JORGE, 42, ECUADOR
I immigrated to Norway because of love. I had met a Norwegian girl that was backpacking in Ecuador just at the time that I had finished my journalist studies. After being together for one year, we decided to move to Norway to take the relationship a step further. It all worked out very well, so after three more years we decided to get married. Originally, I had no plans of moving from Ecuador, except for further studies in Brazil. However, that never happened and by chance I ended up in Norway.
I have been living in Norway for nineteen years now. In nineteen years you change a lot; you get more mature and experienced, no matter where you live. Migrating has affected me in positive and negative ways. I feel like I have become more relaxed regarding working for the results I want – I know that the Norwegian system has my back if I should lose my job or get sick, for example. That’s a good thing of course, but it has also made me less ambitious. There is a latin saying which goes “If you feed the wolf, he’ll stop hunting” and I feel like that is what has happened to me here in Norway. At the same time, the system here has given me more time to do and explore other things which I wouldn’t have been able to do in Ecuador, like exercising and doing personal projects.
At times it has been difficult to adapt to the Norwegian culture, and it takes some time to understand the different spoken and unspoken rules. When you are travelling for a short period of time, you can easily adapt, but when it dawns on you that you will have to live with these cultural differences for a long period of time, it can be difficult. I have really appreciated having some friends from Ecuador which I can use for support at times.
The hardest part has been adapting to some attitudes, especially those that are related to economic prosperity. Norway is a very rich and well-functioning country, but Norwegians tend to forget this, and want more. Even though a lot of people and organizations have a focus on giving, my impression is that the sense of wealth is quite entrenched in the Norwegian mindset – that one is a little spoiled regarding this.