(in no particular order and mostly food related)
1. Chocolate….I should also mention I have finally crossed over into the lands of chocolate addiction. Chocolate in Europe tastes better. Just sayin.
2. Fizzy water…there is something exotic about how there is a bottle of fizzy water for every bottle of plain water. Still or fizzy?? Are you kidding, who WOULDN’T go for the fizzy? It just sounds like a party.
3. Wayne’s Coffee…I envision Wayne as the ultimate trendsetter. He is vogue. He is hip. He is powerful. And his coffee shop would anhiliate Starbucks in any coffee chain related challenge.
4. Cheese…I’ve always loved cheese but cheese outside of America is a whole other ball game. It melts in your mouth and makes your taste buds sing. And it doesn’t give you a stomachache. Maybe because it’s real?! From here on out I vow to haunt the whole foods cheese bar every week.
5. Cappucinos, lattes, and chais….. Please see note above about REAL dairy products. There is no skim over here and my stomach and my happiness are better because of it. I never liked chai until I tried chai in creamy, thick, delicious milk.
6. The hilarity of watching models and millionaires getting bottle service at TGIFridays (and delicately spooning Ben and Jerry’s into their mouth) Norwegians in particular make TGIFridays look exotic and hip. It is e one place that is always packed and the people are beautiful beyond words. They chow on burgers and wings like they are eating caviar in the queen’s palace.
7. Lack of technology…this trip has helped me understand the law of diminishing returns on another level. In America we like to think that we are progressing when we add more and more technology and convenience into our lives… After being in countries where people are truly able to live and breath in the moment I’m starting to think differently. Perhaps more technology is not really better…
8. Food celebrations… Remember my bit about Norwegians making wings seem like caviar? The things is, people in general seem to celebrate every food they taste. I watched a couple eating from a can of Pringles and sipping on Heineken. You would’ve thought they were eating in the four seasons hotel waiting for their date to the opera. I watched another girl eat a snickers bar in such bliss and happiness you would’ve thought it was her last meal on earth. They even drink coke like it is a bottle of Dom parion…. The tiniest of bottles last so long I started to wonder if the bottle was magically refilling itself. Europeans have the art of savoring mastered….and they are skinnier because of it. It was shocking how healthy they looked and if you asked anyone on the street where the closest gym was they would ask you the meaning of the word “gym”. they don’t need gyms. Europeans eat food like they love food and want to cherish it forever. Americans eat food like they hate it and want it to disappear quickly. Enough said.
9. Norwegian people are MY people. They are tall, they are blond, they have impeccable fashion sense, and they like to lounge around in the sun and eat copious amounts of ice cream. Their fish is from a boat and their parks are epic. Shay said it best. It’s as if I am the llama in Are you my mother? And I have finally found her…. Mother please don’t take offense to this. You can visit at any point.
10. The slow speed of life…People seem to move slower and not in a lethargic, lazy way but in a mindful, joyful, not wanting to miss one bit of life way. They soak up the sunshine and laugh a little longer. They don’t rush meals and they sip their tea slow with a smile. As soon as I stepped back onto American soil I was whizzed back up into the tornado of movement and business that has become an American norm. I felt immediately anxious and grabbed for my cell phone to dull the ache and work on “busying” myself. Then I realized that our pace of life each and every day is our choice. I can choose to get in line for the continuous sprint most people in our nation subject themselves to or I can jump the fence and find a calmer path to stroll down. I think from here on out I’ll choose the latter.