Debate on Norwegian lifestyle

While the below doesn’t necessarily state my opinion on things, it’s a copy paste of a debate I read on a mailing group I am subscribed to. I will leave aside names and adresses since it’s not relevant to the post, plus it’s people’s privacy. But I do want to read this debate in the future after my life has faced me with other experiences and see how opinions can change and how the things I found ridiculous can turn out to be true or vice versa.
Here goes (also note that the ‘next’ reply is not always related exactly to the one right above it, but I can’t think of a proper way to align them now, so an alternation of italic/normal and paragraphs would have to do for you)

Hey! Has anyone read the article from today’s cover page about foreigners kidnapping Norwegian children? As the mother of a norwegian child, I found it racist and narrow-minded. Quite offensive. I would like to hear your thoughts if anyone is up for a debate! 😉 http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/article4007413.ece

 

I read the article and honestly I fail to see anything wrong with it. I dont detect any racist or prejudicial undercurrents. To me all it says is that when youre married to a person from another country there is a chance that in case of divorce you may have a hard time fighting for the cutody. Its the same for marrieges in the States. Parents get divorced, one gets custody and moves to another state. Same story – no racism just lots of hurt feelings. Anyone after an ugly divorce can relate to what i am saying.

Matt, you don’t see anything wrong in implying that foreign women are doing this on purpose? You don’t see anything wrong in failing on exposing any reasons why these mothers end up with such dramatic alternatives?

I think youre misinterpreting this article. The fact is that while its probably a small percentge but such things do happen. There are people here who come to Norway from poorer countries to make money the
honest way but then there are those who come here to take advantage of somewhat gullible and naive norwegians and their ridiculous social system which rewords laziness. Anyways, when I see a 20 somthing y/o asian babe with a 60 y/o norwegian….call my cynical but I dont think its love that brought her to him. So Paula – you are an inteligent lady judging by your posts but you need to look at it from both sides.

How do you think that father feels? I thought Id mention that I am basing my opinion on own experience with a polish gold digging ex. Am I jaded you may ask – not anymore because my son is now with me! ha ha ha 😉

Wow I just saw the article holy crap what an ass. So narrow minded.

I’ll pick up the glove as I love discussions about prejudice and religion 🙂
The article itself did not strike me as terribly racist really, I’ve seen worse, both in terms of reality and press. What I find interesting is the slightly naive point of view of the author – to assume a person is willing to invest the time to meet a norwegian, play nice and get him/her to get you babies and then wait for the 9 months plus whatever took for the first 2 prerequisites just to get 500 euros a month for a few years. If one would really put his mind to it, it would be reasonably easy to get some money out of the norwegian government, without the hassle of wasting 2-3 or more years.

I think the article is just an outburst of misplaced preconception about the “two classes of people” – norwegians and the rest – and not backed up by too much brain activity 🙂 It is roughly in the same category with the plethora of articles on the “Romanians are criminals and backward” theme we’ve seen recently.

Well, I guess that a couple of things annoyed me.First the ignorance. Why would women from Sweden, US and UK (Top three on the “facts” list) go through the whole process for 300 euros a month? (I don’t think you can get 500…I don’t even think you can get the 300 from NAV if you live abroad as a matter of fact). Children eat, move, play…it does cost money to support them, it’s not like these women get to spend tis 300 or 500 euros in H&M 😉 And even if these women were receiving parental support and the money was good back home, would it be wrong for the father to support his children? Then, the whole thing about the use of the word “abducting” or “kidnapping”. A mother going back home with her child after a break up is simply natural! When a couple from two different countries have a child and things don’t work out, they are the ones to work out where they will live, where they will raise their kids, not the state or a passport. The automatic assumption that a the kid is “just” norwegian is simply patronizing and ignores the fact that that kid has 50/50 heritage.The article does not even suggest the situations around these cases…I mean, how bad does it have to get that a mother would rather move away and raise her kids without a father than staying here and…why should she stay here to begin with?Why is it so terrible that women want to move back home but it’s understandable that the norwegian father stays here in Norway? Why doesn’t he move to where his kids live if he cares so much?Anyways, the article doesn’t surprised me…it just makes me very sad because Norway is getting more and more racist every day.

Havent read said article but one thing I have known for a while – everyone has some degree of prejudice in him/her the difference between us and the euros is as follows:
– having grown up in a multiracial and multicultural society most of us reject stereotypes. We see others as Americans no matter what race they are or how their food smells.
– native europeans see those of other cultures and races as visitors who are here because they’re gracious enough to have them. In Norway you will never be norwegian unless youre white and born here. If youre turkish, somali or other non white even if youre born here and speak fluent norwegian youre still a foreigner – an immigrant.
As an American whos grandfather escaped holocaust and who grew up in a liberal southen california I reject prejudice based on race or culture even though its not always easy as I find it difficult to seperate certain behaviors of some people from their backgrounds.
I believe that each person should be judged individually and we have to be able judge ourselves just as we judge others.
GO PACK GO!!!!!!

