It’s coming up on my fourth year back in Norway now.
I’ve moved countries a couple of times. Even when you would think that the cultural difference between the countries you’re moving to, isn’t very great – there are still things that crop up.
Simple things like not finding the things in grocery stores that you’re used to finding at home, or not having the same selection to pick from, or, even clothing choices. I spent ages in Newcastle Upon Tyne about four and a half years ago, trying to find a proper winter coat – only to find that it was impossible to my Norwegian standards. (And in the end, it was a rather mild winter, so the quest was pointless.)
Or, how to cross the road. In Denmark I once saw someone being fined by the police for crossing the road at a red light – and there were no cars to be disturbed by them.
Or, when I returned to Norway after five years abroad, and was throwing a housewarming party… and wanted to supply the booze – as one does. And I was pointedly informed by my sister that in Norway, it is all about bringing your own drink to informal parties. (And returning to visit Denmark for a housewarming party the year after that, and bringing my own alcohol, only to find that the hosts were providing…)
I’ve been fortunate. I’ve only lived in places where I either spoke the language, or could understand it, and where the cultural norms are fairly close to what I’m used to from my upbringing. But there is still that period of adaption after a cross-country move, and while it is coming up on my fourth year back in Norway, I’m not sure I’ve completely adapted back yet.
And I’m not sure I want to.