The Reversed Culture Shock

Most of you probably don’t know that I have been the last three weeks in Norway for Christmas vacation, but I am on the plane back to Venezuela now. I tried to sit down and write at home, but I decided I wanted to spend my time with friends and family instead. I am sure the family-orientated Venezuelan will sympathize with this decision.

According to some of the comments made on this blog I have to be crazy leaving the safety in Norway for a bit more insecure Venezuela. Maybe the answer is yes, but I am not done discovering all Venezuela has to offer and I am not done working as a teacher. I am not done eating pepitos at 3am and arepas any time of the day. I am not done meeting friendly Venezuelans and I am definitely not done travelling the country. Many people have asked why on earth I am in Venezuela; in fact this is one of the most frequent asked questions when I talk to people. People seem surprised why I am here and I will try my best to explain.

I actually did not really choose Venezuela. Venezuela chose me, and for that I am forever grateful. I wanted to do an internship in South America to practice my Spanish and explore the famous Latin culture, but I did not really have any preferences where. As I searched the AIESEC database for opportunities I received an e-mail about an internship in Barquisimeto. I applied, got the job and before I knew it I was moving to Venezuela. That is why I am in Venezuela and could not be happier about it.

Venezuela? What did I know about Venezuela? I have to admit, my knowledge of this country were not impressive. For some reason I did not do much research either so I might have my self to blame for the massive cultural shock that waited me. Nevertheless I am very happy to be on my way back to Barquisimeto for five more exciting months, but while I was I Norway I experienced a little bit of a “reversed culture shock”. Maybe it sounds strange because I had not been away more than three months, but there was many situations where I had to laugh about my new Venezuelan mindset (which does not match the Norwegian).

First of all it was so cold, even though this was the mildest winter we have had in years in Oslo. The lowest temperature was -3C while I was back, which is hot compared to last year’s -20C. There was no snow either, but I did not complain (don’t worry be happy right?) Second, nothing had really changed at home, while I was feeling like a totally different person. I looked at my own culture with new glasses and realized things I had not thought about before. I will try to give some examples.

On a Norwegian bus the only loud reggeton you will hear is on your I-pod. There is no music on any public transportation and it was so quiet I felt almost awkward. A girl sat down next to me and I thought how strange it was to know with 99% certainty that she would not start talking to me. She looked straight forward avoiding any chance of eye contact. And as the double seat next to me got available she actually moved over there. People in this bus acted like they would get deadly diseases sitting next to each other. I felt the urge to just sit down next to someone and start talking to them about random things, but I know this would make Norwegians extremely uncomfortable. The thought of their reaction, on the other hand, amused me enough to laugh a little by my self there I sat looking at this typical Norwegian behavior.

Some days into the vacation I was going out with some friends. It is very normal to have a “pre-party” at someone’s house before going out because the alcohol prizes are very high. In this pre-party we talk, sing and when getting drunk we start dancing. I tried to put on some merengue and reggeton, but without much success. How I missed having a Latin companion at that moment, but I did a bit of dancing by my self to my friend’s amusement. When the taxi arrived there was enough space for everyone to sit really comfortable and I though we should maybe pick up some people along the way to fill it up properly, but decided not to. The taxi driver would not let my friend bring her “Cuba Libre” drink (with Venezuelan rum of course) into the car and I felt the sudden urge to use my newly developed negotiation skills, but once again I decided not to. In a bar Norwegians like to sit down, drink, talk and eventually scream really loud to the lyrics. Not before midnight are there any action on the dance floor and the movements mostly consist of one hand lifted to the sky pumping in tact with the music. I am exaggerating a little bit here, but compared to the dancing culture in Venezuela this was depressing stuff. Regardless I had fun with my friends and Norwegian beer tasted delicious compared to the water-like-tasting beer in Venezuela (sorry, no offence I do like the green one).

At home we had visitors from New York, Australia and Amsterdam as well as some other Norwegians living in my parents apartment. In Venezuela a single bed can fit at least three people, but my mother disagreed and was obsessed with everyone having their own bed. I had to laugh because normally I would agree with her, but I just thought, “there is room for everyone, the more people the better”. As New Years Eve came closer I did not really know what to do because I wanted to spend time with my parents and my grandmother, but also my visitors. Again the Venezuelan in me made the decision easy by having a party with everyone. Normally young people celebrate with their friends while the parents celebrate with their friends, but I thought it would be cool to have a Venezuelan type of celebration where it does not really matter if you are 3 years old or 98 years old (like my grandmother). The evening was perfect!

There were other times where I felt the Venezuelan in me creeping up and therefore I am so happy to return now. Don’t get me wrong, I like my country’s culture a lot, but for now I am happy to be spending the next five months speaking Spanish, eating fried food for breakfast, negotiating taxi prices and dancing sober.

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89 Responses to The Reversed Culture Shock

  1. Antonio Bove says:

    jajaja, desde que lei tu primer post en el blog, he estado esperando por el siguiente. Espero lo pases muy bien en los próximos 5 meses. Saludos de un Venezolano desde UK.

