Recently, I’ve been asked how living in Norway has changed me?
Well, it changed me in many ways. I have learned a lot about myself and about others. I have learned what it means to be a human being and what it means to be tolerant. The concept of “tolerance” doesn’t really exist in practice in my country of origin.
I have learned that I don’t have to be perfect, that perfection is impossible, and trying and failing is a part of the winning process.
I have learned that people can help each other out of the need of helping. The need of contributing to the welfare of their neighbour.
I have learned what it means to be grateful also in fact, and not only in speech.
Norway has been a poor land until about 60 years ago. It was a hard life being a farmer or a fisherman. That’s why people have learned to be grateful for everything they had, or came to them.
There was none or little rich or noble people, therefore class distinctions were less visible. Each farmer or fisherman was a king on his/her land and in his/her house. Everybody was proud of what they did and about what they had. They didn’t need to kneel in front of anyone. When the time came to be independent from Sweden, they reached to Denmark for a king.
Equality among people is a high-priced value. At all the dinners I’ve been invited, I have seen how chefs, waiters and people who helped would be praised and brought in front to be seen. This kind of work is not taken for granted. There is always a “thank you for the food” speech. This is something I have rarely seen in my country of origin. If there is, I didn’t come across, not in this way.
In my experience, being nice is important at all levels of society. The word of a kitchen made can be just as valuable as the word of the director. It is important that someone else knows you as a human being, besides your trained skills. Doesn’t matter how good you may be at your job, and how many qualifications you’ve acquired, if you are not behaving like a human being, you may lose quite a lot.
People talk and sometimes the experience of it can be felt like “Everything you say can and will be used against you” which we see in American movies when someone is arrested. This is also because the number of inhabitants was always small, and everyone was heard when spoke, even if the voice was not very loud.
This is not something I was used to from my culture. When growing up with many people around us, we needed to shout louder to be heard. Small intonations wouldn’t be heard. It is not always happening here. Words spoken without thinking and which would be overheard otherwise, will be heard here. Of course, this has advantages and disadvantages, in the same time, the system is built in such a way that there are always ways for everybody to be heard, even without shouting.
I’ve noticed that some times, a good way of fighting a fight is just to remove yourself from the situation, and things will sort themselves out, better than if you are in the midle of them. Letting people to come to their own conclusions can be a far better way of communication. You may have the pleasant surprise that the conclusions they come to are also your own, or even better for the given situation. All you need to do is breath and let “everything fix itself” or “alt ordener seg” as Norwegians say, and use THE TIME to help you.