The Big Change: Moving To Norway
It took me moving continents to finally get back to the blog.
So hello! It’s been a while. And by a while, I mean 2 whole years!
Life Update: I live in Norway now. I married a kind caring man (you know the type I hadn’t dated before. Ha!) and moved here to be with him.
I landed in Oslo on January 1st to empty, silent streets, leafless trees and so much darkness. Everything shut by 4 pm. It was dark by 3:30-4:00 in the evening and sun rise was only by 9 in the morning. I missed the dust and grime of Calcutta, the construction noise outside my house even. But for someone who is cold in 20 degree Calcutta winters, I survived my first Norwegian winter (though I hear this was one of the mildest winters).
I never imagined having to start over after 31 years of my life. But here I am, trying to learn a new language, build start a career all over again. So 10 months into my big move, I think I’m ready to impart some wisdom.
- The big decision. I moved to Norway to be with my husband. He's lived here for 8 years and so after we married, I decided to make the big move. I didn't take the decision lightly. I weighed out the pros and cons. I understood fully well that I'd be giving up on a life I'd built, leave friends and family, quit my job. I told myself that starting over will be difficult, but I would manage. I didn't give myself unrealistic expectations. 10 months later, I've come to realise you CANNOT fathom how difficult starting over will be until you have moved and are forced to start over. You may think you’re prepared for the change, but honestly you never really are! So try not losing sleep over it months before your move. I know. Easier said than done.
- Before moving, I knew I would have to learn Norwegian. In fact, I was excited to learn a new language. I mean, how difficult can it be, no? Well, veldig vanskelig! May be my brain is getting slower with age, but boy is it difficult to learn a new language! What I hadn't realised is you ABSOLUTELY need to know the language for everything! Of course, you can order your coffee in English and people will switch to English when they realise you don’t know Norwegian. But most jobs you apply to will require you to speak the language well. You want to research some companies you could work for? Well, their websites are in Norwegian. Want to study? The course you are interested in is in Norwegian. Restaurant menus are in Norwegian and so are magazines, social media, bank emails et al. So here I am, going to class trying to learn a foreign language as soon as I can! I understand a few Norwegian words now, but my brain never manages to translate sentences quick enough to actually respond to a question! As they say, try until you succeed.
- If you love food, you will learn to cook fairly well.
- There will be difficult days when you will wonder ‘what am I doing with my life? Will I ever have a career in this country?’ While I haven’t found an answer to this one, I hear with time, effort and a little bit of luck, you finally find your footing.
- It is easy to feel sorry for yourself but nothing changes until you make it change. So you have to move your ass and do the work. In all honesty, I’m finding it extremely difficult to move my ass.
- Plants make everything better. Get more plants. ALWAYS.
- When did making friends become so difficult? Some days I sit and wonder how did I manage to make all the friends that I did back in India. Yes, there are Facebook groups you could join. You have to put yourself out there, meet people and find the ones you connect with. Well, I have joined a few groups, but putting myself out there does not come easy to me. I know I know! One of these days, I will have to push myself harder. It's not all bad though. I did make two friends in Norwegian class. One, sadly, is not in Norway anymore and the other, we make a plan to explore the city every other week. In fact, she's the one who pushed me to get back to writing a blog. Girlfriends are the best, no? *Hola, G!*
- I never cared for festivals back in India. In fact, I'm probably that rare Bengali who doesn't obsess over Durga Pujo. But now it pains my heart so much to see photos splashed all over social media during festivals.
- I've always had a severe case of FOMO. You can only imagine the level of FOMO I get, every time I see my brothers party without me, friends meet up without me or family gatherings without me! I guess a part of my heart will always be in India with my parents, my crazy brothers and my best friends.
For someone who detests changes, I don’t know how I agreed to move continents. But as a very wise girlfriend told me, think of the possibilities! A chance to start over in a new country! On days, I get too anxious or stressed about it all (which is most days) I repeat this like a mantra.
I don't know if Norway will ever feel like home to me. May be with time. May be not. Who says home has to be one place anyway?
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