  2. Aulio says:

    Noooo.. Yo estaba esperado tu post sobre la experiencia de vivir el año nuevo en Venezuela

  3. Manuel Armas says:

    Dear Martine,
    I live at Ciudad Guayana,since 1952 and as you can figger I have seen and lived all kind of changes in this life. But I can say that I am very proud to see how you appreciate the venezuelans and our living manners. I have a few questions if I may (of course). Have you been living at Barquisimeto all this time ? Have you gone to other cities of our country? I really enjoy your writings of Venezuela. I hope I can reed more from you. I am at your service down at the southern state of Bolivar. Thanks,and keep writing,I know the politics issues are very important in these sad times we are living now.
    It is your choice what to write and what not to, at least for the present time.
    Kindly yours,

  4. Maggie says:

    Being married to a non-venezuelan, I can understand your point of view, and I love it!!!!!! I wish everybody in the world would have the opportunity to see Venezuela and the Venezuelans the way you see us. Here (USA), all you here is how bad everything is in Venezuela, they are horrified at the “no-toilette paper situation”!!!!, but people don’t stop to take a deep look at the country and its people. Thanks for your love toward this beautiful nation and its warm people!!!

  5. Thais says:

    I really love this blog 🙂 thanks for keep publishing. Being a Venezuelan in Australia I experience lots of this reverse culture shock, specially during the Xmas break. People here think I’m crazy because I like to listen to music all the time or dance in the house without any drop of alcohol or without any special reason for it.

  6. Alix says:

    Oh what a girl! I really like your blog and your way of embracing and describing Venezuelan culture, you have an honest aproach with a lot of respect at the same time 😉 and you write so well it’s as if you were painting a picture with your words…
    I am venezuelan living in Sweden for 8 years now and I recognize myself in you in a lot of ways. Much of what you write about Venezuela and its people and culture makes me feel proud and a little embarrased at the same time hehe I was reading “the culture shock” piece the other day and I was laughing so hard my husband wandered what was I reading, I showed him but he could not see what was so funny and I said: “You know why i find this so funny? him: No, me: it’s because I am Venezuelan and we laugh at our misery, him: aw hahaha”
    Well anyways I just wanted to pay you a complement and wish you the best of times in my beautiful country 🙂

  7. LOL: I am not done eating pepitos at 3am and arepas any time of the day.(sigo todavía riendo).

  8. Y este me hizo llorar: “Again the Venezuelan in me (…)”

  9. Viv says:

    ¡Feliz año!
    I was wondering if you would spend your christmas time in Venezuela.
    I’m totally agree with our Water-like-tasting beer! hahaha
    Welcome back 🙂 Keep on writing.

  10. Greetings Martine!
    Thank you for this post. One of the aspects that most calls my attetion from internship process it’s actually the Reverse Culture Shock.
    Hope talk about it soon! 🙂

  11. Manchegos says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing!
    Feliz Año !!!

  12. Gabriela says:

    Actually, when I read your other posts I was about to comment: Imagine how we (venezuelans) feel when we go to another country. I’ve been in some countries in Europe and living since a year and half now in Canada. At the beggining (and still) it’s sad to realise how people, most of the times, don’t care about others, noone would offer you some help just because they don’t know you!!!

    It was sad too when you I felt weird because someone I just met hugged me (a venezuelan lady), because I was here for almost a year and I almost forgot what contact human is.

    There are lots of things I would find sad/weird, I love my country to death. Margarita Island, where I come from, is by far my favorite place in the world, but I have to admit there are lots of things I would love my people copy or take as examples when the travel outside or meet foreign people… Property, respect for others, reciclyng, reading more, etc etc.

    (missing my country so much).

    Anywways, I wanted to congratulate you and thank you for living, believing and promoting what we, venezuelans are, and how amazing Venezuela is.

  13. Nelson Brett says:

    hey hello, i’m reading your blog…and make laugh a lot…i’m from barquisimeto venezuela, yeah i’m a random people…but i know what is AIESEC..i try to get in the group but i dont remember why i lost the path…well if you need a friend in barquisimeto to practice spanish or english (excuse me about my learning) contact me by twitter @n3lk or facebook: nelson brett …i like to much another cultures and talk in english all that i can…i hope you enjoy my country…and i like the word “agarrar rapidito” hahaha y laugh a lot with that…i used too much “rapidito”….take care yourself …phone always hidenn jejeje byeee cya…keeping reading you!

  14. adriale says:

    The story with the taxi is hilarious! xD
    Happy New Year and welcome back!

  15. Oro says:

    Hello! A girl I know wrote about your blog in her facebook profile and I couldn’t resist to give it check. I’m venezuelan and it surprises me the fact that a norwegian woman left the security and the stabilty her country offers to take the risk that represents to live in Venezuela. Keep writing about it please, because I find your experience very risky and fascinating at the same time.

