I've been here for 5 months now and this week got my first invitation for a social event (by a Norwegian). I've had people over a couple of times but had never been invited back, so I was quite happy with the invite to go sledding. The idea was to meet up at the metro station where my friend/colleague (V.) would meet her friends and then take the metro to this hill where you can rent sleds and then slide down 2.8km (1.75miles) until another metro stop and then you can take the train back up again. V. was very concerned whether I would have the correct clothes, glasses, etc and made sure to get me ready for a great evening. She meets friends once a week to do something fun and this week it was sledding.
We met at the train stop and right after introductions they were off speaking Norwegian. Fine, they've got a lot to catch up on, I thought. We arrived at the final stop, rented sleds and then headed to the slope. Needless to say, I had never done this before, so things were not as intuitive as they were for the 4 Norwegians. Let's just say that you get the hang of it quickly or you fall off the mountain, but I did learn fast (although I was always the last to arrive at the bottom as I kept braking to avoid loosing complete control). While waiting for the train to go back up, Norwegian surrounded me again.
Back up, slide down, up again, down again. It was fun! But I definitely did not feel as part of the group. While waiting for the train at some point one of the guys turned to me and asked: "So, how does it feel to be lonely even when in a group?" "Not nice", I replied. "So you should learn Norwegian!" "I'm trying, but it is not that fast." "I guess... let's go down again and then we head to get a beer and speak some English." And turns to his friends and continues in Norwegian.
We return the sleds and go for a beer. The scenery is beautiful... the view of Oslo at night from the top of the slope is amazing and so are the little pockets of lights streaming from the few houses around. We head to the restaurant, take off our extra clothes and then everyone disappears... I finally realize they went to the cafeteria-style place to get food, they just forgot to explain that to me. We have rømmegrøt (a sour cream porridge) and beer and head back to the table. They decided to speak English but suddenly no one felt like talking. After a while some small talk picked up. After the beer ended we went to the train station and headed home.
What rømmegrøt looks like.
To summarize the evening, on the way back V. was trying to convince one of the guys to go to the mountains to the cabin with her and the other 2. And I was sitting right there, next to the guy but was completely ignored. This was a truly culturally awkward moment since in Brazil you would ALWAYS extend the invitation to everyone around you (especially when the conversation includes everyone) or wait and invite the one person in private, when the other people that are not invited (me) are not around. Oh well... I guess I can start to say that Norwegians are cold.