I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to learning. I think I expect more from me to learn something faster. I was too focused on learning fast without having the patience to really learn. It was only later that I realised, it doesn't work like that. 

I've been here in Norway for 3 months now and I've been learning Norwegian language for quite some time. One thing I learned, learning a language or any skill faster is a hard work! You can't just learn by only attending one free course or språkkafe per week. You can't just learn from watching TED Talks videos about how to learn a language for 6 months. You need a system. You have to be willing. You need people to practice with. And you have to be consistent. 

Though my fiancé keeps telling me that I'm doing good, I still feel behind from learning Norwegian. So, in line to my plan to learn faster, I made a list to remind myself and guide others who might need it to learn the language. 

Sign up for FREE Norwegian Language Course

There are many institutions in Norway that offer Courses in Norwegian. I did enroll in one.  Unfortunately, they put me on the waiting list. So, for now I'm trying my best to learn the language through free courses offered by some organisations like Red Cross and Caritas. If you're not used to learning  with so many people, it will be intimidating at first, but it was really helpful for me because I get to practice and gain confidence in speaking Norwegian. 

1. Red Cross

Red Cross in Oslo offers FREE Norwegian Course for everyone. If you are living in Oslo, you can go to Norwegian Practice in Oslo. They have schedule every Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays for 2 hours. I usually attend on Tuesdays. I like how teachers try not to speak english at all which is actually very helpful in learning because it pushes you to ask and remember words in Norsk. There are 3 levels, 1 is the beginner. You can choose which level suits you.  

2. Caritas 

Caritas is the first Norwegian course I attended. They both have free and paid Norwegian courses. Of course I had to try it first so I attended the one that is free and don't require a registration. It's a beginners course where you can just drop in and have fun learning. It was actually fun. It's like a real classroom set up where you get a text book, read and interact with your classmates. We also sing some fun song at the end of each lesson. If you want to give it a try, you can find their schedule in this link.

3. Voksenopplæring 

I'm really glad that Oslo has this Voksenopplæring or Adult education for people who wanted to finish schooling. They have it for free or paid depending on your visa status. I went once to their main office to enquire regarding this, hoping I could get it for free. Unfortunately, I didn't so I took the paid course. The good thing here is they have an initial assessment first before they put you in a class. Basically they'll just ask you to write and read something, or say any Norwegian words you know, just to test which level suits you. Tip: If you're planning to register, be sure to go early as there could be a long queue of people.  They have training centers in Grønland, Helsfyr, Nydalen, Rosenhof, Skullerud and Sinsen. You can go to this link to find more information. 


Join Språkkafe

Another option you have aside from attending Norwegian courses or practice is to attend a Språkkafe. Språkkafe means language cafe. It's where you can sit and practice Norwegian in a non classroom set up. It is for free. All you need to do is go there, sit, talk and ask if you don't understand. You can also order a cup of coffee if you prefer.

There's a whole bunch of Facebook Groups I've been following since I arrived here. Some Språkkafe you can just drop in, while others you need to register so they know which level you are and also get the headcount of how many people will be attending. 

Here are some links/ FB Group you may find helpful if you're new in Oslo and want to learn Norwegian: 
Universities such as University in Oslo (UiO) and Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) also offer Norwegian courses and host Språkkafe which are open for all. UiO has a free online Norwegian course which I recommend if you enjoy learning by yourself. It's actually pretty good. There are videos and lectures included. You can follow their schedule or you can skip if you prefer to. You can go to this link to register. You can also go to their website or FB groups as updates are usually posted there. 



Other options

1. Play Duolingo 

You may want to add this to your options. This one is really awesome and a lot of people use it. It's a language learning application; like a game you can play on your computer, ipads or mobile phones. Every time you use it you get a virtual currency called lingots. You collect these lingots and use them to buy power ups in the virtual shop. 

To get one, just search Duolingo in your app store or head over to their website: https://www.duolingo.com


2. Watch on Youtube

There's a whole lot of Youtube tutorials out there. You just find them and pick your favourites. 
You can start from these links: Learn NorwegianAlenaiNorgeNorsklærer Karense

I would also suggest to try watching kids movies or nursery rhymes in Norwegian. It's fun and will make you feel young. 

3. Go to the Library

Libraries are another option to learn Norwegian. They have Norwegian courses and Språkkafe too. I also read that the Public Library in Oslo is the largest public library in Norway, founded in 1785. I honestly haven't been into any library here in Oslo since my arrival but I might give it a go soon. 


4. Other helpful links

While I was searching for Norwegian language course, I also stumbled upon websites which I think are pretty good if you want to practice or check pronunciation and grammar. 

