Not much of a correspondent am I? In the mad dash to learn my new role at work, sort out my paperwork, help Leyla sort out her paperwork and find a place to live, I have let my writing discipline dwindle to a shocking extent. Sorry.
The paperwork side of the deal is quite an eye-opener. Baku bureaucracy can be time consuming with all the bouncing from one desk to an other in search of forms and rubber stamps. Here in Oslo there is less bouncing about between fewer desks but the complexity of the business at each stop is much greater.
My first task upon arrival in Norway was a visit to the police station to register myself for a residence and work permit. This duly arrived last week but rather than being the final result it appears to be the start of something greater. A “D-Number” will follow at some stage I am told. The card, the D-Number and a completed form will then need taking to an office so that I can get myself on the “Folksregister”. The number I receive after doing that should be the final prize.
This new number should be the key to clarifying much what will be expected of me by the taxman. He is quite an exacting and paper-loving fellow judging by what I have heard so far, that and quite persistent in his interests should you fail to provide suitable documentary evidence of numerous things. Suffice to say I am keeping a lot of receipts.
In parallel, the websites and assorted ‘phone-answering staff of the Norwegian Immigration Directorate (UDI), the Norwegian Embassy in Baku and the Norwegian Embassy in London have provided a bewildering variety of answers to the question of how best to arrange Leyla’s visa. One check-list provided in Baku asked for no fewer than ten different items of documentation to be supplied with the application, some of which were expected to carry a stamp of apostille (new to me, that one). Thankfully my latest conversation with the UDI has cut that check-list down to a more manageable four items (none with apostille) and cleared up several other queries into the bargain.
House-hunting has been fruitless thus far but fascinating. One apartment I viewed was being offered by a charming man whose manner was so unlike that of any landlord I have met in London it was remarkable. We met on a Monday afternoon and he was due to fly to Germany that evening for a week’s business. I could not make my mind up about the apartment. His response as we left was to give me the door key and invite me to come back later in the week, maybe stay a night if I wished and drop the key off with the neighbour afterwards. I appreciated his trust and did not abuse it and I felt a little sad when writing to decline the apartment.
There has been time for a little fun and relaxation too. The snow that was still very prevalent a month ago has now virtually all melted and the hot, blue-sky days like we had this weekend are perfect for getting out and enjoying the less urban sides of Oslo.
A twenty minute ride to the end of T-bane line 1 (roughly equivalent to heading up the Northern Line on London’s Tube) takes you to Frognerseteren five hundred metres above sea level and light years away from the hustle and bustle of a capital city. In winter this is skiing country and there is a grand old wooden lodge serving excellent apple pie and hot chocolate to prove it. Below is a view you can enjoy from their terrace at this time of year.