A Beautiful Patriotic Mess of an Independence Day

Congrats America! Happy Independence Day!
This year, I celebrated Fourth of July on the third of July, in Norway… and it was a crazy patriotic hot mess.

The day started as a “normal” beach day. My friends and I rode a bus out to Bygdøy to join a large group of ISS students that had found a great cliff to jump in to the ocean off of. (I got stage fright so I skipped on jumping…)

On the way up to the cliff we noticed many beautiful public beaches the we could go to for dinner, and had the amazing idea to have a grill out instead of going back to the dorm to eat dorm food!
When it was time to eat we walked to a nearby grocery store and bought the most American grilling supplies we could find, in honor of Independence Day of course.

We ended up getting hotdogs, ketchup, “Texas” burger bread (because we could not find hotdog buns!), potato chips, and we even splurged on some delicious Norwegian strawberries!

We also bought a small one-use disposable grill, which seems to be what you do when you want to have any sort of picnic in Norway… Oh, and we also bought enough matches to last us through the apocalypse.

We found a perfect “private” beach to host our tiny celebration. It was excluded from the main beach and had rocks arranged in a circle, practically begging to have a grill set in the middle.

The view of the ocean and the mountains was spectacular as well.


Me, Megan, Sydney, and Alex

First we had to ask a very nice Norwegian man who was walking by to teach us how to light the grill. He told us to wait until the coals were white or else, “you might get cancer.” I’m glad we got that piece of advice…Now that we had our supplies and our perfect location, we started our grilling. Which was not as easy as we thought it would be.


We lit the grill and had to wait 25 minutes for the coals to become “cancer-free.” Then we set our hotdogs on the grill… Sounds easy right? Well the tiny surface area of the grill was not level, so we had several hotdogs that made a break for it and escaped onto the sandy beach.

We found a way to fix that problem… kind of, and once we finally figured out how to grill our hotdogs we had to figured out a way to make the burger bread work in our favor.

After eating our delicious gourmet meal we were able to enjoy the sun, sand, and water. Dipping our toes in the ocean, sharing stories and just hanging out!

In my opinion, it was the perfect way to celebrate being American in another country, just enjoying our time with friends, a beautiful view of a foreign sea.


Photo credit: Alexandra Olsen

We didn’t realize what a truly beautiful hot mess we were until we started heading back home. Here’s a list of messy situations we weren’t able to avoid…

1.) We had no idea how to clean up the hot grill.

Apparently, you can’t put hot grills in plastic bags… They will burst open and the contents of the grill will go EVERYWHERE.
Also, did you know that water can be used to cool things down? Well, it took us until after the mess was made to realize this.

Literally, a hot mess.

2.) We rode on the public transportation… Carrying a ketchup bottle like it was a water bottle.


3.) One of us forgot their bus pass, and it was the one time where the security was checking if riders had them.

Luckily, we were able to convince the security woman that our friend really did have a pass, just not with her at the time. The security woman made her promise she wouldn’t forget next time.

4.) While we almost peed ourselves trying to talk to security, one of us spilled melted ice cream all over the (usually very clean) bus floor.


5.) One of us was BLEEDING.

(Don’t worry, this wound was not fatal.)


Despite all of these obstacles, it is safe to say that we all had a great Fourth of July, and I think that these situations actually made the day more memorable and hilarious!
Now that we know how to properly light and put out a grill, we plan on making more grilling trips to enjoy the Norwegian fresh air… But I’m sure none of them will be as memorable as our “Fourth” of July.

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