Who am I and why am I in Norway?

I’m Brooke Eriksen. In 2015, just 3 years out of university, I was living the “independent career woman” life in Silicon Valley working in design and startup growth/marketing. Feeling the itch for change, and realizing I had frequent flier miles expiring, I began planning a 3 week European backpacking tour through Europe, solo. I thought it would be cool to go on dates in each city, and being a bit type-A I thought I’d get these arranged ahead of time – and so I paid $9 and downloaded Tinder Plus, allowing me to swipe from oceans away.

Little did I know that while sitting on my bed in the pool house where I lived, that I would fall in love with a handsome Norwegian man from 6000 miles away – on Tinder.

Well, jump to nearly 4 years later, and the 28 year old version of myself is married to that right swipe, Rasmus, living in the mountainous fjord-side town of Ålesund, Norway!

Rasmus, is a high-school Norwegian and English teacher, and we have an awesome and simple life together with our cat Essie. I am a visual artist and spend time developing my portfolio. With a strong interest in advertising and business growth, I will be opening my own consultancy in January 2019.

What does my life look like now?

As the wife to a Norwegian citizen I have an obligation to 550 hours (and the right to up to 3300 hrs.) of Norwegian language class in my first 5 years here. The class is comprised of immigrants, refugees, and those who have been granted asylum. I go to this class 5 mornings a week, and will take the required exam in March. Recently, I took the 50 hour (required) social studies and passed the exam, in Norwegian!

I’m a huge outdoor enthusiast and therefore a member of the Oslofjord Triathlon Club, Ålesund Swim Club, and local horseback riding club (where I also work from time to time). I’m also very much into the arts, architecture, and anything pattern related enjoy sharing this with my fellow members of Mensa Norway.

Life before Norway? 

In 2013 I earned my bachelor’s degree from Columbia University‘s Barnard College in NYC. Driven by a love for beautiful, sustainable, intellectual design I majored in art history with a focus on visual arts, with minors in both architecture and environmental science. I have taken additional courses in the arts, writing, and marketing from several other institutions such as Yale UniversityRISDMt. Holyoke College, and Stanford.

Prior to university I went to preparatory school at the Ranney School, and then graduated with my high school degree from the Peddie School in 2008 (my favorite class here was a senior seminar taught by author and writer in residence Paul Watkins called “The Great Explorers”!). As a junior, I unfortunately contracted a staph infection, which was exacerbated by a combination of Lyme’s disease and EBV, and turned into encephalitis and meningitis… and then progressed into a many months stay in the hospital, with more diagnoses, dozens of spinal taps, MRI’s, and medications. Unfortunately this truncated my high school varsity athletics career (although still being elected team captain). This immune deficiency took me 11 years to fully recover from, but the loss of my normal sports prowess only came back with a vengeance when I was able!

As a senior at Columbia I represented Team USA at the World Cup modern pentathlon, and the year prior I competed for Columbia University at the Collegiate National Triathlon, and prior to my illness as a 15 year old I had competed at the Junior Olympic Games for Track and Field. I have a strong passion for lifestyle fitness as well as competing. I grew up riding horses since the age of two, and progressed through the upper jumper levels competing at WEF, Sonoma, and Monmouth. From 2013-2016 I worked as a semi-professional rider, and also trained my own ex-racehorse as a jumper. I became an avid volunteer in the equestrian community as a young teenager (dedicating my high school and collegiate volunteer hours to SPUR and my post grad volunteerism to NeighSavers) and I still am to this day. My love for animals spurred my passion for the outdoors. Today I compete in fitness competitions, triathlons, and I am still an active horseback rider in Europe.

I am passionate about arts: from fine arts, to design/sustainability, to architecture. As a sophomore at Columbia I did an internship with Two Trees Real Estate Development, where I was intern to the Director of Affairs and Director of the DUMBO Arts Festival. As a rising senior at Columbia, I spent the summer in Berlin, Germany working as a research and writing assistant at Texte Zur Kunst, one of Germany’s leading art publications (and training for modern pentathlon with the German national team). Living in California after university I was a studio artist at the Redwood City Art Center, developing my portfolio with contemporary mixed media pieces.

Photography and street style became a true interest of mine when I first met the world famous Bill Cunningham as a child. He first published a photo of me in the New York Times Sunday Style section when I was 14 at an event I helped fundraise for as a junior member of the Monmouth County Historical Association. As a student in Manhattan, and junior member of the Frick Collection museums, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with him at events over the years. Every Friday during college, I would walk through central park to Bergdorf Goodman to look at the latest fashion; Bill would always be on the corner snapping away!

Combining my passion for the arts with my interests in business and technology I have gained experience in both corporate and small scale sales, marketing, business development, business operations, and event planning. I have also worked as a consultant and collaborator/brand ambassador for several publications, brands, and startups in NY, CA, and Europe some of which I am a shareholder in.

My family?

My love for writing and traveling are two things I must accredit to my mother: a doctor of literature, a many times published literary critic and poet, and tenured professor. Some of my funniest stories, and biggest intellectual inspirations come from traveling around the world with her going to university lectures and conferences.

My “techy” internet side and admiration for event planning comes from my father, a technology and business entrepreneur; a 1st generation American technology CEO, and board member of one of the largest hospital networks in the USA.

Rasmus is an academic and linguist, soccer hobbyist, adventurer and loving husband who was born and raised in Ålesund, Norway. He studied English and Education at the University of Oslo through the Master’s level, and has a long list of accomplishments. He continues to advance his interest in academia and education everyday.

My sister is an attorney turned homemaker and mother of 3 in California, with a loving husband who is an engineer at Facebook!

Rasmus’s parents are life long Ålesund residents who work in design and tech respectively. Rasmus’s brother is a former professional soccer player turned professional photographer, and his wife is one of Norway’s biggest social media influencers and mother of my 2 nieces!

Instagram: @brookemeriksen