The last school day before Christmas is something special in Norway, at least here in Eid. Students go to school, but they don’t have classes. Instead they take part in small sport competitions (basketball and volleyball) in the gym next to the school and come back after the finals for the annual Christmas show, performed by students. They sing, dance and just have fun. Afterwards ‘rømmegraut’ (a traditional Norwegian Christmas dish) is served, which is Norwegian porridge made with sour cream, whole milk, wheat flour, butter, and salt. Usually it is eaten with sugar, cinnamon, butter, raisins and cured meat. Then the students can go home and enjoy their Christmas holidays :)
So this time I was part of the whole happening, even if I spent most of the time in the canteen to prepare everything for the lunch and distribute things on the tables in the foyer. But we had the chance to watch the finals in the gym and the Christmas show afterwards, which was very nice. Then it was time for the ‘rømmegraut’, which looked a lot like rice pudding to me. I guess it was supposed to taste like it too, but it came out of huge plastic bags and watching the white stuff being pressed into the bowls ruined my appetite. However, the students seemed to like it and that was the main thing. After they left there was a small gathering for the staff too, for which we prepared several cakes in the canteen the day before. We volunteers joined too, but we left early because it was difficult for us to follow the discussion topics about educational stuff, above all in Norwegian. Still it was nice to be there and experience the last day before Christmas at a Norwegian school :)
Christmas itself was very funny. On the 24th of December Artur, Barbara, Tim, who is here for another visit right now, and me drove to Astrid’s place at eight o’clock in the morning. There we got to know her life partner, their four lively children plus the two cats – and the turbulences started. It is not advisable to go to cat household with a cat allergy, but the kids managed to catch them and keep them upstairs. Still it was not good for Tim, but okay. It took some time till everybody sat at the table, but finally we could enjoy a traditional breakfast with fish – of course. Fortunately I found something else ;) Afterwards we built and decorated a gingerbread house with the children while watching the traditional Christmas movie ‘Tre nøtter til Askepott’. It was the most sticky work I have ever done and our house looked quite interesting after we finished, but we made it – somehow :D
For lunch we had ‘rømmegraut’ again, but this time it was homemade and very delicious, especially with coconut milk, because Barbara has a milk allergy. Inside the ‘rømmegraut’ Norwegians hide almonds and the one who finds it receives a present. I was lucky and now I am the proud owner of a marzipan pig ;) At noon we just hung around a bit, watched a Christmas special on TV together with the kids (little time jump to our childhood – it was about the most popular Disney cartoons and movies) while the youngest one took a nap outside – yes, outside. Norwegians put their children for their nap in front of their houses, of course inside a buggy, but still I was stunned. Astrid told us that it is quite common and practiced in the kindergarten as well. They only take them inside when the temperature drops under minus ten degrees – so that is how Norwegians raise their children :D
By the time we wanted to leave it was snowing and very slippery outside. And while Barbara was parking out the car it wanted to hit the road itself and went down the hill into the ditch. Thankfully we have been in a rural area where you can find a tractor everywhere. So the neighboring one pulled us out and we could drive home safely. Tusen takk!
But if you think that was it, you are wrong. We only stopped for a little while at home and drove on to Åse’s place, but that was basically in the opposite direction, deep into the valley. And of course it started snowing again (while it was only raining in Nordfjordeid). It seemed like an eternity to get there due to the conditions. We moved on very slowly and probably it was better that we couldn’t see Europe’s deepest lake (Hornindalsvatnet) right beside us in the darkness. The last turnoff we had to take was the end of our ride – we were not stuck in the snow yet, but the car couldn’t make it up the hill, the wheels were just spinning and the field next to us came nearer and nearer. So we called Åse and for the second time on this day our car has been towed by a tractor. Actually the driver, Ola, who is Åse’s life partner and owns the place we have been to, seemed to have a lot of fun. He raced down the hill with his tractor, sliding in the snow on purpose. I was just standing there and laughing, about him, about the situation, just about the whole day :D
When we finally made it up to the house, dinner was ready. Homemade sausages and the traditional ‘pinnekjøtt’ was served, which are lamp chops. It was really good, so the Norwegians can actually cook, but apparently they only do it on Christmas. After the dessert we moved to the couch and Åse started to distribute the presents. Honestly, I have never seen so many presents underneath a common Christmas tree. And there weren’t even any kids around! I conclude from this that Norwegians are very generous with regard to Christmas presents and we actually experienced it ourselves. We (Tim as well) got presents from Åse and Ola, Astrid, Frivilligsentralen, Ola’s parents and a friend of Åse, who didn’t even know us before. It was so nice of them and we really enjoyed being there. But after some more Christmas cookies and a lot of talking we had to leave, because we really wanted to make it back home. So we were escorted down the hill to the street and that way we did not have any more trouble with the car. I guess, it was sure enough for one day :D
God jul alle sammen og tusen takk for å køyre bilen i snøen, Tim!