What I’ve learned this summer

Alice has inspired me to do this post, thanks to her own on the same subject.

  • I’ve learned what it’s like to travel by air in the US. The stories about delayed flights were all true. The security checks and necessity of Ziploc baggies also true. However, I must say that, in all the repeated taking off of shoes and showing said Ziploc baggie, airport security people are a very pleasant bunch. Nothing makes the hassle nicer than approaching the bins to put carry-on and shoes in, and just a few feet away are uniformed colleagues sharing a laugh and big smiles. Returning home, I was thoroughly prepared and upon showing both empty bottle and full Ziploc baggie to an elderly uniformed gentleman, received a warm smile and a thank you for making his job a little easier. I wished then that I had the forethought to say something pleasant, rather than quickly smiling.
  • I’ve learned what the extra security screening is like. I was flagged as SSSS on my boarding card and sent to a different line, with two other white women. They told me that I was flagged for checking in late with luggage, had purchased my ticket online and had a one-way ticket. I wasn’t late, so it was checking in with luggage with a one-way e-ticket that did it. (I hadn’t thought to check my luggage through to Reno from Bergen, but they usually want you to go through customs at first airport in new country, anyway.) So I had to wait in line for the extra check. I stood in a booth and air blew up my clothes in one short, loud blast (glad I was in pants and not wearing a loose top!). The security guard who checked everything in my purse and carry-on, and swabbed them for substances, explained that the air shooting up would bring molecules from my body showing whether or not I had strapped explosives to myself at any time. I hadn’t.
  • All US airports are carpeted. And anybody in a US airport will help you. For some odd reason, even when they don’t smile, Americans seem friendlier. Perhaps it’s because they’ll talk to you first, and not stare you down waiting for you to speak up (something I noticed Norwegians do a lot and the Dutch airport personnel somewhat less).
  • I like the sort of Mexican food that you get in American Mexican restaurants. Sorry, Mexico, but I like the tomatoey stuff that passes for your food north of the border. With the rice and the refried beans.
  • The new US dollar coin is very pretty!
  • This. (I don’t feel like repeating it.)
  • Bergen was its own county until 1972. I thought it had lost county status before then, but no. When it incorporated as a city on January 1 1972, it lost county status. Now it’s part of Hordaland county.
  • My own attitudes about wealth need adjusting. After a summer of hanging out with metaphysical people and watching “The Secret”, I realized that I had been stuck in way of thinking that wasn’t moving me forward. I’ve got the spiritual worked out; I realize that it’s now time to manifest it physically, in the real world. So, before this summer, I agreed with a co-worker every time he said that the rich are wasteful and silly with their wealth. But now, when he mentioned it again yesterday, using buying a fancy, fast car as an example, I said, “But if a fast car is what they want, why not buy it?” When the morality of the rich was brought up, I said, “The working class is probably no more moral. We just don’t get the media’s attention.” Now I realize I could probably support the rich – or rather, those who are expressing their abundance and should be an inspiration, not a frustration to the rest of us – in a different way. Reading my own words tells me I need to find another way to encourage a prosperous way of thinking in those around me.
  • Which brings me to another thing I’ve discovered this summer, or rather, after it, back at work (which was still in the summer): My company has been researching what worries the Norwegians. Before my vacation I found it amusing; after my vacation, I find it to be fear-mongering. It puts a focus on what’s wrong and I find myself wondering if that is the right focus. I’ve read the latest poll we’ve done and I find that the slant we put on it (“Parents fear for children walking to school”) makes me depressed. And my company just put a cap on commissions, because the salespeople were getting too envious of the one guy who’d consistently bring in a million in commissions alone. Why don’t they ask him how he does it and try to emulate that? There seems to be an atmosphere of limitation at work, and I can’t remember us ever having that before. It makes me wonder whether or not I will continue to be happy there.
  • My tone is too harsh, even when I speak from love. Even in writing, where I’ve always thought I expressed myself gentler than in speech. But in going over some old e-mails, I see that hasn’t always been the case. And a couple of incidents on Usenet and a blog left me less than satisfied with my choice of words. I don’t want to miss any more opportunities to say the truth compassionately, rather than aggressively, whether written or oral.
  • Mono Lake is ancient and extremely alkaline, and “Mono” is Payute for “fly”. There are millions of them covering the lake shore. Flies, not Payutes.
  • I tried sushi for the first time and really liked it. Very tasty. I also liked the wasabi (Japanese horse radish) but soy sauce is (still) too salty for my taste.
  • Pains in the legs can mean low iron. I started taking iron pills again, and the funny, intermittent pains below knees have gone away.
  • Today’s cruise ships, huge as they are, don’t need tug boats to manouver them to and fro. The cruise ships have side propellers and can berth themselves quite accurately, and shove off from the dock without help.
  • There are hummingbirds in Alaska. Migratory hummingbirds.
  • A pluot is a cross between a plum and an apricot. No, I didn’t try one.
  • I’ve outgrown my lovely iMac. 😦

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

2 replies on “What I’ve learned this summer”

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