OSLO, Norway -- Turns out being "grown-up" isn't about being of age to drive or vote or drink, like I thought when I was 14.
It's about things like willingly eating spinach at dinner instead of three yards of BubbleTape. And not screaming in the grocery store when you don't get Batman Band-Aids. Stuff like that.
But planning a field trip to a historical landmark just because you want to see it, and then later wishing you'd worn comfortable shoes and brought your reading glasses, well, that means you're just that much closer to getting your AARP card.
One of the many fabulous things about being "of age" and in a foreign country is that history is suddenly interesting.
I was bored virtually every minute of elementary school history class, except for when our teacher told Margie Delano that Paul Bunyan did not, in fact, carve out the Grand Canyon by dragging his axe across Arizona.
But I'm not 12 and focused on unicorn stickers and floppy-haired skater dudes now. Or as much, anyway.
On my most recent Tourist Tuesday, I headed to the mighty fortress/castle/prison/gift shop of Oslo -- Akershus Slott.
Unfortunately it wasn't 1 p.m. on a Thursday, so guided tours in English were a no-go. But I've been wandering Norway without supervision for a while now, so I rolled solo.
Akershus is a ginormous fortress on the water, which is cool in and of itself. But if you meander long enough, you'll also see a yellow castle that looks straight out of a Disney princess movie, minus the big WWII tank out front.
In reading the poster board history lessons, I learned that since Akershus' birth in the late 1200s, it had never, ever -- not even once -- been successfully taken down by a foreign invader through force.
But there was a close call in 1567.
Swedes headed to Oslo with plans of taking over, and King Frederick II pretty much freaked out, deciding the only way to cut them off at the knees was to burn the entire city to the ground so there'd be nothing to eat and nowhere to stay.
Watching the city in flames, he probably was thinking something along the lines of: "Just you wait, suckahs!"
But as the smoke rose, forces from western Norway showed up in time to help crush the Swedes.
The poster board didn't say this, but I could hear the king saying, "Whoops."
He felt bad about having everyone burn their houses down, so he told them to just forget paying taxes for the next 12 years. Taxes are relatively high in Norway, and although some of that is for their health care system, some of it might be back taxes from the late 1500s.
As I left the fortress, waves of high school students passed me, heading in, their faces grim. Here's hoping they choose to go back after they've lived a little longer, because what little Norwegian history I've learned has been awesome. (Burning cities for nothing! Shooting kings with buttons! Thieves and escape artists!)
I couldn't help but think, "Just you wait, suckahs."
Boulder expatriate Jeanine Fritz's weekly musings on life and taxation in Norway appear in the Colorado Daily every Friday.