If you are wondering about a name to adopt when you get to Skogfjorden, you can look for some ideas in the archives of the Norwegian Bureau of Statistics. If you do a “søk” (search) with the world “navn” (name) or “navnestatistikk” (can you now guess what that means?) and click on the link that comes up on the screen, you can learn all sorts of things about Norwegian names through time.
You can even check how many other Norwegian citizens have your name! Note that you can navigate this page in English, too (like you can with many others). You can begin with that to familiarize yourself with what is there if you want. Once you get the hang of it, it will be pretty easy for you to do it in Norwegian, too.
This is also a great site to go to if you are wondering pretty much anything about Norway that can be presented through statistics (how many, how long, how much… that kind of thing). For example, here you can learn how many objects Norwegian museums own (32 million?). You can also learn that Norwegians are not lazybones, and that there is one outdoor activity that does not decrease with age. Can you find it?
If you like Norwegian food and are looking for some good recipes, here is a great food website that even Skogfjorden’s kitchen likes to use for inspiration and ideas. Other sites like this include Tine and Frukt (fruit). Click around and get great ideas even just from the pictures! If the Norwegian is challenging, try this Online Translation Guide site out and see if it helps or this Scandinavian Dictionary site. And if those don’t work, try finding your own site. There are many!
If you are curious about Norway, here is a site that will show you around. If you would like to know a little more about where I live, come visit my city through this site . You will find a web camera on that site that can show you what it looks like in Tromsø right now. Remember that there is a time difference, so I am ahead of you by a few hours. If you check in the morning, you will see our afternoon activities going on, but if you wait ‘til evening, you may not see much (until about early May when, thanks to the midnight sun, you will be able to see what is happening at any time of the day – whether anything is going on or not!).
How’s your geography? You can test your geography and get better at Norwegian by visiting this geography site here. It is a site that school kids all over Norway use to get better at their US states and countries around the world. Click around (note that “click” in Norwegian is “klikk”) and see how you do! I suggest setting up competitions within your family. I promise a treat from our kiosk to the grand prize winner. Just let me know who it is when you arrive on opening day.
By the way, did you know that a monster was found at Svalbard a few years ago (and where is Svalbard, anyway)? Indeed, you can learn more about where Svalbard is and about its prehistoric sea ‘monster’ at NBC News. I actually got to see the monster (or traces thereof), when I was there in 2008!
On the topic of monsters and animals, if you are curious about what Norway has to offer in the way of zoos, you can visit some of them at Akvariet i Bergen (Bergen Aquarium) and Vassfaret Bjørneparken (Vassfaret Bear Park). My all time favorite zoo ever is Polar Zoo, a wonderful place about a two hour drive south of my home. I am headed there next week with friends from Bemidji to check out the bears, the arctic fox, the muskoxen, the wolves, the lynx and the wolverines. At this zoo, they even let you get inside the fence with the foxes and wolves. It’s amazing!
Do you like amusement parks? Two popular ones are Hunderfossen Familiepark and Tusenfryd. If you go on this site, you will also find information about both zoos and amusement parks (like Kardemommeby, an amusement park based on a place written about by Thorbjørn Egner in his many children’s books).
If you want to know more about Norwegian music, I recommend going to NRK Radio. There you will find radio programs you can stream through a computer. Some big names in Norwegian music right now are Maria Mena, Bjørn Eidsvåg, Susanne Sundfør, Ravi, Ane Brun and Röyksopp. Also, among the 18 Norwegian bands that participated in the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, you could find Sondre Lerche, The Megaphonic Thrift and Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson. A long-time favorite Skogfjorden band is de Lillos. If you are curious about what kind of music is going on at festivals throughout the year in Norway, you can check them out here.
By the way, Petter Solberg is a household name in Norway. No one else drives quite like him (though sometimes his brother Henning does beat him). You can figure out why when you visit his web site!
Learn more about Henrik Ibsen, Norway’s most well-known playwright. In 2006, his remarkable work was celebrated, marking 100 years since he passed away (though his plays live on, that’s for sure). Any given week, his plays are being produced on 130 stages around the world. Why? Because Ibsen knew how to tell a great story. To get a taste of who he was, how about doing a search on Wikipedia for Henrik Ibsen? If you are really in the spirit of things and are looking for a monologue to use in school or for declamation activities, try the Monologue Archive for some of his greatest work.
If you want to know more about Norway’s involvement in the Olympics, another place to go is the official web site of the Norwegian Sports Association. They have always been good in skiing and snowboarding, but did you know that they surprised the world at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City with their curling teams (and later, the now famous pants of the curlers on the Norwegian men’s team)?! In this way, Norway and Bemidji have kindred spirits, for Bemidji, Minn. has sent both men's and women’s US curling teams to the Olympics, too! How are Norway and Bemidji doing these days in curling? Do a little investigation and find out!
You can find out pretty much anything else about Norway through Norway’s official web site. See what you find that matches your interests!