My dad was born in Butte, Montana in 1898. He was the son of Norwegian immigrants. I assume my Norwegian grandparents emigrated in the 1880’s for economic reasons; but I don’t know that for sure. His dad died when he was two. My dad was 54 when I was born, so I never knew my paternal grandparents.
First and second-generation Scandinavians were pretty common in Montana. Two of my best mates are also Scandinavian.
I didn’t grow up immersed in the Scandinavian culture.
My dad was fit and loved to walk, bike, skate and ski (in his younger days). He also loved lefse, lutefisk, oyster stew and sardines (as do I). One of my favorite stores in Great Falls, MT was the Viking Shop. My friends loved it too, regardless of their cultural background.
People of Scandinavian descent are pretty common in the Seattle area too. Anyone heard of Nordstrom or Swedish Hospital? We have an amazing Nordic museum here that is worth checking out.
After I retired, I became much more interested in Nordic culture. I am not a Scandinavian purist (Denmark, Norway and Sweden), I go for the whole Nordic region (Scandinavia plus Finland, Iceland, Greenland, etc).
I have long been a fan of Nordic noir, like lots of people Nordic or not. So this was an easy dive into Nordic culture. I watched Wallender on PBS and loved it. I then discovered Camilla Lackberg books, also set in Sweden. All of them are fantastic, except for the most recent one, the Golden Cage. My summer reading has been focused on Helene Tursten novels and all of them are great reads.
Along with my noir reading, I have enjoyed checking out the various Lagom books about the Swedish Art of Balanced Living.
Now I am reading The Nordic Theory of Everything (thanks JCM).
It is a fascinating comparison of the Nordic culture (particularly Finnish) with the US culture on a number of fronts; the premise is ‘putting social welfare ahead of private interests can and does lead to economic dynamism and greater social equality’. I am about to start on the health care chapter, which will be an interesting read, I’m sure!
I would love to shift from a virtual to an in person exploration of the Nordic countries. We looked into a retirement cruise but it was pretty pricey! And with COVID-19, I am not interested in cruising! Speaking of COVID 19, I’m going to take a deeper dive how the Nordic countries have responded.
At this point, I think the closest I can get to a Nordic adventure is sticking with my noir books and maybe a visit to IKEA!