Friday, December 18, 2015

Dear Lillehammer!

I have been living here for seven months and although people tell me all the time that this is a closed town, where it's hard to find friends and outsiders are not accepted, I have strongly disagreed. I have fallen for this little town, it has its charm and is just beautiful. And the people. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count how many wonderful and friendly people I have met here, many of them have became close friends to me and my family. Maybe even more than friends, they are becoming part of my family. This is actually one reason why I decided to came back to Lillehammer and not Oslo as many suggested, because "Lillehammer is a strange town, you'll never make it here".
When I was an exchange student in Lillehammer I was lucky to meet so many wonderful people who mean more to me than I probably have told them, they have had a big influence on me, it's partly thanks to them I am today the person I am. Yes, I know it's a clishé, but what can I do. The truth is clisché then. 

So don't get me wrong. I love the town and I love the people here. I am thankful that you have welcomed me so nicely. I feel at home here. But for once I agree with the people who say that Lillehammer is strange. Why? Let me explain. 

Norway has always (at least for people I know) associated with family traditions, putting family first, working as much as needed but never so much that family comes second, the shops are closed on Sundays so that people who work in shops also have free time to spend with their friends and family. The holidays are holidays with capital H and Christmas...Norway has always for me been a Christmas Wonderland. Seven sorts of cakes, kransekake and all the other traditional Christmas food (which I am now trying to learn to do by myself at home - lutefisk is waiting in the freezer), decorating the house and just spending time with family. But you know what? I have a car full of Christmas decorations, lutefisk as said waiting in the freezer, together with ginger bread dough. They are waiting, because  I have no time for Christmas this year. And here I have to thank you, dear Lillehammer!

I don't know what the hell where you thinking when you decided to have shops open every day until 19 in December. And every Sunday. What where you thinking? Did you think this will be helpful for sales. Au contraire. People know that they have so much time for shopping that instead of going to shops every day, they now wait until Sunday. Yes, perhaps in summa summarum it doesn't matter, but did you forget that most people in this town running small shops are the owners? With families. And the customers are also people with families. Did you forget that most of the people disappear from your streets at 5 o'clock. Why? Do spend time with family. 
So please do explain to me why you decided to do this? To have exhausted small bussiness owners? To make them pay double as much for overtime work for their employees so that they could kill time in SoMe. What happened to you? 

December and Christmas is a time for families. But not in this town, not for small shops. You don't have shops opened in summer when tourists are in town, but you decide to have shops open now in December. Smart move, real smart move. Or actually it is just stupid of you. I am so sorry to tell you that, but everyone is thinking so - someone might as well say it out loud to you. In SoMe everyone is sharing how we should buy less, how Christmas is not about gifts, but about being together, but here you are - in Christmas Wonderland you are sending out the message to consume more. 

Have you ever tried to make (Norwegian) Christmas dinner, dear Lillehammer? Well, I haven't, but I have googled how much time it takes. I have been waiting for Christmas, because after 18 years I wanted to re-live the Norwegian Christmas dream I experienced here, but you know as I am working on 23 and 24.12 I guess it will be prefabricated food and pizza grandiosa on my family's Christmas table. Because I am too exhausted after a work day to start cooking food. Thank god, it's just us three. 

So instead of having a nice Friday evening doing Christmas things at home, we are sitting here. The streets are empty because everyone in their right mind is at home on a Friday night. Not shopping.
I tell you something else, dear Lillehammer. If you have too much spare time, make the whole Storgata to a gagata, for only pedestrians. Otherwise the street north for Lilletorget is like a magical forest where noone dares to go. You know everyone stops at Lilletorget, but what about shops after Lilletorget. It's nice that you once or twice when it's night-opened have the whole street for pedestrians, but dear mother of god, when you have too much time. this is something to chew on

I am glad I can watch NRK super direct from my computer. Otherwise we would miss watching awonderful Christmas movie every day. Maybe "Julekongen" is yesterday's news for you, but we like it and it would be a shame to miss it.

I don't want to sound like a desperate housewife, but seriously this December-thing you invented is too much

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