Hmmmmm, did you miss the debate about the Islamic cultural centre in NY city? That was not the US’ finest display of acceptance of funny smelling food

I broadly agree with you about the article, but I have to defend Norway a little on your racist charge.

Generally speaking, I think Norway is better than most countries, even though it has less immigrants as a percentage of the population, the changes have been very rapid over a short time. As you probably know, the Swedish election last year resulted in a Nationalistic party being elected to their parliament for the first time ever, look at Denmark and the Netherlands over the last 5 yrs. Look at the tea party movement and GOP propaganda – and victories – in the US. In the UK election last year do you remember Gordon Brown (correctly imo) calling a woman a bigot who had complained about Eastern Europeans – Brown though his
microphone was off. That sealed his election defeat. If Norway elects the FRP to government in 3.5 yrs time, I will agree with you but I am hopeful Siv and Erna will have a blowup before then 🙂

Sorry, I know this is a little off topic now – maybe we need a “new to Oslo political discussion” list ? 🙂

While we’re on the subject of race and ethnicity, certainly a related theme of the Aftenposten article, the New York Times printed what looks to be a very interesting article on mixed races and ethnicities in the states. I haven’t finished the article yet (it’s a long one) although this is what we might see as people begin shedding some of the cultural mores and beliefs that keep them from mixing. I don’t know. This is probably just speculation on my part. Note that “white” Americans (those of European descent – not including Latin Americans) are projected to be a minority ethnic group during the decade 2040 – 2050. So, is this the fate of Norway?? Interesting, indeed.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30mixed.html?hp

You are absolutely right. The annoying part is partly the gender card which is being played without much reflection. I would bet that if you check court rulings in custody cases where one parent is a foreigner, the foreigner loses, regardless of gender. All cases I know of ended with the national subject getting sole custody, and all have been men.
The non-Norwegian parent is in these cases almost always deprived of his /her rights to mobility ( a human right), cannot leave the country with the child etc. The child is here also deprived of his /her right to cultural
heritage and relations to next of kin or family. It is forceful integration into Norway occurs on expense the child’s alienation from its other cultural and familial heritage. The court rulings in these cases are hardly neutral, but national and the underlying assumption is that it is in the child’s best interest to be Norwegian.
I believe that the gender aspect is irrelevant in relation to the national aspect. It is invoked by two conditions

1) most couples tend to settle in the country of the man (either because the women are “imported” or because the man has a better job, which of course is a result of gender biased labour markets.
2) the “foreign” parent comes from a country where they have little respect for court rulings or do not believe that they can get justice through the system, or in the case of e.g. Sweden, I assume, that they do not consider
the two countries different. Going home is like moving to Drammen they do not realise that the cross a national border into a different legal system and different national priorities.

This is not only Norwegian problem but very common everywhere. I guess the only solution is not to have children with foreigners or get rid of the nation state all together. : )

Yes, that was an incredibly insightful and intelligent reply Lotta. I guess gender equality will be a long time coming though – unfortunately. Nation states will likely be around a long time too! 🙂

There do seem to be some anomalies in the story: NAV is making the guy pay child support but has not seen the kids in 5 yrs – even though he was awarded full custody? Seems to me that the courts could have done a better job to negotiate something a little fairer – shared custody – rather than these extremes. I must say though, I am glad I am not a judge in cases like this. Or Asylum cases for that matter. Those are tough jobs…

I think the Aftenposten’s premise that women would actually plan something like this is ridiculous – as has been pointed out by other responders. Aftenposten is definitely is a “Høyre avis” – I always consider that when reading articles
like this. I expect Klassekampen would report this story quite differently.
It seems like the easiest solution is for men and women to be a lot more careful about having children until they are more certain their marriage will last. Another naive hope I suppose 🙂

I’m assuming that Klassekampen is more “left leaning”. Is this the only non-regional Norwegian newspaper (non-tabloid, I’m assuming) that is left leaning?

Klassekampen is defn left; the only other left leaning paper I know of is Utrop – but that describes it’s self as multi-cultural. There is a communist paper – Friheten – that’s a little too left for me 🙂 I’m not sure if there are others..

