Norwegian village through Hungarian eyes
What can a Hungarian family do in a Norwegian village, lying in a territory that is as large as the one-third of the Hungarian Fejér County and having a thousand inhabitants? Based on their blog posts on Határátkelő, you can learn how they find Norwegian life.
The beginning of a Norwegian life
Tamás, his wife, and their son, Barnabás, are living in Eidfjord. The beginning was not easy for them, because at that time their English and their Norwegian were quite poor. Moreover, getting a job in a village, especially if you are an immigrant, is not easy at all. Tamás says that he has never had a permanent job. One day he was a mechanic, the other day he was a painter, another day he was a nursery school teacher – the Norwegian kids were fond of him, so he was allowed to work at the nursery school. He has recently worked as a car mechanic, and, according to him, Norway is the heaven itself, at least for car mechanics, because there are so many veteran cars. Do not think that their living is endangered because of Tamás not having a permanent job. His pension contribution is insured this way, too, and he also pays taxes. Having no permanent job is not a problem. Working at the local retirement home his wife earns quite well, so they would not have to yield to despair, even if they had to get by from only one salary. It also has to be noted that Tamás’s wife works mainly in night-shifts – during 16 days in 6 weeks. By the way, many people in Norway do not have permanent jobs, it is not rare in this neighbourhood, Tamás says. Still, living is more secure than in Hungary.
What to do in a Norwegian village?
You would be entitled to ask, even if you had lived in a Hungarian village before: “Isn’t it dull there?” But Tamás has to admit that life is far from dull. You live in nature and with nature here, along the fjords. You can ride your snowmobile, if you have one, you can cruise, kayak. Another advantage of living in a village are the cheaper housing costs. The family started their life in Norway in a 30 square meter house, than they moved to a 70 and a 100 square meter house, and they are currently living in an even bigger one. Tamás notes that Norwegians are similar Hungarians in the sense that they prefer paying for their own, so they do not tend to pay for a sublease, for example. Tamás and his family share this view; however, they do not want to buy a house until they both have a permanent job. Living in a 160 square meter house, that also has a garage, costs them about 8000 kr. Just like in Hungary, for this amount, a smaller flat could be hired in a bigger town.
There are two hotels, some boarding houses, campsites, a cinema, swimming pool with physiotherapy pool, two gyms, a sports centre, two shops, some fast food restaurants, a retirement home, a health centre, an ambulance station, a natural history museum, two garages, of course, so all in all, everything is available.
So what are the Norwegians like?
They are interesting, as Tamás says. You can not see them going to see one other too often, they take life and responsibility quite easy, and, seemingly, they keep a bigger distance. Tamás mentions school as an example. Schools are permissive in Norway, with which he can identify himself more easily than his wife can. Furthermore, many do not have any qualifications; still, they do not worry about anything. Who cares, really? If you master a profession later, then you will be all right, because one profession is enough to be in an easy street. Tomas says that Norwegian married couples divorce easily, if they feel like. Four children from four different daddies? Not a big deal…
Still, Norway is a great country for children, because they can try everything they want, there are no financial obstacles. For example, there is a music studio in the village, facilities for swimming, skiing, playing football, even for girls. And here Tamás draws some attention to the military service, which, since last year, is compulsory for girls, too, so there is no lack of equality. There are many women working as truck drivers, too. People living in villages earn their wages from farming. Many breed lambs, grow apple, plums, but no poppy seeds for baking noodles, which is really missed by Tamás. Milk is collected from farms, so not only the large companies have the chance to get by.
Another interesting fact that Tamás mentions is that every employee can excuse 20 days on their own at work in one year. That is, you do not need a fit note from your GP. As Tamás sees, people make use of this benefit.
Another feature of Norway with which people are spoiled is getting some salary for substituting your colleague at work, Tamás states. What if the employee, who should substitute the other employee is sick? Well, there comes a third colleague, who also receives the money for substitution. They really take everything easy. They are not anxious about anything. Isn’t the car repaired by time? So what? Some work remained but your working day is over? No problem, you will do it tomorrow. Stressing about work? Come now!
Moving back to Hungary?
From Norway? No way. This is the land of beautiful fjords with winding roads, small lakes and amazing waterfalls. The family is not planning to move back to Hungary, because, as Tamás says, even if their life is not roses all the way, still, there are far more perspectives.
Copy editor: bm