Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Like over 1000 people among more than 10 thousand Filipinos in Norway, Mary has come to Oslo, Norway to work as an au pair.
Being born and raised in Cebu City, Philippines, Mary lives in a low-income family. The parents work as fishermen near the coastal area and have three children, in which Mary is the eldest. Even though she had not finished her undergraduate in Philippines, she moved to Norway to work to help her family make ends meet. Working as an au pair in a host family gives her enough income in addition to free lodging and an opportunity to learn Norwegian, course fees paid for the host family. With this fortune, she can save up to a half to send back to her home after excluding daily expenses.
Her life in Norway during those first few months wasn’t easy. Norway, which is the country located in the Northern Europe, has such a long winter time with continuous snowfall. The weather in winter is severe though, summer is beautiful and warm with many outdoor activities. Mary came to Norway in September 2017. Her host family has 4 people including a 5 months newborn baby and 5 years old boy. Her daily tasks are to take care of the baby, do housework such as cook meals, wash clothes, clean the house and pick up the boy from school every weekday. In weekend, Mary has time to relax and join a Norwegian class near her house. Everyday passed by. During the first few months, Mary felt homesick very badly. Firstly, Mary finds difficulties in communicating with neighbors and people in her surrounding areas because Norwegian people are not friendly and outgoing with strangers unless they know each other for a long time. In addition, she felt homesick even more as the winter came with strong snowfall season last year. The next reason was that there were almost no Philippines of Philippines kind-of restaurants or entertainment destinations in Oslo. She was almost at her host family all day and could not find a reason to hang out. Times went by, and Mary gradually became depressed. Small online talks with her family via smartphone did not help her reduce her homesickness.
There was a day that Mary was invited by her Filipino friend - an au pair like her in Oslo to the launching day of a bubble tea restaurant the charming backyard of Posthallen, where they tried Taro made from sweet potato. It was such a lovely, tasty and homy drink Mary tried at the boba tea restaurant - Teaology Oslo because it brings her Philippines taste to her life in Oslo. In her hometown, most people love sweet potato, which makes of a lot of good food and drink. Especially, the restaurant owner is a Norwegian - Vietnamese man, who is very friendly, talkative, and humorous and often chat with her and her friends whenever they come there. Since then, Mary often hangs out with her friends in the bubble tea restaurant on weekend to drink Taro and gossip about their life in Norway.
She has become joyful ever since. The bubble tea cup brings her happiness by giving her the taste of her home.
P/S: thank you Mary so much for having us a chance to interview you and share about your story. We wish you happiness and joy. <3