Happy Sunday everyone and thanks for such interesting contributions to the debate!
I am a bit surprised that some people don’t find anything wrong with the article and that my chats about the topic with most of my norwegian friends did not seem to raise any concerns among them. There has always been gold diggers in every single town around the world…young asian/african/south american/easter european girls married to old rich norwegian/ german/ danish/ english man are nothing new. How many times have us girls joked around with “marrying a millionaire?” when we were younger? Some of us have the advantage of being able to choose who we want to marry no matter what his income is, but many women from low-income countries find marrying a rich guy the only solution available to them, whether it’s in Norway, France or China. I don’t think it’s fair to judge, unless you have been in their desperate situation yourself.
So what bothered me about the article is the association of this phenomena with child abduction and foreign mothers. It made me wonder, how many young norwegian women have married older guys (wherever they were from)? How many norwegian mothers have moved to a different town to be back with their family after a divorce? Why isn’t the word “abduction” or “kidnapping” not mentioned in these cases? Why do norwegians celebrate their welfare system when it protects a norwegian woman but not when it comes to a foreign woman? What kind of feminism is that?
So why did the writer of this article chose to focus her writing on the raising number of foreign monthers “taking advantage” of the norwegian welfere system “on purpose” when the numbers show that most of this cases involve a foreign mother coming from high-income countries? Financial motives seem to be the last logical reason to me so, I asked the writer herself! Ms Karine Østtvelt, the writer of the article, was kind enough to correspond with me for a couple of days to discuss her article : It turns out that she actually has not met neither heard of any actual foreign woman planning a scam like the one she describes on her article other than “reading about women recommending marrying a norwegian man for his money on online blogs”. Yes, online blogs! Once again I wonder, how many blog entries out there have women suggesting each other marrying a rich guy period? It sounds like someone was eager to relate foreign mothers with a raising, worrying scam to me! In her defense, she mentions the case of this “poor, innocent norwegian father” on the article. I still wonder why would a norwegian court force a father, who does legally have 100% of the custody pay any money to the mother, though? I’m afraid NAV does not work that way and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are other basis
that supported that decision such as domestic violence, for example. Interestingly, any other details about the case were left out of the article, what was important to Ms Østtvelt was to portrait the “poor, innocent norwegian father” and the “evil foreign mother taking advantage of the system”. As I said on my previous post, these parent’s kids are not imaginary, they are real people that eat, need a roof, need to move around, need to go to school and that requires money, to me it’s a basic responsability that both parents support their children in an unselfish way, wherever the kids live. Why didn’t the father just move to Slovakia if he is so concern about not being able to be around his kids? If he hasn’t done anything wrong to the mother or the kids, most courts around the world would have granted him 50% of the custody but of course, this is something that does not fit the traditional norwegian’s mind…why would he have to move? He shouldn’t have to move! This, once again, feels like a patronizing and arrogant attitude to me.

Issues regarding child custody are a problem everywhere, like many of you pointed out, and unfortunately in Norway, court rulings in foreign/norwegian parents cases do in most cases benefit the norwegian part, whether it’s a male or a female. There is a general conception among norwegian goverment institutions that it’s of the child’s best interest to be norwegian and grow up in Norway. I’m surprised people don’t find this patronizing or arrogant. As the mother of an norwegian/argentinean child, I even find it insulting, despising of foreign Cultures. I’m surprised that, as Lotta pointed out, alienating of children from it’s other cultural and familiar heritage is not a concern to government official at all. Is growing up in a rich country the only thing important to the development of a child?
So I wonder, could this general conceptions about the superiority of Norway, courts favouring norwegian parents, together with the difficulties of raising a child without your family around or in a familiar culture, maybe not even being able to get a job because of being foreigner force the mother into such dramatic outcome rather than a 5000kr a month “scam”?

I guess that like Ian and Adrian pointed out, Klassenkampen would have probably looked into these possibilities whether papers like Aftenposten would try to find the smallest little detail to justify xenophobic conclusions.
As I told Ms Østtvelt, I wish someone wrote an article about the challenges of marrying a partner from a diffirent culture and being a foreigner in Norway, basically, just look at the other side of the story. She told me she couldn’t cover “all” the points in every story (What about just two, I wonder?) and that she wished she had known about the issues I mention before writing the article, because it sounded interesting. Oh well, a little research never killed anyone, but I guess that sometimes journalists simply write about the things they are suposed to write to correspond with a political line rather than doing proper journalism. Too bad that articles like this reach people that don’t questions the intentions behind an article, which ultimately contribute to the raising xenophobic attitude of not just norwegians but many people around the world.

Hey,
I am curious how many of you have experienced of have heard of experiences of such cases in other countries and can tell that only courts in Norway would rule in favor of their citizens and kids staying in Norway etc etc? Will other
countries be impartial to this and would easily send the kids away, being less supportive to their citizens?

