Tag Archives: Norway

Camilla’s Blog

Back home in her native Norway, Camilla Moe Røisland had a thriving career.

She spent more than 20 years as a news presenter, reporter and producer, for TV and radio. She worked in communications for the oil, gas and shipping industry, and for unions and organizations.

When her husband was offered a great opportunity — building wind farms off Long Island — she put her own work on hold. Since late September she’s helped their 3 children (and dog) adapt to life in Westport.

Camilla Moe Roisland

It’s an exciting adventure, filled with ups and downs. Camilla loves much about this town (and, from time to time, just shakes her head). Between furnishing her new home, making new friends. figuring out the difference between Stop & Shop and Whole Foods, and spending endless hours behind the wheel, her days are full.

But Camilla is, at heart, a journalist. So she’s eager to share many of her insights — and photos — with her old friends in Norway.

And her new ones here.

Camilla Blogg” is an intriguing look at our town, from one of our newest arrivals. She sees the beauty many of us take for granted — the beach, for example, and Saugatuck Island. She also sees jarring sights many of us never think of — like the “Private Property” signs that keep so many others from enjoying much of our beautiful shoreline.

Camilla is a warm woman. Her writing reflects her outgoing nature.

“People in my situation have to be that way,” she explains. “We need to make friends to survive.”

By reaching out, she’s already made many friends here. Some are Americans; others are Europeans and Australians. She finds Westport to be very open and welcoming. There’s an international flavor, and most people want to help.

(Her children are embarrassed when she walks up to strangers and says, “Sorry, I am new to this country. I don’t know where to find…” Of course, kids all over the world are embarrassed by their parents.)

Camilla’s blog alternates between profound topics and light ones. She toggles between big themes and random encounters.

An early post on the joys of Compo Beach (she could not believe she wore shorts and a t-shirt in the fall) was countered by the heartache of her children’s first day of school.

Camilla illustrated her “first day of school” blog post this way.

Her youngest “looked so small in this huge building,” Camilla wrote. Fortunately, his counselor, teachers and principal seemed great.

“I know he is in good hands,” she said, before adding, “it’s hard when he is really scared that the other kids and the teachers will not understand” what he’s saying.

She concluded: “I cross my fingers, and hope that I will pick up two smiling kids after school today.”

Any mother anywhere could relate to that feeling. And any mother anywhere could share her frustration at hearing Ikea say, over and over, “We are sorry for your inconvenience.”

But it takes an objective, new-to-Westport eye to point out the extent to which automobiles rule life in our suburb.

In Norway, Camilla writes,

our kids are used to either taking the bus, walking or cycling to their schools. We commuted to our jobs by walking, taking the bus, ferry and sometimes a tram. Imagine how much more healthy that is, and it saves the environment for all the pollution from the cars.

She adapted. She bought a car that handles the snowy winter here. But she also “allowed” her husband to buy a Mustang.

Camilla captioned this “Americans and their cars.”

“In the beginning I was a bit unsure if it was tacky or not,” she wrote. “But some British friends assured me that it was cool. I hope they´re right. You might see me driving it around in the area too.”

The Winter Olympics — in which Norway built up a substantial medal lead — provided material for another blog post.

Camilla did not include an incident that meant a lot: When someone at Saugatuck Sweets complimented her on her country’s showing.

But she wrote about the good feeling she felt, in this cosmopolitan town, watching so many nations compete.

“Go Norway and our modern Vikings!” she said. “Go our Scandinavian neighbors, our European friends. And this time, go the US too!”

There is much more to cover. Camilla has noticed how wonderful and well-equipped Westport’s schools are, and the dedication of the teachers. Yet she’s astonished at the amount of homework her kids have — including weekends — and the fact that students must stay indoors when the weather is cold or wet.

“In Norway we have no bad weather,” she laughs. “Just bad clothes.”

She also contrasts Westport schools with those 10 minutes away. There, she notes, “they can’t even afford pencils.”

She loves her proximity to New York City. But she still can’t figure out why the train fare is so expensive, while the cost to drive a car is so cheap.

One of the photos Camilla took to illustrate the beauty of her new home town.

Moving from Norway to Westport was not easy. Camilla has put a lot of work — and thought — into making her new life here.

She loves sharing it all with others — those in her home country, and her new home town.

“I feel very Norwegian in Westport,” she says. “I also feel very European.

“I love Westport. I want to protect it. I’ve met so many nice, welcoming, interesting people. I have a very broad life. We all learn from each other.”

And you can read all about it here.

Westporters From Haiti, Norway React To Trump

Westport is filled with all kinds of people.

We are citizens, and we are on various types of visas. A few of us are undocumented.

We are 1st-, 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-generation Americans, and more. At least one of us — hey, Jacques Voris! – has had family in Westport for at least 10 generations.

We may be descendants of the Pequot tribe here — I’m not sure. If not, every one of us came from somewhere else.

We came from England, Germany and — hey, Saugatuck! — Italy. We came from Canada, Russia, Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria.

We came from Norway. And from Haiti.

In the wake of President Trump’s comments yesterday — do I have to remind you he called Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries, and wondered aloud why we don’t have more immigrants from Norway — I reached out to Westporters from those specific places.

Stephanie Mastocciolo is a 1st-generation American. Her parents moved to the US to continue her grandfather’s work in the Caribbean music industry.

Her mother was adamant that Stephanie and her 2 younger sisters take advantage of the limitless opportunities in the US — in education, and for their careers. Her mother wanted her girls to become well-rounded, open-minded individuals here too.

Stephanie was born and raised in Larchmont, New York. She moved first to Greenwich, then to Westport. She has lived here for 6 years, and has enjoyed raising her 2 children in this community. 

She calls Trump’s comments “offensive, hurtful and very un-American.”

She acknowledges, “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Yes, it has a lot of political, social and economic problems. But many — if not all — nations do.”

Trump’s comments sadden her, “because America has come a long way to break down stereotypes and barriers that divide people. America was built on the hard work and ideas of people looking for a better way of life.

She adds, “All nations should be referred to with respect and facts, not ignorant opinions. His comments speak for themselves. They show the true colors of the President of the United States.”

Camilla Moe Røisland moved to Westport in September, with her husband (whose company is building windmills off Long Island) and 2 of her children (a 3rd — and their dog — arrived recently). She worked as a news presenter, reporter and producer for Norway’s biggest radio/TV company.

Camilla does not know if she should take Trump’s words as a compliment or not. She is proud of her country — but does not like it being singled out as a “good one” in comparison to others.

“That’s not worthy of a president. Doesn’t he know, or understand, that the US is built up by immigrants throughout history?” she asks. “America’s strength comes from diversity.”

Trump is right, Camilla says, that Norwegians are highly educated in general, and hard-working. But, she adds, “that doesn’t mean that we are better or smarter than others. We are lucky because we live in a country that gives people both opportunities and security.

“We have a good health system. We take care of everyone. And we believe that all are equal — you are worth a lot even if you are not a male, white, heterosexual and rich.”

So why did she and her family move here?

Her husband had a great work opportunity. They looked forward to a new experience.

It was challenging, sure. But Westport is beautiful, Camilla says. They’ve met “so many nice, warm and welcoming people. We love living close to New York, which is a very exciting and fun city.”

It’s also a city filled with people from all over the world. Including Norway and Haiti.

Westport is too.

And I believe that many — if not all — of my fellow Westporters are glad and proud to count Camilla and Stephanie as our neighbors.