Q&A (Part 2)
Q: Hi susan, I recently inquired in the Philippines about the procedure in moving to Norway. Basically its best to begin with permit to learn and levelling up to working after passing the requirements of the Norwegian language. I am trying to raise the show money needed as part of the application process. I am a single man and have no strings attached so I am open to the idea of pursuing this. I hope I can achieve this before I turn 40. Any insights u want to share to me ? ALLEN
A: Hi Allen. You are right with the application of student visa though it will cost you a fortune. The last time I heard is you have to have at least 80,000 kroner in the bank so you can prove that you can finance yourself while studying. This will cover accommodation, enrollment fees, food and other miscellaneous. You seem to be focused on what you are aiming for so I encourage you to pursue it.Focus on the language acquisition and everything will turn out right. By the way, I assume you are a skilled worker,right? i.e., nurse, engineer, doctor or dentist. Language is the most important here and your license should also be authorized so you can practice your position. You are still young and if you know how to speak norwegian and you are an authorized skilled worker and LUCK is with you, there will be no problem. All the best!
Q&A (Part 1)
It has been a long time (again) since I posted something here. I apologize for not replying to the letters sent via email and tumblr. I have read all of them and let me take this opportunity to thank you for dropping by the site and for taking time to send me messages. Here are the some of the messages and questions that I tried to answer. I will post the second part later.
Q: Is there pay when you do språk practice?
A: No, there is no pay. However, when you do arbeidspraksis, you get 300kroner as daily allowance.
Q:Haven’t heard from you in a while! How is everything?
A: I have been busy, lazy, sick and tired. :(
Q: Do you know what pedagogisk leder means? I am looking for a job in a barnehage and i came across this position wanted in a barnehage in Norway.
A: Pedagogisk leder means Leader in Education or *the principal*. To be qualified in a job like this, you have to have a formal education on pre-school learning.
Q: You deserved that solo trip! Do you speak Italian?
A: Unfortunately, I don´t. Ciao.
Q: Hi Susan, I am sooo glad to have found your blog… you see I was watching a house hunting show (I know… long story). I searched and found your blog so informative and eye opening. I am a single mom looking for a new life away from the U.S.A. Love my country not loving what is going on with job market etc. I am a recent graduate from a college with medical assistant creditials. So my question, is it even worth making a go of it there in Norway?
A: It really depends on what you are trying to look for in a new life. If you have a good background on being a medical assistant, maybe you have a good chance here. Health positions are always in job search engines. It is one of the most wanted jobs here (and engineers). You can always try. Just prepare yourself in adjusting with the new life especially in the social part. It´s quite hard to find friends here. It will be completely different from the environment you have there in the U.S. of A.
Q: Do you still check your yahoo email account, newinorge? (is it newinorge or newinnorge? Just wanna make sure so I don’t send my email to the wrong account hahah) I will be moving to Norway in June and I’d love to ask you some questions (yes, I’ve read a lot of your wonderful posts, but I still have 1 or 2 questions and would love to talk to you!) :-) Thank you!
A: Yes , I still do check it. I suppose you´re here now and enjoying the rain and the unpredictable sun. :)
Q: Hei! Hope you’re doing well. Do you still work at the hotel? I can not believe that you couldnt find a more suitable job for you, du er ei kjempe flink jenta! I think it would have been better for you to continue with norsk kurs, take the prøve3 and then look for a job thats more suitable to your capabilities. Your english is perfect btw!
A: Heisånn! I am not working in the hotel anymore and I found a job in a hospital here as an assistant. The job is almost the same as what I used to have in the hotel but we get to work in the kitchen too to prepare the buffet, offices, ward and operation rooms etc. I don´t plan to take prøve 3 and even bergen test. It will just be useless unless I want to go to the university and take another course again. I feel old to go to school again. Besides, I need money to pay the bills.Thank you for your message.
And just the same as what you wonder about..I also can´t understand why I can´t find a job that is relevant to what I used to have in my country.
Discrimination in Norway
I never wanted to post an article on this because of its sensitivity but because of some readers who sent me messages/questions about this..well, here you go.
The first year after moving to Norway was the most difficult period for me though I did not directly experience racism or discrimination. I have to admit I was kind of a negative person during the first few months because of the voice inside my head telling me that I do not belong here. So maybe I was being racist to myself??? When I started learning the language, the people I went to school with opened my eyes to see the country in a different perspective. I got to meet different people from different countries with different reasons why they are here. Every immigrant has a story to tell. Some migrated because of love and marriage, some because of not being safe in their country, some because of war and some because of employment. In my class, I never heard of stories about being discriminated but there were some who had fear of possible discrimination.
