A little more than a year living in Norway

As the title suggests, it’s been a little over a year since I moved to Norway for work… It’s been a challenging year to say the least, and not only because of COVID-19.

For starters, it’s been hard to get used to this weird country’s ways (and I mean this in the most endearing way), from personal space, weather and language to food (I am Mexican and I cannot stress the importance of food enough, see my previous entry for reference). Everything has been a bit difficult.

Work is fine as most of the time we communicate in English and I really appreciate the courtesy to switch from Norwegian to English when any non-Norwegian joins the conversation, I can’t say this is the norm in other countries.

Socializing has been hard because of different reasons:

  • Norwegians are shy by nature, with some exceptions of course but most of the time this is true
  • I am not very social by Mexican standards so that doesn’t help either
  • I don’t speak any Norwegian, courtesy in this case works against me because everyone prefers to switch to English rather than hearing us foreigners butcher the language
  • COVID-19 kind of limited my chances to go out and meet new people

But not everything is bad news, I’ve been able to cope with most things:

  • Weather -> Solved by learning how to dress properly, ull untertøy (wool underwear) is one of the phrases I know very well by now. I also now own proper boots, a jacket and a raincoat
  • Work life -> It took me a while to get used to how things work over here, everyone is given a degree of freedom and a level of confidence I wasn’t used to, no micromanagement whatsoever. We define our set of tasks and make decisions consulting with our manager every once in a while, which I really like. During the course of the year one of my side projects became super relevant overnight, which is cool but things got hectic these last 2 months. No mayor complaints here
  • Socializing -> This one was the second hardest, problems aside, I was lucky to have colleagues from my Master’s program stay in Norway as well so we try to stay in touch and see each other regularly, I’ve been hanging out a lot with one of them (this is the guy I usually go fishing with). Playing Dungeons and Dragons every Wednesday has been a good way to socialize with my co-workers outside work hours and one of the things I found out I enjoy a lot (I’m event using this blog to document our adventure’s weekly highlights)
  • Language -> This one’s on me, I’ve missed the deadline to register for the beginner’s course and I only made an effort during the first months I was here. One of my goals for next year is to take a course and speak some Norwegian (Even if I sound like a caveman) because I want to talk to people outside work and maybe broaden my social circle
  • Food -> This one is the hardest, of course I suffered a bit being abroad for the past two years but I never imagined I’d be working abroad on a permanent basis. I’ve managed to find Jalapeño peppers and even white corn tortillas recently so that makes me happy

Skiing is something I’d really like to learn but haven’t been able to (I imagine resorts are closed), but I only got to try for a day early in the year, got scared sh*tless and according to eye witnesses the falls were quite spectacular.

Let’s see how I do next year, for now I can say I’m pretty happy living here.

Day 37 of

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