  16. Alejandro says:

    It’s really funny that you mentioned the “pre-party”, I’m not sure if they do it in Barquisimeto, but here, in Caracas, it is really common, we call it “predespacho” and I would have never imagined the Norwegians doing that, and even also for the same reasons.

  17. Clarissa says:

    Come to Caracas soon, Norwegian mythic gods will protect you!

  18. Isabella says:

    As a current citizen of Venezuela, living the every day craziness, this is definitely a breath of fresh air. It’s hard to take a step back and see the beautiful things our culture has to offer, and you definitely have done that for many of us. Thank you for brining a smile to our face and to many of the venezuelans who are currently out of the country, bringing back memories and their feeling of “belonging”. You have figured us out as our essence, with no hatred attached, so thank you. Keep writing authentically, do not pay attention to those who do not agree on your views from experience, keep the positive going… We need more of that. If you’re ever on your way to Caracas let me know, as a sister-in-law to a “gringo” I’ve done the tourist job many times before and would not mind doing again for someone who will appreciate it so much. Just reply if you’re interested! Hope you keep enjoying your time in Venezuela and dooooon’t stop posting!!

  19. Water-like-tasting beer! ajajajajajaja I liked it a lot! and you’re right ajajajja

  20. Andreina Rubio says:

    I’m from Maracaibo. You must come visit Maracaibo and die laughing!!!
    In fact, you are invited to come before you leave Venezuela (:

    I almost die in the part of “nobody dances” like: What da hell?? It’s a party for godsake let’s shake things!!!”

    But I’m really happy that you can appreciate our culture and madness!!

    Take care. And have fun during your stay!

  21. Stephanny says:

    I really fell head over heels with your blog! It’s so lovely the way you see Venezuelan! Thanks to keep posting your experiences😊 I’m Venezuelan btw, sharing your writing to all my foreign friends

  22. angvp says:

    Hello Martine!, I’ve been recently reading your posts, have to say that you are a marvelous writter, and I enjoy a lot your posts.

    I like a lot the fact that you’re having a good time on our country (yes, at least from me you’re a venezuelan :P), sadly I don’t live in Venezuela anymore, and believe that I miss everyday (probably most of the emigrants miss the country where they from).

    I always thought that I was very different from my fellows venezuelans.. but after I lived in Argentina I think I discover that we’re not so terrible as we might sound, and we compensate our failures, like … being always late with making you laugh a lot, (we like to joke).

    For the otherside I made some Norwegians friends while they were in Argentina, at the beginning yes, they were so skeptical about how friendly we are on the first contact, like we were friends from chilhood or something, but that’s how we are..

    I like that you’re taking the good stuff of our culture, and putting in yours, which by the way, I admire a lot the way that Norwegians are and that missing part that makes the perfect fit and make it an amazing culture might be the good stuff of us ;).

    Thanks for remembering to a lot of people how we are, and for tell to the world that we are more than crimes, drugs, and political crisis.

  23. Hi!, I’ve been reading your blog about venezuelan culture and I have to say that I’m really glad that you really appreciate our country and you’re having a good time here, I totally agree about your positive way to see our country, I mean, we have a lot of problems over here about politic, violence and economy, but I think that makes us forget how many good things we have as Venezuelans, it’s nice that someone from other country reminds it for us. Otherwise, I loved you chose Barquisimeto as your temporally residence, It’s the city where I grew up, there’s many friendly people there and pretty tasty food as you can see, such a nice place to be at Venezuela!. As well I invite you to know others places, like Caracas (the Capital city), Maracaibo, Mérida, Margarita or “La Gran Sabana”… You Just need time, some adventure spirit, a little bit of money and, of course, “you should to be careful as you already know”. Me and my girlfriend could be your guides at Caracas if you need it, we would be glad to do it ;). So keep enjoying , eating, dancing and knowing stuff, and one more time ” Be careful but not afraid” 😉

    P.D: You should spend the Christmas time here, It’s such a beautiful experience, very funny partys in everywhere, a lot of typical food and of course, drinks!

    Bellow you’ll find my facebook if you want to contact me for any help at Caracas;

    @fonchovisual (on twitter and instagram)

  24. Oriana says:

    Que hermosa que eres chica! Your posts always make me smile, I’m often checking if you’ve posted something new. I would really love to go to Norway and have my own culture shock, it is nice to have new experiences. I’m glad that you are enjoying it here. Have a blast on the next 5 months! Hahaha you’ll be even more venezuelan after that. Keep writting ❤ and yes, our beer tastes like crap. Next time try "la negra polar", that one is not so watery.

  25. Victor says:

    Loved every single line you put here. I had a good laugh reading this; everything here it’s exactly as you put it. (You guessed right, I’m Venezuelan). Keep it coming!

  26. minpot says:

    Wow you really impress me! Im probably from ur parents same generation….and i see so clear the differences in culture and generation gaps u describe. Im married to a non-typical american man and family reunions are exactly like you describe, nothing like in my beloved Venezuela, where we all mingle together and JUST enjoy each others company. We need to “pour” some Venezuelan customs to the “more civilized caucasian countries” . Keep your spirits up!

