Things I miss

This post is probably more for me than anyone else, its a list I will add to from time to time of things I miss from New Zealand and things I know I will miss when I leave Norway.

Of course I miss and will miss about both places is people, they are the only important thing in life, but this is other than people.

Here is a list of the things that I miss from New Zealand and the things I think I am gonna miss when I am away from Norway:

New Zealand
Things I miss Reasons
Tear strips on cling film, aluminium foil, baking paper etc. In NZ most tear strips are okay and some are excellent, in Norway there just seems to be artistic renditions of what a tear strip would look like on the side of the boxes.
Kiwifruit being cheap. In Norway one Kiwifruit cost more than a kg does in NZ and I am not talking at the glut part of the season either.
Gingernuts There are ginger biscuits almost like but they are just close enough to make me really miss the real thing. NZ gingernuts are spicy and hard.

I finished my last gingernut from the packet sent to me for Christmas this week 🙁

Good roads I tended to think in NZ that everywhere in the western world would have a similar or better standard of roads to New Zealand. But Norwegian roads are narrow and poorly repaired, and street signs can be so old they are hard to read.

I wondered about this at first, but then I figured if NZ had to pay for snow ploughs for a few months each year there would be less money putting into repairing the road surface itself.

Still I miss New Zealand roads and signs. Not to mention sitting on the right side of the car when driving!!

Instant Pudding There are similar things here and I love them, but sometimes a taste of home calls out to me and I hanker after a pack of instant pudding, butterscotch or chocolate mostly.

Then there are the things I think I am gonna miss (savner) when I am away from Norway:

Norway Reasons
Gelé / Jelly Jelly that dissolves easy and sets perfect every time. Feels thicker when stirring more like egg yolk where as NZ jelly feels like water when your stirring.
SurkÃ¥l / sauerkraut Always thought I would like this but never did in NZ, but here I could sit down to a meal of just sauerkraut. 🙂
Gudbrandsdalsost, Brunost / brown cheese Gudbrandsdalsost is apparently this is not ‘real’ cheese but is made by caramelising milk and making like cheese, but it is sooo yummy its like cheese and marmite all in one.

Jarle adds few slices to brown sauce and gravy to add a yummy taste, mmm.

There are a few types of brunost round, for example:
Regional and locally made

The only thing better than Gudbrandsdalsost is Ekte Geitost which is brown cheese made with goats milks.

Snøfrisk This is a soft cheese like cream cheese but has a nice sharp taste to it. I so want to remake all my cream cheese recipes using snøfrisk. (Snø = snow, and it is white; frisk = fresh, and fresh is what it is).
Yogurt / yoghurt Here the yoghurt is so rich and creamy it’s like a decadent treat, obviously not as low fat as the NZ equivalent which I like too, just Norwegian yogurt is just a couple of points higher on the yummy scale.
Kokosboller Kokosboller and other sweet boller, there is just nothing like them in NZ. I thought I was going to miss mallowpuffs and so had a pack before I left NZ. But I really don’t anymore. Boller are so light and lickable on the inside which makes them fun to eat as well as delicious. But at least by doing this article I found a recipe for them.
White Christmas Despite growing up in NZ for most of my life, and enjoying summer Christmas times, swimming at the beach, backyard BBQs, family gatherings easy to arrange as telling everyone to bring a salad or a desert.

Still all the movies and cards and other cultural references are to snow at Christmas so it was special to have a white Christmas and I know there would be a pang for it.

Brown Sugar We have soft brown sugar in NZ but the stuff here is so rich smelling I am sure it is processed less. Has a nice treacley smell and adds so much to what ever you use it in. Really would miss it.
Napoleankake Okay so napoleankake is like a custard square which is a good old favourite of mine from NZ but the pastry is more flakey and the filling is more creamy, need I say more?

The sooner they make a teleport device the better, then I need miss nothing, but then would I appreciate it as much?

Gratulere med dagen Norge

Today (17 May) is Norway’s national day, and they celebrate it in style.

In fact one guy in one of my Norwegian classes when asked to write on his national day wrote that he would not as it was not anything compared to Norway’s so he wrote of his first 17th May in Norway.

People are in their regional traditional costumes, parades and great gatherings of people happen all over, pølse (sausage), brus (fizzy drink) and iskrem (ice cream) are the foods of the day.

Why is this such a big day for Norway? To know this you need to know a little of Norway’s history.

History in a glimpse

Norway was under Danish rule including the Danish King for 400 years.

Norway wanted to have more say in what happened in Norway. A change of power due to world events saw Norway taken from Denmark and put in union with Sweden.

The Swedes allowed some governance by Norwegians for Norwegians. Norway wrote their constitution while under Swedish law. The constitution was signed on 17th May 1814.

This was a big day and is considered as the restart of Norway as an individual nation.


Celebration of 17 May started small but has evolved into some pretty full on traditions.


In Oslo there is a parade past the palace and the royal family gets dressed in traditional clothing and goes to the palace to stand on the balcony and wave to everyone in the parade.

