Silje is a tall Norwegian woman who is as you'd think of a stereotypical Norwegian woman - tall, with long dirty blonde hair, very talkative and warm, and loves to eat (vegetarian, apparently). She does sweet things for her husband, like make handmade advent calendars for him for the Christmas season (each day counting down to Christmas has a little present for him which is something like candy or a small gift) and likes to tell embarrassing stories about how she wanted to date him for forever but he kept refusing her (they've been dating since they were 17...they're now like 22-23 and have been married for a year or two). She's a nurse in real life and complains that she doesn't get paid enough, though in in reality she gets paid more than 50,000euros, which is way more than the average Finn. Comparatively the average Nord gets paid much more as well, but well, it's all a matter of perspective I suppose.
Inka on the other hand is a slight small guy with a shy but intelligent temperament. You can tell that he's thinking a lot though he may not say much. He reads science fiction and fantasy and is currently finishing university studying chemistry, which he loves to read while listening to classical music (which was always on whenever we came back to the house). He is apparently very religious and though their house did have a lot of religious paraphernalia around he never once mentioned it. The only thing that indicated he was religious was his refusal to delve deeper into a meditation game/exercise we played later that night. Well, to each their own. It's clear he loves his wife a lot but he keeps his feelings in check around company. Conversations with him were deep, witty, and extremely enjoyable.
Their house was cozy and made comfortable by the decorations Silje put up. Like most Norwegians she put up an intricately carved lit star in their window in celebration of Christmas. It's almost always lit because of the low-light conditions of the time of year and it was a feat trying to figure out how to turn it off so we could all go to sleep that night.
For couchsurfing arrangements there was a spare room across the entry hallway (with a single bed in it, German K slept there since it was a bit colder, though the bed was longer), while Hong Kong P and I shared a couch that was very similar to the one we had all shared in the The Turkish Couples' apartment the night before. With us two being very short the bed was more than big enough.
Food issues aside these hosts were extremely welcoming. We had our disagreements about what was interesting to see in their town (I would have loved to have seen their town's famous church, for example, and knowing now that Inka was extremely religious he probably would have loved to show it to me) and Hong Kong P would have loved to have explored their cafe culture, as she's very much into strong coffees...all of us wanted to get a better feel of the town overall, but in the end it was fine. Instead we met an entire troupe of their friends, who came over for a game night. And we were exposed to the types of games that young Norwegian people play.
Their games are more mental than any games I've played with others around the world. Since there were several nondrinkers in the group (Inka and German K among them), the games tended towards things like "could people guess what the objective of the game was?".
For example, someone was asked to leave the room, not having the game explained to them. The rest of us, left in the room, were supposed to clap in accordance to how close they were to finishing a task we had decided this person should do. It's like a proverbial game of hot and cold, but without talking. The closer they got to finishing the task, the louder we would clap. The thing is, the person who is doing the task has no idea they're playing this game, and has never had the rules explained to them before.
These are the types of games they play with each other. It was fascinating. And mentally very complex in comparison to the games I'd seen before.
Anyway, this is what we gained instead of seeing more sights around the town. At the end of it, I think it was a more than worthy trade. I can see sights all I want, but personal experiences...well, they're worth more than I can say.
So, although I may be grumbles about not seeing the church of ice (that's what it was described to me as...though officially it's called something else), I learned about meditation, this game involving clapping, another gaming involving miming, and another that had to do with writing creativity. It was fabulous.
Just goes to show, you never know what you'll experience.
Thanks couchsurfing. You've shown me a world I never expected to find.