  27. Andrea. says:

    Dear Martine, Happy new year and welcome back to my beautiful country! I want to congratulate you for your blog is really nice. I love almost everything about my country but most of all his people, so please, before you leave to Norway you have to visit San Cristobal is a beautiful city with beautiful people and delicious food! I wish you all the best and hope you find what you are looking for. Lot of love. Andrea

  28. Alberto says:

    “I do like the green one” hahahahaha I loved that!!
    I’m really enjoying your blog 🙂 keep it up! I’m glad you spent new years eve with your family :).
    Oh and next time you are in a bus in Norway try saying “hello” to the one next to you! you might start a cultural revolution 😀

    Enjoy your time in our beautiful country, and please be safe 😛

  29. So much fun reading all this, no wonder its going viral here and among Venezuelans all over the world. I don’t think there’s much praise I can give you that hasn’t been said by someone else already. But keep it up! I’ve felt so in tune with your tale and experience because some years ago I had some of the best 4 months of my life thanks to a couple americans, and a british and german girls who were also in the exact same position: english teaching exchange with AIESEC! I ended up adopting them (since I casually got to know them by crashing an AIESEC party the day they arrived) and by the end I was so glad that I had made their experience better, that from your experience you’d agree that pretty much anyone would have done that also, but I felt so lucky to be THAT guy. (:

    Have fun on your next 5 months! Oh what am I saying, of course you will!

    PS: I’m SO sharing this with my European friends to see if I can make them come over for a few weeks hahaha

  30. angi28 says:

    reading your blog actually gives me some hope about Venezuela… the way you see us makes me smile… I left the country 4 years ago and i haven’t been able to go back. Everything i hear everywhere is just bad stuff, but the fact that you know all those bad stuff and still you’re going back and looking at the bright side of the situation is pretty amazing!

    Thanks for blogging about it, and for giving a Venezuelan girl another point of view about the country she loves.

  31. Yuki says:

    Hi! I really enjoy reading you, I am a venezuelan living in Brazil (temporaly for my job) and I’m tired to see how all that you hear from Venezuela overseas are bad things, yes we have problems (like every other country in the world), but we have so many good things too, actually a lot!!! I, as a foreign in other country, understand what you feel, how some things are difficult to get used to, so I admire that you mixed up with venezuelans that well!!! keep it up and enjoy a lot of my country! Greetings!

  32. Carol Jerrehian says:

    Thanks for your blog, I just read you are on your way back to Venezuela, You ARE one of us now.
    I moved to USA 18 years ago and I miss my culture, specially when you want to dance some good merengue and you don’t have one oerson to dan e to or understand why you wsnt to dance if you are in a reunion or a bar…
    Thanks again

  33. Tammy says:

    Hola Martine
    Te escribo en Español porque es justo que te ayudemos a practicarlo!!!
    Me encanta todo lo que has escrito y como lo escribes !! . Me he divertido muchísimo! Gracias por compartir tu experiencia en nuestra tierra y que a través de tus ojos y líneas me reconectes con lo bonito de país! Seguiré pendiente de tus aventuras!
    Para mi ya eres venezolana, sin duda alguna!!!
    Cuídate y sigue divirtiéndote.!

  34. Great reading time I just have spend. What a surprise that you have been chosen to work in Barquisimeto. I was born and raised in that city. I don’t live there any more but it’s amazing all the experiences that you are living there in my city. The “rapiditos” and bus stories LOL. That would never change in a thousand years. A recommendation: Foursquare in the past 2 years have become a sort of reference online tool in Venezuela and in Barquisimeto for places to eat, buy stuff or simply spend your time (it may be helpful for you).

    Hope to see more writing about us the “Barquisimetanos” (people born there) and Venezuelans. Enjoy our city the best and safe way possible.

    P.S: You talk about “pepitos” and the photo you posted my mouth just start to droll (literally). XD

  35. p5ic05i5 says:

    Wow! I’ve been following your posts since “The Venezuelans” and I find pretty amusing how you’ve become step by step one more of us. I had a serious inner laugh when I read about you hitting the brakes in your newly Venezuelan habits when back home. It’s really growing on you! 🙂

    I love the way you describe us, we find ourself forgetting the nice things very often, and you go straight to them, thank you for that!

    As I’m considering the posibility of leaving my homeland, I’m reading a lot about the things I’m gonna miss, and the list is growing every day… Makes me hesitant, but I’m still convinced that is for a good cause.

    I think I’ll be in Barquisimeto in a couple of weeks for the Divina Pastora 21K race, I’d definitely love to meet you, contact me if there’s any chance for that (twitter: @tiomiguel).

