May I suggest a sweater?

Ida Anderson, Stampede Writer

It’s been seven months already since I went into Oslo to apply for a temporary visa and prepared myself to blow the dust off my passport. My expectations and the anticipation grew along with my nerves to the size of a mountain, and I counted down the days to my departure.

And here I am at Charles M. Russell High School, less than three months before graduation. I’ve learned a lot about myself during the past few months, and even more about you enjoyable Americans. Like how there are, according to statistics, four guns per household here in Montana, how you all love your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and that just because you are involved in the military somehow doesn’t necessarily mean you’re patriotic.

I have a perfect example of the latter: my good friend and host sister Sienna. Her father is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, and Sienna? To her, “Taps”, played on base at 10 p.m. every night is just a “good night song”. She mentions on a daily basis that “America is a horrible place” and refuses to buy Air Force pride sweaters from Goodwill. Sweaters with pig and sheep print, however, she does not have a problem with buying.

I’ve learned that Betty White is an old lady everyone appreciates and adores, but that being a hipster is a horrible thing. It has also come to my attention that quite a few people here have something in common with me: Norwegian blood.

No one really knows a whole lot about this mysterious country they’re descended from, however, except the fact that a great grandfather of theirs who emigrated from there a million years ago also happened to eat a lot of lutefisk. But that’s OK. I am here to enlighten you that no one really eats lutefisk in Norway anymore, except maybe a couple of radical hipsters.

So have no fear. You don’t have to pretend you tolerate this smelly “dish” anymore to make your great grandfather Oluf proud. If you now feel like I took away the only thing that connected you to your Norwegian heritage, I’m sorry. May I suggest that you, like Norwegian teenagers, buy a traditional sweater with a Nordic pattern to keep warm when the temperatures go down below zero? I promise it’s much more comfortable and less smelly.

Even though I might get frustrated sometimes with all the lutefisk talk (I hope the next generation of Norwegian exchange students receive plenty of sweater questions), I’ve come to love my American life and the friends I’ve made more than I could ever imagine, and here comes the cliché part. I appreciate everything you’ve taught me, and I hope that I have taught you a few things, too. The beauty in an experience like this, is that we all learn from each other.

It’s going to be incredibly sad when I leave here, but I’ll bring back all he lessons I’ve learned. When the time comes for me to pack my stuff and blow more dust off my passport once again, the first thing I will make sure to bring with me is the yearbook. That way, I can remember all your wonderful faces and the school events we had throughout the year, even when I’m becoming an old and confused version of Betty White.

Thank you for everything, America. Your friendly cousin Norway loves you.