All the pros and cons.
Let’s be honest, if you ever heard of Norway, you probably heard either about Oslo, Bergen, or Trondheim. No one ever knows about Kirkenær, Gjøvik or Magnor. Especially since we are bombarded with information about how many immigrants live in the capital.
When I first came to Norway I lived in Hamar, which is quite a big city (for Norwegian standards) with around 40k citizens. Then I met my partner, finished studies in Poland, and ended up in a small Norwegian village (well, three different ones, because we moved around a lot).
- Everything is close
My apartment is around 5 min walking distance from my workplace, and the same with food shop, gas station, or shopping mall. I don’t need a car, nor do I need to take a bus, but I’m quite a lucky one with that (about that in cons). If I would want to go for a run or take a walk I just need to go out of the apartment, every road is perfect for a little tur.
- Quiet, clean and safe
Here everyone knows everyone so there’s no way someone steals something without having the whole village know about it. Norwegians are known for having their homes unlocked most of the time or leaving their cars running, while they’re in the shop. I lost my phone on the way home once and I got it back the same day.
As much as I know about Oslo, everywhere else (far from the big cities) the rental cost, price of apartments and houses and even price for cars are generally lower. In capital you don’t need a car so having a vehicle is quite a luxury (especially when we look at the price of parking), here the car is a need, if you work in a different city, etc. so it’s relatively cheaper.
- Real Norway?
When you live (even in Hamar) and you decide to visit the capital you can see a very big difference. It’s like you drove into another country. Here, many Norwegians dislike Oslo, maybe because they no longer feel like at home there? I could understand that. And where the dialect went in Oslo?
- Not much to do
As much as I adore small villages and their atmosphere, it’s hard to enjoy it if you don’t own the dialect, wasn’t born here, and don’t have lifelong friends from the area. In summer especially it feels like being stuck in some boring vacation place, and the car trips to the cities around are sometimes the only entertainment. There’s some bowling here, some restaurants and one pub, but it gets repetitive.
- Not many job options
Thankfully we both are lucky enough to have jobs, but I remember exactly how painful was those months to find anything, and then the disease came… Nowadays it’s maximum of 10-15 offers here around and in the neighborhood kommuner (Norway is divided into fylke and fylke is divided into kommuner) and the whole fylke has maybe 300-350 options, where nurses and teachers are the most common positions.
- Dangerous roads
Remember when I told you about how we hit the moose with our previous car? Well, I think it speaks for itself. And no lights by the road. No damn lights.
- You need car
I could easily connect the previous one with this one, but you get the point. Everything is in 15-30 min distance (the other cities I mean) and for example, Hamar is 1 hour away. When I got my second job in Norway I had to drive everyday for 1,5 hours (thank god I don’t work there anymore). My partner commutes everyday for 15 min, which is still quite okay.
For me personally, it’s not cons, because I love dialects (if you love them too, check Dialektriket on the NRK website, it’s amazing series about dialects in Norway), but I could understand how it could be for others. If we learn Norwegian abroad or in the big cities, we tend to think that it will be the same everywhere we go in the country. Turns out, you just need to be one hour away from a big city to get completely different talemål (way of speaking). It’s still lovely though!
Anyway, that’s it from pros and cons. Maybe I forgot about something, but my head feels quite heavy today, I have a problem with concentration, I guess I need some walk in fresh air. I hope you all are having a lovely week so far and see you soon with a new post!