Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Norwegian language camp

I had so much fun last year that I had to go back and see if it was really as good as I remember.
It was.

I arrived at camp after they had received about 3 or 4 inches of fresh snow. Here in Minnesota we call that Spring. It started to melt the next day and by Saturday it looked like this when I walked to the main hall (Gimli) from my cabin (Bodø).
For breakfast we had koldtbord which looks like this.
We started out each day raising the Norwegian flag and singing the national anthem.

We had a morning class and afternoon class of about two hours each. This year my teacher was Arna who lived in Norway for fifteen years and is quite a good singer and artist. Here she is (foreground) singing with Kari, the program director, and Christine, who is also a wonderful teacher and singer.
We had evening programs that were either presentations about places, or poets, or family stories, and other themes of Norwegian culture. For the Saturday night banquet we had a wonderful meal of torsk (cod), potatoes, vegetables, breads, and dessert  which included some delicious homemade krumkake brought in by Ole just for the occasion.

Here are Sven and Ole (or Craig and George) with Ole standing on the fireplace hearth in order to be at the same height.
Here they are dancing with Lisa and Becky.
Dinner was delicious. My Carlsberg is the green beer bottle in the front of the picture.
songs and readings were given after dinner.

Our group of 10 sang a silly song in the Trondelag dialect. The first three verses are known, but we decided to make up a fourth verse which contained a bit of adult content. People were just about falling out of their chairs with laughter. When we finished and the audience recovered Kari went back to the front with an appalled look that she was able to hold onto for at least a minute. I hope someone recorded it as I would like to see how we did appear.

We had a few breaks and I would either take a nap or go for a walk. The walks were nice as it was delightful to hear the loons calling and feel the warmth of the spring sun. Ian, our token Floridian, found a patch of snow and threw more snowballs than I did all winter. I'm sure he needed a story to tell when he got home. Here is Ian on the right with the Paul Bunyan beard and hat.
Here are some photos from my walk.

It was a sad thing to have to leave on Sunday and I plan on going back again next year. Listening to the language, the stories, and hearing the laughter does wonders for the human soul. I feel so fortunate to be able to take a few days and go do this immersion that I understand why some of my fellow campers have been coming for more than twenty years. It is wonderful to see old friends and make new ones.



  1. Just like a great summer camp except with beer! ... and, er, without summer ...

    Looks like a wonderful time. Hooray for you for making it happen.

  2. It looks wonderful.
    As does the food. And the smiles. And the scenery.

  3. They all look so civilised (apart from Ian). You wouldn't think they were descendents of the Vikings, who sometimes ran into battle butt naked. Do they run a class on the Vikings?

  4. They all look so civilised (apart from Ian). You wouldn't think they were descendents of the Vikings, who sometimes ran into battle butt naked. Do they run a class on the Vikings?

  5. Jono--I had to enlarge the picture with Ian, wondering if that was a rug or a beard. I hope I made the right call: fake beard.

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time, and the setting was lovely. It's great to have something to look forward to every year...

  6. what fun! a great event to look forward to after a long winter in MN.

  7. What a great idea! Looks like everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.
    Glad you had such a good time.
    Take care.

  8. Happy times! Your description makes me want to search out a language camp, too. Maybe another year when I'm not quite so busy. ;-)

    I'm glad you enjoyed yourself!

  9. It sounds wonderful. That's what everyone needs -- roots to ground us and wings to fly.

  10. Carlsberg! I love Carlsberg! (I can't buy it here in Heineken/Amstel-land but at home in mother's country there is always one waiting for me. Not that I drink it, but I need to know I have it.)
    Veldig bra at du lærer norsk, så vi kan snakke hemmeligheter når vi møtes!

  11. What a fun adventure! (And much cheaper than a trip to Norway.)

  12. jenny_o, Not quite summer yet and the beer was delicious although not particularly plentiful. I think it made everyone feel younger, at least.

