About This Blog and My Journey

  1. usWrite a little introduction about yourself. My name is Christina. I’m married to Kim-Andre and have one black cat named Stoner. Both are mentioned a lot in this blog. I used to have three cats but had to adopt them out due to moving to Norway. I am not very happy about it.
  2. What is your blog’s name and why did you start a blog here on WordPress? My blog’s name is Stiina Marie. It is named after myself. Stiina is my childhood name and Marie is my middle name. I started on WordPress after finding out Blogger wasn’t working. I had three blogs before Stiina Marie, each with themes that I just couldn’t write enough about and lost interest. I learned a bit about blogging and realized you need a general theme. I want to teach about Norway through my experiences and want to write a book. Blogging is just a way to collect my thoughts and show them to people.
  3. What country did you live in prior to Norway? Tell me a bit about it. I lived in the United States of America. I feel we move pretty fast and don’t slow down as often as we ought to. It’s diverse and beautiful though there is an ugly side. Diversity can often be a source of a problem. I’ve never not had a lot of different people around me. Leaving the US opened my mind to the closed-mindedness of others (both in the US and abroad) and also made me realize how American I really am. Apple pie, coke and burgers. . . . .murica
  4. Did you consider living in any other countries before deciding on Norway? I had wanted to move to Finland but that was more of a dream. I wanted to pursue Anthropology and Finland has one of my favorite cultures.  I met Kim through a friend, became facebook penpals and eventually got married. The idea we would leave the US was in the back of my mind. It became reality.
  5. What made you decide to immigrate? Kim was becoming homesick for not just mountains but for the way of life in Norway. Norwegians are more calm, go with the flow and have different work ethics. Things cost different there. He also really wanted me in a different environment due to my health. Norway has better healthcare and is Socialist.
  6. How long do you plan to live in Norway? ‘Til death. We currently have no plans to return to the US.
  7. What was the process like to be able to stay in Norway? Ridiculous, drawn out and worth it.
  8. What do you miss about the US? I miss certain foods such as the ability to have real Japanese Ramen or Chicago food. I also miss being around people similar to myself and speak English like me. My friends and family are also missed.

    348s
    Ramen from Mitsuwa Japanese Market of Arlington Heights, IL USA
  9.  What are some major differences about living in Norway versus the United States?
    • Are people different in terms of personality or the same? People can be quite stand-offish and not nearly as openly friendly but can be quite pleasant to speak to. Very respectful. People have their cliques and to get into one of those cliques is hard to do.  I’m mostly around family and their cliques right now. giphy1
    • What are the attitudes about immigrants? Oh boy. Some people clearly hate them and don’t want them in the country. Others just want you to assimilate and adopt the culture as best you can. Europe is losing it’s identies through immigration and Norway is one of the countries not too happy about that.
    • What can you tell us about lifestyle differences? People are laid back and take life more easy. There is wayyyyy more leisure time in Norway.
  10. What obstacles did you have to overcome to feel at home in Norway? So far, I haven’t lived alone. I am just blending my culturing in with theirs to be comfortable. I’m getting used to being stared at in public for being different. I feel really close with family rather than others from the outside right now. Being alone in public feels odd but I’ll get used to it. I have obstacles to overcome still.
  11. Do you speak Norwegian? Not quite yet.
    • How did you learn Norwegian? I am using duolingo and tinycards apps to study Norwegian. I will also be taking classes.
    • Was it a difficult language to learn? It’s not difficult but I’ve studied French and Spanish too.  I already know what works for me to make the language stick. I rewrite words and read baby books. Tinycards flashcards done over and over really help too.
    • How was it important to learn the language? Everyone would rather I speak Norwegian, though I’ve caught some people wanting to use English speaking skills with me. It is important in order to assimilate the culture and to simply be able to get around. You’ll need it for jobs as well.
    • What tips do you have for someone wanting to learn another language? Practice a lot and find out what will help words stick. Stickers on objects, songs, rewriting words, flashcards and reading books all help. Find someone native of to that language to speak with to learn faster.
  12. Do you have any new favorites while in Norway you didn’t have before?
    • New music? Lykke li and Christel Aslos.  I’m really into digital music like EBM and Electro-punk right now.
    • New hobbies? I crochet. I learned it and dabbled in it before. It’s now a full blown hobby. I also watch football (soccer).
    • New food? I enjoy kjøttkaker– meat cakes with mashed potatoes and boiled carrots, baked porkchops, fried battered fish and “Chinese mat” that is really stir fry. crochet-flag-of-norway
  13. How do you keep relationships with others in the US? Do you find it hard or easy to do? I use a lot of social media and facebook abilities to be able to call friends/family or message them. It’s pretty easy though it’s still not the same as face to face. I do what I can.

    kimlookingdapper
    My husband, Kim.
  14. How did you meet Kim and what is he like? I met Kim through a mutual friend. He met this friend as a foreign exchange student in high school. I messaged Kim on facebook asking to interview him for a college paper. We became friends and then he met me in the US. We started dating, and then married June 30th, 2012. Kim is a very realistic and science-y person. He loves a good puzzle and a good rare steak. He is kind, loving and hard working. You could call him a gamer nerd. He likes to excel in whatever he does and has a lot of passion.
  15. Do you ever have culture clash with your husband? Is there something you do or believe he finds strange or hard to understand? My Catholic and Orthodox icons he finds strange. Having an altar in your house is REALLY not something Scandinavians do. Being religious is not very big in Scandinavia. Many differences were more obvious with family such as feminism, politics and what I eat. These things don’t necessarily cause problems. They are just different.

 

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