nationality: the survey

April 8th, 2006

Alluding to a previous entry, it struck me today while shopping that it would be interesting to survey and find out how exactly I define myself. In terms of nationality, it would have to be a mixed bag, but I wonder just how many I should include to get an accurate result. Then there's the question of allocating points to each one.

Let's start with those of lesser importance.

Dutch: 0.5%
Give it time, I'm new here. In 2 months I've come to realize that I love the country, I will seriously consider staying here after I finish school. But it's a bit soon to feel Dutch at the moment, I can't even say anything in Dutch more advanced than "Ik wil naar Ikea gaan". The culture appeals to me, though, I can't say I've come across anything yet (aside from dealing with institutions, the bureaucracy is very real) that rubs me the wrong way, the people here just seem very normal by my standards.

Italian: 1%
Honestly, to say that I feel Italian would be plain wrong. But I have to make some note of a culture that I've taken to in the last few years. It all started with calcio and Juventus, some 10 years ago. For some reason, it has stayed with me, an interest I never thought would last this long. Over the years I've tried to get involved at a more basic level than reading English translations, I've listened to rai uno, read Italian papers, listened to Italian music etc. I never made a proper effort to learn the language, I'm too lazy for that, I just enjoyed understanding something here and there, gradually getting more of it. Travelling to Italy (5 times in all) made a contribution to that as well, it's a great country to go on vacation, but I don't think I would like to live there.

French: 2%
As much as Italy is an acquired taste, France is practically an in-born one. For some reason or another, I've always had this sympathy for France from when I was a kid. On some level I always wanted to be exposed to the country and the culture. Twice in my childhood I found myself at the Riviera on vacation, that was a fantastic experience for an 8-year-old kid and I'm sure that planted some seeds. In high school I took up French, albeit not very seriously as the standard of teaching a second language in Norwegian schools is pathetic. In three years I didn't quite learn enough to carry on a conversation, despite getting good grades. Most of what I learnt I've forgotten and at this time I can read a fair bit, but that's as far as it goes. It's the closest I've come to a 4th language and over the years I've always thought sometime I would actually learn it. If it turned out that way, I wouldn't be opposed to spending a couple of years of my life in France.

American: 6.5%
Hm, a roar of silence. I was really fascinated by the US of A through many years of my life, for more than a decade. I've never put in more effort toward learning a language than I have to learn English. And although that very fact would not always coincide with Americanism, the whole American influence can be seen in a wider context than just that of being American, for are we not invaded by the culture whether we like it or not? Do I hear you say cultural imperialism? Well, in later years I got a little turned off the whole American thing, I became more keen on going to college in Europe (thus I ended up here). But all the same, a sizeable influence on my identity has come from beyond the pond, ranging from tv to stand-up comedy, to music, to movies and so on. Even though I think that source of influence is diminishing these days. And English, a third language to begin with, has become my first.

Polish: 40%
My roots. The only reason I would put Norwegian just a pinch above is that I spent 18 years of my life there and when you're not living in a country, you're bound to get a bit disconnected from what it is, regardless of how much you may try to stay plugged in. Well, I never paid much attention to staying in the loop, trying to keep track of what happens in Poland. I've always just known that regardless of anything else, I am Polish and I always will be, no matter how long I may not go there, I will always know that that's my country. One thing that has been a bit of a turn off is not knowing the "youthful" language. Polish friends were far and few between, so I never learnt to talk like a kid, I don't know the slang, I don't know the "hip" lingo. And in fact, when I do hear it, it sounds really silly and lame to me. Like say, try translating hip-hop lingo into Polish and it sounds incredibly dumb. So as a teenager, I was a bit on the outs. Conversely, Polish as a "serious" language I really like, reading a proper paper or magazine (tabloids obviously don't cut it) is a pleasure, the language is very expressive and powerful.

Norwegian: 45%
Unlike being Polish, being Norwegian was a choice for me. I decided to adopt it, it didn't happen immediately. I haven't always seen eye to eye with Norway and being Norwegian, but beyond my teenage "rebellion", I feel pretty damn comfortable and content about being Norwegian. When people ask me where I'm from, I usually say Norway, simply because most people assume place of residence = nationality. Also because a dual nationality takes some people about 5 minutes to understand and not everyone is interested in that. Other than that, living in Trondheim my relationship with the town has always been a little tense. It is home to me on many levels, but I never really desired to live there and I was always certain that I would move sooner or later. In fact, Oslo is the place I always wanted to live, as long as I stayed in Norway. Through 5 years in Oslo as a kid, I had a great time and I guess I would always consider Oslo as a place to live.

:: random entries in this category ::

5 Responses to "nationality: the survey"

  1. erik says:

    Italian lol

  2. numerodix says:

    thought you'd say that

  3. Jay says:

    Wow, I had no idea you could be 0.5% of something. That's like saying Adam and Eve were Dutch. Well, maybe they were.

  4. erik says:

    If Adam and Eve were Dutch, the world would've been more organised today

  5. ash says:

    Adam and Eve started out as nudists right? So they probably came from one of those liberal European countries.