The Fusion Lifestyle (and Some Food)

So often when we talk about a country or a culture, it seems that we compare it with another one and come to conclusion that sums up to: “I’ll stick with this one, no matter what” – or “No, thanks, I’ll go for another one”. It sounds like we choose all the time. But why choose only one? Can we take (and make) both?

I have noticed that my life comprises mostly of the people who come “from here and there and a bit of everywhere”. There are few (or none) 100% Norwegians, or 100% Ukrainians, or other pure nationalities in my life. Maybe, because that’s my natural tribe, reflecting my life choices. I am not amazed, for example, that I, born Ukrainian, communicate with my native Catalan husband in Norwegian language, not native to either of us. It once suprized a couple of Norwegians though.

I can understand them, they didn’t expect to hear the language of their little proud country in some tapas bar in Barcelona somewhere around midnight. Especially coming with heavy Spanish accent and sweet Eastern-European accent, used to discuss a love relationship between those two. Why Norwegian?? They seemed to be falling from their chairs, breaking their backs to turn and see who these two were, using their language in this place.

Once in Ukraine there was a restaurant chain called “Mafia” (its tagline being: “family values”). The chain pronounced itself as a Japanese-Italian kitchen fusion (where sushi meets spaghetti). Wow, if these guys could combine the strict minimalistic Japanese attitude with flamboyant chaotic Italian cheer – maybe, I’ll also be able connect my love for Scandinavia and Spain in one fusion attempt? If it were possible to go and search in the middle, I’d definitely do it. But where could I find that middle? In Germany? France? :))

So let me call this ambitious project of mine a Scandi-Spanish fusion. And here are the ingredients I would pick fro each culture to create it. I am not talking about kitchen (or not only about it), mind you :))

From Scandinavia:

  • Their art of building houses, solid and warm, and creating cozy homes. Especially the warm cables under the bathroom floor. Imagine stepping on those warm floors barefoot in winter.
  • Their level of social trust. I don’t know any other country that has it at this level. As one Norwegian expressed it: “You know you are at home, when you can doze off on the tram and be sure that nothing happens to you” (quoted in “The almost nearly perfect people” by M. Booth)
  • Their relaxed attitude and humble optimism towards everything in life, expressed in this Norwegian phrase “It will order itself” (“det ordner seg”). Note the mystical absence of the agent. It’s not “I’ll fix” or “You have to do something about it”. Maybe, it comes from the security pillow of all that oil money, maybe, you would even call it laziness – but I learnt to love the way Norwegians say it. It’s all peace and love, in Nordic way.

    one popular tapasbar in Oslo
  • The art of enjoying small things. The whole philosophy of hygge takes its origins in that. In the conditions of harsh climate and scarce resources these nations learnt to extract pleasure and joy from the few little good things they had. In Norwegian language the famous Danishย hygge has its brother – the word “kos”. The verb is “kose seg”, roughly translated as “enjoy oneself”. A Norwegian can honestly say: “So I was sitting on my couch enjoying the sweets” or “Now I will go home and enjoy myself with a glass of wine and a series marathon”. In my home country you wouldn’t care to mention to it – you just eat and drink and consume those products (add the gloomy Soviet face to it – who would talk about enjoying oneself now? :)). But this little notion of “kos” and “kose seg” gives another color to those small pleasures.
  • The internal Scandi humor. Scandinavia is like a village where neighbors make fun of each other, but not in a hostile way (because you still have to live close and collaborate). Norwegians tell jokes about stupid Swedes, Swedes tell the same jokes about stupid Norwegians – and nobody seem to understand what Danes are saying. Before moving there, it all was a great mystery to me. But now I find myself laughing of typical Nordic things, like in this Youtube video (it is hilarious and in English).

From Spain:

  • There is life. Always and almost everywhere. Kids playing, dogs barking, parrots in the trees making noise around their nests like proper Spanish citizens. You’d go to your hood on a random weekend and see a spontaneous market reminding a garage sale, or another one selling honeys and cheeses. There will be older couples holding hands and dogs meeting and sniffing each other. Winter or summer – doesn’t matter. You’ll get so much from those hours spent outside that you don’t feel the need to travel in order to fill your days with life (maybe, you will feel like traveling to do the opposite :))
  • Even in your home there is life. There are these galerias, typical Spanish way of building houses around a patio, that have this perfect acoustics. So you know how many dogs are in your block, which kid likes to practice his flute and that someone cooks a lot of microwave dinners. You never feel alone. And when you hear your door bang, you cannot be sure if it’s your husband or your neighbor (in his own flat, that is :))
  • And again I’ll say it. You never feel alone. In any line there will be an older lady talking to you in Spanish (or Catalan!) ignoring that you look like a guiri (tourist). And you’ll be thinking fast through your vocabulary which is mostly comprised of the names of tapas. The neighbors will be saying hello and asking “how are you?” (they don’t usually do it in Norway), the man at the cashier will be smiling at your “Good day!” and noticing that it is already “Good evening!”. All these small interactions will fill your day and you will feel more connected to others and that human side of you ๐Ÿ™‚

    the tapas vocabulary on some wall in Tarragona
  • And talking about tapas. The Spanish cuisine may not be as sophisticated as the French one. But eating here is a feast! But every time. And the tapas is the most sociable way to do it. It’s not about eating your individualistic plate – it is about sharing. And when you add to it a bottle of red (by the price of one glass of wine in Norway) – you can’t say it’s not a happy way of eating!

