Translated: I think I’d like to be Norwegian. In Norwegian.
My daughter came home this weekend for the first time since leaving for college. This was cause for celebration, of course. To magnify the celebratory nature of the visit it was her 18th birthday AND we had tickets to see Hamilton (!) in New York City.
We took the train up and had lunch at a Guy Fieri restaurant near Times Square. Basically this means that, as a non-meat eater, I had french fries. French fries for lunch is a sign of a banner day.
We had a little time to kill before the show, and as we passed by a T-Mobile store the kids begged to go in to put their hands all over the brand spanking new iPhone X. Free entertainment is my favorite, so we went to check it out.
They tired quickly of caressing Cupertino’s latest, much to my surprise.
Eventually they both migrated to the iPad display and both started playing with DuoLingo to show off their multi-lingual capabilities. Competitive learning. Cool.
This was my first interaction with this specific language learning application, so it was pretty cool to watch them blow through the initial lessons for Spanish (which they both have taken in school) and German, and Dutch, and French.
Apparently my daughter is teaching herself Korean in anticipation of a school trip in the Spring. I think it is amazing that she will be able to recognize at least a few of the words on the signs around Seoul so that she isn’t wandering around not knowing the difference between a pharmacy and a hair salon and a grocery store.
I mean, I’m guessing those things look pretty different anyway, but it will be nice for the signs to not all be completely incomprehensible.
After a little while admiring their facility with all of the languages, we headed out to the play. Which was ah-mazing. I will have to tell you all about it in a later post. :)
Anyway, this revelation (look at them effortlessly learning languages that seem pretty inaccessible) combined with my increasing belief that my native country is going straight to hell (heightened by the fact that we are at this exact moment trying to get our heads around a mass shooting in a church in Texas) made the idea pop into my head that a move to some far away magical place like…let’s just say Norway…might be more within my reach than I have always thought.
Norway is apparently home to the happiest people on earth. Or is that Denmark? Somewhere up there Scandinavian happiness abounds. I’d like to get in on that.
They have universal healthcare. I want that.
They have extensive maternity and paternity benefits (which are irrelevant to me at this point in my life, but I like the idea anyway.)
The scenery is apparently beautiful, all mountains and waterfalls, and fjords. I’ve never seen a fjord.
Elderly people (I’m closer to that than the maternity thing) have a state pension. Workers have more holidays. I like holidays.
Their economy is booming. Life expectancy is high. The crime rate is low. Education is inexpensive. I’m pretty sure they don’t have people shooting up public places on a monthly basis.
It’s on the chilly side, but I like that a lot better than being hot and sweaty. I can bring a jacket.
The food is a little challenging. I don’t know if you heard, but I am a little bit of a challenge to feed. I do eat fish, which I believe is plentiful there. I mean, I only eat salmon and tuna…and tacos. Not pickled herring or anything crazy.
I don’t want to try pickled herring.
OMG – a quick Google search tells me they eat REINDEER! I am having second thoughts.
As I read more about their diet I think I have quite a few things to add to my “things I don’t eat” list. I might be a very hungry Norwegian.
Maybe you can order things from Thrive Market to be delivered to Norway. The global economy will save me from pickled herring and reindeer burgers.
If I learn to speak the language (which is apparently easy breezy, if watching my kids was any indication) I can move one tiny step closer to this idyllic (if hungry) life.
All of this is ultimately irrelevant, because, as it turns out, just moments ago, when I took my first lessons in Norwegian I discovered that I suck at DuoLingo.
Like REALLY suck at it.
Over and over again I can’t remember the words. All I am supposed to be doing in the first lesson is “woman”, “man”, “boy”, “girl”.
I can’t do it.
I claim over and over that I am a man when I am clearly supposed to be declaring my girlhood. I can’t tell the difference between I and who and you and not.
Two lessons in I am beginning to panic. I am profoundly terrible at being fake Norwegian. My whole (admittedly half-assed and imaginary) plan is falling apart.
If I can’t even say “I am a woman” and “I am not a man” with any degree of accuracy, what are my chances of gaining reasonable employment and tapping into all of that Norsk awesomeness? I won’t qualify for my extra holidays. I won’t be able to afford my imported hipster foods.
I’ll have to eat herring.
Again I turn to Google (as I always do) for answers. I find two more facts.
- Almost everyone in Norway speaks English.
- These exist.
I probably don’t actually want to move to Norway anyway. I like too many things about here. And I don’t want to eat Dasher or Dancer or Comet or Cupid or Prancer or Vixen or Blitzen. Not even Donner, even though he was mean to Rudolph.
I just really wish crazy assholes would stop shooting people going about their innocent lives. (And no…arming more people isn’t the answer. Stop that.)
And I’d really like universal healthcare.
And a new president.
Trump er en ukvalifisert idiot. Han bryr seg bare om å øke sin egen rikdom. Hans manglende evne til å gjøre sin jobb er farlig og skremmende.
That’s true in any language you want to use.