Hei! Jeg heter Susan. Asian. Filipina.
I arrived here in December of 2009. My new life has been a series of ups and downs. This is where I write all the things that amaze me in living a new life here in Norge. Some are rants, some are funny experiences, some are questions and some are just random thoughts. I like sharing my experiences to fellow immigrants.
All photos are taken by me (unless otherwise stated).
Join me as I discover the costly, serene, sometimes crazy but definitely beautiful Kingdom of Norway.

My New Life in Norway

The After-Dormant Post

I have been inactive in my blog for more than a year and I know a lot of you have been waiting for me :). I am so sorry for not answering your private messages—I currently have 75 in my inbox and I feel so guilty for being so useless. Probably some of you have unfollowed me because of being dormant here. Right now, it’s 10:15 in the evening. I am at the bus stop with nothing to do. The cold stimulates my brain to write an entry so here I am again. I came from my evening school , missed my bus and I have to wait for an hour for the next. So yes, you read it right. I am back to school. Give me some applause. I know I have mentioned earlier that I do not intend to go to school again here in Norway simply because I feel old to do it and I am not confident enough with my language skills. But due to some new opportunities, my path changed. I will try to talk to about it in my next post. For now, let me leave you one statement to ponder on. “Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”


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Nursing Job in Norway?

 I have received numerous messages asking me how to help them in looking for opportunities here in Norway in the healthcare industry most especially being a nurse.  I honestly do not have a safe and confident answer about it because I actually know someone who is close to me looking for the same opportunities. If we know the maze, she could have gotten the cheese already :)

I cannot give a good advise on this but if you are really interested, the very first thing you have to do is to apply for authorization of your license. Visit this website to read about the policies.  When you get the authorization, you can apply for a student visa since you need to go to school and learn the language. This visa can be used for a year. Visit the UDI Website to know more about this. It will be a long process but it will be worth it. You cannot work as a general nurse in Norway right away since they require you to take exams on language and competencies. To prepare yourself for this, you need to start from scratch. 

***This blog entry was created last year. Please visit UDI website to confirm information about student visa acquisition. I have heard that this particular visa type is no longer available.
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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!

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Q: Is 6 months enough to pass the Bergen test ? i have a bit of swedish language and spent a year in Sweden with Level B2 in Swedish. I am currently in the U.S doing PUblic health.
A:  Different people learn in different ways so I cannot really tell. It also depends on how focused you are on learning it and how often you use the language in everyday conversations. Use your swedish background as an advantage and you will learn fast. I am sorry if I cannot give you a confident answer. I am also struggling with it though I can easily express myself now and I easily understand what people say to me.
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Q:Hei! Hvordan går det? Jeg heter Herlyn. 6 months na po ako dito sa Tromsø, Norway. Tanong ko lang po kung ano pa po yung nakatulong sa inyo mag-aral ng norwegian language?:)  (Hi. How is it going? My name is Herlyn. I have been living here in Tromsø for 6 months. I just want to ask what else has helped you in learning the norwegian language?)
A:  Hei Herlyn. Jeg kan ikke si at jeg er flink nok med språket men det beste måtte som jeg kan anbefale er til å bruke det spesielt på jobb. På jobb har du ikke valg men å snakke norsk. Jeg håper du fant en jobb nå. Du må være ute og integrere deg i samfunnet. ( Hi Herlyn. I cannot say that I am good enough with my norwegian but the best way that I can recommend is to use the language at work.  You have no choice but to speak norwegian at work. I hope you did find a job now. You should be outside and integrate yourself in the society).
 
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Q: PS…I just sent you a ?, single Mom looking for a new beginning. How often do you blog. Please write more..you are so real. Please fill in the blanks.

A: I was religiously blogging before but when I started working 100%, I could not find time anymore.  I am on sick leave right now because of chicken pox complications that is why I´m here again. Blessing in disguise :)
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****Thumbs up and huge cheers for what you’ve been doing :* Dominika (immigrant from Poland)
A:  Thank you dearie!
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Q: Blir du i Norge resten av livet? (Will you stay in Norway for the rest of your life?)
A:  Nei, jeg vil reise tilbake på Filippinene når jeg blir pensionist. (NO.  I want to go back to the Philippines when I retire.)
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Q: I recently went to Norway for a month and LOVED it. I actually am thinking about moving back and living with the guy i fell for. Should I? And id norwegian hard to learn? I know some. But yeah.

A:  Follow your heart.  Go girl.
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Q: Hi, Susan, I have just come across your blog, and find it very interesting. My name is Stephen, and I live in Australia. Could you tell me, do you think Norway is a racist society? I suppose all societies are to some extent, but I was just wondering about Norway in particular. Cheers!

A: Hi Stephen. This is my piece on discrimination.   Thanks mate!

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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.

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Q:Haven’t heard from you in a while! How is everything?

A: I have been busy, lazy, sick and tired. :(

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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.

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Q: You deserved that solo trip! Do you speak Italian?

A: Unfortunately, I don´t. Ciao.

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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.

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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. :)

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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. 


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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.



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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*


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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.

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.


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A maze of narrow streets. I do have a special connection with them.

A maze of narrow streets. I do have a special connection with them.


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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.

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.


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Top left is the little terrace where i spent my time smoking, drinking prosecco and watching both tourists and locals passed by.

Top left is the little terrace where i spent my time smoking, drinking prosecco and watching both tourists and locals passed by.


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Served on an antique silver tray. A lovely coffee experience at Caffe Florian.

Served on an antique silver tray. A lovely coffee experience at Caffe Florian.


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It was a memorable trip, Venice. Grazie.

It was a memorable trip, Venice. Grazie.


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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.

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.


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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 :)

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 :)


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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.

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.


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