Maternity Benefits In Norway

I would like to share how privileged I am being a mother in Norway.

When I got pregnant, I worked as an on-call kindergarten assistant. We look after kids ages 0-5 years old. At this time, I wasn’t aware that I am pregnant. I stopped because I’m having trouble taking transportation since I don’t have a driver’s license. I got a job as a restaurant employee in a pizza chain. I was so lucky during my pregnancy for getting hired at that time.

Here in Norway, you are entitled to apply for maternity leave on your 26 weeks of pregnancy. We had 49 weeks total of parental leave with my husband. (See parent leave for well detailed information). 

Aside from those benefits you get during your pregnancy, Norway also has child benefits:

“You are entitled to receive child benefit from the month after the child is born or from the month after you qualify, if entitlement to child benefit arises at a later date. Child is paid out until the month before the child turns 18”. (See Child benefit)  

And they also have the Cash-for-care benefit.

“You can receive cash-for-care benefits if your child is between the ages of 1 and 2 years and does not attend a government subsidized kindergarten.” (see Cash-for-care benefit)

Prenatal and other check-ups during pregnancy are free of costs until you give birth.

These are only material things that may also exist in some other countries. Aside from this, there is what they call gender equality in Norway. It means that women and men are equal. Every husband has a right for two weeks free after a wife gave birth to spend time and  to “help” the wife to take care of the child. So even if you have a dish-washing machine and a washing machine at home, you still need a hand. It is not easy to be a mother anywhere in the world, but you’ll be the happiest mom and wife having this privileges during tough times.

Read also: Norway is the best country to be a mum

Dose of completeness

Medyo late na ‘to siguro, kasi matagal kong pinag-isipan kung isusulat ko ba ito o hindi. Pero, nakapag decide na ako, kaya ito na oh! 🙂

It all happened last January 18, 2017.

“Ang pinakamasayang araw sa buhay ko”  – he said.

Sabi ko – “sino po sila?”

Sabi niya, “wait lang ikaw nga dapat tanongin ko, ikaw ‘yong tumawag, so sino po sila?”

(Ay oo nga naman- ako nga pala ang tumatawag!)

Si Kathleen po ito.

Eh, neng, ang daddy to!

I was just crying, so loud. I can’t say a word after that. I cannot imagine how he looks like, no idea. I didn’t recognize his voice at all. It’s not familiar.

Then, we talked, we talked, we talked. And we talked.

What to say? I am talking about my father. Yes, finally I found him! Ang bilis ng mga pangyayari. Ang ganda ng pasok ng taon. Ang saya! I am so looking forward to meet him, na mapa kilala ko ang aking pamilya. Matagal kung hinintay ang panahon na ito, na makapag usap kami sa isa’t-isa.

Hindi lang siya, kundi ang mga mababait kung kapatid 🙂

Grabe, ito pala ang feeling na merong ama. Kahit malayo kami sa isa’t-isa alam kung andiyan siya. Alam kung magkikita kami. I am really looking forward na ma meet siya and all of my siblings. Hindi ko inaasahang maging isang bunsong kapatid 🙂 Ang feeling na meron ka nang ama na babatain tuwing father’s day. Ang feeling na may pag kukuwentohan ka tungkol sa asawa mo, alam mo yun.

Matagal man kaming nag kahiwalay nang aking ama, na iisip ko din siya, nag babasakali pa din na darating ang araw na magkikita kami. Hindi madali ang pag hanap ko sa kanya. Noong una, siyempre, ginamit ko ang facebook, halos lahat na nang Panganiban siguro minessage ko if kilala nila yung father ko. Tapos Google, Twitter, hindi sa Youtube, sa Instagram. Nag send din ako ng email sa MMK, haha sobra! Ang lala ko! Nag try din ako humingi ng tulong sa NSO, pero ang labo. And then..

One night, napa isip ako. Tinanong ko yung mother ko, and she really wanted to help me na makita ko ‘yung father ko. Then she remembered some of their friends way back in Manila, so hinanap ko sa Facebook ‘yung names nila. Kahit late night na, mesage ako nang message, hindi ako makatulog! Mga madaling araw, may na received akong response, na sila nga ‘yung friends nila mommy at daddy dati sa Manila. Hala! Hindi ko alam ang reaction ko. Napatalon ako sa kama, gumising ng maaga para makipag chat. Ayon, Thanks GOD talaga! Nag connect-connect ang dots. Sino ba naman ang hindi ma e-excite? Makakausap mo na ang tatay mo! Sa wakas! Ma kokompleto ng buong pagkatao mo. Sa mga nakaka relate diyan, alam niyo po yun diba?

So, sa mga nag hahanap diyan ng mga kamag-anak nila, huwag po kayong susuko. Faith nga naman. I hope magiging inspiration po ito sa inyo.

Salamat sa pag spend ng time reading my story! 🙂

 

Christmas in Norway

The first time I spent my Christmas here in Norway, I was mesmerized.

The season begins with baking some cookies or they call it “pepperkake” or ginger bread in English on a snowy December.

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Then, I can hear the banging of the bottles on “Vinmonopolet” or The Wine Monopoly that sounds like jingle bells during Christmas season. The store is full of a bunch of people busy buying and packing their Christmas gifts. I remember when I was a kid in the Philippines: we never asked what we wanted for Christmas presents. We just hung our plastic bags on the window waiting for Santa Claus to come. Then the next morning we would receive apples, oranges and a chocolate Cloud 9.

