secrets of integration

{guest blogger}

GuestBlogger2From time to time, To Be Told invites a guest blogger to share his or her story. This week, Anna Løymen shares about discoveries through integration. Read more about Anna at the close of this article, and via her site. Anna has posts in both Norwegian and English. 

Fra tid til annen vil to be told invitere andre bloggere til å dele hans eller hennes historie. Denne uken deler Anna Løymen om erfaringer knyttet til integrering. Du kan lese mer om Anna på slutten av artikkelen, og på nettsiden hennes. Anna skriver på både norsk og engelsk.




The other day, I had a conversation with a woman I met. I asked her a couple of questions, and she started to tell me her story. She is not originally from Norway, and her Norwegian is not yet flawless. Sometimes it is hard to understand everything she is saying, but my heart had no problems understanding her heart. Stories communicate with more than just words. When someone opens up and tell me their story, I see them. The words, however imperfect they may be, are connected to feelings, and I find time and again that when someone is sharing their story, my compassion is awakened, and I have a taste of their feelings. This compassion is what brings us together as humans. No other tool can help us more in integration, communication and cultural cooperation. When I understand you, I cease to be afraid of you. I start to love you, care for you and treat you as my friend. People who feel loved and befriended are much less likely to be violent and hateful. So in this time of fear for terrorism, let us be willing to listen to each others stories. It may be one of the best weapons we have.


Anna holds a masters degree in social anthropology. Her first Norwegian children’s book, Lammet som ikke kunne si bæ, is set to be released this May. Anna is married and the mother of two young children. While all of the family is ethnic Norwegian, they have chosen to raise their children in a bi-lingual home, speaking Norwegian and English on an alternating basis. In addition to her website, new book, and beautiful illustration skills, she also teaches at a local vidergående school (similar to American high school, for students 16 – 19 years old). Anna and her husband are good friends and have been a tremendous help to us in our quest to become more skilled at speaking Norwegian!

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