We have already spent a month in our new host countries and we would like to share our first impression of our new homes. Some funny situations encountered and, of course, the sustainability measures seen at our new cities.
Brazilians in Norway!
The first thing we (Renato and Yousra) noticed in Norway was surely the cold! Hard not to realize it when you are greeted with – 20° C (a very warm welcome! ⛄).
Most of the funny and different situations we’ve been through so far here in Norway were related to food. On our first week here, a small farewell party was organized for Kaja and Michael (the round one participants of the project), and they told us they would buy some CAKE! Well, for our surprise cake here in Norway isn’t always cake; they usually refer to pastries as cake. So, when we saw the pastries we were slightly disappointed: “Wait, that’s not cake!”.
Meal times in Norway are as well very different from Brazil. Breakfast is usually at the same time, but lunch and dinner are much earlier than in our home country. Lunch time here is at 11 a.m. and it is usually a cold lunch like a sandwich, while dinner here starts at 5p.m.; on the other hand, lunch is the most important meal of the day in Brazil, and it is always warm and always after 12 p.m., while dinner starts after 7 p.m..
Apart from the meal times, Norwegians also eat very specific food combinations. Since we arrived, we found out that apparently beets should be eaten with bread, that brown cheese (a special type of cheese from here) matches well with jam and that you should never forget to spread some caviar over your boiled eggs! It is not a rule of thumb, but we noticed that mainly every Norwegian follow these exotic combinations.
Thoughts about sustainability in Norway
Walking around Oslo and Gjøvik, and in almost every establishment we entered, we could spot various trash bins for recycling, one for each type of trash (paper, organic, plastic, glass and metal). We also noticed that the Norwegian government really gives incentives for going green through different public policies. For example, if you buy an electric car you will receive a series of benefits such as tax free or tax deduction, free parking, free charging stations in many places and you can also have access to special roads without having to pay tolls. They also plan to turn Oslo city center into the first city in the world without cars by 2020.
On the other hand, the major problem we noticed so far here in Norway is food waste. Lots and lots of good eatable food goes to the trash everyday here, either due to personal waste, the poorly designed food packages or due to restrict food policies in establishments. However, we also noticed that there are some initiatives towards changing this scenario, like apps that sell food that was not consumed in restaurants or food that is almost due to expire in supermarkets.
Written by: Yousra Makanse and Renato Albernaz
Keep following our updates here on the blog, to hear more stories and ideas about sustainability in Brazil and in Norway!