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.
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:
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.