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Despite having a landscape shockingly unlike anything I've ever seen, I knew where I was in Norway. I have no doubt that's because I grew up with predominantly Scandinavians, so all the faces I saw were the faces of home, of my schools & friends & neighbors. I recognized the rugged yet delicate men, the many tall fair women, even the cadence of the language hit my ear like the old days. Almost everyone I know from South Dakota has had the experience of meeting someone with a pronounced Minnesota accent, only to discover that they are actually from a Nordic country. I remember being surprised once in the old Norwegian part of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, that I felt so oddly (and comfortably) at home—this after living in New York's very different demographic for decades. A couple of blondes & a Lutheran church or two & I was right back in Sioux Falls.
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