Remember, learning a language takes time. It can get annoying for a while. It will test your patience. It will make you want to quit. But learning is a process indeed. Just take it one step at a time. Give it a try. If anything above didn't work, I believe there are other resources or options you could try out there. I met a lot of people who are not very fluent in english but they learned norwegian. There are others who do not speak english at all but they also learned as well. If these people can do it. Why can't you, right?

Albert Einstein said "Any fool can know. The point is to understand." That's the main secret to learning anything; to understand. 


Did you like my post? I hope it helps. If you find the above list helpful or you have something to add, feel free to comment below. 

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Aamir Khan is my male Beyonce! He never ceases to amaze me with many of his inspiring films and superb acting. It all started after watching 3 Idiots, Laagan, Taare Zameen Par/ Every Child is Special, PK and now Dangal. I think it's the best film I have seen this year that tackles various social and political issues. So for you who have not seen it yet, now is the time! 

clumsyclariss, dangal

Dangal (meaning wrestling) is a story of a great wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat (played by Aamir) who never had his chance to win gold medal for his country because well, lack of funds and support from the government and his own father. He then worked a regular job to sustain a family, hoping that one day a son can fulfil his dream to win gold for the country. Unfortunately, all he has was four daughters. 

One day, an unexpected turn of events got his hopes up when he discovered that two of his daughters, Geeta and Babita (played by Zaira Wasim and Suhani Bhtnagar) can actually fight. Mahavir came to realization that a gold is a gold; whether a son brings it or a daughter. Thus, begins his adventures training his daughters to win gold for their country, while wrestling society's old prejudices. 

clumsyclariss.com
Being born in a country with tropical climate, the idea of snow and winter wonder land is completely magical to me. It's like being in those countries experiencing snow is like being a royalty or those characters from Harry Potter or Narnia, you name it. Who never dreamed of that?

Back in my childhood days, I remember how my siblings and I dreamed of snow using soft ice we collected from the freezer. It was funny but I bet some of you did that too. Came to college days, I had another way of experiencing snow when my cousin and I visited a man made snow village in Manila Ocean Park. This village was just a small room with snow replicate inside and it was so cold we had to wear a jumpsuit provided by the staff before we entered. It wasn't really spacious so you don't get to fully enjoy the winter village. But that day to me, was already a memorable experience.

Fast forward to now that I am living in Norway, I was on my way to do some errands, a little moody because of migraine. I noticed it was raining. But it was more like soft white flakes, slowly melting on my skin. My mood suddenly turned 180 degrees. Finally, I'm experiencing my first ever snowfall!

On my way back home, I still couldn't take off that big colgate smile on my face. I felt like every drop of snow is tickling me. I saw kids playing outside, wrestling on the ground. Err. It's embarrassing but deep inside I want to join them and make a snow man. But reality is, I need to hurry back home. I was out for like more than an hour and honestly the cold bothered me. The temperature was below zero degrees. So, I quickly went inside and made myself a hot chocolate drink. 

It was a beautiful first snow fall and it brought a lot of memories back when I was just day dreaming of it. 

Architect Sou Fujimoto, speaker for the #NordicArchitectureFair
When you travel to a new place, it's impossible not to learn. You will always, by any means, bring something with you back home. 

Just yesterday, I was in Gothenburg to attend the Nordic Architecture Fair 2017. It was a 2-day conference and exhibit jam-packed with architects, town planners, developers, property owners, engineers, exhibitors and students to share expertise and learn about the future of architecture and the society. It was totally overwhelming being in that kind of event. Mainly because for me, meeting with prominent architects in the Nordic region is like meeting celebrities. It was far beyond words can explain! Another reason is that, there's a lot of interesting topics and ideas to take in, you wish you could get them stay in your head for just too long. 

Okay, now you ask me, what I learned, aside from design strategies and so much technicalities? Here are some take aways from my 2 days in Gothenburg.


It was a beautiful Saturday morning. The sun was up, the sky was clear. The temperature was cold and crisp, probably in between 7-14 degrees. 

I slipped into my hiking clothes topped with an off white sweater and a pretty thick coat I usually wear when going out in the cold. I wore my Northface hiking boots and checked if the sandwiches were in the bag. An hour later there I was, joining a group of expats in Norway, to my first Internations event: a challenging hike to Mørkgonga and Gyrihaugen, around 50km away from Oslo. 

