Anna, outbound to Norway

Now it’s below freezing everyday. It gets dark around 3:30pm. Coming from where it does not snow, I have no idea how to dress for the snow. So, I find it often when others have to tell me how to dress.

Since the last time I have written there was Halloween, Thanksgiving (a Norwegian version), and Christmas. It has been an emotional roller-coaster, as exchange always is, but I survived it with a big smile on my face.
About five years ago, Norway had no clue what Halloween was. Some people still do not know what it is. People sell pumpkins but do not carve them. Then, there came Thanksgiving! Wait! What? Thanksgiving in Norway? Many Norwegians have moved to America and back to Norway and brought the holiday with them. My host family wanted to throw me a Thanksgiving. That was very sweet of them wanting to include my traditions. We invited our grandparents and it was a great day! It even snowed that day! I had so much fun with my family!

Norwegians start decorating and getting ready for Christmas in the middle of November. That was very early for me! They believe in the Nisse (gnome) that comes into your barn to leave presents for the good kids and coal for the bad kids. If you have been bad, the Nisse could also put a spell on your barn animals to make them sick. The children will leave out Grøt, rice pudding, for the Nisse to eat. Norwegians celebrate on the 24th of December instead of the 25th. It was a little weird not celebrating on Christmas Day. We had a typical Norwegian Christmas dinner and opened up presents on the 24th. I was very grateful to receive presents when I was not expecting anything! We also had another dinner on the 25th with more family. It was very hard being away from my family in Florida during Christmas. But, my host family made me feel special and at home.