    Elephant's Child, What you are seeing there are literally happy campers. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves.

    Gorilla B., The Vikings are part of the heritage and there are physical remnants of them all over the Nordic countries and beyond. If you get enough Aquavit in anyone they will run around naked.

    Sioux, Yes, Ian's beard is fake. It would probably be too warm to have in Florida. It has been turning into a rite of spring for me.

    anne marie, We had a little snow on the ground yesterday morning, but it 60 and sunny today. Winter does get a bit long in this part of the world.

    Cat Lover, It is great fun. I stayed up until 11 and slept in until 6:30. It felt delightfully irresponsible.

    Diane, I am sure this would be a tough year for you, but then there is always next year. And possible fodder for your next book. Look up Concordia College Language Camps and look for the adult versions.

    Debra, It is surprisingly grounding and rooting. There were several of us "anchor babies" there and the connections on this continent and Europe are interesting. I had a cabin mate who is 4th generation Japanese American, but his best friends live in Northern Norway. He visits them regularly and wanted them to stop speaking English so he could keep learning Norwegian.

    Onevikinggirl, Sometimes just knowing something is nearby can be very comforting. Jeg liker å snakker Norsk. Snakker ikke mannen din Norsk? Jeg skal reise til Norge neste år. Kanskje vi kan møtes.

    Susan Flett Swiderski, It's the next best thing and definitely cheaper. Missing all the mountains, fjords, and waterfalls, too.

  13. I love this and it looks like so much fun.

  14. It sounds like such a great camp. I love all your pictures, but the the koldtbord breakfast is the best!

  15. JACKIESUE, It is totally fun and I actually learn stuff, too!

    Pixel Peeper, The food is authentic just like the rest of the camps. Waldsee, the German camp, is just a mile farther up the lake. I'll bet you could teach there if you wanted to.

    AK Coldweather, That would be wonderful fun!

  16. That language camp looked like so much fun. Your Viking ancestors were in a great many places and brought their culture with them. I see similarities between Ukrainian costumes and the ones in your pictures, for example. The wooden church would pass for Orthodox if it had a couple of onion domes on it.

  17. That sounds like summer camp on steroids, in a beautiful location with awesome people (I'm jealous of Sven's rockin' beard). I'd totally love to try experiencing something like that once in my life, just to take a look into the culture.

  18. Now that sounds like a really good week, absorbing Norwegian culture, language and food. Just like going home. I wish there was something like that here, for ex-pats from Devon. Jeg vet at du vil nyte å komme tilbake til norske leir neste år.

  19. I agree such events reinvent new soul within.
    so glad you had such fun time with friends ,ate delicious food,sang silly songs, did interesting readings,took glorious walks through such beautiful views ,thank you for making us part of you dream journey,it it was absolute pleasure !

  20. I've been away from your blog for too long! What a fun experience. Thanks for posting the wonderful pictures.

  21. Blog fodder, I love onion domes. Wish I knew how to build one.

    ABFTS, You should look into it. One of my bunk mates came in from Denver and we let him join in anyway. :) There are about 8 different camps available.

    Shammickite, Ja jeg vil! We do get several Canadians and it is so much fun.

    baili, It is indeed good for the soul to do this. I have a big smile on my face for many days.

    Riot Kitty, Aren't they cool? Most of them are hand crafted.

    Donna, I've missed you, too. I miss reading your fact based fiction and learning about THEM.

  22. Lovely way to spend a weekend indeed! Beautiful pictures!

  23. That church reminds me of the old Transfer and Storage Troll by Mike Feeney in Mount Horeb:

    There's this lady I have yoga with whose family was Norwegian, but they only spoke it to tell dirty jokes, so the kids wouldn't understand. LOL

  24. That looked like so much fun.
    Except for the cod, that is.

  25. Sounds like a great time----I am going to Sweden and Norway in the fall, and I think I should try to learn some basic phrases. Maybe online?