How does it work, Norwegian culture

O’beautiful May: the most celebrated month of the year

I started mapping out this post yesterday and was very excited to invite you in to the Norwegian world of May, but waking up today was like having a brick thrown at my face. It’s snowing. A lot. And it just sucked all the joy out of my summer-hungry soul. As I walked my zombie like body towards the coffeemaker in the kitchen this view hit me:

 

img_7995

 

Oh well.. It’s a part of May as well. It happens every year. It’s just so traumatizing that I put it in that little box in the back of my mind and throw away the key, which puts me in the same soul-sucking situation every year.  Anyway, May is a month of beauty and celebration for Norwegians. It’s the last month of spring, blooming season (when it’s not snowing), a month filled with days off work and the celebration of Independence Day.

I picked out some appropriate pictures to give you a sense of what May looks like in Norway:

 

img_0125.jpg

  1. May Day – our first day off. As a teen you will use this day to recover from a terrible hangover. As an adult you will march the streets for you rights. I will stay in bed, especially with today’s weather.
  2. From late April until the 17th of May you will see high school grads in their overalls doing weird things in the streets. They are called Russ, which is a tradition Norwegians have taken with them from the 1700s Denmark. In 1905 we introduced the red hats in to the graduation process and it’s just grown from there. Now we have a different color for different main subjects, but mainly you see the reds and blues. Red usually means history students and the blue is for economics. We put a lot of effort in to this celebration, so you should not be surprised if you see painted buses driving around with loud music. It’s pretty much a 17 day long festival filled with craziness. Every year the board of the Russ introduces that years knuter (knots) which sets the mood for what the celebration is going to look like. We tie knots and different things into the line of our hats when we have accomplished a task, like a twig for having sex in the forest – or a dog treat for crawling into a shop barking at dog food for 4 minutes. I feel insane as I write this, but it is actually something all Norwegians look forward to from an early age. Children often collect Russekort which is more like a business card that the Russ exchange with each other. Here’s mine from 12 years ago:

 

img_7998

 

Which reminds me that my hat is somewhere in storage with a 12 year old dog treat attached to it. Yackh! We do actually have a Norwegian TV series called Skam (shame) that went viral – where the plot is revolved around this celebration. I think it just got remade in American, but I have no idea how they would make that work..

3. Independence Day: 17th of May is the day of the year when Norwegians actually smile at strangers and say “Gratulerer med dagen” (Congratulations with this day) while they wave their flag with one hand and eat ice cream with the other. The day starts very early, often 07:30 which in practice means 05:00 because you have to dress up in traditional celebration clothes (Bunad) which takes forever to put on. And then we go into the city centers to watch all the children march and sing, in Oslo the Royal family waves from their balcony and there are popup carnivals all over the place. Well, that’s more of a family thing, I on the other hand celebrate a bit differently, but I’ll save that for the actual 17th of may.  I’ll add an old photo of myself in my Bunad here, because I’ve been to lazy to get a new shirt, so I might not be able to wear it this year:

 

img_7999

17th of May is many Norwegians favorite day and it’s not without cause. Norway is a fairly young independent country and it brings much joy to celebrate the liberation from both Sweden and Denmark.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the May introduction and if you’ve ever wondered what would be the best time to visit Norway: May. You might want to be prepared for some snow, but all in all there’s usually a lot of sunny warm days, filled with happy and crazy Norwegians.

På gjensyn!

 

Advertisements
How does it work, Norwegian culture

How Norwegians save money

Norway is a very expensive country. Or we like to think so and complain about it. Truth be told, we’re not way off other European countries when it comes to earnings versus cost. The thing is that our earnings and costs are in the higher specter and we enjoy living the good life while visiting other places in the world, which is why we save where we can. I don’t think saving makes you Norwegian, it makes you human… Who doesn’t like a good deal?!

Norwegians who live close to the Swedish boarder goes to Sweden, regularly, to shop (In the north they go to Russia). Martine and I did this yesterday and I went ahead with the creation of my first video-blog. I want to apologize in advance: I’m not very tech savvy when it comes to doing vlogs (sorry not sorry), but it’s a start! So enjoy the video and I will explain what I bought and why further down in this post.

 

As you can see we bought soda, liquor, proteins and food of course, but we were very focused in the food store, so no filming. Here are my favorites and why I bought them:

I also buy cigarettes. Because i smoke. A lot. Like a chimney. And guess what? They are cheaper. Way, waaaay cheaper. So we drive for two hours to shop – just because it’s cheaper. I think I spent about 3400 NOK – ironically enough I have no idea have much I “saved”, but I know I would have spent much more if I were to buy this amount in Norway.

I hope you enjoyed the video. If there’s anything in particular you would like to see a video blog about, please let me know.

På gjensyn!  

 

How does it work

Norwegian Work life

Good day people of the world,

There has been expressed some curiosity towards how the Norwegian job scene works and I will happily share with you. Norwegians are spoiled beyond recognition when it comes to work, let’s be clear about that. Even if we do complain, it’s just because we don’t understand the outside world or we haven’t had a moment to appreciate how lucky we are. The Swedes do though, which is why they come to Norway to work – like many other Europeans. Here are three reasons:

  1. Great pay.
  2. Excellent work conditions.
  3. Fabulous pay.

Norwegians are payed very well compared to other countries. We don’t have any rules for minimum payment, but we do have different organisations that work for different branches to make sure workers interests are safeguarded. For instant, if you work in the local supermarket your minimum hourly pay would be 157,- kr (approximately 21 dollars/17 Euros) and it goes up if you work after 16:00 in the afternoon. A full workweek is 37,5 hours and we have very strict rules for overtime. Actually, if you work in the public sector you are not allowed in to the office the next morning if you’ve spent to many hours the night before, it’s an enforced rest time. Not so much in the private sector, but they also have to follow the rules. There is also a limit to overtime during a year and rules for what percentage you are to be payed on top of your normal salary. There will of course always be employers who tries to take advantage, but if found out that will really sting. All in all, Norwegian work life is good!

The question I got prior to this post was “Does a place of work tend to be pretty quiet?” and the answer is: it depends on the workplace. Personally I’ve worked in both a calm environment and in a stressful one. Usually the stressful one – I’ve worked a lot of projects and they never create a clam and quiet environment due to all the deadlines and the organizational changes they bring both on the supplier and the client side. On the bright side I do have the freedom to work from home in peace and quiet when I need to. In which I am very grateful for. Now, as I have mentioned before Norwegians are trend followers and the trend is a mobile office, so unless you work within a specific branch that requires you to be in place, most employers provide this freedom.

With that said, here are some simple facts about the Norwegian work scene:

If you have any other questions related to this, I will be happy to answer.

På gjensyn!