Det er lenge siden vi har hørt fra Donald Oatis og familien. Etter suksessen i 2010/11-sesongen var Donald på vei mot nye triumfer med Bærum Basket i sesongen 2011/12 da han fikk den dramatiske beskjeden: Du har en alvorlig sykdom: Marfans syndrom viste seg å sette en brutal stopper for Donalds karriere, og lenge var han lenket til sykehussengen på Rikshospitalet.
Donald, Allia og Jordan fant ut at det beste villke være å flytte hjem til USA, finne et nytt liv og forhåpentlig jobb og karriere. Noen har holdt kontakten med ham, og vi vet at familien har det bra selv om Detroit virkelig er et av stedene i USA med størst økonomiske problemer.
Og apropos økonomi: Da Allia var i Norge sammen med Donald kunne vi med jevne mellomrom lese hennes betrakninger om Norge og nordmenn på henne helt egne blogg på barumbasket.no. Når vi nå har fått to av hennes landsmenn på årets lag, kan det være greit å minne om hvordan det første møtet med norske butikker og norske priser var for familien Oatis. Her er Allias blogg fra 2010:
According to the currency conversion chart, 1 U.S. dollar (usd) = 5.64550731 Norwegian kroner (kr). So, very plainly put, the U.S. dollar does NOT carry very much weight in this part of the world.
I quickly learned just how much currency impacts your way of life during my visit last Christmas holiday to Norway, but it has really hit home now that we are living here and everyday expenses add up rapidly. No longer do I have ‘sticker shock’ since I’ve realized the comma does not mean we’re going into the hundreds or thousands of dollars just to pay for a soda or bag of chips (ex. 19,00 kr = $3.38 usd; not $19,000.00 as I initially thought). Nope, my ‘sticker shock’ comes from realizing just how much EVERYTHING costs…in comparison to the States of course.
I have been told on more than one occasion that I should stop converting the price of everything I see because it will only make the transition to paying more for items more difficult, but honestly, I convert because
a) it helps me to make sense of things when I shop and
b) (even more so) it helps to curb my impulsive shopping habits. I confess, between my husband and I, yes I am the less conservative shopper of the two…
I would blame it on being a woman, but in all fairness to the women who budget and shop wisely, and don’t have scare themselves out of purchases, I will take the responsibility of this one and say it’s just how I am. So, while I work on the adjustment to costs, I learn to keep myself in check by remaining aware of what I purchase and how much it all costs in USD, in most cases. Recently, a pair of shoes somehow surpassed my ability to reason most recently, but hey nobody’s perfect, right?
Just to give you a better idea of some items that costs more, let me review a few of the costs I considered major in the U.S., until we arrived here of course:
*Please Note: The following quote and figures are from http://www.expatfocus.com simply for my views to be understood by the reading audience.
«Housing, transport and restaurant costs are very high, and groceries are also costly. Alcohol and tobacco prices are particularly expensive.»
Typical prices include:
- 1 liter of milk 10 kr
- 1 kg apples 25 kr
- 6 eggs 15 kr
- 1 kg cheese 70 kr
- Small bottle of beer 50 kr
- Glass of wine in restaurant 60 kr
- Fast food meal (per person) 50 kr upwards
- Expensive restaurant meal (per person) 200-300 kr
- Monthly groceries and household items for family of 4,900 kr
*Tips are not expected in restaurants as a service charge is normally included in the price. However, it is normal practice to leave a few krone for particularly good service.
All that being said, let me be the first to say, those that have sworn to Norway having such a high quality of life despite the high cost of living, have told me nothing but the truth. Yes, taxes are higher, and yes it costs more to live here (we happen to reside in the most costly area of the most costly country in the world), but I must say as with most things in life; it’s a tradeoff.
There’s a sense of working towards the greater good that permeates throughout this country that I have come to appreciate. Some call it communism, I call it humane. Knowing that you pay more into a system that works for your benefit seems very worthwhile to me. As controversial as it may be, there’s a very valid reason why there are so many gathering together in the U.S. as we speak to ‘Occupy Wallstreet’.
In part it’s because of the majority that are suffering, and somehow I feel like Norway just gets it; when more people are able to do better for themselves, everyone is able to do better for themselves. As I step down off my soapbox and away from the politics of why things cost more or less, I feel like I can appreciate where I am and even spending a bit more than I’m used to spending. The saying “you get what you pay for” actually seems to ring true to Norwegians, they get: access to public transportation that is reliable, clean and effective, schooling through higher education that doesn’t leave graduates reeling from debt payments due 6 months after graduation, older citizens that are not burdened by worries of working labor intensive jobs long after they expected to be retired, maternity leave which allows mothers time to become much more acquainted with their little ones before heading back off into the working world, just to name a few amenities.
No, it’s not all roses and yes as with anything there are some drawbacks, but I’m more of the mindset that when the good outweighs the bad, you have to look at the good and take it for what it is. I’ll take ‘sticker shock’ for amenities over ‘no healthcare and other such needs cost shock’ any day, but maybe that’s just me…