The easy way in Norway

Back to Hudiksvall via Stockholm. A 10 hours train ride.

That’s allright. I have a lot to think about anyway.

I had a great, intense stay in Oslo.

When I arrived the sun was shining and the spring breeze was warm.

I met up with my old classmate from Båstad: Charlotte. She is the service manager at a Clarion Hotel in Oslo since about a year. We went for a greek salad and a coffee, her treat.

She also started calling people.

It turned out two hotel managers wanted to see me the next day for front desk positions. Me and Challe had a lot to catch up on, what had happened in the last four years and what our friends were doing.

Speaking of which she mentioned that Sandra, also from our class, was working at Apollo Travel agency just down the street. So we went to say hello.

That evening I had a scheduled interview with the company that manage the cafés and bistros on the Norwegian trains. The company had a very modern and professional approach and the interview was held in discussion groups. I felt completely in my element, discussing service management within the travel industry. They told us if we’d make it through to the next round there would be a personal interview and a finishing test aboard the trains.

I haven’t decided how I feel about this job yet.

On one hand it could be cool to travel around in Norway and see new places, working on the trains. But on the other hand, it could mean long working hours and arriving weary at some lonesome hotel. Of course, most routes would be day trips but even then I have a feeling the constant sway of the train would leave me very tired. Anyhow, there are other options.

There is a reason why so many Swedes go to Norway to work. First, there IS work. Second, they pay well. And third, Swedes have a reputation of being hard workers and service minded people in comparison to the sometimes lazy Norwegians.

There was not ONE shop, restaurant or café that I visited that did not have Swedish staff.

And you can get a job fast.

My friend Fredrik that I stayed with the first night, told me he went to Oslo, signed up with a recruitment agency and answered an apartment ad, and were offered both a job and a room in the flat the very same day. It was a shared flat but a decent place to stay. We made halloumi cheese salad with tomatoes, onions and basil on Monday night and got into long discussions about consciousness, psychology, life and the pursuit of happiness.

The next day I met up with Charlotte again. The sunny weather from the day before had been replaced with heavy rain and chilly winds. I bought way to expensive rubber boots and an umbrella.

I wondered for a second if umbrella was called the same thing in Norwegian as Swedish: paraply or if they called it something funny like paraflax. I smiled to myself but decided to ask for a paraply which was a good idea, especially since the store attendant was Swedish.

Charlotte took me around the city, to three different hotels, where she knew everyone and we were offered free coffees and juice. There were potential openings at each hotel but only one was full time. I met with the hotel manager who I got a really good connection with and we talked for about an hour.

She asked if I would be able to start within two weeks if offered the job and I said absolutely. She confessed to being a little doubtful about hiring a Swede since this was a long term job and she wanted to make sure I wouldn’t pack up and go home after six months. I was honest about my plans to study again next year but also that I was open to do this in Norway or take a self study course, and that I am the kind of person who is honest and kind and don’t leave people hanging.

I thought to myself I would need some time to think this through, since I already felt loyal to these people. They had quite a few candidates but she would let me know by next week.

While in Oslo I got in touch with a friend from my home town and we went for lunch. She lives there since about three years and works as an interior and furniture designer at IKEA. She told me they see a lot of Swedes come work at IKEA for a period of time, and then head off for travelling.

I have considered the idea to work at a factory where I would feel free to make my money and leave, but then again, I have already had two years now where I have been absolutely free to do what I please and maybe what I need is to step up and take responsibility.

Why do I keep coming back to this?

Do I have a commitment issue?!

Or is it society and preconceived ideas that I am trying to break free from, rather than true commitment; fidelity and devotion?

I had arranged to go see two apartements that day. I figured finding accommodation would be harder than a job so I thought I would take the opportunity to start look for a place while I was there.

– We have a spare room in our flat, Charlotte said.

Is this girl for real, I wondered and we joked about how much she would charge for setting me up with everything.

She said her room-mate wouldn’t mind. Being the kitchen manager at her hotel he was rarely home anyway. And Challe stays at lot at her boyfriend’s house.

We decided I would come to their flat that night for dinner. Stefan, the room-mate, would cook something up.

When I arrived there was prosciutto, salami, five kinds of cheese, foie gras/goose liver, olives and Italian wine. He then prepared deer with mushroom and leek, a potato purée and lingonberry sauce. And the most delicious chocolate fondant with caramellised walnuts with a beautiful desert wine. A friend and colleague came over and we had a nice evening.

– Ok, I said. I could get used to this. 😉 I’ll move in.

And that was it. I left a bag with some clothes and my rubber boots and said I’d be back soon.

Now I will just have to see what happens with the jobs.

But I have a feeling things will work out.