Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's Raining, It's Pouring, the Old Man Isn't Snoring Because This Is Bergen and He's Probably Out Walking Instead

I think the title of this post gets my point across quite nicely.

Perhaps the biggest change in my life is the difference in weather (well, new apartment and recently married are major changes, too, but I don't feel like I have to adjust nearly as much to that). I've grown up with an L.A. attitude toward rain: if it's drizzling that's a good reason to stay home. The world sort of stops when it rains. You can go shopping when the sun is out again, so why bother getting wet? (I've already gotten some amused/disappointed glances from the husband as I explain why I couldn't take out the trash or walk the length of a football field to the recycle bin: it was raining! Just so you know, that's not an excuse in Bergen...ever.).

While the rest of the world laughs at such an idea, I have to defend it. Rain in Los Angeles (and even San Diego where I went to college) often gives everyone an opportunity to take a break from their manic life with their manic schedules. It gives everyone a chance to breathe. With so much sun and fair weather, you can keep yourself busy for weeks at a time, and sometimes rain is a relief. It's an opportunity to sit inside and maybe even have a cup of hot cocoa -which on this rainy Saturday morning in Bergen sounds divine.

(I suddenly realized I haven't had a cup of hot cocoa with floating marshmallows since I was a kid during the El NiƱo storms in the 90's, where we Californian's were confined to our homes to during torrential rains with lots of thunder and lots of was all very exciting, you know).

While rain in L.A. is a special event, it's a regular everyday thing in Bergen. In preparation, I bought some new rain boots, or wellies, made of 'natural rubber.' This wasn't a factor in buying the boots, but it sounded like an added bonus and after reading up on it, I have a feeling these boots will be more durable than the last (those were made of synthetic rubber and ended up getting holes/tears in the ankles). These boots were made (for walking.. ;) haha) by Viking, and I think they're pretty great:

If you've ever worn boots like this, you might have noticed that there is absolutely no insulation and your feet end up freezing and take the rest of your body heat, too. I've experienced this A LOT in California (yes, I liked to play in the rain there, and when I was little I preferred to be barefoot in the puddles). I was concerned that this would happen in Norway since it is significantly colder, but someone at the shoe store recommended some wool insoles. I didn't even know those existed! What a brilliant idea, they're wonderful!

I also bought some rain pants, which happen to do awful things to your figure. 

Good grief, I was so disappointed when I put these pants on top of my jeans (the jeans that I bought because they made my rear look fantastic). Here's a good tip: avoid mirrors in Norway. With the wind your hair doesn't look like it did when you left the house; with the rain there's a good chance your mascara is running (unless you're smart and bought waterproof (in the states where it's cheaper); with the cold your cheeks turn a color of blush you would never ever put on; and with the clothes you have to wear to keep yourself dry, your bum will look disfigured...In sum, just stay away from the mirrors and your day will remain happy.

Being prepared, I wanted to give my new rain gear a test in the elements. I was at work, outside with the kids, and I thought the slide looked pretty exciting. It's a steep slide, one that I'm fairly sure would be illegal in a preschool in the states, and it was raining. I got on, went down, and will never do it shot me off like a rocket!!!! I don't know if it was because the slide was wet and I was wearing slick clothes, but that was the fastest I have ever gone down a slide. I'm surprised I landed on my feet with a big smile on my face, because now I sort of expect the next person to go down to end up with missing teeth and unable to move.

While I'm learning how to stay dry, the rain won't stop. I've been forewarned about Bergen in October and need to ditch the California attitude towards rain. It's time to get up, put on my rain boots, and take a walk in the rain with the rest of the Norwegians. And if I really want to fit in, I shouldn't bother with my umbrella, either. (I guess don't want to fit in that badly because I refuse go anywhere without my umbrella in my purse...even on a sunny day in Bergen, you just never know when the rain clouds will come rolling in).


  1. yayyyy i love this!!!!

    everyday when it rains i naturally just want to stay inside in sweats and watch movies...but then i remind myself that it rains EVERYDAY in bergen and you just have to press on w/ life. in the states i never went outside in rain...and just like you said i used it as an excuse to relax for once....but here i cant do that or i end up with no life :)

    hope to see u soon girl!

  2. haha i love this! very true, i can't believe i have been here and year and still no wellies :/ woops!
    hope you and the screaming kids haven't missed me too much at work, if it helps i woke up this morning with no voice :( but fingers crossed for mondaay!
    I know a great place for hot chocolate btw!

  3. Hi Alyssa,

    I just want to say that I love reading your blog! I'm thinking of moving to Norway in January to be with my boyfriend of five years (three of them long distance - I've had enough!! ;) and it's comforting to read your posts and see that you're so happy living there.

    Also, do you have any information about being a teacher in Norway? I'll be finishing up my Masters in Elementary Education this December and I'm really hoping that my degree will transfer over there... I know I'll have to take a language course (jeg snakke bare littl norsk!) but I was hoping I could start working soon after that.

    Thanks and good luck in the rain :)

    -Juliet from NC

  4. Juliet, send me an email at can chat there! :)

  5. Hi Alyssa,

    I'm moving to Bergen in January (from Colorado, where we have 300 days of SUNshine) and I just found and love your blog! My family lives in Bergen and I've visited many times, but always try to go in the summer. I'm honestly terrified of winter Norway weather. I'm going to be staying in Bergen, but I don't have a job yet. I'd love to hear more from you and get some words of wisdom. My email is

    ~ Liz in Denver