First of all, I am thrilled to announce that Turtleduck Press, the indie co-op press I’m a part of, is opening to new members as of today. We’re looking for novel submissions from science fiction and fantasy writers. I’ll be talking more about this on Monday, but in the meantime, to learn more, check out the announcement at Turtleduck Press!
Second, a bit of trivia for you. Norway is my ancestral home — three of my grandparents were born there — and I was lucky enough to visit in 2001.
This Friday is the Seventeenth of May, the Norwegian equivalent of Independence Day or Canada Day. It originally commemorated the signing of the Norwegian constitution in 1814, although Norway didn’t achieve independence (from its union with Sweden) until nearly a century later, in 1905.
As a holiday, the Seventeenth of May, or Syttende Mai in Norwegian, has become a day to celebrate the country, mainly with flags and children’s parades and the singing of the anthem — “Ja, vi elsker dette landet”, or “Yes, We Love This Country”.
So in honour of Syttende Mai, here are three things I love about Norway:
1. The people. When I visited, I was surprised at how much Norwegians were like Canadians. The self-deprecating sense of humour, the quiet reserve, the ability to thrive in a cold, forested climate..they could have been anyone I knew back home.
2. The language. Norwegian is a Germanic language, distantly related to both German and English. There’s a lovely lilt to it that makes it sound intrinsically good-humoured. I studied it in university, and enjoyed surprising people during my visit, since nobody learns Norwegian as a second language!
3. The landscape. I loved the crazy landscape of the Lofoten Islands — and the colourful houses, which again reminded me of Canada, specifically the Maritimes. And of course, I can’t forget to mention the fjords. One of my grandparents came from a little valley at the end of a fjord, hemmed in by steep mountains. (And I still have family ties to at least three of the farms in the valley.) Finding that place felt like coming home.
Have you visited a place that’s significant in your family’s history? What was your experience?