A Norwegian in North Dakota? That’s nothing new.
Ah, but this is Ayla, our young adventuress from Norway who traveled Europe, Africa, and East Asia before arriving to her fourth continent: North America. Specifically, North Dakota, USA.
Where else? Ayla has family here and she paid them a visit as part of her three-month globe trot. Today we get to hear how she describes and experiences life in our own part of the world.
A Norwegian in the Dakotas
It’s actually kind of hard to talk about what I think of the US, because it feels so much like home! I’ve been there so many times, because I traveled here often with my family growing up.
It all started with three brothers: Alfred (my great granddad), Ole, and Peder all moved to the US a long time ago. Alfred would move back home to Norway, while the two others stayed. So two branches of this family are in the US, while one (mine) is in Norway.
I arrived in Minot March 17, and Heidi (left) greeted me. She’s like my American big sis. I have known her since I was a kid. She has been to Norway many times.
I may have been to American many times, but my boyfriend Peder hadn’t! He came the next day and got to enjoy North Dakota for the first time. Until he arrived, I spent the first night at Heidi’s and just lounged around all afternoon while she was at work, stealing all the food in the fridge. She bought me Doritos.
The next day, Peder arrived and we all went to Garrison, where Heidi’s parents live.
Peder and I saw the big fish in town.
The next day, Peder and I went on a road trip to South Dakota! First we had to get supplies.
For me as Norwegian, Walmart is fascinating. It’s so big and has so much stuff! Why do you even need that many types of mustard?!? For me as a backpacker, Walmart is a cheap place to get food and stuff. This is also where I meet the real population of the country, the ones with stories, and you kind of get a good look at the culture I think. Rich people are much the same everywhere. I travel to learn about people, not to see monuments.
That being said, we went to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore.
I think when you are used to a culture, you stop noticing the details. That was kind of fun about traveling with Peder in my home away from home. I don’t see the country in tourist eyes anymore, but he did! He was really exited to live with Americans and see the culture. I remember many things he said, and I was like, “Oh, isn’t that normal?” Things like taxes not included in the price, free refills on drinks, tipping, and how you need to have a car to get around was what he noticed.
We had a nice walk around Mt Rushmore and enjoyed the nature in South Dakota.
The road trip down to South Dakota was amazing. I love the dramatic landscape! I loved the nature reserve! The buffaloes, horses, sunset. Aah, what an amazing experience!
Back in Minot, we went to another family of relatives: the Hansons.
We celebrated Easter here:
Easter is a big thing in the US. It isn’t really that big in Norway to be honest. We stayed at Kinsey’s place, and her older siblings and their family came over to celebrate with the family. I was on my first ever egg hunt!
And we enjoyed great American food.
What I generally think of with american food is huge greasy burgers, amazing pizza, and free refills of Mountain Dew. And Doritos, the red pack, nacho cheese. Makes my life complete! American food is amazing! I don’t think I could live on it, though, just because of the amount of fake sugar and fat. But oh how much I love a proper american burger! There isn’t a lot that beats a proper cheese and bacon burger in the US.
Peder and I returned the favor and made Norwegian pancakes for the family:
Finally, in Minot we went to Scandinavian Park.
Next up on our trip, we took the train to Minnesota!
Here’s my video about the Dakotas:
Ayla is a 20-year-old Norwegian who loves to learn new things and study new cultures. She’s Christian, and in her more normal life (when not eating donkey sandwiches in China and taking trains across Italy), she does dancing and karate. For any questions for Ayla or about travels, please comment below.
And if you’d like to share your story on The Periphery, please email me at Brandon@ThePeriphery.com. We’d love to hear all about your adventure.