    Have a safe flight,

  36. Alejandra GT says:

    Welcome back Martine!!
    You are getting to Barquisimeto just in the eve of one of the largest Catholic events in Venezuela: “La Divina Pastora” day (The Holy Mary Shepherd Day) It’s suppossed to be a Religious celebration but you will find not only a “procesión” (kind of religious parade) but also fireworks, popular music concerts, drinking, dancing (especially the tradicional Lara state dance: the Tamunangue, a couple dancing with “veras” -hard wood sticks like attacking each other…) I hope you have the opportunity to experience how we Venezuelanz celebrate “religious” events (You’ll be amazed for sure!)
    Remember, if you come to Valencia, do not hesitate to contact me!!
    Have a Great Guaro 2014

  37. Manuel Hernandez says:

    Hi Martine, this is the second time someone I know on Facebook is linking to your blog. It looks like you have become a success, so I guess it is down to your openness and of course, easy to digest style. I wish my journalism students were as engaged as you are in describing with passion and detail. I wouldn’t be surprise if the mainstream media reports about you soon. Take care! Manuel, Birmingham, UK.

  38. Carelin García says:

    Hi Martine! I have to say I love your blog, I laughed so much with your stories! As a venezuelan and english teacher myself I know sometimes is hard to look at this country with such a bright perspective, I guess all it takes is someone from another place ti remind you the nice things of your culture. Glad to see you’re enjoing your stay, if you ever come to Caracas, like the venezuelan I am, ley me know if you need a tour guide 🙂
    Your blog is very funny and accurate, keep up with the great work!

  39. Loredana says:

    Hi Martine, great job at expressing your experiences in Venezuela. You are onto something here. Lots of people reading you. Things don’t just happen, there is a reason why you ended up in Venezuela and with a really long list of followers of this blog. Good luck finding out why this is the case. While you are here you owe it to yourself to visit Los Roques and Canaima. Fantastic places! really World class.
    Lore (Mérida, Venezuela)

  40. Gaby Bastidas Hall says:

    I went through something similar when I went back to Venezuela after living in the US for 2 years. I grew up there, and considered myself a true Venezuelan like you describe us, but adjusting to the traffic, chaos, the watching over my shoulder thing, etc. was very difficult during my stay. I enjoyed it too, I loved seeing my family and the few friends that are still there, I loved the food, enjoyed the music, and I appreciated the beautiful nature. It’s funny how things work, I have experienced it both ways, that’s one of the beauties of travel, gotta love it.

  41. Keka says:

    I am a Venezuelan that moved to Japan, and now reside in the USA for over 10 years… and I must say that I have truly enjoyed your blogs! I have shared the links on my facebook page, and have translated all the posts to my family (currently in Vzla for the holidays)! I have laughed, cried(from sadness and laughter) and laughed some more! I hope you continue to write! I will continue to look forward to the next blog! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  42. vicky says:

    Hahaha “…..I felt the urge to just sit down next to someone and start talking to them about random things….”
    (After 10 years living outside Venezuela, I still do this unconsciously)
    Enjoy the hell built in paradise!

  43. LDB says:

    What a great post!

    Hope you enjoy the most these next 5 months. That’s the way to live your life and broad your mind and way to see, understand and appreciate other people and cultures, especially my culture… I dearly miss my own culture like crazy, but at the same time, I’ve had the chance to see the other side, that side you used to give for granted: The safe, quiet, clean, organized and bountiful European way of life.

    Enjoy your time! Dont forget to visit my city… Caracas! Maracaibo, Falcón and Oriente! 🙂

  44. Dubrasca says:

    excelente me rei un monton, estare atenta a nuevos post, saludos! ven a la Gran Sabana! besos!

  45. Damian says:

    I love love love this post!! hahaha!! Reverse culture shock, something very real! Keep it up Martine! 🙂

  46. Dear Martine! You are becoming very famous between the venezuelans! I have to congratulates you for this post, it is very nice that some girl from another country can appriciate our culture. All the venezuelans gaves you a warm welcome to the country, and is it very nice you can mix with other guys and girls, who I think their have becoming more than a good friends but your foster family. You are more than welcome in this new year 2014, and I hope that in the next five months you have still falls in love with the country and your venezuelans friends! Eres muy chevere chama! XOXO!!

  47. Carlos says:

    Hello Martine

    I am a Venezuelan living in Florida for the last 20 years. I travel frequently to Venezuela and of course my perception of my own country is much different than yours. However, I really appreciate the sincerity in writing your impressions, mostly positive, about my beloved Venezuela.

    Personally, I think you could turn your blog in a nice book which could be used by other people, specially Europeans to known what you expect and enjoy their stay, with the understanding that a writen guide can not substitute personal experiences.

    Your experience living in Venezuela in invaluable, I am sure it has made a deep change in how you see life and also has made you more tolerant and understanding of other cultures. One thing I can guarantee you: we Venezuelans make the best of what we have and try to be happy. I wish other cultures could have that intense love for life and fun that we have an realize that no matter what you do, time eventually catches up and we go forever. Meanwhile let’s enjoy life to the fullest, that summarizes the way Venezuelans choose to live. Your perception of what we are all about is very accurate. Joking about every thing makes less stressful..