I am asking out of curiousity to see if it’s true that ‘court rulings in foreign/norwegian parents cases do in most cases benefit the norwegian part, whether it’s a male or a female’ compared to other countries.

Who would know that?

,I’m not even going that far. The court rulings come BEFORE the going-back-home talk happens, my point is that a lot of foreign parents end up with such dramatic decision BECAUSE they see their opportunities here vanish.
After the divorce, foreign parents are usually NOT given what they ask for and added to the difficulties of finding a job, having family and friends to help them with the kids and other challenges, I’m just not surprised people end up
just leaving.

My point is that I feel that other countries are a bit more impartial when the divorcing parents are foreign/national and that that unfair treatment in Norway leads to some parents ending up leaving. Basically, if they treat you like shit, you receive no benefits, can’t get a job and can’t see your children…what are you suposed to do?

You are supposed to do your duty to your children regardless of whatever the personal cost is to yourself. If you have kids, they are your priority whether you live with them or not.
I could tell you a story that is just about as hard as anyone’s, but it would not justify my leaving Norway and abandoning them.

If you have kids here, then you apply for familiegjenforenning and carve out a life here. So what if it is hard, takes time and you have to deal with crap from people. You just do it because that is what a parent does for their child….

Mike, why would the best thing for the kids be that the mother stays in a country where she can’t get a proper job, she doesn’t have the support of her family and feels discriminated every day? THAT was the point of my frustration about the article. This is not about whether it’s fair for the mother or not, of course the parent’s needs come second when it comes to a child, but why Norway? If the mother is from another place and she feels neglected by the country wouldn’t it be for the children’s best interest to have a happy mom wherever she is?I think that you are missunderstanding my point, this is not about defending the mother’s right, but pointing out that there are several factor that affect such a dramatic decision like that and that it’s silly to simplify the situation like that.
I feel that Norway’s position on this kind of cases is xenophobic because it starts with a xenophobic assumption: It is for the best interest of the child to grow up in Norway. It’s simply an ignorant assumption. Why can’t the father just move to wherever BOTH parents have the same opportunities to provide a good life for their kids? Do you know what I mean?

I totally agree that parents should always put the children first in these cases. They should come together and make the necessary adjustments in their lives that will benefit the children most. Children have a right to a
relationship with both parents, equally – IMHO.

That said, and this is an innocent question, how does one apply for, and obtain, familiegjenforening if the family member(‘s) in Norway cannot meet the following condition:
“The family member must also be able to document that he or she is capable of supporting the person or people applying for family reunification. The person concerned must also have a place to live.”

See, e.g., http://introengelsk.cappelendamm.no/c35020/artikkel/vis.html?tid=35624

not 100% for sure, but I think a parent can apply via the child. If the child is Norwegian and the parent is not, and the child is underage I think you can be here that way. Best to ask UDI though since I’ve no ersonal experience in this area.

Thanks for the response. Interestingly, the child is American. All other conditions are the same (parent is not and child is underage). Don’t know if that helps/hurts matters. Regardless, yes, best to check with UDI.

I got my residency permit via applying on the basis of having Norwegian children, while I was a poor foreign invanderer…

What does that have to do with anything? The challenges I’m mentioning go beyond your right to get a residency thru your child or not, it’s a bit more sociological than that…It has to do with nationalism, ignorance, xenophobia…nevermind! 😉

I was answering the question asked. Sure, I added a comment at the end…But I have to say, I get a bit tired of hearing about all the xenophobia here.

I am sure it exists, but there are clearly an awful lot of people who manage to make a good life for themselves even so.

And here is something to think about….

If people are not being accepted, is it at all possible that they are not making efforts to integrate?

Do they ski?

//M

ps— 😉

“If people are not being accepted, is it at all possible that they are not making efforts to integrate?”

If this is truly a serious question, now being posed by someone who claims they are “tired” of “all the xenophobia” being expressed or the attempts by others to obtain understanding or resolution, then one would have to elaborate
on what the meaning of “accepted”, “not making efforts” and “integrate” really are.

I was born and come from the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas of southeastern Florida. It is one of the most multi-cultural areas in the U.S. and also hosts many tourists. The economy and service sector depends on tourism. Good service is key to survival as choices and competition do compel higher standards ( I have found this to be totally lacking in Norwegian society and is best expressed by foreigners who have business or work here, and there is a system of practice in place where even Norwegian businesses admittedly don’t have as much faith in the work ethic of their fellow Norwegian as they do for foreigners in certain physical labor jobs).

Many people that live in Florida are from someplace else.  It’s diverse population is actually, in proportion, a microcosm of the diversity of the entire U.S. population. Over a ten year period it grew in population by about 26%. One of the fastest growing areas in the country during the late eighties and into the nineties.  I think at one time, about 6,000 people a week were moving to Florida, mostly southeastern Florida.

