Filipino Community in Bodø
your home in the Arctic Circle...
Member of the Month
Each month, FCB will feature one member for you to know better. For the month of November 2014, Ate Maria will have the "buena mano"!
Name: MARIA STEFFENSEN
Age: 62 years old
Residence: Balamban, Cebu
Q: When do you arrive in Norway? And how was your feeling on your very first day?
I arrived in Norway 12 August 1981. I felt that I already missed my family and relatives in the Philippines . I could not sleep well because it was still a broad daylight even though it was already night time.
Q: What made you decide to come to Norway?
I decided to come to Norway because I married to a Norwegian.
Q: Have you thought of going back to Philippines and settling there for good? Why?
I will always come back to Philippines just only for vacation. And I think it is best for me to just live here in Norway for as long as I want because I already have my family here now in Norway - my daughter and my son-in-law and have also my grandchildren.
Q: Tell us about the ways your new life in Norway differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
When I was still in the Philippines, I had a good job as a Registered Midwife and working in the community. But I proceeded studying Nursing here in Norway, so now I am a Registered Nurse Midwife, and working in the hospital here in Bodø. By studying here in Norway, of course it was so complicated but to sacrifice and to learn more Norwegian language and then you will get it , you will succeed ... My motto - "If others can do, why can't I?" Few sacrifices on ourselves, one day you will get what you want.
Q: Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Norway? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
For me, one of the many things to know about coming to Norway is their WEATHER. I expected that coming to Norway would be something that everyone should be aware and prepared of. So when I got here, I prepared myself not be affected by very cold weather by wearing durable winter clothes.
Q: Please give us some tips/advice for your fellow Filipinos who want to stay longer here in Norway.
My advice/tips especially to those Filipino who just came to Norway: (a) just keep on trying what they believe is right for them and take few sacrifices; (b) be a social oriented, communicate well wit other people especial Norwegian people; (c) and lastly, learn to speak their language (Norwegian language).
Q: Please give us your good impressions about Norwegians that Filipinos would wish to have.
I believe that most of the Norwegians are very honest and true to themselves. People working in the government serves from honest to goodness. I can see that there is no corruption being evolved in their government. And this is the exact opposite on what is happening in the Philippines right now. I wish this would have to be done at least right now by the Filipino people working in the government.
Q: What have you missed so much about Philippines?
I missed so much the annual feast in our town. And of course, Filipino food - dishes, fruits (ie. mango, jackfruit)
Q: If a Norwegian asks you "Is it nice to spend vacation in Philippines?" Or "Where in Philippines should I spend my vacation and why?", how will you answer him/her?
Definitely I would recommend him/her to come to Philippines and that is because my home province Cebu is one of the major attractions in the Philippines. I am not only saying to go to Cebu especially Balamban but also tempting him/her to go there as he/she will surely experience a once in a lifetime adventure of my home town.