Bras, Berries and the Great Outdoors

When living, or visiting another country, it’s not uncommon to experience a little culture shock.  Like when I spent my first summer in Norway.  I was asked to house-sit for a pastor and his family.  Not knowing them very well,  I was a little nervous when I went to their home to receive my instructions.  I’ll never forget that hot, sunny day, when I knocked on the door and the pastor’s wife answered the door in a black bra and a cut-off denims.

“Hi,” I said and tried not to stare at her satin brassiere, wondering why in the world she hadn’t put on a t-shirt before opening the door.  She greeted me with a warm smile and started giving me a tour of the house.  Thankfully, she’d also written instructions, because the only thing in my head was, “She’s only wearing a bra…. is it a bikini?…. no, it’s a bra… are all her clothes in the laundry?… she’s the pastor’s wife…that’s a bra, alright.”

As she finished the tour out in the garden, I pondered what the neighbors’ must think about the pastor’s wife running around in her bra.  But no worries there.   A couple of days later, I visited the full-busted, elderly woman who lived next door.  She was dressed in a skirt and a you-know-what.   After seeing women doing yard-work, riding on the ferry, hiking in the mountains and riding bikes, all in plain-jane, old white bras, I accepted this as a cultural difference, but often wondered what was wrong with bikinis, tankinis, or at least a sports bra.  And of course, I swore I would never do the same.

Early this week, on an beautiful Fall day, Onar and I went on a hike.

Onar fishing in Gjesvær

In Norway, when we go hiking, we usually have clothes for all types of weather:  One to two layers of wool, a good rain/wind jacket, hats, gloves, and possibly rain pants – because “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor/bad clothing.”  AND the weather can change very quickly.

While Onar was fishing, I picked beautiful, sweet blueberries:

Blueberries (blåbær)

And dressed in my wool, sweating profusely, I decided that “When in Norway, do as Norwegians do.”   Was I wearing a sassy satin bra that could maybe pass for a bikini if someone saw me from a distance?  Nope. Was I wearing a sports bra that would be logical on an outdoor expedition?  Nope.  I was wearing a dingy-white-should-have-been-thrown-away-years-ago-bra.  Oh yes, “Never say ‘never'”.  And guess what?  I’m a pastor’s wife.  Hmm.. ironic?

So now I know, like the pastor’s wife, her neighbor and countless other Norwegian women, a bra on a warm sunny day isn’t a bad idea.  But it’s definitely time to take a trip to Victoria’s Secret.

About ekhaugli

I'm Erica from America living at the top of the world - North Cape, Norway. I run my own gallery, Once Upon a Dream Gallery and Gift Shop, nestled in the picturesque fishing town, Honningsvåg. In 2014 I started and environmental art project, One Step at a Time, concentrating on removing trash from or arctic shoreline.
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4 Responses to Bras, Berries and the Great Outdoors

  1. tonja says:

    love it! I would have been right there with you…except I would have had to have worn my dingy gray sports bra(s)!

    This story reminds me of my first norwegian “experience” in the sauna

  2. Pat says:

    I love your writing, Erica. And your photography is great. I look forward to seeing a lot more posts.

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