I met a British guy at the bar in Gatwick banging back a few cheap beers before heading ‘home’ to Norway. Dave was big in IT in the UK but can’t do it in Norway without speaking the language so now he works as a chef in Oslo. In his early 30s, and planning to have kids, Norway seems the dream place, the place to be, he said “Norway charts highest in the world as one of the best places to live”.
He left for Oslo and the noisy kitchens and I left for Bergen to meet Nizam on his well deserved vacation following a mad 2 months of solid work. In my mind Bergen is far more beautiful than Oslo and thankfully nowhere near as cold. Nizam is staying with an Iranian friend who studies architecture here.
She shares the same dilemmas as Nizam about where her ‘home’ is today. She wants to go back to Iran but must stay another couple of years in Norway before her passport is approved. Waiting is hard she tells me, before adding, “Sometimes I wonder what it is I’m waiting for”. Nizam looks subdued, tired after 6 hours on the train from Oslo.
They both struggle with the pressure of maintaining the good life. They seem as lonely as I feel when I’m here. A sense of not really belonging but of merely surviving.
I think back to Dave banging down his beer in Gatwick airport, I gave him my number to have a pint in Oslo sometime. He was excited, “You know it can get lonely out there, I really miss having someone to drink with” then he necked a double vodka and raced to catch his plane.