Norway and 9 things that are different to Sydney
Let's state the obvious that the seasons are flipped when you go from one hemisphere to the other. Currently winter in Norway, which makes it Summer in Australia. This is one thing a lot of people both in Sydney and Oslo got confused about.
Norway has terrific public transport! There are ‘real-time’ boards showing when the subway/bus/train is arriving and it’s always on time, which is insane(ly fantastic!). Coming from Sydney I thought things were figured out but turns out it's a complete mess down under.
Sydney has the best beaches in the world (total bias but it's the truth *sips tea*). Here in Norway, not so much and it's quite sad. No disrespect but summer here has nothing on Sydney!
Christmas traditions are super cosy and inclusive in Norway. It's dark, cold and lonesome so to get through these tough times, Norwegians throw lots of parties, bake lots of cakes and are really into the spirit of Christmas! There are 7 different kinds of ‘cakes’ (not really cakes but biscuits) that are baked leading up to Christmas, super cute tradition right?
Shoes are not worn in houses. I don’t know about you but in Sydney, I always wore my shoes in the house… just me? Or does everyone else do this? haha. It makes sense though in Norway, during the winter you don’t want to be tracking snow around the house.
The welfare and education systems are fucking fantastic! Education is free, which is how it’s meant to be and the welfare system here really looks after people. You know, in Sydney I feel that both are ridiculous. Education is hella expensive, especially for international students who have to pay 3x the amount than domestic students. The welfare system is a joke, so many people fall through the gaps, medicines at the pharmacy are expensive and people on the pension get barely enough to get by. Here is a quick link to a very brief article from the NAV website about the Norwegian welfare system: https://www.nav.no/en/Home/Benefits+and+services/Information+about+NAV+s+services+and+benefits
Since being in Norway, I have not come across any racism, which is super nice. Being a woman of colour this can always be scary! Norwegians are rather really reserved people, I find that when I am on the train or bus, no one will smile or talk to you, which is weird! I for one am super talkative and want to engage with people but I guess it’s the culture? I don’t know but I am determined to throw all my niceness on these Norwegian people, they need it and so do I, especially during this cold winter time!
Side break: Actually in my gym, there is this old guy who is constantly having a stare competition with me, he’s around 70 something and is intense. I tried smiling at him a few times but this sucker just shook his head, like ‘This is no good’ haha. The gym is always busy with elderly people which is nice cause I don’t feel as intimidated working out when it’s a bunch of old timers. But yeah, he’s proper death staring me from across the gym floor and it kills me cause I want to ask what his problem is but same time he probably doesn’t see enough melanated people around (cause it’s Baerum and it’s ‘rich’ white folk everywhere). In the beginning, I wanted to slam him cause YO WTF! But then I figured that it ain’t my problem and he can just enjoy my nice brown self. So yeah that’s the only time I’ve felt uncomfortable but given what I’ve come from to this, of course, I had (still have) my doubts about wypipo.
And Sydney, I feel (no, I fucking know) is racist and of course, I can say this because I am an Aboriginal woman who’s grown up in one of the most renowned communities in Australia and I am a minority who has copped a lot of racism throughout my short 24 years of life. Australia is at least a good 20 years behind Norway in many ways and I hope some of you agree with me and if not, come through to Norway and see for yourselves :)
Nature! It’s a totally different world here in Norway. I can walk freely outdoors (when I want to) and nothing is trying to kill me! :) I am not very outdoorsy because living in Australia will leave you with a fear of the outdoors, plus I grew up in the city… But the few times I’ve been out in nature in Australia, legit everything is out to get you! I remember walking through the bush up in Orange (a town that is known for its apples… what right?) and I nearly got killed by a freaking red belly black snake! There are also ticks, spiders (there are spiders big enough to eat birds!), crocodiles but not that south in Sydney and even the birds are trying to kill you in Australia especially the Magpies.
The city is much smaller. There are around 630,000 people living in Oslo and roughly 5 million people in Sydney. I think it’s lovely living in a smaller city like Oslo as big city living can be so exhausting, you know? Cars revving it up in the city (Norway has restrictions on noise, that goes for cars and lawn mowers, you can’t be doing garden work on Sundays, it ruins the serenity!!), people out and about 24/7 and quite frankly it’s just concrete everywhere! So small city for me it is and the entire Norwegian population can fit in Sydney itself, that’s how small the country is too!
So far this is all I could think of but Norway has been an absolute pleasure to live in, despite the sun going down at 3pm and lack of sunshine, it’s growing on me. The people are generally lovely, nature is gorgeous especially with the snow and I am really enjoying being ‘koselig’ in this winter wonderland!
Also today my blog has been up for 1 month! Happy 1 month my lovely readers <3
DISCLAIMER: This blog is just my personal views and thoughts on life. They should in no way be used as a substitute for professional help with anything. If you or someone you know suffers from mental illness please get professional help. For help with mental illness in Australia, you can contact Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636 or through their website here [https://www.beyondblue.org.au/]. For help with mental illness in Norway, you can contact Hjelpetelefonen at 116 123 or contact your local mental health centre. If you’re anywhere else in the world please search for mental health professionals in your area.