J Russell Mikkelsen, half American, half Norwegian has written down a few differences in his two cultures

I know for a fact that there are Norwegian people poking their noses onto this site. Why? Well, I’m Norwegian. So are two of my classmates, and boy – if you thought we’re just doing our work and that’s it, you’re wrong. See, we make our families read everything we write. And then we make our friends from back home do the same. Sometimes, we use extortion. Anyways, I stumbled onto this blog a while ago. The writer is half American, half Norwegian. I find that combination intriguing – just because I too lived way over there at one point.

Norway, photo credit: Andrea Giubelli

J Russell Mikkelsen, the writer of this hilarious post, covered the needs-to-knows excellent, if you ask me. Let me sum it up:

– There is no word for “sorry”. There is “excuse me” and “I feel bad for you”. No sorry. Nothing you can say in Norwegian that implies both guilt and regret simultaneously. Consequently, Norwegians rarely feel either one.

– If you bump into a stranger accidentally, the polite thing to do is ignore the other person and carry on with your life.

– There is no such thing as personal space, if it’s the same space someone else needs to get past you for any reason.

– Occupying someone else’s personal space, on the other hand, is a mortal sin. In all places. At all times. Including public transport, or a rock concert.

– Showing emotion is against social norms. This is true no matter what sex you are.

– Insult a Norwegian and they’ll brush it off. Insult a drunk Norwegian and they’ll throw their arm around your shoulder and sing you songs until sunrise. Insult a Norwegian’s football team and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Photo: J Russell Mikkelsen

J Russell Mikkelsen: Born in Miami, Florida in 1981. Grew up in Berkeley, California. As a writer, Mikkelsen has always been taken with stories.

– I like them, I want to hear, understand and tell stories. All the time. I love it, he says.

He has always written his own stories, he never cracked the code of how to write someone else’s. Two and a half years ago, he listened to a podcast for the first time.

– It was without a doubt something else. It was exciting, more dramatic, more fascinating in every way. With the opportunity to edit a podcast, Mikkelsen realised that this was a way he could tell other peoples stories.

Yeah, Let’s Go There

This last year, Mikkelsen travelled through East Asia. On his travels, he collected what turned out to be the first season of “Yeah, Let’s Go There”.

– Season two will be collected while I travel around South America this year, he says.

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