Wednesday, August 24, 2011

High Price to Pay

I've made comments about how expensive things in Norway can be.

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 "" 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.

Amazing, huh?

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! 


  1. hahhaha dont EVEN get me started on food prices here LOL!

    and PS...we need to connect asap! im gonna be in bergen tomorrow and want to see you.

  2. haha alyssa you make me laugh! i find the whole working thing here a bit odd, i am too used to being slyey(is that a word?)asked to do overtime in a way i just cannot say no too.

    just made chocolate cake balls for work tomorrow yum!

    also megan i want in on meeting :P

  3. Hope you still will be thinking same after 1 year in Norway. I am here for 10 months now and i started to get sick about prices and bureaucracy especially in government offices.

  4. LOL im reading what anonymous said and im laughing because i am over the government stuff here already and i just got here. i think i hate the "free" healthcare. because its only free if you have nothing wrong with you i have learned :)

  5. There are a few things you can do here to help with the prices.

    Planning ahead like you do with your wine helps.

    We buy all our Lambi toilet rolls at Co-op Obs when they do a case of 40 rolls for 100 nok. Then we buy a few so we don't run out before the special offer starts again.

    It does mean our bod is full of bog roll tho!!

    I'm finding less difference in price compared to the UK then when I first started visiting Norway 5 years ago. There are more multi buy offers now. There are bargains to be had if you know where to look for them.

    This is my first comment here, really like your blog and it was lovely meeting you! :)

  6. Hi Alyssa,
    It is nice to be able to comment on your blog this way. I was unable to before because I didn't have one of these handy dandy G-mail accounts. I made my name below to reflect my new ventures in life.
    Your work hours are fabulous. I'm so happy for you. You'll have a great working experience.
    Stephanie Anderson

  7. Welcome to Norway, Alyssa!
    One of my sticker shock was an eyebrow wax. Something like $35 here. Killer.
    I'm curious about your new job, seeing how recently you moved to Norway. Did you have one lined up before you came?

  8. Emily, yes I did have one lined up before I arrived. I inquired about working at the school when I was visiting in January, and was able to meet the director and some other employees, and then stayed in contact until I found out there was an opening. I had a skype interview in June, and then found out I got the job mid-July, just 2 weeks before moving.

    As everyone says, it was "meant to be"... :)

    annnnd, $35 for an eyebrow wax is MADNESS!