Posted by: Sarah | August 28, 2013

Life Lessons From Norway

In exactly one week we will have the packers and movers all over our apartment as we catch a one way flight back to the UK.  It’s an emotional time.   I can’t believe that four and half years ago I was just as nervous moving to Norway.  We’re ready to start our new adventure in the UK (we’re building our home) but at the same time we’re leaving behind a wonderful life.

So what are the life lessons we’re taking with us from this amazing country?

norskdinnerBe home for dinner with the kids:  This isn’t always easy especially since my commute to work will go from a 10 minute walk to a 2 hour drive when I’m back in the UK.  However, the Norwegians seem to have a good system.  Given the barnehage’s (child care centers) close between 4 – 5.30pm and schools finish in the afternoon, parents have to go collect their kids.  They have the family time and then continue working in the evening.  So whilst the office may be deserted at 4pm, they catch up on work in the evening.  Family comes first.

badclothingThere’s no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothing:  I love the focus on outdoor living in Norway.  No matter if it’s raining, snowing or the sun is shining, the kids will be out in the playground.  They just have the right clothes on.  I really want to keep this up in the UK and try to keep Lizzie and Emma focused on playing outdoors and less on the computer…if that’s possible!

Eat fish…eat lots of fish:  I shall miss the salmon…the freshly cooked shrimps…the delicious sushi…BUT you can still buy fish in the UK.  I’ve been a regular visitor to the salma website where I’ve gleaned a few recipes on how to cook salmon in a number of different ways.  Rest assured, I won’t be cooking lutefisk anytime soon.  That’s pretty special…and not in a good way!


Sunday is family day:  You have no choice in Norway.  The shops are all shut so apart from restaurants, gardening stores  and the odd convenience store you have to make your own entertainment…but I like it.  It makes you spend time together as a family.  Go walking.  Sit on a beach.  Go for a picnic.  We’re going to try hard to keep this tradition going in the UK.  Going to be hard given ALL the shops are open on a Sunday.

National pride:  The Norwegians are incredibly proud of their nation and their flag.


I love the sense of pride you see on May 17th when everyone celebrates.  The Norwegians also love Britain.  Most speak excellent English (better than me in some cases) and love to travel over to the UK for football or shopping whenever they can.  Over the last couple of years the UK has had a few occasions to be proud of – the royal wedding, the queens diamond jubilee and the fantastic Olympics.   It’s good to be British.


Fly the flag:  When both Lizzie and Emma were born, the first meal I was given in hospital came with a little Norwegian flag to celebrate their birthday and this carries on throughout childhood.  Quite often you’ll see a flag flying outside of a barnehage…it means that one of the children has their birthday on that day.  We’ll try to keep this up for Lizzie and Emma when back in the UK.



Keep fit:  The Norwegians are a pretty fit bunch of people and many of them tend to be stick thin.  I’ve never been so motivated to get fit in my entire life.  Hanging around with this crowd got me fit enough to run the Oslo half marathon in 2010.   So, the lesson is to stay fit, stay off the cakes and keep slim.   Hmmm, we’ll see how that goes!

Appreciate the nature:  I’m really going to miss the amazing scenery in and around Oslo.


On stunningly beautiful days I often feel like I’m on holiday.   The Oslo fjord is such a breathtaking scene.  But Eliot said last night “perhaps we didn’t appreciate the beautiful scenes around where we lived before” and he’s right.  We’ll have the South Downs, the New Forest and the Isle of Wight near to our new home so time to put ‘tourist goggles’ on and view our own country in all its beauty.


  1. Brilliant, Sarah! As much as I miss a couple of things about the UK, I’d miss so much more about Norway if I had to move back. Perhaps the biggest thing is the national pride being actual national pride, not thinly-disguised racism or a political statement. I hope you’ll continue to write about your experiences of repatriating, it would be fascinating to read.

  2. Cheers David – yes, I’m really wondering how this will turn out. Such mixed feelings about the whole move. The lifestyle here is just fantastic but family are back home so a really tough decision. We’ll see just how easy it is to apply Norwegian principles for life in the UK. Watch this space :-)

  3. Hi.. I only just started to read your blog a couple of days ago. My fathers baby is Norwegian and I am currently torn between being here in the UK (family) or over in Norway (new life). I have found your blog to be really interesting and informative. Even though my sons family can tell me all this I find that a British person having experienced it is a lot more interesting and sees it all from another perspective. I wish you and your family so much good wishes and luck with your move back to the UK. And as David says I too hope you will continue to write about your continued experiences. :)
    Regards.. Mary

    • Oh – thanks Mary. I’m glad you found it insightful. I’ve certainly enjoyed recording our experiences and it’s something I can look back and read with fond memories. Something I can also share with my little “baby vikings” when they’re a bit older :-)

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