Norway is extremely homogenous, with fewer than 5% of Norwegian citizens having a non-Germanic ethnic background. For us, coming from 10+ years in Canada, of which the last 6 were spent in the Toronto area - home of multiculturalism - it's been interesting to once again experience such homogeneity up close.
I knew, coming in, that this would be a transition, but it still amuses me just how similar people are here.
...I don't just mean physically - although the vast majority of our community is white and fair. Benjamin's class has two students who are of a visibly different ethnicity (they are both from India), but Christopher's class does not have a single child whom I would suspect originally hailed from another country.
...or how we all dress our kids the same - although on any given day, one of my children will bring home a friend wearing the exact same sweater, shoes, gloves or bag. Apparently everyone in Norway shops for their boys at H&M.
...or how we all drive the same (silver) car, even though I on more than one occasion have gotten mad at the car key for refusing to open someone else's Golf.
What really makes me laugh is how we all do the same thing for the holidays. Such as the Easter holidays, where every man, woman and child head to the mountains for one last ski fest before spring can be welcomed with open arms.
The entire country shuts down. Try to schedule a work meeting with a Norwegian colleague during Easter. It's not going to happen. A broken down furnace? You're cold out of luck.
Nothing gets done in Norway during Easter, because there's no one around to do it. Walk into downtown Oslo, and it's like being in a ghost town.
There's no point in fighting it.
So go on, join the traffic on the single-lane highways heading up into the mountains for some sunny skiing in shorts. That's where the rest of Norway will be. And tomorrow afternoon, that's where we're planning to go, too.
Because in Norway, apparently, we're like everyone else.