Norway vomited in this condo, and it’s making me uncomfortable.
As I write, I’m sitting in a sleigh bed. To my left is a shelf with a Norwegian poem on it, a portrait of a Norwegian soldier, a Bible written in Norwegian, a diagram traditional Norwegian clothes (including undergarments and braided hair), and four pictures of Norwegian landscapes.
To my right is a 10-year-old computer that has no plugs, and an “antique” (broken) radio from Norway.
Even the curtains are distinctly Norwegian, flowing white with a hideous green bow at the top.
Last night, I went to hang up some sweaters, but I couldn’t, because the closet was literally full of traditional Norwegian clothing (true to the diagram, if you were wondering). Now my sweaters are going to be wrinkled. It’s like the condo is punishing me for not wearing Norwegian clothes. H&M is European, right? I guess it isn’t close enough.
In the kitchen, the fridge is covered with pictures of Norway. There’s even a picture of people who I can only assume are the Norwegian royals from a few decades ago. Is Norway even a monarchy? I don’t want to know
So. I’m of Norwegian descent. My mother’s maiden name is Shellrude. My last name is Viking. I have blondish hair. I’m Norwegian. I’ve never really been ashamed of that, but I haven’t embraced it, either.
Even though I’m white as fuck (it’s the Norwegian in me), I identify more with Guinean culture, because that’s where my mum was raised, and the way she raised me was heavily influenced by her African roots. But I still feel this weird cultural obligation to Norway, and this condo keeps rubbing it in.
I know nothing about Norway, other than what I’ve inferred from this condo, and also that joke in a Cinderella Story about “Norwegia”. (Which, by the way, I didn’t get at first. Nordic and proud, people, Nordic and proud.)
But am I really obligated to embrace Norwegian culture? My grandfather was born there, but moved when he was a kid. And somewhere a few centuries back, someone from my dad’s family lived there, too. So am I really Norwegian? Am I more Norwegian than I am African, because it’s where a bunch of my family is from, rather than just my mother?
These are the questions this condo is forcing me to ask. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t ask them, it would forcibly braid my hair and stick me in one of those weird bonnet things.