Last year around this time I was quite tired, i had a flight of 18 hours (with one layover in Paris) and at that time it was the first time I had such a long flight, and it was the first time I was in Europe, but not just to visit, to start a new life in Norway.
Funny thinking that is a year now in Norway, starting that my plans where to move to Berlin in Germany instead and somehow I ended here, which I saw as “destiny” or something like that, just trying to follow the opportunities I had in front of me.
After a year I had many experiences here, but then again, it’s funny to look back. A year ago, I really felt like John Snow from Game of Thrones, I knew nothing: it was the first time living abroad, first time in Europe, I didn’t knew anything about Norway and its people, their traditions, etc. Not even certain social codes and stuff like that.
As time passes by, now I am quite established here, I don’t speak the language fully, but I know a little (it’s too easy to be lazy about learning Norwegian, because everyone talks in English), but also I am more used to the cultural mindset here.
If I try to depict Norwegian people to my friends back in Chile, I would say: Norwegians are humble, simple, honest and hardworking people. There are many things that impressed me about this country, like: men carrying strollers (and being more involved in being a parent), the contact with nature of people, how physically active Norwegian people are and the fact that you can take a subway to go to ski.
Oslo is a fantastic city, surrounded by nature, with the fjord, the islands, forests, lakes, etc. Everything is very accessible, as a city, it’s quite small (around 500.000 inhabitants) but at the same time it shows it’s a capital city, so for me it’s the perfect balance. I visited Madrid and Berlin recently and I felt quite happy when I came back to Oslo and I felt way more in peace.
The quality of life, work balance it’s great, I usually work from 8:00am to 4:00pm, having lunch at the office and enough time after work to have a life, specially during the summer.
In terms of weather, for a Chilean, Oslo’s winter is not that bad, more than the cold or the snow, the problem is the lack of light and when the streets are icy (it’s easy to fall… people told me :P), but it wasn’t that bad, I am still alive :). Spring and summer on the other hand, show a Oslo that is simply perfect to my eyes, lot’s of green and vibrant colors, lots of sun (but not too hot), nature and life, and no contamination in the sky (like Santiago).
Talking a little about my job, I came to Norway because I was hired by Hyper, the interview process was good, I got a good feeling of the company, although I didn’t knew anything about it, but after a year there my feeling is I couldn’t have had a better choice. The company is awesome, full with people wanting to build cool stuff: games, movies, advertising campaigns, web and mobile apps.
The environment at work is really fun and productive, always learning, sharing our thoughts and improving. Since my job is to build different apps for different clients, I got to work in different projects and experience more completely all the faces and challenges of a project.
In technology terms, I learn AngularJS by building a big app for a client and also I will learn swift and iOS. The best part of this is not the technologies themselves, but also working with very smart and passionate people, really I am impressed, so there is a lot of things we learn by interacting and sharing experiences.
Another great thing about work is the focus of open source as a default, so we try to work in component terms and then extract those components into more reusable ones. I had a lot of learning on that part.
Being in Norway, in relation to Chile, has open me the door to get in touch with many different cultures that I normally didn’t knew from Chile. People from Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Africa, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and so on. Some times, those different cultures seem strange and somewhat shocking, and I am very grateful of having the opportunity of getting to know more.
In general terms, I can say that my social circles are divided mostly in people from work, foreigner networks and dance people. It’s nice to meet that many awesome people, but it was not easy, start from 0, or let’s say minus 20. So what I think was the most valuable learning I had about that is doing things even when I don’t feel like it, for example going to an event that seems interesting, but going by myself (at the beginning I didn’t knew anyone) to places with full of people, that caused a lot of discomfort, but each time I moved pass that I ended up discovering something new, so 99% of the time, getting out of my comfort zone has paid back very well.
One of my main motivations to come here, was to get the chance of travelling more, and getting to know a whole other part of the world, but a note on that… I am not a traveler, that means that travel is something very difficult for me, I doubt a lot, for everything, mostly because my lack of experience travelling, but that is part of the charm ;).
So far I have been to: Madrid and Zaragoza in Spain, Berlin in Germany and Svalbard in Norway. A funny thing of Svalbard, it’s a group of islands in the north of Norway, way north, meaning that is next to the North Pole, coming from Chile, near the South Pole, means I was literally on the other side of the planet…awesome.
My trip to Berlin was cool for many reasons, as Chilean, a lot of universal history sounded quite far for me, World War II, Egyptian Relics, medieval European armours, The Enigma Machine, etc. Then when I was there I was in front of all of it, so these things that always sounded quite apart, were in front of me, and I also got to see dinosaurs fossils.
But also those trips has given me experiences of travelling in groups and alone, and it’s quite exciting.
On my immediate plans, I will go to Stockholm this Friday for the first time, and for summer (European summer, July) I will take an interrail train ticket with which I will travel more countries in 3 weeks.
So, What’s is next
First of all, it’s a difficult question. I still am in a discovering phase, trying to get into all the opportunities Norway and Europe have to offer.
I want to keep travelling, learning more of the Norwegian language and connect more with the Norwegian society.
In professional terms there are many interesting things to work on, both at my job as in my free time.
So basically keep learning and enjoying of my experiences here.
After all that I finish this post with a phrase I really like:
Live if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.