Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome New Cultural Coordinator, Marit Barkve!

Sons of Norway’s Fraternal Department is happy to welcome our newest staff member, Marit Barkve. Marit comes to us with a wealth of Norwegian knowledge and will be working closely with our members as our new cultural coordinator. But, before we learn more about what Marit will be doing, lets learn more about her. So here goes!

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Shoreview, Minnesota.

Where did you work before joining Sons of Norway?
I worked with two non-profit organizations, one based out of Washington state called Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, the other was Refugee Council USA out of Washington D.C.

What is your educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Norwegian Language and Global Studies as well as a minor in Political Science from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. I also had the opportunity to study abroad at Hedmark University College or (Høgskolen i Hedmark) in Hamar.

So, I have to ask…Are you Norwegian?
Yes! Both of my parents have Norwegian ancestry. My father’s side of the family emigrated from a town in Norway called Jørpeland, just east of Stavanger, where my Norwegian “slekt” (family) resides today. I’m actually in contact with my fantastic relatives in Norway – I was fortunate enough to celebrate jul with them a few years back.

As the newest member of the Fraternal team, what are you most looking forward to in working at Sons of Norway?

I am thrilled to be a part of the Nordic community at Sons of Norway. I’ve always had a passion for my heritage and Norwegian culture and it is great to be able to work with it on a daily basis. I’ve been very warmly welcomed at headquarters and am really looking forward to learning more about Sons of Norway as an organization.

As Cultural Coordinator, what types of things will you help members with?
Primarily, I will be organizing and maintaining the media lending library, however I will also be working on the Sports Medal Program, doing some event planning and assisting with any basic Norwegian language or culture questions.

Now that you will be overseeing the Media Lending Library…Do you have any favorite Norwegian films or musical artists?
I enjoy Scandinavian films in general but if I had to pick a favorite it would be a Norwegian film called “Folk flest bor i Kina.” Unfortunately, the film isn’t available in the U.S. yet.

Any hobbies?

Running. Swimming. Biking. I really enjoy being active and being outdoors. My favorite activity is downhill skiing. When I lived in Washington I went skiing on a regular basis. My newest venture is relearning how to cross-country ski.

Do you have any hidden talents that will be handy at Sons of Norway?

Usually when I get asked about any hidden talents I can fall back on the fact that I can speak fluent Norwegian, although at Sons of Norway that talent certainly won’t be hidden.

Have you ever had any experience with Norwegian food? Lefse or Lutefisk? If so, what did you think of it?
I grew up in a Norwegian family and lived in Norway for a year so I have had a lot of exposure to Norwegian cuisine—I’ve pretty much tried it all! I haven’t yet learned how to make lefsedespite it being a holiday tradition in my family—but I am looking forward to learning to make it later this week at headquarters. There aren’t many Norwegian foods that I dislike except for lutefisk – but don’t tell my grandmother, as she will not tolerate lutefisk badmouthing or disloyalty.

When I lived in Hamar I worked in a cafe that had a variety of types of food that were both traditional and untraditional. There was a local elderly customer who came in regularly who always ordered the same traditional Norwegian meals, reinforcing the stereotype that Norwegians like their food mild or bland. One day we were able to convince the customer to try lasagna instead…he couldn’t believe how exotic it was! It was funny, as an American, to think of lasagna as being exotic.

Are there any things at Headquarters that you’ve learned or experienced that have surprised you?
I’ve been really impressed with how active and passionate the lodges are! There really is a lot of activity, which has been really exciting for me.

Any closing thoughts or things you want the members to know about you that we haven’t talked about?

I’m really excited to be here and am looking forward to collaborating with the staff and members to learn and try new things.

We are all very excited to welcome Marit to the team and look forward to working with her. So if you wish to extend your own words of welcome or if you want to pick up a great title from the lending library, just leave a comment on the blog or email Marit at

1 comment:

Koriel said...

Congrats Marit! Northwest Immigrant Rights Project misses you, and we are thrilled to see you're doing well and seizing a new opportunity!