Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

Identity Crash


Dear Bergen,

When the airplane ducked under the cap of cloud that marks your location on the map, I expected to be met with, well, something else.

You could have chosen American style rhetorical hyperbole: BERGEN! WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU WANT TO BE? although I understand that in Norway with Janteloven pinned to the collective heart (“You shall not think you are better than anyone else”) such bravado is easily mocked. I understand that you wanted a more understated greeting adorning the mountain visitors see upon emerging from the airport terminal.

It’s important to name the place, that we can agree on. In large letters, too. You could choose the style of HOLLYWOOD spelled out large letters, plain and simple on the dusty hill os Los Angeles. A simple WELCOME TO BERGEN! would do, too. For isn’t that the intention of this display, to welcome us, let us know we have arrived, even celebrate the place we have touched down in?

BERGEN! would have sufficed. But why the question mark? It suggests a personal identity crisis: BERGEN? IS THAT WHO I AM? as if you are awakening from a long amnesiac slumber. Alternatively, it comes across as an indictment of our choice in landing here: DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BE IN BERGEN?

I stared at the sign, hoping against hope that the punction mark was constructed of Las Vegas style neon tubes that would flick trick-fashion between ? and ! BERGEN? BERGEN! That would work. That would mean simultaneously “welcome!” and “there’s nowhere else to be is there… wink wink!”


I started, confused, then averted my eyes, pretending not to notice, the way one looks politely away from a friend who has just embarrassed​ himself by saying an unfortunate malapropism ​or leaving a suspicious stain on the restaurant upholstery. You know he didn’t mean it, so you don’t make matters worse by staring. But Bergen, dear Bergen, it’s so big and yellow and centered on a flat chiseled rockface backdrop. It’s in our face. And we are confused.

It may be quickly forgotten by those taxiing off to the city, but here at the Clarion Hotel the panorama window covering the width of the lobby, reception area ​and restaurant, opens on this vista. All day long I face this uncomfortable question mark.

Dear Bergen, please help. I don’t know what to do. Write soon. Tell me you’re okay. Let me know you’ve remembered who you are and feel up to having a visit.

Who knows, maybe the sun will shine again here soon.

Sign me,

Conference attendee in a room with a view


This entry was posted on 08/03/2018 by in Life in Norway, Norway, travel and tagged , , , , , , .
Trish Hopkinson

A selfish poet

Poetry International Online

Poetry International is a world class literary magazine based on the campus of San Diego State University which caters to an international community of poets.

Brain Mill Press

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance...

The Line Break

A poetry & wine blog

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

Lou Treleaven, children’s author

Children's author and writing coach

North American Review

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance...

Tuesday; An Art Project

poems, photographs, prints

my life and times

Marideth Sisco

The Telling Project

It's time to speak. It's time to listen.

Structure and Style

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance...

ELJ Editions

Be Well. Write Well. Read Well.

She's in Prison

Poetry by Leanne Rebecca Ortbals



Jack Frey

where all the missing words end up

I Remember You Well

Things were happening... and I remember there was music playing.

Ylva Publishing

Publisher of lesbian fiction and women's literature

%d bloggers like this: