germany. People here enjoy their lives preferably on skis or swimming in the fjord.
Article by Paul Wagner
© Goethe-Institut Oslo