Norway is a relatively clean country, and each citizen has to obey the rules concerning littering. I have never considered garbage collection a hard task at all. All I need to do is simply have one dustbin in the house and empty it when it´s full. This is not just an ordinary job in Norway, at least not in Kristiansand which makes it one of the cleanest cities I have ever been to.
The first things I saw outside my apartments were these huge bins with different colours only to have it explained that each bin holds different content. Therefore, it means having 3 dustbins in the house as well.
You must orientate yourself with which bin you put trash, otherwise neighbours can get annoyed. There are litter bins in the streets for casual rubbish. Littering or dropping rubbish on streets or in public places is an offence and you can be fined.
Garbage collection is done by separating the trash into three: food remains, paper and any other that is neither paper or food remains. One month later I hadn´t mastered these basics. It meant cramming which trash goes where and ensuring that I also put it in the right major bins outside the apartment.
The green bin strictly holds milk, juice, yoghurt packets, newspapers, say paper in general. For the packets, these need to be flatened before being placed in the bin, this I learn is to accommodate bigger content. The brown bin is for food remains only. The trash is put in decomposable plastic bags that can be purchased from the malls. Again, it´s strictly nothing but food remains.
Finally, there is the black bin that holds any other trash. Having separated paper and food remains, the rest go into the black bin. So all the time I have had to keep reminding myself of the basics, because you not only find these at the house, but also in the offices, schools and even on the streets. I also gather that the colours differ with different cities. Norway has rubbish collection service which collects garbage every week.
Mind your jokes
Not only are Norwegians very shy people, they are also very serious, so casual jokes are not their kind of thing. Back in Kenya, it´s very normal to find people cracking jokes and really having a great time together. But not for Norwegians, they simply say what they mean, and mean what they say, which means they do not speak for the sake of speaking.
“Norwegians are relatively friendly but friendships take time to grow. However, meeting and getting to know Norwegians and their culture, is an important part of your exchange experience in Norway. Don’t be afraid to make language errors – people may laugh but they don’t mean to offend you”, advised my boss on my arrival.
It´s said, it might take longer to get a true friend, but should you get one, then you have a lifetime friend. They are so loyal to friendships and are very sincere. The same applies to dating scene, they remain true to you, but if it has to end, then they do not beat around the bush, they will tell it to you as it is, ´It´s over´.
A friend told me, “to just prove to you how Norwegians are sincere and honest, check out their profile pages on Facebook, they will reveal their age, date, month and the year of birth. Again, it´s very rare to get Norwegians with more than five hundred friends, they know who is a friend to them. They only send friendly requests and add people they regard as friends period.” Kenyans, borrow a leaf here…..I can hear an Amen!!! Their Yes means Yes and No means No!
Pay your bills
Can I invite you for a drink…let´s go for a drink…….can we meet for dinner? Be it coffee, tea or even beer, ensure you have cash with you. These invites are many, but always remember you will pay your bill unless they volunteer to do so. Should they invite you for a party, always inquire on what to bring along, you do not attend to a party empty-handed. In some cases, the invitation will specify what you need to bring with you. For instance, byd (bring your drink), at least this is not so new for the Nairobians in Kenya.
This applies to greetings. Always remember Norwegians are shy people and need their space, very basic knowledge at all times. So for your greetings, KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE. Do not ask so many questions like we will do back in Africa. “How is the family doing, how have you been since we met, how is the going, Otherwise?” If it´s not about the weather, simply do not talk about it! A simple Hei, Hei will do!
Men and women are equal by Norwegian law. The women gained the right to vote in 1913. Since then Norway has become one of the initiative countries in the world for equality between men and women. It is very important for people outside of Norway to respect this specific area. But how has this been received in Norway? Why has it been linked to the many divorce cases and increased suicidal attempts?
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