If you come to Norway, obviously the white color dominates. To be brown or black is being different. Some like it and some don’t. Some norwegians tell me they like my brown color but they don’t want to be brown for a long time. Weird, isn’t it? But they still go to the solarium every weekend to get that tan. Ironic.
When I started looking for a job, my paranoia came back. It was (and still is) a hard struggle. I am confident about my credentials. That is why I find it hard to understand why I can’t get a better job. I have been called to interviews but in the end, it is always a white girl with poor education background and job experience who gets employed. Is it racism? Or is it just me?
I honestly cannot say if I have been a victim of racism here in Norway. Or maybe I just don’t want to admit or even say that I have been discriminated in some point even though maybe I have already been discriminated. I always try to see things in a positive way so maybe, just maybe, I have been living in denial for 3 years. A big question mark.
Not to be able to speak norwegian is a different picture. If you can’t speak it, you will likely have lesser chances of getting a job. If you try to speak it, if you try to live a little bit of a norwegian life, you will have an easier way of penetrating the norwegian society. That is self-explanatory, right?
Everytime I take the tram here, I see different kinds of people from different countries. They all try to speak norwegian even if they know that they are more comfortable speaking in english. I even find myself using a low-tone voice when I speak english on the phone and when I am with my daughter( I speak english to her) because I have a feeling that some might find it irritating that I am using a foreign language.
But there is one interesting part of living here as a foreigner. Even if you look different—flat nose, black eyes,big or small eyes, with black,yellow or brown skin, a typical norwegian stranger will still talk to you in norwegian right away. They have this auto system in them that they think you can speak their language. It is expected.
This might be a useless article for those of you who want to know more about racism here. Racism is a sensitive issue as what I have mentioned and it is a wide subject to discuss. We are all different. Anywhere you go, discrimination is always seen. It is up to you if you are going to put yourself in a sullen attitude because of that feeling.
Most of the time, racism happens within ourselves. As one friend told me once, a man who feels discriminated is in fact the one who discriminates.
The Art of Having a Holiday
I had a full time job in the Philippines and in Singapore for 11 years but I can never remember a moment that I was starving to get a holiday. I was also working hard but my previous job gave me a good exposure to constant change. Sales and marketing job can never be boring and routinary. I was traveling locally and internationally so I was pretty following an adventurous life back then. Then a new life started in Norway. A life that is exactly the opposite of what I used to have. A life that even a simple way of pampering myself like having a new hair color, spa, hairstyle or even a manicure is something I choose not to have. Pampering one’s self in the Philippines is quite easy but in Norway, hell No. It is expensive.
Just to give you a glance of my daily routine and the reason why I needed a holiday. Everyday I wake up at 4 in the morning so I can catch the early bus and the tram going to work. When the tram reaches the nearest station to the hospital, I still have to walk for about 13 minutes, uphill and downhill. The early morning coldness sometimes kills me and I always talk to myself so I can stay focused on my walking. My brain sometimes gets “frozen” and this is even worse when it is snowing. I start working at 7 and I get my breakfast at 9 (allowed time to eat) so it takes 5 hours after waking up before I get my first meal for the day. I work 5 days in a week (with a weekend shift every other 2 weeks). I work hard. My job is one physical work. I am a hospital assistant who cleans the rooms and prepares food for patients. I do not just sit infront of the computer and types letters and numbers on the keyboard. The social part in my job is limited. I do not talk a lot when I am working because I am not expected to do that. I am not a marketing person anymore. There is a little need of talking when you are cleaning, you know. There is a proper venue for that and that is what you call “break time” , 15 minutes for breakfast and 30 minutes for lunch. I finish at 2:30pm, walk again to the tram station, take the bus after then pick up my daughter at school. We reach home around 4:15, I make dinner, eat, help her with homework, clean the kitchen, do some other household chores and help her with some other things. We go to the bedroom around 7:30, play a bit and read. I make sure we are both sleeping at 8:15 (the latest). I wake up at 4am again the next day to do the same routine.
I started this job on August 7 2012 and this routine has been my life. I never had a break since then. Here in Norway, working straight for almost 7 months is tough. Most norwegians cannot even do it and some even tell me that they cannot imagine doing what I have been doing. I do not have a choice, I say. I cannot find a permanent job close to home. What can I do?
