Of course it is important to follow the Norwegian aphorism, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and get outside to enjoy the outdoors despite the Norwegian weather, but we can’t be outside all the time. In the summer, there may be stormy days, and in winter there are long nights to pass. Sometimes outside there’s weather you cannot weather. So let’s talk about cosy ways to spend some days.
If you haven’t already, it is time to familiarize yourself with the Norwegian term “koselig”. Put it in google translate and it tell you it means “cosy”, but apparently for Norwegians the concept behind koselig goes far beyond the English connotations of warm and comfortable. My coworker informs me that Norwegians also like to say, “Vi koser oss” which kind of means “We are enjoying ourselves”, and might be used as an explanation or excuse when indulging in chocolates or other treats. (Are there any Norwegians out there who want to help translate koselig or related phrases? Please comment below!)
As far as I can tell from my research, koselig can refer to virtually anything – it is essentially a specific quality of emotional warmth, and it can apply not only to the atmosphere of your room, but also to your interactions with friends, or even a particular individual.
So on those occasions when you have to hide inside, here are some ideas to make your days koselig:
There are so many board games available, there’s sure to be one that suits your style. I personally like Dominion, a strategic deck-building (or as my friend likes to say, “dork-building) game. Or just build a puzzle. No one to play with? Maybe you can put a call out on the Fantoft Facebook page or the International Student Page. Play with friends, future-friends, or flatmates.
Reading a good book
Curling up with a good book can definitely feel snuggly. Can you make friends while doing it by forming a book club or maybe borrowing someone’s pet cat?
Me and my Petra (the cat). Photo: Stand Hiestand
One of my favorite activities with my first Fantoft flatmate was to have friends to our place and each cook a dish from our country of origin, we got to try delicious new foods and have intriguing cultural conversations while forming new (or stronger) friendships. Cooking together is also great fun, maybe someone can teach you how to make a new delicious dish.
Mmmmm, muffins. Photo: Stand Hiestand
A movie marathon or binge-watching an entire season of a TV show, either solo, with a special someone, or even with a group can be relaxing and can certainly make the dark hours fly by. Perhaps you can form a group of dedicated Game of Thrones viewers and have a weekly viewing party. Or maybe you want to watch all of Orange is the New Black in one go. Or you have to get to know the Upside Down all at once by zipping through Stranger Things. Or, best of all, maybe you want to watch Norwegian films (like Troll Hunter) with a friend who can tell you what the subtitles won’t!
Feel like a kid again by binge-watching with buddies. Image: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/news/a55934/netflix-hack-watch-with-long-distance-friends/
Warm up when it is cold out
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling awfully cold lately. It seems like spring will never come. I’ve recently discovered Bergen Hammam, and frankly, I hesitate to share it because I want it all to myself. That being said, I want them to succeed, so: Bergen Hammam, a non-profit whose proceeds go to benefit humanitarian causes, is a tiny steam and scrub spot right in the center of Bergen. They offer use of the steam and scrub area alone or with Turkish massage/scrubs and other health and beauty services. They seek to provide an authentic and affordable Turkish bath experience to relieve dreary-weather-blues. Because they operate primarily through volunteers, hours can be spotty, make sure to check their Facebook page before you go. Best case scenario, bring some friends to have a koselig conversation with while you’re there!
Bergen Hammam is located at Nikolaikirkeallmenning 1E.
Remember, if you are a student, you can get discounted use of the steam facilities (100 kr)!
And in all of these things here are suggestions for making them more koselig:
- Fire, especially candles or a fire in a fireplace.
- All things fuzzy and comfy such as a cozy blanket or sweater (Norwegian sweaters are legendary).
- Perhaps a hot beverage or a waffle (and brun ost)?
- A hot water bottle and a blanket!
- And of course, surrounding yourself with great people.
A Bergen-Thanksgiving feast. Photo: Stand Hiestand
What are your favorite koselig things? Let me know below…