So I am used to living and doing business in this type of environment. Quite progressive and open in many respects, because it has to be.  My profession involves people in a very personal and intimate setting. With this considered, I know people and their needs quite well and had my own business in the service industry since I was eighteen-years-old. My experience dealing with people is extensive. But this does not in any way disregard the sociological issues regarding the differences and acceptance of other people who are different than yourself. That is not just a societal issue, but a human one. I could draw a long list of criticisms about living in my hometown and its people.

The population of just the two cities of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area combined is about 5 million, which is more than the entire nation of Norway. And Florida is flat, so there are no mountain ranges or anything impeding travel
or causing some segments of the population to be isolated from others. This area of Florida is one huge sprawling suburb, turning from its natural beauty into a series of strip malls, box homes and parking lots (in that
respect, it ain’t pretty any longer).

To move from my home environment to Norway is a dramatic change. But I knew in many ways that it would be. And that adaptation would be key to my survival, thriving, happiness, raising a family and perhaps spending the rest of my life residing here. Will there be difficulties and even obstacles? Yes, certainly. Getting to know the environment and the obstacles is important to achievement as a foreigner. If you moved here, live in a major city, acquired a good job, started a family and “got it made” with little or no problems, then good for you. I know there are several of you here who have done just that and are usually the first ones to start dismissing or debating others who indicate
otherwise.  It probably is not important nor relevant for you to discuss, consider or share regarding criticisms, difficulties or strategies to overcome difficulties as part of the process of moving to and living in Norway. In fact you may find some of the discussions to be unbelievable, exaggerated, unfathomable or just undesirable “negativity” as far as your concerned. How nice for you that perhaps you can take an invalidating or diminishing perspective and project it onto others who express otherwise. But I find nothing useful or constructive from that perspective for those who have the need to critic, understand and strategize concerning the short-comings, difficulties and obstacles they have encountered first-hand in their own experience moving and living in ANY foreign country.

Some have the luxury to be invalidating under a veneer of humor and can post about recipes, pub nights and inanities to their heart’s content. No problem. I don’t think you will be treated the same way as others have been talking
about more “serious” and “controversial” matters.

It is obvious that you should learn the language and learn it well. Not just related to a job. And one should do this even though many young Norwegians do speak very good English. It shows respect and can only serve you greatly. And it also does serve to diminish the “excuse” that some Norwegians will use to dismiss you inappropriately for not speaking good enough Norwegian, which does happen and happens quite often. I have experienced myself and heard from reliable others that the “carrot and stick” approach is often used by Norwegians in regard to lack of knowledge regarding using the Norwegian language. In moments where a foreigner should be welcomed and perhaps even show some consideration as a form of honor in their host nation, the excuse to diminish them for not knowing the language by totally “subjective” and thoroughly lacking analysis is a short-coming regarding Norwegians.

But this reality does not give me the luxury to complain, pout and not make an effort to overcome this obstacle and the solution is still the same and my gain. Learn the language and learn it well. Job #1.

More later.
K.

HOW did you manage to enter the country K?

There’s a special amendment in the Norwegian constitution saying that Floridians have no entry to the Kingdom. I’d be careful so you dont get evicted.
It used to also limit gypsies and jews from entry, but the latter two have been allowed entry after legislative adjustments.
🙂
Ebbe
PS: In the old days you could traffic kiwis on library cards.

“If this is truly a serious question”
It was only semi serious. More of an effort to move things away from the serious.
Looks like I missed…

//M

I think it is relevant in the analysis and critique of Norwegians to keep in mind that Norway is a geographically isolated country from the rest of Europe and is therefore culturally isolated.

Even genetically, the swath of people from Gothenburg, Sweden through Olso and up into Trondheim have the “purest” Nordic genes in all of Europe. (Which is why the people in Norway were part of the German breeding program” which is quite an imposition and assault on a people if you think about it. This does a lot to perhaps explain a protective attitude toward your borders, people and infrastructure” and even a firm sense of nationalism. And I believe that Norway not being an official member of the E.U. is a positive thing in this regard. To not have given up so much of its sovereignty. The economic turmoil of the EU is now becoming more than known and thus, in my opinion, illustrates a good move on Norway’s part to not have become an official member. Norway also has contained in its history a somewhat forceful domination-conversion by Christians (first Catholics and then Protestants).

Norway was also invaded and occupied by German Nazis during WWII. These types of events can very much shape the mindset and culture of a small population in a country like Norway. I don’t think the U.S. can relate to being an occupied or conquered land and subjugated by outsides in such a way. (The U.S. seems more to be destroying itself from the inside-out instead due to corruption of mind and institution) And let us not forget that prior to the discovery of oil in the late sixties, that Norway was pretty much a dirt poor country.

