Norway’s unofficial national dish is a pizza. Frozen pizza is a thing invented by Americans, and brought to Norway in the seventies. But in Norway, we don’t just eat any frozen pizza. We eat Grandiosa. It is a Norwegian invention with a mild pizza sauce, and every new generation of Norwegian is raised on it. And as a student in Norway, you inevitably end up eating a lot of cheap food – in Norway that means Grandiosa. It is probably the most ubiquitous food eaten amongst Norwegian students.
So what does the plate look like when you return home from a semester in Russia? It looks like this:
Last night I held a Speech at the Christmas party in the Norwegian Embassy and everyone present, including the Norwegian Ambassador to Russia.
I thought I should post the Speech here, because it summarizes my relationship to Russia and russians.
What is ANSA? For those who don’t know, we are, in laymen’s terms, a student organization for Norwegian students abroad. We aren’t that many Norwegian students here, but we who are here have and continue to have a close and warm relationship with Russia both when we are here and when we are in Norway. I still remember when the bomb hit the underground in St. Petersburg just over a year ago. I was in shock and instinctively gave a hug to my преподавательница (teacher) from Moscow. I remember she smiled a sad smile and said that “it’s our political history”. A few days ago, I told my Russian friend Katja that life in Russia reminds me of how lucky I am to be born in Norway. And that is perhaps the most paradoxical thing concerning Russians: no matter how much adversity they are experiencing and how much pain they are exposed to, they manage to cling to a lust for life, warmth and hospitality that is remarkable – sometimes enviable. Norwegians are very hardy, but sometimes, for example, when you are fortunate enough to experience a year in Moscow, you are reminded of how lucky you are. And although life in Moscow is very nice, we are very pleased that you in Innovation Norway arrange a Christmas party so that we can get away from student life for a short while.
Finally I’d like to wish a merry Christmas to everyone reading this blog from me and my mentor at MGIMO, Ksenia. She’s the best mentor I could have hoped for.