permission to laugh

Humor requires a mutual understanding. An understanding that, even when people can speak the same language, it can be hard to establish. Sometimes it is cultural reference points. Sometimes it is an understanding between the parties that it is okay to laugh at language mistakes. It is absolutely essential to my mental health that I laugh, truly and deeply. The kind of laughter that bubbles up from your soul, like a popped bottle of champagne. I've been getting stressed out over various things recently, mostly the intense amount of work that I have to get done. I was having a crisis. Completely crisis girl. But yesterday I was studying in the kantina, starting to read up on identity theory again, and get all those sociology words working in my head again. I was not enjoying this. But then one of my Norwegian classmates saw me and came over to talk. She was post oral examing. This would mean giddy. She was giddy, getting over the anxiety that an exam in practical english can induce in a person. This was excellent. There was a great amount of giggling. I needed giggling. It also led to my having someone to go to a concert with. The concert was for part of my thesis research. Really. I shouldn't be dreading working on schoolwork so much when part of it means going to concerts. How much more awesome does studying get?

So I went to see Harv play at Grillen last night. As part of my thesis/sociological observations. The concert drew a relatively large crowd, but I'm not sure how many, because I'm really bad at estimating things like that. It is possible that I can get an accurate head count from the concert organizers. I spoke to them briefly at a table in the school on Wednesday, and they thought it was cool enough that I'm here in Bø that they introduced me to the band. Sweet. I got to shake the hand of Magnus Stinnerbom. He's played with Hedningarna. Though Harv has been getting more interesting in recent years too. And it makes a difference to see a show in a Scandinavian country. There are jokes based on cultural reference points that they can tell. I'm guessing that there were about 50 people in attendance; probably more than half of them were between 20 and 30-ish. And so far as I could tell, everyone was really into it. Two of the Danes I've met here even danced. They were good dancers too. The band sang a song well known to all Norwegians, though I didn't get it, my classmate should be able to explain it to me a little better. It was a really fun tune at any rate. I'd like to learn it. They were also telling jokes about Norwegian dialects, actually speaking in the dialects. The crowd really enjoyed this, and most surprising of all to me, they demanded two encores, and got them. Both aspects of this surprised me. And awed me. Of course, they were selling their cds, but because I'm on the NorthSide buyer's service, I already had the disks. The exact same disks. I don't understand completely why the band would be selling NorthSide cds in Norway, but they were. So I didn't buy a cd, and thus I didn't get a signed cd out of the evening. Instead I loaned my classmate 150 kroner so that she could get a cd to have signed. But she didn't get introduced to the band.

After the show there was much laughter and joking with my classmate. We discussed making her my Norwegian cousin, because her family is from a place about two hours away from the area that my great grandmother emigrated from, and I don't know my Norwegian family. Also, the job coordinator from Kroa was there, skipping the fattigmannsdisco to see Harv, but she had to go back to work afterward. And I met a couple of my classmate's friends, who dragged us over to the Bull Inn (O'Bulligans as we Americans have renamed it), for a final drink for them, and some water for us. On the way back home, back to climb up our kjempe big hill (or small portion of a mountain), we saw the Danes still sitting outside Grillen talking. They hailed me as we went past. It was nice. Vennelig, koselig, deilig.

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