Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Slight Culture Shock & the Library


So, it turns out that my first impressions of Norway weren't just a random man who was nice.
Crikey.
Culture shock?

Going from New York to Moscow was fine – from big city to big city, some of the same mentalities reigned over both major metropolitan cities.

But from Russia to Norway – that's different. Quite different.

I guess it started when I walked the 30 second walk from the hotel, where I was dropped off, to the library. I tried the door few times but it was locked. Oi. Closed.


A women came and, in Norwegian, told me they were closed – but still let me in early with a warm smile. (To the credit of the Russians – the librarian at the Murmansk library was sweet too and smiled at me and talked a bit with me – maybe it's a librarian thing). Another woman came and joined in and then said, “Free internet?” and gestured to two computers in the corner.

There, I got to talk to my brother a bit and (Ahh!) get some final missing details I needed about Ukraine that totally changed everything and gave me an immense feeling of peace. June 1 is the date I've given them for my arrival. That gives me time to be in Norway for a bit, hop back to Russia, go to the wedding, to St. Petersburg, and then Moscow and, finally, Uzhgorod! I feel good in writing this out, world.


Anyways, Norway. Things were in German and English! Magazines came in different languages. I found a comic book published by the local comic publisher in Seattle, all translated into Norwegian. That was exciting. There was a book on Alaska (in English). There was, oi, so much English. In Russia, English just isn't really there. It's rare that I ever heard or saw it. Here, everyone seems to speak it. I feel just fine asking anyone a question and they seem equally fine in answering. I rarely asked questions of strangers in Russia. It was more of a “figure it out yourself” mentality. When I was out driving in the countryside with Alexander and Lukas, I would see them stop and ask someone questions. They generally look thoroughly annoyed.

Norway.

Old ladies smiling.
Check.
Other people smiling.
Check.
Free wi-fi in the entire city?
Check.

I began to get a bit suspicious ofthe smiling. This must mean something. Why are they smiling for no reason? They must be up to something very wrong...

Could it be the fact that everything is significantly more expensive than Russia (easily 3-4 times more expensivee)?

I forgot where I was going with this, it's since been a few days.

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