July 8, 2014 by Jenny Lonnstam
We at PO.P have had the privilege to interview one of our beloved brand ambassadors known affectionately as PO.Pular Parents, Rana Draganja. Rana and her family moved to Olso, Norway from New York for her husband’s job and we wanted to get her perspective on living and raising her son in Norway.
Rana first found out about PO.P 11 years ago during her first trip to Stockholm and fell in love with the vibrant colors, stripes and quality. PO.P became her favorite children’s store even before she had children of her own. She was finding herself lugging PO.P gifts across the Atlantic.
Rana became a brand ambassador after PO.P’s president for the USA, Jennifer Athanason, met her husband, a Swede, and heard that their son was pretty much in PO.P gear from birth, and the rest is history!
Here is what Rana had to say!
What is your perspective on your living experiences in Norway as an American?
The US is cheap and we are spoiled, especially NYers! Even if you live in Manhattan and you think it’s expensive, it’s cheap! Pretty much everything in Norway is ungodly expensive, and has about a quarter of the variety of food, products, clothing, amenities, etc. Even London, which we thought was absurdly expensive when we lived there, is now a cheap shopping destination! And everything useful is closed here on Sundays. During the first year here, we went into a panic every Saturday about buying groceries before the stores closed. Be grateful!
On another note, we’re probably a bit too uptight and smothering as parents compared to Norwegians (and others). Children here roam a lot more freely than I think they do in most of the US. Almost everyone leaves their babies outside for naps, be it at home, daycare, coffee shops, you name it. It is very much the norm here to come upon a baby sleeping in a stroller outside of a restaurant in Oslo, without any adult in sight. Sure they’re usually watching through the window, but we would probably be arrested at home if we did this. It’s pretty unlikely that I’ll ever do this, but it’s kind of sad that I and most of my expat friends here don’t feel comfortable enough too.
We were also surprised to see our Norwegian friends’ four year old cutting tomatoes with a real knife. We give our four year old son the dullest scissors possible for cutting, yet he’s probably just as capable of using a real knife as that little boy – we’re just too chicken!
Absolutely! The style of parenting here is generally much more permissive, and adults frequently avoid interfering with children’s behavior, conflicts, etc. Even though my husband is a Swede and more used to the whole Scandinavian ethos than I, we were all jarred by the relaxed approach here, especially when it comes to discipline. Our son, who was three when we arrived, was regularly shocked by the lack of adult intervention when kids were misbehaving especially at his first pre-school here. However, after a while he stopped waiting for an adult to intervene, and learned to be more self sufficient in dealing with bad situations, so at least that’s a plus! Additionally, kids (and adults!) here spend way more time outside. Regardless of the weather, they are outside pretty much from dusk to dawn year round through the age of five. Hence the need for the huge variety of outdoor clothing – our PO.P gear has been seriously tested here and has held up fabulously! While I find this a bit extreme, especially given that it’s freezing here for a huge chunk of the year, this is definitely a plus for kids.
Thank you, Rana! We had so much fun interviewing you.