Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Route 8 in Vanse Southern Norway - A little piece of America

In Southern Norway, we get visitors from all over the world. For those Americans that are thinking of visiting, you might be surprised to know that there is a little bit of America also in Norway.

In a little town called Vanse on the southern coast, you will find Route 8. This is a road where it swings into a figure 8 passing various American style houses, some American flags and of course American cars.

There is a lot of American history in the area as a lot of locals travelled to the US to work when times were tough in Norway. In fact my father in law lived and worked in the US for 20 years building houses whilst his family was at home.

I have been told that when some of the locals returned to Vanse with their American girlfriends and wives, they had a culture shock. The local women did not dress up or wear make-up when they went out, but the newly arrived American women did. Apparently this caused some jealousy amongst the local women who were not fond of the idea.

Putting that little cultural difference, Vanse slowly became a little piece of America. Naturally when the men and women returned from the US, they took with them all of their belongings – cars, fridges, furniture anything you can imagine. So it is no surprise when you visit some of the houses in the area, that they are full of American things.

I could not help but to pop into an American store called Trunken. It is named after the trunks that the visitors and ex pats brought back with them from the states full of their belongings.

When you enter the store, they are everywhere, but, they are not for sale! All of the other items in the store are of course for sale. Pictures of New York, American flags, number plates, you name it. If it is American, they have it.
I met a lady who worked there called Terri Anne Saeveland. She comes from California and has lived in Vanse with her Norwegian husband since 2009. I met my husband in California when he was there on vacation because his cousins worked for me. He went back to Norway and returned 3 months later and we started dating. He still lived in Norway and I in the states so it was long distance dating but two years later, we decided to get married in Oslo.

'My husband is a Norwegian Mexican. His mother is from Mexico and his father from Norway. His father was in the military and was stationed in New York for a while and when my husband was 10 they moved to Norway.

When we arrived in Vanse, my husband told me about an American store called Trunken so I went in there and spoke to them to see if I could work there. My Norwegian was not very good but they said I would be perfect for the job because it would be good to have an American working there.

They hired me a couple of months later. I have worked in retail for 32 years so it is very natural for me to work here and I love it. Everyone is very nice and respectful. I really love it here. People who shop here love the fact that I speak English because there are lots of tourists and in fact there are a lot of Americans living here in Vanse, so that is nice.'

Next door is a subway sign for Brooklyn Bridge subway station! (I guess they had to ship that over!)

I also popped into an American diner a couple of doors down and it was like walking into a diner in the US. American number plates all over the walls, a bar with American posters all over the walls, American beers and upstairs there are some rooms decked out with American appliances.
So, if you want to see a little bit of American history, visit Vanse.


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