I've grumbled over paying $10 for 4 rolls of toilet paper (the good toilet paper, mind you. I didn't actually realize I had a preference for good ol' tp until very recently, but in Norway the best is produced by Lambi).
I've groaned about paying $7 for raspberries (and got a stomach ache to boot).
I've unknowingly spent $100 on a laundry basket.
And I've been flabbergasted by how much a beer costs. There's a website called "pintprice.com" that tells you how much pints of beer cost all over the world. Based on this site, a pint of beer in Bergen is about $11.50. Yikes. Check out this link (it tells you how much beer costs all over Norway. I'm in Bergen): Beer in Bergen.
But despite the cost of living, it's wonderful to work here. The benefits for working people are fantastic. In the states, I worked 9 am to 6pm everyday, not including my commute. I would leave the house at 8:30 in the morning, only to return by 6:30 at night. As a teacher, a day like that can completely wipe you out. In Norway, I work 8:15 to 3:15 and I better go home right away. You're not encouraged to "stick around" if your work isn't done or there's just a small thing to take care of. No way - you GO HOME when it's time to go. You spend time with your family. You relax. I've only been at my new job a little over a week, and I already see how different it feels to be working in a system that actually cares for their people.
On the other hand, I've already see how irritating it is to get anything done. In Norway, everyone takes their vacation time and specific work hours very seriously, so you don't often "catch" people at the end of the day or during the summer. Some businesses might only be open from 10 to 3 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and there's no way to get around that. Things simply aren't open Sunday. I've grown used to the convenience of 24-hour everything in the States, and it's a little hard to adjust to not having that here.
Need a toothbrush at 9:45 at night in the states? Go to Target.
Need a toothbrush at 9:45 at night in Norway? Too bad, use your finger - hopefully you didn't lose your toothpaste, too.
Want to get some wine for that special weekend dinner in the states? Go anywhere that sells alcohol, up until midnight.
Want do the same in Norway? Well first of all, plan ahead. You better go to the Vinmonopolet (wine monopoly, the only store that sells wine and/or liquor) before 6pm Monday through Friday, and before 3pm on Saturday. Don't even try on Sunday, it's not open like the rest of the country.
I think people are generally happier here. They're not so stressed out because of work, and I find that curiously refreshing. Way to go, Norway. Happy people, happy country!