In Norway there are kids, receiving gadgets as young as two years old. According to NRK’s (Norwegian Broadcasting Station) last year’s survey, on the top list that people’s wish list for Christmas are: clothes, tablet, laptop, mobile phone and travel. They are spending a lot, buying Christmas presents to their families.

Here in Norway, they are starting hanging Christmas decorations in December of  course. In the Philippines we used to have it from September up to January  and even until the Three Kings celebration.

In Norway, they have the “lille julaften” on the 23rd of December, in which its part of their tradition to watch this very short movie called “Grevinnen og hovmesteren” or Dinner for one. Has been sent every Christmas in Norway since 1980.

The Christmas Eve is on the 24th of December and they call it  “julaften”.  You have to dress well during Christmas. For dinner, they have ribs as the most common main dish, christmas sausage and meatballs. On the western part of Norway, they have “pinnekjøtt” or stick meat. It’s a sheep lamb which is salted and hung, and eventually smoked before hanging. I remember I tasted smoked salmon on Christmas too, and took a shot of aquavit. A rice porridge with almond for dessert.  After dinner then it’s the opening of the gifts waiting under the big Christmas tree, and sometimes “julenisse” or Santa Claus is coming to deliver the gifts. They have this term called “romjul”. It’s a period between Christmas and New Year. At this time, they are still enjoying the spirit of Christmas just like visiting family and friends and having dinner together.

White Christmas

When I was still living in the Philippines listening to the lyrics of a song “Let it snow, Let it snow” I dreamed of a snowy white Christmas. In Norway, my dream of a White Christmas came true.

Commuting in Norway

Oil and gas is one of Norway’s natural resources and the country’s best treasure. Norway is on the list of the most expensive countries in the world.

If you have a car in Norway it’s really expensive. You are going to pay for the toll road or they call it “bompenger” almost everywhere in  the country. And there are a lot  of camera boxes that checks your driving speed and when you drive over the speed limit you’ll get a fine. I’ve heard that a car owners spends at around 1/3 of their income for car expenses, like annual fee, insurance, service to keep up the guarantee valid, and fuel expense.

Therefore, some people choose not to have a car but be a commuter rather.

Commuting in Norway is far different from Philippines.

The first time I took the bus from Oslo airport going to Stryn, I waited more than 6 hours. I missed my bus at 10:20, so the next bus was 16:00. Every thing in here is scheduled including the hairdresser. Unlike in the Philippines, you just have to stand anywhere, and wave your hand, then jeepneys will just stop, every second.

It wasn’t so easy for me to adjust from the start especially when at that time I lived in the countryside. When I went to study the Norwegian language course, I had to walk from home to school for 45 minutes or maybe an hour during Winter. There’s no motorcycle, jeepney, and bus to take from where I lived. As far as I can remember, there were school buses for the students, but only for the students. And the room for that bus is only enough for the students per se and I am not one of them. At that time I went to my language course thrice a week. They said it’s a good exercise, but for us first timer Asians? Hmm, Maybe 🙂

Okay, so then I got a job. My workplace is really far from where we lived, and so I have to take a train (NSB). The train goes every hour at least from Askim to National Theatre, then I have to take a tram from there to my workplace. It was fascinating to think that when the train arrives, I have the enough time to walk and wait a little bit to the tram stop. And that was organized! There are times that the train gets late for some reason but not that often as I witnessed until this train strike happens. There are taxis in Norway too, of course. The prices varies on which county you are from and if you are going to take it during the daytime or nighttime.

If you are living within the city or at least nearby the city, it is really easy to commute here in Norway. Having transportation schedules help me in disciplining my self for preparation time. I like how organized and on time they are when it comes to commuting.

Wedding Bells

It’s been two years since the last time I published an article. It was a long time ago, isn’t it?

After the engagement which you can read here we’ve talked about the wedding preparations of course. And then, after a year we discovered that we are going to be a parent. Oh yes! Well, during the engagement this little prince for sure was on the making 🙂 He wanted to join the wedding preparation and be on the wedding! Yeah hey!

So then, here comes the bride 5 months inside. Lala lala. We usually sing this jokingly song in the Philippines once you’re getting married and you’re pregnant at the same time. And a lot of people is goooooing to talk about you being pregnant because you’re not married yet. Especially when you came from a “known” clan, oh yes! This is a huuuugggee concern for them. Well, well when you are pregnant yourself, you don’t have the time to think what other people think of you. They are just on the least of the list problems you have.

Anyways, here are some wedding photos and preparations we had during the celebration.

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That’s my best choice!

The wedding dress, was bought in Vilnius, Lithuania where I also celebrated my 26th birthday. It wasn’t so easy for me to choose what to wear, but luckily I’d found something that suits to my size and my pregnancy.

We have so many wedding photos taken by vibekeopheim and we are so lucky to have her as our photographer on our wedding. We had 29 guests during our wedding and that was family and friends. We exchanged speeches with each other, someone delivered their speeches too and someone surprised us with an entertainment.

Four months later, in the autumn night 1st of October, this little one wake us up. We went to the hospital, and after 5-6 hours of waiting and pushing then he came out. It was 2nd of October, 6:31 a.m when we heard his first cry. We are so proud when he got this apgar score of 10. And finally, we are now a family!