Three weeks we camped at Hotell Hadelland in Oslo, Norway 51 FK participants from all over the world ready to pursue our assignments for the next one year.
For those of us coming to Norway, we needed great lessons on how to manage ourselves around, and so much information we received. Learning about Norwegian culture is so much “fun”, simply because of the “crazy” things I learnt about their way of life.
Norwegians are shy, they are scared of people and not just foreigners, and therefore they need their space. Great lesson indeed. But, this one I have to write about.
I live in Tordenskjolds Gate 55, in Kristiansand at an apartment with nine tenants. This is a great place to live in, since it´s right at the city centre so I get to enjoy city life.
Almost three months now, I presume my neighbours are all Norwegians, since I haven´t seen any of them yet, so am right to say they are shy and scared of meeting me. I know for sure I have neighbours because once in a while, when in my room I hear people opening the main gate .
My housemate and I have been wondering, is it Norwegians way of life to just live not knowing who your neighbour is? I really do not want to bother them in any way, but as Africans say, always your first help is someone within.
The Irony of it all, as long as we are around, there are always visitors in this house, our friends from other places within Kristiansand. It bothers me to live without ever getting to see who my neighbours are. Should I hold a party as I plan to do on my birthday, do I leave them out?
Yesterday, a friend of mine having lived in Norway for nine years now, told me of an incident that left me thinking. He lived in an apartment and for six month, he never saw his neighbours. One man died in one of the houses and was found two weeks later after his postbox outside his house was full and the postmessengers had to call the police just to inquire if this man had relocated.
Coming from Africa, am always reminded its important to know who my neighbour is and at least share some contact. So for me being social to my neighbours is my way of life. On the other hand, Norwegians are shy and scared of people and therefore need their space. But how can the two of us reach a compromise?
I am convinced, my neighbours are in a dilemma just like I am. They are not sure of how to approach me and make contact and so am I. I have vowed to do two things…………….I will take the initiative of breaking the ice.
My strategies are as follows, correct me Norwegians if this is too much. I love reading my novels, instead of doing them indoors, I will do so right outside the main gate and wait for them as they come in and I will say a bold, ” Hi, you are my neighbour, good to see you”. Hoping the rest will be history to write about.
Second strategy, I have learnt a number of Norwegian words, now I can write a paragraph, thanx to my teacher Ingre Johanna Gupta. I intend to stick beautiful notes on all my neighbours door:
“Hei! Patience og Annet i 102 vil gjerne hilse på deg. Velkommen på besøk. Patience.”
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