It is tough. I do not have a wide social network. I do not have close friends and close relatives around. It feels heavy. Work is physically exhausting.Th weather is terrible. The sun which I treated as one of the best things that God has made is one thing I rarely see (except for summer which happens for 3-4 months in a year). I don’t have a househelp anymore like which I used to have in Manila and in Singapore.
Living this kind of life made me hungry to fulfill one of my dreams when I was young. I remember how I would always imagine myself to be in Europe or New York walking alone and doing things I would love to do spontaneously. I buried that dream when I got married and got a kid. I told myself that it would be impossible because I am already a family woman (which is fine because it’s a choice I made- no regrets or whatsoever). I have chosen to be a mother and a wife and I am aware of the responsibilities attached to these titles. However, I just found myself one day looking at cheap flights going to Venice. Talked to my husband about it and he said yes right away. Big thanks to the Lord for making me marry a man who respects my individuality.
Isn’t it ironic? Choosing Venezia as a solo travel destination despite the fact that it is one of the most romantic cities in the world. I love doing uncommon things. Really.
So now… let me tell you. I had an amazing experience. Hard work pays. The best thing about working in Norway is no matter what you do as a profession, you can give yourself an incentive trip in any destination that you want. I know I deserve this because I work so hard. I clean people’s mess just to earn this money
I want to share the pictures I took from the very first solo travel experience I just had. It was memorable. I will definitely do this again.
*Pictures on next posts*
I love the narrow streets in Venice .. i love walking through them and feeling the spirit of the uneven walls, wet pavement and cracked bricks. It felt like i was conquering fear.
The only private ride I took courtesy of the hotel. This was the ride going to the island of Murano where I watched glass blowing masters.
Top left is the little terrace where i spent my time smoking, drinking prosecco and watching both tourists and locals passed by.
It really is a different experience to have coffee here. I intentionally have this as my last stop so I won’t have a choice to go back. Just a taste so I will still long to go back to Venice. A lot of famous people spent their time doing their artworks here. Charles Dickens, Henry James, Lord Byron - even Casanova - are all known to have this as their favorite spot. I highly recommend this for you who want to visit Venice. This is the oldest coffee shop in Italy and one of the oldest continually operating coffee shops in the world since 1720.
I went to Baraco Jazz Bar on my first night. There was nothing special about it except for the hanging bras. I had prosecco and valpolicella ripasso. Oh it was an amazing night. Listening to Sade and Norah Jones music while staring at couples dating inside the bar was perfect. I stayed at the bar talking to a homo (pa menchu) bartender who loved exercising his english skills. He was sooo good looking but oh so gay! Haha I spent around 15 euro (i think) for the 2 drinks then on my way back, i still went to another bar just to grab one more glass of prosecco. But last night, i went to Coop grocery store. I got a bottle of cheap prosecco and a bag of chips for 3 euro :). And yes, i drank it all :)
Visiting Venice is like visiting the past. It really is a very old city. I explored the place through public transportation from the first day til the last..(i used the water bus/vaporetto from the airport to the hotel and within Venice). Transportation here is all about boats. Being situated in a lagoon, boats are the most convenient medium to explore the city. You can also walk but be ready to get lost :). You can get a water taxi (a private boat) but it’s too expensive for me. It was an amazing experience to see the Grand Canal, Rialto Bridge and the Basilica San Marco.
From Norway to Venice
Just a short text that I am in Venice right now having a glass of prosecco. Ciao :)
Q: (Just finished reading all of your blog entries! Still got some questions for ya) What have you been doing? You haven't been on for almost a month!
Hei! I have been busy working. I now have a permanent job. Isn’t that awesome? >) It was a busy year for me. Start of 2012, I got a waitress job in a very nice hotel but I resigned after 6 months because of the evening shifts. So I looked for another job again and then came August, I got to start working in a hospital. I am now working in a hospital with 100% position. Here in Norway, you can choose to work in different percentages. 100% means full time and the rest means the opposite hehehe. It is not yet a dream job for me but it is a dream percentage in a perfect daytime job. I am the one of the girls who clean the patient’s room, fix their bed, pack the instruments and prepare the buffet. I work 35 kilometers away from my home so I have to wake up at 4am to catch the early bus then run to the train from work so I can pick up my daughter at 4pm from school. I am always exhausted but still always thankful I have a job.
Thanks for dropping by!