I do have to take these things into consideration as an outsider now living in Norway and deal with them should their historic and collective residue should influence my interactions with the people. And I do consider this to be a consideration regarding the generalization of an “unwelcoming” attitude by Norwegians towards me as an outsider. And in that snap judgment it is never considered by Norwegians that I emigrated to Norway, not immigrated. Which is a big difference in many respects.
I did not move here in desperation from some impoverished place of extreme disadvantage, nor did I move here because I was licking my chops over the next vein I could find sucking the great Norwegian Socialist Welfare system teet dry for my own benefit. Nothing could be further from the truth. But it is surprising how a spectrum of minor to severe assumptions are made on the parts of some Norwegians that it could be anything different in my case. Like blanket assertions of who I am, where I come from, my status and why I moved to Norway just being made in a less-than-flattering-light with no real information about me to go on.

But this is human nature and can be found anywhere, it just happens to be found where I am and about me so I like to address it critically, but with the intent of understanding, adapting and thriving beyond it as an obstacle”.an obstacle of other’s short-sighted , and perhaps small-minded, perceptions.

For example: just the other day, I was able to secure large sum of money to help me start a new business from my local Kommune. When I told a local Norwegian woman in a casual conversation what I had
accomplished she instantly replied, “See, this is the type of take-advantage attitude that foreigners have when they come here.” What she was saying is that because I am not Norwegian, am a foreigner and
received this aid, that I am basically a parasite.She needed no further details about me or my situation to not only arrive at this conclusion in her own mind, but show no restraint in verbalizing it. Despite the fact that I moved here with my own money, am solvent in business, quite well off, speak the language, and have lived here in Norway for five years now while working and paying into the tax system while having a Norwegian wife
and raising two children. These possibilities were not important for her to even potentially consider at all.
Fortunately, the person processing or authorizing me to get this aid did not have, or could not legally have, the same opinion and prevent me from getting it.

Based upon other’s “subjective” analysis I am condemned to always be subject to such snap and unfair judgments no matter how long I live in Norway, how successful I am, no matter how much I speak the language or anything else. It is just the way it is. And it is actually more common than I am comfortable with. The attitude I am referring to almost suggests that because you are a foreigner now living in Norway ” Your money, is really Norwegian’s money”. And this is further reinforced with an inflated nationalistic attitude and pride that Norway is so great that anyplace else is a home for ignorant turds floating in an inferior cesspool of economic, educational and moral decay. The attitude can be this extreme or lesser along a spectrum of judgments depending on who you are dealing with. And most people with this attitude are the most ignorant in the fact they have never ventured outside their own borders or seen anyplace else. It is the Norwegians that went to school or lived five to ten years in another country that have a more educated, respectable and realistic perspective in this regard.

I call this and other like-phenomena the “Norwegian Beverly Hillbilly” syndrome. (A bunch of small-minded mountain rednecks that struck oil.)
I had to remind this lady that in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds that over 800,000 impoverished and unemployed Norwegians traveled to America for free or cheap land and opportunity. And that the same small-minded charge could be made about Norwegians to a much more severe degree when you consider the numbers. The other Norwegians in the room instantly felt the weight of the facts as this
loud-mouthed “pølsehode” had been put in her rightful place. She then, defensively, veered off into a tangent about how many white women are raped in Oslo every week. As if this had anything to do with me and her
off-hand disrespectful and ignorant comment.

There are exceptions to this of course, but let us not diminish the realities. Disclaimer. The above post is only written and submitted for those who may find it interesting and/useful. Should you deem it not useful, unnecessary or irrelevant, then please disregard it as being meant for you and post something else entirely in parallel to it. Leave the exchange for those it is truly meant for; thank you in advance.
K.

The question is why do you stay if it so terrible……

He he Annie, don’t go there…it’s funny how these debates always have the same dynamic…someone brings an issue up, some agree and some disagree. The ones disagreeing accuse the ones agreeing of being negative and eventually come to the “why do you stay here then?” “Go home if you don’t like it” There are so many different personal reasons why each of us is here, not everyone is an expat whose company paid for his/her transfer and finds Scandinavia exciting or exotic…all I know is that a lot of us wouldn’t be if we didn’t have to, he he

Sure that learning norwegian well is the job#1, butI always wonder what are people trying to mean by sayings like “making efforts to integrate ” or “squeezing yourself into the norwegian society”…I guess it depends a bit on how many hours long is your flight trip to your homeland…

Integrate into Norwegian Society= ski, eat lakris and use that tobacco that theystick under their lips..

