Jay: From There to Here
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Norway, etc.
Hello! My name is Jay and I’m a Canadian who left Canada just over 2 years when my husband was offered a position overseas. We spent 2 years in Gabon, West Africa before accepting a second posting in Stavanger, Norway.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
Before we moved overseas we spent half a year commuting between Houston and Canada and in order to stay in touch, I was sending out emails to our friends and family when I figured posting to a blog might be easier. As time went on, I really enjoyed chronicling our experiences and the blogging community was really supportive.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
Well some of the most popular posts as of late would be this one where I talk about the difficulties of expat life under a company or when I had my readers guess where we were moving, but one of my favorite posts (and my husband’s least favorite) is when I talked about French kissing.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Norway differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
When we moved to Gabon, absolutely everything was different and we had to completely adjust our way of living. Moving to Norway has felt a bit like coming home. Things are developed, rules are followed and the outdoor lifestyle feels similar to Canada. The biggest challenge has been our inability to speak or read Norwegian. While most people speak English here, all signs, websites & labels are in Norwegian and it’s been a difficult learning curve.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Norway? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
As I mentioned above, after Gabon we felt pretty prepared for Norway. We had researched housing on Finn.no so we had a good idea what to expect. We read a lot and chatted to people who had been to Norway so we felt like we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Had we had more time & resources, I would have liked to start learning Norwegian a bit ahead of time.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
We haven’t really had anything too funny happen to us yet although I’m sure it’s coming!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Norway?
- Come with an open mind. Things will inevitably be different from your home country but try not to get frustrated and negative.
- Everything is very expensive here but don’t limit your experiences just because you don’t want to spend the money.
- Your experience is what you make of it. Put yourself out there, try new things and reap all Norway has to offer!
How is the expat community in Norway? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expats community seems fairly large and diverse in Stavanger. There is a really great group called Stavanger Expats, which hosts many different expat activities to help network. As in any location, you do have to take the steps yourself to make friends. We’re still settling in and hoping to become more involved as time goes on.
How would you summarize your expat life in Norway in a single, catchy sentence?
Norway is absolutely stunning and we’re so happy to be able to call this beautiful country home for a few years!