    I hope you enjoy the next 5 months. Please keep on writing, you are now a celebrity in my country and many people look forward reading your next blog. God bless you!!!!

  48. Daniela says:

    I just read your entire blog and shared it through every social network I could. If you ever come to Caracas in the next 5 months, even for a weekend, it’ll be my pleasure to show you around. I have to say that I’m very grateful for your words, it is very refreshing to see ourselves through new eyes. We need these kinds of reminders to take a deep breath and embrace the positive things we have as Venezuelans. If you’ve received bad feedback, ignore it, we tend to be a little bit too-sensitive sometimes. Before you go back to Norway, take a trip to the Capital (Caracas), it’s a must! I have a friend that’s on couchsurfing or if you’re short money-wise me and my friends could help you out for a weekend! Have a great experience!

  49. Laurita says:

    wow really Venezuela is a warm place…I love my country! haha I live in Barcelona, in the northeast. You are welcome if you come here, I’m at your order! (I study swedish so I can understand en lite norsk, just saying) I’m so glad for you to be discovering my little country, you still have a lot of things to see…go to the gran sabana! is the most beautiful place in the world (venezuelan mood on haha). Good luck with all girl 😀

  50. Maria Alexandra Trenard says:

    Hola me encanta tu blog… y que des a conocer nuestro país tan loco y maravilloso..desarrollando el lado positivo de mi país.
    Yo estoy viviendo tu experiencia pero al revés jajajaja!
    Saludos de una Venezolana en Oslo.

  51. beanov says:

    Dear Martine, Happy New Year 2014!! First of all I´d love to thank you for these great articles about Venezuela/ns and everything around it. I am Czech and lived nearly 3 years in Caracas, so I totally agree with everything you say :-D. Now I am back in Prague, already 6th year and still miss Venezuela, its people and their life style very much. What i miss the most though is the smell and taste of morning arepas con carne mechada y queso amarillo, freshly squeezed jugo de naranja from the “real” oranges and extra sweet black coffee and last but not least the loud music on the buses and shouting from the back seat “LA PARADA!!!” to have the driver stop the bus 😀 Enjoy the rest of your stay and keep us updated!
    Wishing you all the best and sending you many regards from Prague! (very much alike as Oslo 😉
    PS: please have for me tomorrow morning arepa con carne mechada y queso amarillo 😉

  52. Melanie says:

    You sound like me in my first couple months in Venezuela. It was the honey moon phase. Don’t eat too many arepas you’ll gain weight despite all the dancing! Yes, Solera verde is by far the best beer (I’m a craft beer fanatic so Venezuela leaves my tastebuds sad). Barquisimeto is much more calm and safe than Caracas where I live so I’m happy you’re able to go out more and have fun. Also, I don’t think Venezuelans don’t have any prejudice towards Norweigans so I hope you don’t experience some mistreatment like I have just because I where I am from (the USA). After being here a year I am happy more often than not and I hope to stay in Caracas another year. Despite all the problems I do enjoy it and love the friends I have made here. Good luck and all the best!

  53. Giselle Duran says:

    Dear Norwegian girl,
    thank you for this blog, it is such a good description of my country. You remember me some really good things about my country. I live in Belgium for already 7 years, and I haven’t been in Vzla for already 4 years. I really want to come back and visit my country, and reading your blog gave me eager to return 🙂 …

    Thank you for this beautiful remembers… And of course, if you need any help or if you ever come to Brussels don’t hesitate to contact me, I love dancing salsa over here ^^ even if European are not really good on this 😉 …

    I wish you luck and a lot of happiness in Vzla

  54. yelickza zambrano says:

    jajaja, casi todos los dias visito su blogpara leer cosas agradables en la red. 😀

  55. You should throw a party, no wait, your friends in here will throw a party for you when you come back again, trust me!. If not, just post the day and tell the people that reads this blog to reach you. By the way, you should teach “Nynorsk” in Caracas, I read the first NoW Book (Norwegian on the Web, Language Program for Foreigners), and now I need moreeeeee knowledge!.

  56. Manuela says:

    OMG Martine you are famous!! JAJAJAJA
    Love this post too! You had a great opportunity that very little people can do (go vacations and back to your intership) and its amazing read this. I also wanted to read your Venezuelan FELIZ ANO but thats the way it is… So! Hope read more soon!
    PD: I’m showing this to all my friends and family…;)

  57. saludos desde Barquismeto estoy sorprendido de todas sus palabras sobre nuestra cultura y nuestra forma de ser como venezolano cuando este aquí en Barquismeto estamos a la orden si quiere conocer mas nuestra ciudad o una invitación a una parrilla da y a un buen ron o cerveza y bienvenido de nuevo y como dicen por aquí esta en su casa este es mi correo para cualquie cosa

  58. Daniela Martorell says:

    Me encantò, saludos de una venezolana en España. Es muy bonito saber que llevas algo venezolano dentro de ti!

  59. Adriana Rodriguez Felice says:

    I looooove your posts! Being venezuelan is contagious! Even though you seem to be happy to be Norwegian living here had “venezuelaized” you hahaha same thing happened to my cousin’s husband who is Spanish but uses venezuelan words!

