Friday, March 16, 2007

On Sandefjord

Sandefjord is the closest thing I have to a "home town". It is a small place, sometimes a bit claustrophobic, full of good people, and irritatingly modern. It is a place where people cannot make up their minds as to whether they are semi-urbanized peasants or urban people living in the provinces.

It is a place I would like to go back to live, but it is probably too late. I would only get annoyed and begin to be destructive. Better to visit - now and then.

Others have different views or, at least, views that vary over time. People have moved to Sandefjord in quite large numbers, and it is not surprising. It is a pleasant place to live - at least in summer. The place has attractions: an international airport, trains, ferry, a motorway nearby, an international school, other educational opportunities a fairly international set of businesses and so on.

Trouble is, the local authorities think a forward-looking plan for the town involves important issues like the illumination of some of the streets in the centre of twon, and the possibility of profiting from schemes to exploit the district’s Viking heritage for tourism purposes.

They haven't realised that the climate, in itself, prohibits tourism for more than about three months a year and that, moreover, the locals are not particularly keen on having more strangers there than they have already. They are already upset about the influx of Swedes some hundred years ago, not to speak of the following appearance of people from the West Coast of Norway - the effects have yet to be seen, if I understand relatives correctly.

It is not an easy place to be an immigrant - I was one myself, as a child - many years ago. It is even more difficult for someone not even Norwegian. One such was an Egyptian ship captain who married a local girl - 35 years ago? - And took quite a bit of time before he found a place in the local community.

Another one - who should be supported - is an American woman who has produced an excellent blog "" which should be read by anyone interested in how "our" community appears from the point of view of a newcomer.

Best of luck to her, with her Norwegian course, her work, husband, pets, bureaucrats and other annoyances.


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