Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back in the US

I had no idea what to expect. I spent the weekend at my hometown for my class reunion. It was cool seeing people again, but most people did not make the effort to attend. The usual local boys were there, as were a few from the extended area. Still, there are several interesting people that I have not seen since graduation. My wife was likely bored out of her mind. She receives extra points for enduring the event without a drop of alcohol.

We are back in Minneapolis for a few days. We stopped in at work. It was an interesting experience. I really did not miss work, but it was good to see everyone again. I feel like we did our time in Minneapolis, that our work here was finished, and that it was time to move on. It wasn't nearly as emotional as it could have been.

Tommorrow I will bike. I gave a frameset to a friend before moving. He has since built it up into a cool fixed gear. Thanks Wayne!

What I don't miss about the US? It is difficult to explain. People are much more aggressive drivers. People blast their car stereos in parking lots. People are generally louder and larger than life in their public interactions (ie. scolding their kids, etc.). Manners and proper decorum are relatively rare in the US. On the other hand people are more superficially friendly, say hello to strangers, are more ingratiating, and so on. Beer and gasoline and dirt cheap here in the US. "American" cars look rather crude and unrefined. Distances between things are much further away. The sunlight looks different. It is hot here. All in all, I think I have settled in nicely in Norway. I miss the US much less than I thought. On the other hand, it seems like life in Norway is so far away-- that we never really left. Regardless, I am so thankful that we have what we have. I cannot imagine returning if we were struggling in Norway. As it is, returning only reinforces my belief that we made the right decision.


Anonymous said...

I must take issue with your seemingly generalization when reflecting upon America(ns) after being in Norway for around year. I myself spent an extended amount of time in Roma, Italia, and having reflected on the same issues you have I arrived at almost opposite conclusions.

US drivers are much less aggressive and much more courteous than their Roman counterparts. Manners, public decorum, and politeness are more prevelant in the US than in Roma. On the otherhand, people are much larger in life (fat!) in the US. It took me a while to adjust back to that. And things being so further apart does suck. Given all that, I still love Roma and given the job opportunity would love to live there for a while, or anywhere in Italy.

While no doubt your observations may be entirely accurate on your comparison reflections of Norway life and United States life, I wanted to remind you that it is not wholly and separately accurate apart from your comparison of Norway and the US.

filtersweep said...

I would suggest even Germans have a reputation for driving aggressively around Norway-- and I have certainly heard anecdotes that suggest Italians are rather aggressive behind the wheel. Most of my driving has been in Norway, hence the generalization. Also, aggressive driving is not well-rewarded in Stavanger. Most roads are two lanes, so eventually you will be behind someone and unable to pass, whereas in the US, an abundance of lanes rewards speeding with arriving sooner. And this is coming from someone who has averaged about one speeding ticket per year since I have had my license--- so I have some experience.

Aside from that, manners and politeness are more prevelant in the US than in Norway, but in many respects this ends up being overshadowed by being somewhat insincere and over-ingratiating. Service is superior in the US (like waiters, etc.). Public decorum in the US in a mixed bag--- with Americans blasting their car stereos, talking loudly on cell phones, etc...