I know you are all kind of joking now but there’s something I still don’t get…why do I, in order to live in a place need to adopt the local ways? That includes the language too, actually. Why do I have to speak Norwegian to my
friends? Why do I have to be into skiing? I ne’er had this pressure in the US or Uk or south America. People can be who they are. Why can’t we just keep our personal identities? Those differences make life alive! 🙂

Hei P, (and the rest of those still reading this)

Then I guess you haven’t been to Kansas (my part of the US) – we’ve got the same small town mentality there as they do here. It’s simply a matter of number and exposure to foreigners. We expect foreigners to adapt to us and if they don’t well, then they can just leave. It happens all around the world. I’ve seen it in France, the UK, the US, lots of places. Everywhere you go that is not a international big city. And we all know that despite Oslo being the capital, it’s not an international big city. It simply doesn’t have the population numbers for that yet.

So it is what it is. Adapting is just a survival method. You adapt to make things easier for yourself no matter where you are. It’s human. If it’s not a change that makes you life easier, well then perhaps you souldn’t make that change. But that’s something to decide on an individual level.
So I dont think Norway is expecting unreasonable things from us, it’s just perhaps that we are expecting unreasonable things of ourselves. And if you disagree, well then perhaps it’s time to educate those Norwegians around you and try to make a change via politics or a trade union or via any of the multiple organizations for foreigners here. 🙂

Does that help?

Good point.
The “small town” mentality definitely explains a lot and often times I forget about that detail but at the same time I feel that when I have been to small places locals didn’t expect me to become them, quite the contrary at times even.
Adapting to the environment and life is definitely a survival skill, but I have never experienced this much emphasis on it. Thanks for the reply!

Great point. In fact, I’m often concerned that Saudi’s who move here are looked at so scornfully when they want to chop the hand off someone who shoplifts from their store

Here is another short story for those that may relate.

I showed up at a local school in my town to do some cleaning job for some extra Christmas cash. I awoke at five a.m. and got to work by six. The other six cleaners were sitting in a lounge drinking coffee when I showed up.
I asked them, “Where do I work and what do I do?” I was perky and ready to start the day and my work. I was then informed by this “real energetic group” that part of “the job” was to sit and drink coffee and talk/socialize with co-workers before working.

They sat for 45 minutes before getting up to work spending most of their time conversing about what was on the television show Big Brother the night before. Later, they take another 45 minute “break”. Every day started like this.
I told the boss that I can’t come in that early and first thing is sit for forty five minutes and then jump up with enthusiasm and vigor to now get my work done. That isn’t how I am built or operate. But I told her that I can come in, start working right away and work so fast and so well that I could leave the forty-five minutes early and you could still pay me for the time due to my blinding speed and efficiency. She said, “No, I couldn’t do that.”

But it would be perfectly fine for me to burn and waste forty five minutes when I came in on doing absolutely nothing but boring myself to death while getting paid for it. Also, when I walked in, the other workers offered me coffee. Which was a nice gesture. I politely replied, “No thank you, I don’t drink coffee.” In response to this they all looked at me with shock as if I just grew two heads. “Why don’t you drink coffee?” they asked. ” Because it negatively affects my sleep, isn’t healthy and fosters addiction.” I replied. Then the “Great Norwegian Wall” arose in front of their faces and I was now deemed a “disturber of the peace”.

After they saw how fast and thorough I did my work, it was now becoming obvious that my superb level of performance was not also keenly looked upon. I was not aware of it at the time, but later it was obvious that I was being
looked upon negatively because my work ethic and behavior stressed or threatened the status quo amongst the “career professionals” of toilet cleaning. It was like watching an episode on the nature channel”¦”The Cheetah v.s. The
Slugs.” “We have one here”¦one that can”¦SEE!”

 

Hmmm”¦will I ever “fit” in Norway?
I don’t smoke or suck on snus, nor do I “hang out” with those that do.

I find having to walk through clouds of smoke on my way into the grocery store or even, believe it or not, into the local hospital to be offensive. But it does bring me comfort that the esteemed around me are participating in self-suicide. Somehow makes my day a bit brighter while I involuntarily inhale second-hand smoke. And I do find those emaciated wrinkled ladies with the cracked lips and deep yellow teeth to be”¦most attractive.

I don’t have any tattoos or body piercings, nor am I into black metal. I left all my sleeveless “wifebeater” t-shirts back home and now have nothing to wear in the summer.

And I am not that hung up on the memory and visage of Elvis Presley or Route 66″¦and any other “dead” Americana that isn’t even popular in America any longer.