So why choose? Let’s go further and create our own fusion lifestyles picking the best from each country and culture!

And what would you like to mix?



9 thoughts on “The Fusion Lifestyle (and Some Food)

  1. Well said!
    … Although I would probably never be tempted by a Japanese-Italian kitchen fusion – I am not as open minded as I thought!!
    I am not sure I’d mix anything together… Just like for food, I love eating separate tastes. I love England, I love France, I love Italy… but I am happy with their individualities. Does that make any sense???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Merci, Vero!
      No need to be afraid, they just serve both kitchens, I guess, not mixing so much of them. If u want to start with sushi and go on with pasta, it should be possible too ๐Ÿ˜€
      That makes sense. Pure tastes, I understand. As for kitchen I enjoy also simple combinations. But as for lifestyle, I would love to mix!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If an Italian saw a place called Mafia, I don’t believe it would be a joyful occasion for anybody. ๐Ÿ˜€

    But I’m all in favour of mixing things, and taking the best of all worlds. I might do a similar post one day.

    And just when I thought I was all that settling down with my Marco and our three languages (his Italian, my Slovenian and our first common language English), my younger sister gets a new boyfriend who is also Marco but is 12 years younger than her and they converse in five languages!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m sooo happy for her. They wish to have 4 children. I wish to be an auntie!!!!

    Anyway, I believe that what we grow to love (or hate) in a new culture is what was lacking (or was too much) in our old one, similarly as when we get a new boyfriend… An Italian in Spain or a Swede in Norway would surely have a completely different list.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I guess, this is a freedom of playing with concepts that don’t stand close to your heart so much)) (though there is Ukrainian mafia too, but this word doesn’t wake so many feelings yet).

      Manja, please do your post of mixing things! Would be interesting to read what would you take from Italian and Slovenian side!

      ho ho ho, lovely story of your sister. the kids then will communicate in 5 languages, or maybe, you would supplement with Italian))

      Such a wise notice about the lack of smth in one culture. And while we cannot have 2 boyfriends (not all of us :)), it is possible to mix up the countries and cultures, taking the best and overseeing not so best. I believe, it is :)) A Swede in Norway, i would love to read that list too, there used to be many Swedes here, but now they are gone :))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like this idea of fushioning lifestyles, Marina!!! Probably because I have experienced the same living in four different countries…. I like to think that, after spending a few years in every of these countries, we took the best of them with us! I would say:
    – the Scandinavian style from Sweden. I love how they use color, material, nature and light in their apartments… I always felt so at home in my warm Swedish apartment!!! And I think I learn how to dress in simpler colors in Stockholm… it was impressive how stylish Swedish girls can be wearing only black clothes!! Or combining just back and grey, or white…
    – the joy of the Irish people. Seriously, they are the most welcoming people in the world! It’s not easy to feel alone when you know Irish people! hehehe And who could imagine that they are this way with the Irish weather!!
    – the sporty lifestyle of the Swiss. I love love love that they spend so much time doing anything outdoors!! Winter or summer, weather doesn’t stop Swiss from doing sports in the mountain and I am loving trying to “adapt” to this new lifestyle, hehehe. And Christmas…. I love Swiss Christmas, because I found it has a lot of things in common with Spanish Christmas, but it has something magical here ๐Ÿ™‚
    – And, of course, we’re very Spanish!! But I think that after living so many years in Sweden and Switzerland, we have become a bit more quiet, hehehe

    And that Mafia restaurant…. I’ve been in Madrid in a Spanish-Japanese restaurant…. And it wasn’t that bad!! It was more a like very modern and minimalist Spanish restaurant with a few Japanese ingredients and techniques, I think, hehehe. And I don’t remember where, but I saw also a Mexican-Japanese restaurant once!! I didn’t dare to try that one, hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, Mercedes, I was thinking of you doing this post! I thought “hmm, I would love to hear what she has in her fusion kitchen” :))
      Thank you for sharing your list, it is so positive and enthusiastic! Funny that you have three S on your list, if not for Ireland, it will all be SSS project))

      I so agree on Swedish girls, they can be unbelievably stylish with just few and simple things. Scandinavians rock! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Oh, now I want to go and see Irish people! with the same shitty weather on the west coast of Norway it is sad to admit, people didn’t turn out welcoming. must be Irish wisky then ๐Ÿ™‚
      And the Swiss remind me of Germans. They also love to spend a lot of time outdoors. Lovely habit.

      I am into clean tastes, but some fusion restaurant once in a while – why not? Always worth a try ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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