My last post was over four months ago.
In the meantime, a lot has occurred. Mother rabbits have had 4 litters. Lasse’s turned two and his vocabulary’s increased 50 fold. I’ve taken a “work trip” to Stockholm. Butter in Norway has been taken off the instinct list. Another 17. mai has come and gone. Lasse's best friend, Mr. Rat went AWOL, then miracously showed up two weeks later in the mailbox. And the intensity in which I despise Norwegian grocery stores has reached a new high.
It’s hard to bitch and moan about a nation when it appears to be such a utopia to so many around the world. Norway’s got it pretty good when it comes to a lot of things, and that I do not take for granted. I don’t take for granted the landscape, which never ceases to be make me look out the car window and say with my mouth agape, “good God, would you look at that.” I don’t take for granted the sense of safety I feel for both myself and family (we’re talking my son having the same type of out-and-about-on-his-own, trust your neighbors and community childhood that hasn’t occurred in the states since the 60s). And I certainly don’t take for granted the social welfare system, which has taken care of this immigrant on numerous occasions without hesitation or a doctor’s bill higher than $30.
That being said, there’s a big part of my Norwegian life that consistently makes me want to pull out my hair and yell, “what the hell is wrong with you people!!!” on a weekly basis. The part of my life that makes me yearn for America. The part of my life that forces me to settle. That, my friends, is the Norwegian grocery store.
This afternoon’s shopping experience put me over the edge, hence this here post. Now, I think it should be said up front that I’m not the type of shopper that writes a grocery list ahead of time and expects to be able to buy each and every item on the list, fresh, and on sale. If they’re out of my favorite toilet paper, another brand will do. If the fish case is without pollock, cod will do. But when you ask the girl manning the meat and poultry case if they have any fresh, unseasoned chickens, and her baffled response is, “why would you want one of those? You can buy them (overly)seasoned and rotisseried here”, you start to wonder exactly what type of a society you have chosen to immerse yourself into. When a nation only buys pre-marinated, pre-cooked meat, dehydrated soup packets, overpriced and under ripe produce, and eats less vegetables and more potato chips than any other nation in Europe, (not to mention dry chocolate cake that is an insult to the name “chocolate cake”), it makes a food-obsessed girl like myself want to cry. Or punch someone. Or knock the entire case of already wilted spinach and sprouted garlic on top of the white tomatoes and rock-hard pears.
But then I go home. And take a deep breath. And make some pork chops for dinner, instead of that delicious whole roasted chicken I had my heart so set on. Because that’s what a non-snob and greatly appreciative person does. A person who loves her new home despite what does it does to her refrigerator and dinner menu.