    I really appreciate how you love my country, despite the negative things what is not to love?

    I hope you do well these five months

    Greetings 🙂

  60. lycettescott says:

    I can’t stop loving your blog. I live with a norweigan friend in the UK and we always share about our extremely different cultures.
    Once again, thank you.
    Enjoy the good, the bad and the crazy of mycountry

  61. alex cam says:

    hola martine I am a Venezuelan y bienvenida a mi país de nuevo hahahahah enjoy our crazy country! from maracay

  62. Luis Burke says:


    Thanks for really getting the grip of the Venezuelan culture, which if analyzed carefully could sound more like a UN nation thanks to the mixture of world cultures with our local natives among its history.

    Venezuelans despite the actual differences are friendly, friends forever, with our informal attitude there is no harm intended, it’s our way of expressing love, anytime, wherever we go.

    We are “Caribe” (Playa, mar, sol, montaña, desierto y selva). We are very passionate when it comes to many things… you’ve described us perfectly. Now, you have made more friends all over the world since we have been scattered around, from Norway, Australia, Asia, to Panama.

    I as many come from that mixture of cultures (Venezuelan-Jamaican-Basque, to mention some) and have been back and forth in many ocassions.

    Please fell free to send me an email “”, you have given me a wonderful idea that could be developed and again, thanks for being so honest and spontaneous on describing us, perhaps we can contribute in spreading our spontaneous and contagious love.

    Best wishes for 2014 and for the rest to come.


  63. Scott Miller says:

    Hello Martine,

    Thank you for your blog!

    I love to hear about different cultures, and I am fortunate to read about the Venezuela culture for an unbiased view such as yours.

    You have a gift for writing and definitely should keep it up.
    God bless!

  64. Zax says:

    this is my second comment on your blog, which I really enjoy.
    Interesting that in this post you said “the Venezuelan in me” and even more interesting how you describe that after the short time spent in Venezuela you’re now able to observe your maternal culture from a different standpoint. That’s the idea! And that’s why it’s so important to learn and experience other cultures – it makes us better persons -more critics but also more tolerant-.
    I’m really happy that you’re enjoying your time in my country (which I left almost 20 years ago for cold Germany) and hope that by the end of your stay you’ll feel it was all worth it. Just a last thing: please take good care of you while there, sadly the ciminal violence in my country is very tragic and real fact.

  65. Andrea Marcano says:

    Tu blog es una bocanada de aire fresco en cara a todas las situaciones que vive mi país, no puedo evitar sonreír cada vez que leo alguno de tus post y sin duda estás enamorado de mi país y cómo no hacerlo? Es cierto que vivimos en tiempos difíciles pero en pequeñas cosas y momentos encontramos felicidad, por eso somos únicos. Me encantó cuendo escribiste “the Venezuelan in me”, soy del oriente del país y estamos a la orden por aquí, somos muy de pinga! jajajajaja este es mi twitter por si te das una pasada por estos lados @AndMarkno

  66. mgarford says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience of living in Venezuela. It has been a tonic reading your blog.
    May God continue to bless you abundantly.

  67. Orian says:

    Feliz año Martine!
    What a fun and interesting blog you’ve made here. I am in the same position than yours, but all the way around, being this my 10th month in Oslo. In that sense I feel totally identified with most of your perceptions when comparing these 2 extremely different cultures.

    Although feeling homesick from time to time, I’m doing my best to enjoy and discover the beauty of your country. In fact I always ask myself “Why and when did things go wrong in Venezuela?”. Having enormous oil reserves compared to Norway, it’s not even half developed.

    But anyways, I wish you the best during the next months. And my best tip for you is to try to travel as much as possible. I know we are far from having a NSB network down there hehe, but you can ALWAYS find a way to your next destination, especially if you already got used to hang from the bus door 🙂 You’ll find the same wonderful people in every town, but our traditions, food, music and landscape are quite varied among them.

    “If there’s anything you need…” when you come back, like enjoying arepas, merengue, or just to refresh your Venezolano feel free to take contact!

    Buena suerte!

  68. Yoyo says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for your focus on the positive only; we have tons of sources for negative news everywhere and every time!
    I love my country and most of its people so I really appreciate that you’re able to see the good in the actual chaos. I’ve noticed that my friends living in other countries tend to forget this and think that the only thing we do here is suffer and complain…

  69. Gloria Rodríguez says:

    My sisters live in Oslo, as well as some other Venezuelan friends. Next time you’re back, let me know so I can get you guys in contact and you can have some Venezuelan fun!
    I am glad you like our country and our way of being.
    A big hug.

  70. menecio says:

    Martine que buenos son tus pista, me alegra que alguien aprecie tanto nuestra amena forma de ser. Espero que disfrutes mucho los próximos cinco meses.

    Saludos desde Valencia.

  71. carrascore says:

    Pensaba escribirte en ingles pero primero no soy muy bueno y segundo, me parece justo que practiques el español.