They said it's a "norwegian thing" to go for hiking, mountain climbing and all those outdoor activities, you name it. I said, back home in the Philippines, a lot of people are in this kind of adventures too, myself included. I remember I was  only 8 years old when mom and her brother brought me and my siblings to the province to go camping. At a very young age, we knew how to survive in a forest I would say. So I felt, I was trained for this, I can manage. Later did I know, it was tougher to go hiking in countries with a challenging weather like Norway. 
Before I totally immerse myself in learning Norwegian language course here in Oslo, I thought of sharing a backstory from what happened in my Indonesia trip and why I want to go back to Yogyakarta

It was out of boredom, frustration and monthly mood swing that I decided to finally see Indonesia. I never been there before and I would love to experience myself the good things people are sharing online. So with the help of friends, there I was. Staring at the sunrise at the Borobodur Temple, feeling amazed by the enormous details in Prambanan and braving the caves of Jomblang. 

Jomblang Cave's magnificent light 
A month ago I was in Malaysia, battling with the feeling of being exhausted, tired and self defeated. Like a volunteered prisoner desiring to fly high and free herself from the invisible cell made by her own mind. A rat in a wheel running faster and faster but never going anywhere. Yes, a filipino working abroad like myself can also feel that despite the fact that we seem happy on our Facebook photos, and that we're earning better than we were in the Philippines.

Many OFWs are alone in their battles of loneliness. I had my same share of experiences and I hope to never feel it again. I remember telling myself not to expect anyone to save me, that I am my own heroine. I self talk a lot yes. 

Photo by Japhetonthego
It's funny reading an old bucket list and realizing "Wow! I've written a lot of silly items, like getting married underwater. Believe it or not I was serious when I wrote this. But thinking of it now, who's gonna marry me underwater? 😹

I realized it's amazing how life can turn out differently from what you expected it to be. I would never thought I could travel to a number of countries in South East Asia, Middle East and Europe.  I never imagine that some priorities could change. And those "things" you wished before are no longer that important now.

It is true that as you grow up, your priorities in life continue to change. Yes there might be some that are constant but, we experience changes that will change our way of thinking, our perspective and our whole life ahead.

Looking back, I realized that when I was younger, I was more focused on things and places I feel I needed to buy or see. I need this camera badly. I need to have these fancy clothes, shoes and make up. I need to go to this place before I die, yada yada. After some years in adulthood, I feel like they're not really something that matters in the end. Yes it could me make me happy for some period of time. But these wont give me real fulfillment and satisfaction. It's what you make of it. It's what you learn from those experiences.

Why am I writing this?

One, I just turned 29. I feel so old. I feel like the world is getting so much ahead of me. I feel like I'm not so happy with my career and I got to do something about it.

Two, I need a release. We all do. Either tell a friend, partner or someone you are comfortable sharing with. For me, I prefer to write it down so I can also evaluate myself at the same time.

Growing up isn't easy, truth! No one was given a manual on how to live their lives. It's all unique for each of us. We all have to figure out what is appropriate and significant for us. We have no clue what other person is going through. We can't judge why she did this and not the other. We can't demand anyone to do this because it's how we did it. We can only share and be there for them. Let them experience, decide, learn and grow up. Like flowers, we can never force people to bloom. But when they do, it's gonna be beautiful.




Are you planning to go to Europe? Here's a quick guide for you who are planning to apply for a Schengen Visa from Malaysia, with Norway, Sweden or Denmark as your main country of destination. 

First things first, set your mind straight and decide your travel dates. Then, book your appointment at Danish embassy in Kuala Lumpur. What I did was email them my preferred date and time. But before your appointment date, make sure to prepare all the requirements needed plus the extras, just in case they require you to.

Okay, now here's my list:
It's still hard for me to believe I am actually writing this while sitting on this newly bought carpet in Oslo, Norway. I was only dreaming of it days ago and now it's finally happening! And what got me even more happy was that it was declared as the happiest place on earth according to BBC.

It's been 2 weeks now since I arrived here in Oslo, Norway. I still feel overwhelmed and excited that I got to see this place even for a short period of time. And even though I'm leaving in 4 days, I sure will bring all these beautiful and fresh memories I had on this trip.

Oslo is such a charming city. It's not big as the cities I lived in in Asia with bunch of skyscrapers here and there. It's a mixed of old and modern way of living. It's like living in the modern times while revisiting the old days from time to time. You could see buildings built in the medieval era while there are also plenty of modern architecture. It's also refreshing how nature is just around the corner. You can just open your window if you want fresh air. I wouldn't do that in Philippines unless I'm in the province.

Oslo Opera House 

Aker Selva














Locations (in random order):
Oslo Opera house, The Parliament, City Hall, Aker Brygge, Vigeland Park, National Theatre, Akershus fortress, The Royal Palace, Nobel Peace Center, Museum of Modern Art

PS. I'm not good at being a tourist, so please comment below if I missed some locations and if you have suggestions of places I could see before going home. 

Tusen takk! (Thank you very much!)