Everyone in the parade is a lot of people. It is the usual brass bands but also every school dresses in traditional clothes and walks past the palace. Afterwards, as I understand it, they go back to their school and have a party with pølse and ice creams.

Other cities

The tradition is pretty much the same in other cities except there is no royal family or castle. There is a parade through the town and parties at the schools.

Russ (people finished with High School) are in the parades as are some football clubs etc.

Other Info

You can buy 17 May medals to wear with you clothes on the day.

A consumer program (Hjelper Deg) did a spot last week on the best ice creams for the day based on taste test by kids, value for money etc.

I have been noticing people tidying up round their houses and thought it was just a spring clean thing but my boyfriend says it was to be spic and span for 17th May.

Lots of houses in Norway (compared to New Zealand) have flag poles. Normally these fly the pennant Norwegian flag but today as a special day they fly the rectangular Norwegian flag and those houses without flagpoles have flags displayed on the front porches of their homes.

At Christmas there was a tower ´cake´with Norwegian flags attached to various layers of the cake and I was expecting to see that return now, but that is not a traditional food for 17 May I am told.

This is my first 17 May in Norway, so I am sure I have lots to learn yet. If you have more info on any of traditions or corrections to my first impressions please leave me a note.

One year soon I want to go down to the parade and experience the crush of people and the costumes and food for myself. Got to do that at least once.

In the meantime I will have to make do with tv news, weather and other presenters being dressed in national costume and the flags flying in the street.

<h3>Photos from round the net</h3>

To give you some idea of the day, here are some photos from round the net, clicking ont he photo will take you to the place I grabbed the photo from.

Group in traditional Norwegian costumes
Sample of Norwegian national costumes
Children parade with castle in background.
Children parade 2005 with castle in background.
Royal family waving from balcony
Royal family waving to crowds in parade
Hoards of people in parade approaching the palace
Look at all the people going up to the palace!
House in field flying norwegian flag
Houses with flagpoles are flying this flag rather than the triangular pennant flag today
Norwegian Flags on porch
Just about all houses are displaying flags like this or more.
Sami in parade
Sami in parade
parade 17th may
More children in parade


In my travels round the net I found this cute game where you can dress a woman in bunad (traditional dress). Your meant to match items so her clothes are all from one region, which I did not manage too well though most I got first time through was three sets of two items from same places. Obviously I have a bit to learn about bunad.

Week One in Norway

Saturday I arrived in Norway, after too many hours in flight. traveled from 4pm Friday NZ time till 12.30 am Sunday NZ time, so arrived 2.30 pm Saturday Norwegian time.

Took homeopathic pills on journey called No-more-jet-lag. Think they are brilliant as do not feel half as bad as I should.

Was almost sureal to see Jarle after all this time. Was only May since I last saw him but felt like a year had passed. Was very good to be able to hug him again. Norway turned on a spectacularly fine day for my arrival. Hot day after coming out of early spring in NZ.

First impressions of Norway:

– Lots of trees

– Older country than NZ

– Houses are like fairy tale houses.

The landlords put out a collection of wee Norwegian flags on their verandah  to welcome me. I have not met them yet but that was sweet.

I managed to stay up till bed time day one so that will help me settle into the time zone, but I woke up at 5am the next day unable to go back to sleep, so still catching up sleep here. Monday slept till 7am so things are settling.

Sunday went to the sculpture park in Oslo, seen photos of it before so it was good to actually be there. Very pretty expansive grounds. Can picture great picnics being held here.


Jarle & I at Frognerparken

Sunday, also met Jarle´s family and they were very welcoming. His parents are self confessed cat people and spoil their cats. They served apple cake, yum my favourite, and homemade cherry juice, unsweetened, nice and tart, yum.

Strangest things I have seen so far,

– water feature, spurting up a circle of water in the middle of a road where trams drive over. Handy for washing underside of trams I suppose and quite pretty, but strange.

– people driving on wrong side of road, going round roundabouts the wrong way and yielding to the wrong side, LOL

– Hardly any wind 😀

. white raspberry jam made from white raspberries, who knew there were such things, not me obviously. Looking forward to next autumn and seeing some white raspberries, Jarle´s parents grow them.

– Street signs so old and worn you almost can´t read the street name.

Cool things:

– houses so pretty

– people take their shoes off indoors (very reminiscent of Pacific cultures)  makes me feel at home.

– Cloak bays in entrances to houses, makes sense for the snowy days, but this has been a feature I always wanted in a house and here it is the norm it seems. Door on other side of cloak room is also a feature I have always wanted in a house as it gives that barrier to the cold on windy days

– Under floor heating, mmm cozy!

– trees trees trees, got to love so many trees being round

. Berries, berries are my favourite fresh fruit and they grow in abundance here.

– new type of berry called rips, small red berries on a long woody stalk, very tart! yumm yumm.

I really think I am going to like it here.