I don’t drink alcohol”¦including wine, beer or aquavit”¦nor do I like to “hang out” in bars where alcohol is served, nor “hang out” with those who do drink while they drink. And I am certainly not a recliner-dwelling home brewer either. (If I have to hang out in such a place to play a good game of pool or listen some good music then that may be the exception)

I don’t drink coffee or tea”¦and if I were, five cups would definitely be my limit.

I don’t do drugs”¦including pain medications, anti-depressants and psychotropic drugs.

I don’t eat sugar, candy or drink any soft drinks especially artificially sweetened Pepsi Zero”¦nor do I suck on and consume whole sugar cubes at tea time (That is an odd sight).

I don’t eat pre-packaged convenience foods or frozen hubcap pizza like Grandiosa. I don’t even own or eat microwavable food. I don’t think I could afford pre-packaged foods they are so damn expensive”¦McDonalds for four people is like a hundred bucks.

I don’t like processed meat products, nor do I consider them delicacies”¦this includes cold cuts, hot dogs, køttkaker and fiskkaker. In fact, I find køttkaker to be the most disgusting substance created by
humankind and the horrific experience is only perfectly accented if served afterward with the second most disgusting substance created my humankind”¦marzipan.

I prefer real butter over fake margarines or simulacra spreads.

I don’t eat bread, including the most dense gut-bomb intestinal-fill ever created called bøller, but prefer eating whole grains.

I only eat potatoes about once or twice a month”¦and skinned and boiled to the ultimate in dryness then served with an MSG laden brown sauce ain’t it for me.

And anyone, I repeat”¦ANYONE, who puts Norvegia and/or Jarlsberg cheese on a pizza and calls it “good” needs to have their head examined, unless you thoroughly think that pizza that smells and tastes like vulcanized rubber asscrack is “delicious”.

I don’t watch much television or movies”¦and certainly don’t emulate the Hollywood, the celebrity scene or media-hyped fads.

I do not deny that any culture that Norway attempts to emulate comes across as second-rate buffoonery very much in the same way Las Vegas is known for its over-produced “cheesiness”. (Whomever that young Norwegian male violinist is that won some music contest and is now plastered all over the place”¦”¦.well, you just need to know two words “corny” and “weird”.)

I don’t like it when women walk in public with extremely noisy “clackity” shoes”¦.makes me think a horse is riding up behind me.

I don’t like to wear a scarf, and since coming to Norway, deem it an overly-done fashion accessory.

I don’t highlight my hair with blond streaks and then spike it with a liter of stiffening hair gel while wearing ultra-thin pants with Converse sneakers”¦somehow now resembling some small rodent on acid and amphetamines.

Is it me or do most Norwegians all look alike?

I don’t play video games, nor do I own a “Wii”.
I don’t define myself by what kind of car I drive or the brand of clothes that I wear. People who drive Volvos”¦”bother” me.

I ski, but after about an hour”¦I find it ultimately boring and it kind of hurts my feet.

Icefishing???(…Oh my God!!! I must go now”¦and slice my wrists.)

I do prefer public toilets that don’t charge me to wade in filth and 1950’s décor.

And I prefer to have in-depth and meaningful, but humorous, discourse instead of replying with a series of grunts, snorts and grimaces.

And when I am really feeling disheartened, nothing makes me feel better than to go to an FrP rally and listen to Syv Jensen talk perfect sense”¦she’s just great isn’t she??? (not)

More Later,

K

Hehe, this should probably open a new chapter in those texts with ‘You know you’ve been living enough in Norway when….’ Yet, except for winter related stuff, those things you list here as maybe being
specific to Norway, are things I have noticed in all the European countries I have traveled so far. Smoking, drinking, same clothes, hairstyle, food on tables, TV shows, copying this and that. So I’d just expand all that to Europe,
while lacking the experience of other continents.

I guess I should say that I am not really advocating spitting on people… But it is a measure of just how much it offends me that people are so inconsiderate that they pollute others air with their foul emissions….

If they would just not do it in an area where you are forced to walk by, it would be so much better…

//M

I feel that way about people driving cars… i dont own or drive a car and it offends me that i have to suffer because of someone elses laziness.

That is a fair point.

In my, and many other’s defence, it is a long way to walk to work. Over 40 kilometers for me… On the other hand, do you know how many cars I see on E6 with a passenger in it
(other than the driver)? None. None. None… Isn’t that amazing?

Sure, I drive to work alone sometimes, but mostly there are two of us, as I drop my wife at a bus station near to my office. There must be others that could share a ride but don’t…

Maybe there should be a national ‘ride share’ campaign. //M

 

Well frankly they should show more humility and gratitude. If it were not for the English speaking nations, the Norwegians would be goose stepping down Karl johans gate barking in German.

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