Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Do-It-Yourself : Norwegian Style

DIY is almost like a gene embedded in every Norwegian. From simple handy craft projects to complex building of walls, patios, laying their floors, building their kitchens, cleaning their homes, maintaining gardens that are storybook worthy .. you name it and I will find a Norwegian that's done it .. and all of this comes with a self pride of being able to create & build their own.

Coming from a country like India where most of the time there is someone to do things for us ... this concept was well a bit alien not to mention absurd. Why should I build something in my house when i can get someone to do it for me without me lifting a finger, or just buy it right off the self. That parts slowly changing (not that i've built anything apart from ikea) but in small ways I'm starting to understand that pride of doing it yourself...

Thanks to friends here I've had my mini introduction to this .. with friends B & T we not only picked apples from the apple trees in their garden (this itself was a treat for me) we then proceeded to make jam, marmalades,chutneys.. out of it, then sterilize the bottles and then stored them, also add apple pie to that list .. In India I would buy home made Jam .. now i have my own cupboard full of homemade jam = a certain sense of pride of doing it myself


With my other friend M she re-introduced me to Knitting .. now I'd done this once before as a child for SUPW and honestly it seemed like the most painful thing, leaving my grandmother to finish my 'piece'. Never touched a needle after that labeling it something i would do when i was well at an age i thought would be appropriate. With nothing to do on 4 hour bus rides everyday knitting seemed like a perfect occupation and I started off .. I've finished a scarf for kiran a hat for myself and decided Tina needed one to mark her visit to Norway and made her a hat as well. This morning I put on the hat i knitted myself,and was strutting around almost wishing i could point at it and say 'yup made it myself' (a norwegian would probably point at their sweater and say the same back to me) = a certain sense of pride of making it myself.


Over Christmas B decided we should make christmas decorations and happy was I when she asked me to join, with the forewarning that my creativity skills were umm questionable. Forewarning in hand we started and by the end of the evening we had these beautiful advent candle stands (sorry about the bragging I'm still in awe)and later on something for the front door. It sits proudly on the centre coffee table at home and when Tina saw it and refused to believe we made it .. well no guesses what feeling came out = a certain sense of pride.


I think what truly enables them to do all this is 1. the time: their work life balance is almost an art form the rest of the world needs to learn. And 2. their ability to enjoy the simple things of life, in its most basic form and from that stems the need to create things yourself. (I'm not ignoring the fact that getting things done her comes at an insanely high cost and hence DIY makes even more sense - but that aside there is no denying the force of their DIY gene)

I hope this DIY gene will stay with me, and maybe I will have some new found skills when i return to India = no shortage of jobs for me :)

To the Norwegians who have introduced me to this .. thank you and hey you know who to call when you needed some labour, all in the name of cultural understanding ;)

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