“Whuck!?!? You’re moving to Norway? What’s in Norway?” was generally the reaction I got when people heard our big news.
Yes, why would someone uproot their family of four and travel 4,690 miles away to a small Scandinavian country? The short answer is to find a better quality of life and be closer to family.
For those who don’t know, my husband is Norwegian. Not like in America where people say they are Norwegian, but they were born in Minneapolis. I mean, he was born and raised in Norway and all of his family is from there.
He came to the U.S. only to get a college education, but he met me and got oh so much more. We first toyed with the idea of moving to Norway when we were dating, then as we moved along with our jobs, we tried to figure out how to steer our career paths to get us to Norway.
Then came kids and job changes and life kept rolling on. We moved to Portland nearly two years ago and since our neighborhood wasn’t a good fit for our family, it was either move to downtown Portland or to Norway. Thankfully things worked out with Hubby’s job to go overseas and now here we are.
I’ve been to Norway several times, including a couple visits with the kiddos. I gotta say, you haven’t lived until you’ve managed an international flight with small ones. I feel that upon completion of such flights there should be a celebration for all the moms, where there’s a red carpet lined with people applauding you and at the end of the carpet, a bottle of champagne and a pedicure. If that’s too extravagant, we could at least get a T-shirt.
Sorry, I’m rambling. I’m jet lagged. Back to my story…
What appealed to me about Norway was the slower pace of life, how the culture is so much more supportive of families and providing a healthy environment for the next generation. The Norwegians definitely take the long-term planning approach to problems that plague other countries and all of this is supported by a healthy economy and commitment to social democracy.
My favorite perk is how supportive the country is of working families, I mean each couple gets 49 weeks of parental leave with 100% of their salaries. Dads get a minimum of 10 weeks and moms get at least 13 weeks, with the rest of their allotted 49 weeks to be used as they see fit.
Can you imagine staying home with your child for the first three months and still collect 100% of your paycheck!?!? There wouldn’t be that pressure to hurry up and “sleep train” your six week old so you could get back at work and prove to the bosses that you’re still in the game, still leaning in.
Essentially in the first year of your kid’s life, a parent would be home to care for your newborn and the family wouldn’t take a financial hit. Of course not everyone wants to be home with newborns, which is totally understandable, but it’s fantastic to have the option.
But we didn’t move over here for me to crank up the baby-making machine, no, no, no. I just wanted to give you guys an idea of just how dedicated Norway is to giving those who live here a good quality of life.
Besides, my mother-in-law is here, and I’ve told you before how much I adore her. We have moved into Hubby’s childhood home and kicked her down in the basement. Seriously, we did.
But it’s not like she’s hanging out with Norwegian slugs and spiders, the basement is finished and all fixed up.
The cool thing about the neighborhood is that my mother-in-law’s sister lives across the street with her family and the house next to the sister belongs to their brother and his family. So essentially we moved into the family compound. It kinda reminds me of my good friend Julie From the Compound.
And here we are, on Day 4 (or is it 5?) of living in Norway. I’m looking forward to catching you guys up on what went down in Portland as well as our new adventures in Scandinavia.
Come along with us, it’s guaranteed to be an interesting ride.