Impressions from my first week in Bergen

Can’t believe I’ve been here for a week now, although honestly there was so much stuff going on that sometimes it felt like I’ve been here forever. So many things have caught my attention though, and I wish I could have noted them down as I went, but I didn’t, so here’s an attempt at remembering all the things that caught my eye over the last 7 days.

Let’s start with the most obvious one:

1) Bergen/Norway is GORGEOUS:

We’ve all seen that picture on Instagram or Pinterest and wished we were standing on top of that mountain looking at that view. And even though I still haven’t explored my way outside Bergen, this city already has SO much to offer from a nature perspective. You can already see it when the plane is landing between all the fjords and then you’re actually on the bus making your way into the city and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by these gorgeous mountains and beautiful waters.

2) It’s not always cold everywhere in Norway:

Right now it’s August and even though temperatures are not necessarily in the high 20s/30s in Bergen, they’re at a comfortable warm temperature where you can run around in a t-shirt or even shorts. It also seems like Bergen (because of its location in the southern part of Norway and it being surrounded by mountains) doesn’t get as much crazy snow as the rest of Norway, but I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that in the next few months. For now, I’m enjoying the sunshine and the warmth!

photo 3

3) Bureaucracy is the same everywhere you go:

I’ve lived in Egypt, Germany, the US, and Norway so far, and I can honestly say that when it comes to dealing with the immigration office there’s always going to be a line, there are always going to be unanswered questions, there’s always going to be that first time you go to the office expecting everything to run smoothly and being disappointed when it doesn’t.

I’ve landed here last Friday having already received my residence permit over email a couple months before. The DC consulate told me that I’d need to show up at the local police station to get my actual residence card when I land in Bergen but that it needed to be done within 7 days of my arrival. So Monday first thing in the morning I made my way to that office; the office opens at 9; I was there at 9.02, and I got number 56. Of course at that point I knew I’m not getting anywhere; apparently some people who had appointments could cut through the line and go straight up to the counter, so noone actually called the numbers. I stayed there for 40 mins and when nothing changed, I decided to leave. That day I called the station several times to try and book an appointment but with no luck, so Wednesday morning I made the trek into the city at 7.45AM to stand in line at 8AM before the office actually opens at 9. You gotta do what you gotta do. When the office finally opened, I was number 7. Hallelluuujaah! I thought I’ve done it; the numbers were being called and I thought I’d get my ID that day. Guess what? I showed up at the counter and all the guy offered me was an appointment for September 2nd. Yup. All that waiting was to schedule an appointment. So until September 2nd, I can’t open a bank account, I can’t get a contract for a phone line and I can’t start looking for a part time job. Oh well, at least I have a date to look forward to…

4) Norway is EXPENSIVE:

People have said it over and over again when I said I’d move here, but I honestly didn’t think it’s going to be THIS crazy. I’m serious; a beer at the grocery store costs you around $5-6; at a bar it’s prolly double the price. A bus ticket is also around $5-6 and if you are a student a monthly pass costs $70!!!!

5) A lot of Norwegians are obsessed with the outdoors:

and I LOVE IT. I really do hope that by the time I leave here I would have been on every hiking trail this city has to offer. Maybe I’ll try skiing again a couple times and see how that goes this time round.

and lastly:

6) Most Norwegians I’ve met are SO friendly:

You know how it is: South America is known for its friendly people, but when you think of Scandinavian countries friendly people is not the first thing that comes to mind. Well, think again: everyone I’ve met so far has been super friendly especially if they’d had a beer or two earlier. I’m really excited to actually start learning Norwegian in the upcoming months.

I think that’s it for now; I’ll have to tell you about my first impressions of the school the next time!

Until then,

Dom.

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