    Con respecto a la cerveza, si que tienes razón, pero también es muy posible que solo estés probando cervezas light (regional, brahma, polar, etc) o polar ice (eso no es cerveza, una cerveza sin alcohol tiene mas sabor), te invito a que pruebes la Solera Verde, La cerveza Tovar (solo se consigue en La Colonia Tovar y ciudades cercanas), y para finalizar recuerdo que la ultima vez que estuve en Caracas probé una Solera marron y me gusto y una nueva cerveza que se llama Destilo. Eso si en Venezuela solo conseguirás pilsen indiferentemente de la marca

  72. I moved to Norway almost 3 years ago, from Caracas With 6 million inhabitants to Molde With 25.000… that was the first shock but I was kind of prepared.. what took me for surprise was the big cultural difference… I love reading your posts because of that, and same as you do, I only see positive things, I am in a permanent learning and really happy to be here.. I Call Norwegian People “ice creams” because they are Cold (compared to us) but they are very sweet…
    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us…

  73. As a Venezuelan living in Belgium I find your blog really amusing, please don’t stop sharing your adventures with us and I wish you the best of lucks, you probably need it over there, hahaha
    I went to Venezuela on holidays for two and a half weeks and I also felt the reverse cultural shock you describe, although even more because I have never felt very Venezuelan (I don’t dance, I like my personal space, I don’t talk to strangers, etc) and I have been abroad for two and a half years now

  74. Susu says:

    me encanta jajajja actualmente vivo en Francia y al igual que tu escribi un blog sobre mi vida aca, siempre me pregunté que sentiria un europeo al ir a Venezuela, la gente nunca entendia pq yo no entendia “el sistema” tan eficaz y solia quedar como una tonta cada vez que intentaba negociar una multa por no pagar el ticket de tren… gracias por mostrarme el otro lado de la historia!!!

  75. Daniela Gonzalez says:

    I just discovered your blog today and I have to say, I absolutely love it. As a venezuelan that spent a year abroad as an exchange student in a ridiculously small (but beautiful) town in the south of France I feel so related to the whole culture shock experience. One of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do is try to explain to the French how Venezuela/the Venezuelans are, and vice versa. Its one of those things you just have to accept that you will never completely nail, but you come so close to doing so. Ive always wondered what foreigners think about this country, that not even us Venezuelans come close to understanding. I love reading about your view on this funny and chaotic place, and how welcomed my fellow “compatriotas” have made you feel. And I admire how you avoid over dwelling on the bad, which we are all so aware and over saturated with. Good luck with whats left of your adventure. I will continue enjoying your posts 🙂

  76. Happy new year and keep up with your excellent blog! I feel very proud that your heart have a venezuelan space, just like mi dad (Italian). Hope to some day visit your beautiful country and try those tasty beers you talk about (i do love only the “green one” here as well). Kisses in the cheek, good bye and good luck! 🙂

  77. Rafa says:

    Sencillamente genial, Morí de risa un par de veces, es necesario compartirlo.

  78. Joaquin says:

    It is really difficult being an alone Venezuelan living in Norway….

  79. Andreina says:

    I love your blog so much. It makes me miss my country so much. Wish you the best and thank you for appreciating our wonderful culture!

  80. Reading about our culture from your perspective is really awesome! You make me laugh several times. I’m glad you love our country. I wish your time here remains wonderful. Un abrazo!!

  81. Ana says:

    Hey, i just discovered your blog!!! I’m from Caracas, lived here my entire life but been to europe to visit my very spanish family and london friends… yes, we are different around here, from food, to take any kind of transportation and dancing, the amazing thing is that it doesn’t matter how crazy,chaotic, etc the country can turn into, you don’t get the warn, friendly sence of life ANYWHERE else from any other country.
    I’ve been pushed using our metro system, robbed three times and done lines for food on countless opportunities. But this country resides deep inside my heart. I could live in europe by now, maybe i’ll do it someday just out of fun though but my loves will always be here.
    Great reading you!!!

  82. Marion says:

    Useful information. Fortunate me I discovered your
    site accidentally, and I am surprised why this coincidemce didn’t
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  83. Luis Millán says:

    How on EARTH did i miss this blog? not only you’re interesting to read, but it also is very funny to read about our culture from a foreign perspective… god i’d WISH you had spent your New Years Eve here… a two-day party and alcohol deluge non-stop! XD

  84. Robert says:

    Thats normal, I am Venezuelan and have been in Germany, people in cold countries tend to like more strong bitter taste beers, and they drink them hot, people in warm countries like water like taste beer and they drink them cold, because is refreshing.

  85. sara.t says:

    Very interesting article! I also like Norwegian’s culture, even if it’s quite different from mine. But I learned to behave (almost) like a Norwegian.
    When I will come back to Norway and If you still miss having a casual talk with a stranger or dance without being drunk, I’ll be in 😉
    *raises the hand, whispering “pick me, pick me”* 😀

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