New Experiences, New Cultures

By Michelle Quezada

With a group of other ayslym seekers on a hike organized by the Red Cross.

HAVANA TIMES – Today I’ll talk a little more about the experiences I’ve had here in Norway, as well as what I’ve been able to do to feel a little more in touch with this culture and to make this change a little easier.

I’ve tried to keep active ever since I arrived in Norway. However, the language is a very difficult barrier to overcome and life in the refugee camp was sad and lonely.

Luckily, there are certain activities that they organize for refugees, such as hiking or trips to museums, as well as other ways of sharing moments together.

You stay in the third camp the longest. I’ve lived with women from Syria and African countries, as well as many other countries. I’ve learned a lot from all of them.

They have told me about the situation in their birthplaces and why they left and sought asylum. Some of them have spent years in the process. During the time I lived with them, there was a mixture of all kinds of cultures, dishes, traditions and religions. Every one of them is different. I have always respected every religion or custom.

I have also tried new dishes from countries such as: Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Venezuela.

There was one girl from Afghanistan who had been at the shelter and in Norway for a long time, and she still hadn’t received a final answer to her application. She always told me that she was tired of the process and not being able to do anything.

I would sit down with her to eat sometimes, and we would talk a little. I’d tell her we could do some exercise to keep her from being bored, as she felt very lonely. I understood her perfectly, in spite of us speaking very different languages. She knew a little English and I tried to understand her.

Then, we all got separated and we live in different cities now. I received news from her a few months ago. She told me that she had been granted protection and I’m very happy for her.

Another thing I’ve been able to do is go hiking with people from the Red Cross in Norway. I’ve really enjoyed it because people here like to be surrounded by Nature. There’s a very common saying here that goes: “There’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothes.”

I’ve learned a lot from people and about different cultures during my time here in Norway. There is a great variety of people and I’ve also managed to make friends from Venezuela, as it’s easier for us to understand one another.

We know very well what exile is and what the process is like. We try to stick together and keep positive with every experience and situation we’re faced with.

I’m sure that we can always find the positive side of situations and treat each other respectfully, so we can create beautiful moments in our tough lives.

Read more from Michelle Quezada here on Havana Times.

Michelle Quezada

I am a 20-year-old Nicaraguan girl. I describe myself as a happy, sociable person with dreams and defined goals. I want to study environmental engineering and I also really like fashion design, two totally different things. I grew up knowing that dreams can be achieved if we are dedicated and fighters. My life has taken some unexpected turns; I'll be telling you about that.