About two and a half years ago I made the big move from Belgium to Norway. I love every part of living here, but some of the (recurring) questions I get from Belgians and Norwegians are pretty annoying. So I decided to share them with you.
1. “Are you used to living abroad already?”
I didn’t mind that question the first few times people asked me, it’s a normal question after all. However, I’ve been living here for MORE THAN TWO YEARS now. You can drop it. Stop asking me. If I wasn’t used to it by now I would have moved back already. The cultural differences aren’t that big either. Stop asking me. Please.
2. “So… are you a Muslim then?” while looking slightly worried.
I’ve heard this question a couple of times and it bugs me so much. Not because someone assumes I’m religious (I’m an atheist), but because someone assumes that I must be religious because I’m not from Norway. And that they’re worried about it. Why should the answer to that question have to worry you? You are ok with having me in your country, but only if I’m not a Muslim? What if I was Jewish? Or Catholic? Would you still be worried? What would happen if I answered I was a Muslim? Would you hit me? Ignore me? Walk away from me? Accuse me of stealing your jobs? Would I suddenly be a worse person? It’s the first time we meet, why are you asking me about my religious views anyway?
3. “Do they have electricity/fries/[…] in Norway?”
Yes, we do. We also have free higher education, one of the best health care systems in Europe and trains that actually arrive on time. I moved to Norway, not the North Pole.
4. “When is your international semester finally over?”
My exchange semester with school was over two years ago, grandma. It was over before I officially moved here and before I took you out for dinner to celebrate the fact I found a job here. Stop asking. You seem to remember incredibly well that my cousin is about to become an engineer, but the fact that I landed a job in a country where I’ve always wanted to live is somehow too hard to remember. Thanks.
5. “Is it expensive? How much rent do you pay? How much money do you make?”
The first question I can understand, although it gets boring to answer. And yes, the housing prices are pretty high and my salary reflects that. That’s all you need to know. I think it’s really annoying that everyone wants to know every little detail about my salary and expenses.
6. “Is this weather cold for you?” when it’s 10°C outside.
Yes, this weather is cold for me. I grew up in Belgium, where it’s always hot and sunny. Tropical country. Totally.
7. “Did you move here because you have a husband and kids here?”
No. And that’s not an appropriate first question to ask during a job interview.
Bonus: “Is is it already snowing in Oslo?” – in July. July. Oslo. July. Summer. 30°C. Yes, there’s a lot of snow. I went skiing and even ran into a polar bear in the city.