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Archive for November, 2015

”Can we help?”

So, I had to talk to the kids about terrorism today. We’ve kept them sheltered til now. But now it starts to effect us. Now we are going to start to see the results of the refugee crisis in our part of the world. Now, more than ever, it is our responsibility to bravely model our beliefs.

That’s what I tried to get across, anyway. I talked about how the bad guys that made the attacks on Paris have been making attacks on other parts of the world for many years. People from those countries are trying to get away to a place where they can be safe. Safe places like the part of the world we live in. Arriving tonight, in fact. The first question: ”Will the bad guys follow the people here? And start fighting here?”

I said ”No, sweetie, they’re interested in the land where they are. They’re not interested in the people who are leaving.” I was bluffing a little. That is what we’re really all afraid of, right? Deep down I’m afraid, too. Too often and too close, these attacks. We talked some more, and broke it down into two scenarios: ”We” (the Norwegians) might be a bit uncomfortable having lots of new people living with and around us, people who look and talk and maybe act sometimes in ways we’re not used to. ”They” (the refugees) face injury or death if they go back. So I asked our seven-year-old — whose face had lit up just moments before at the idea that Norway could be ”different” with so many new people (”That would be cool!”) — I asked him, what he thought was the right choice? To accept being uncomfortable, or to send the people away?

”Ummm… I know! To be uncomfortable!!”

And I thought two things: 1) How lovely it was to hear that answer, even though surprising it was not, and 2) IS is not going to win. Not if we continue to teach our children to be kind when it’s uncomfortable. Not if we teach them to stand up to bullies. Not if we SHOW them to be kind, and to stand up to bullies for as long as we can.

Anyway, so I was scrolling my newsfeed after they were (finally) asleep, and saw some articles pop up about various states blocking the entry of Syrian refugees after the attacks in Paris. Because a Syrian could be a threat, or someone who is a threat could get in with the Syrians, etc. etc., spin the cycle of fear, etc.

(As an aside, I’m personally more terrified to send my kids to school in the U.S. where the likelihood is greater they’ll be shot by their own (half)countrymen than of being caught in a terrorist attack.)

I thought, ”Hey! I had this conversation today! This was the first fear my 7 year old and then my 5 year old had, too! Huh!” Interestingly enough, when I talked about it a bit more with them, their tune quickly turned to ”can we help?” Flesh of my flesh, our oldest started rummaging around in the cupboards in order to make eastern-inspired food (”indisk mat,” sa han, for you norskis :))

I strongly dislike politics because I strongly dislike conflict. And inefficiency. I’m not making a political statement. All I’m saying is that sometimes lawmakers echo the same fears as children. All I’m asking is if that is acceptable.

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I feel like maybe we need a little bit of updating here.

Updating has not been deemed a judicious use of my time the last few months. It’s not a judicious use of my time right now. Cai followed his brother in the ”let’s run around naked” game last night, and then pooped everywhere. So there are some floors that should be rewashed. The rug had to go. I usually clean and conserve and never throw away, but this time I just couldn’t. There’s also a peed-in bed to be dealt with. I was patting my own back this morning — one kid showered, three kids dressed, two diapers changed, four lunchboxes packed, and I even brewed the coffee. Made it to Karel’s school just as the bell rang. I only had to threaten to leave the house without one child, and count to three once. Maybe twice. Anyway.

SO — remember when I took Cai to that interview? I got that position! So since the middle of May I’ve been working at a nursing home 2-3 shifts a week. It’s been good. The atmosphere is engaged and positive, I’ve never worked in a place so well staffed, and the employees are as understanding and empathetic with their foreign coworkers as they are with their residents. My position is  technically ”Nursing Student.” This is also fine with me. I have a long way to go, language-wise, and this job has been helpful in showing me where I am and where I need to be. Is communicating with hard-of-hearing elderly folk who speak mostly dialect in  my high squeaky voice challenging? Yes. Yes it is. My voice was not made to communicate with this population. I consciously lower it. I hear the wrongly pronounced words as they come out, and I know that my mouth is just not able to form them correctly. These are vowels we don’t have, people. Hello, toddlerhood. Now I feel bad that I didn’t get what Cai baby was trying to tell me this morning. Anyway, the communication thing makes me sad, and of course the only thing to do is to get over it and keep trying, so that’s what we do.

Anyway, this position is temporary. The nurse I’m filling in for will be back from maternity leave in January. Even if she isn’t, turns out budget redisributions in the kommune have suggested that this nursing home be shut down…so, right. On the jobhunt again, but it was a glorious few months of not job hunting. 🙂

So then there’s the nursing registration thing. Norway has 3 year nursing program. There is a heavy emphasis on practical hours. I cannot speak to other BSN programs in the States, but mine was heavy on theory. Heavy on developing critical thinking. Heavy on teaching the thought processes and patterns that are necessary for thorough care. SO heavy that this is how I think all the time. I can’t NOT think like a nurse, even being off the field for five years. The registration authority doesn’t really like that other countries might possibly organize their nursing education in a way other than the Norwegian model. So they tell us we’re not qualified.

If I remove all the emotion from the situation, I shake my head in wonder at the stupidity and complete lack of logic in the system. It smacks of corruption, but to what gain? I actually hope that there IS some corruption, because being so blantantly narrowminded is embarassing for a Scandinavian country. If I don’t remove the emotion, my pulse rate doubles and I start to cry. If I open my eyes up a little bit wider, I see that maybe this kind and generous and democratic land maybe isn’t so different from every other country, and maybe the governing bodies don’t actually practice the open-mindeness at home that it is known for abroad.

ANYWAY, YES, I applied once and was denied. YES, I need to apply again. YES I am dragging my feet because I strongly dislike putting time and energy into futile causes. YES the situation might change, as this specific point of US educated nurses is getting a lot of media attention lately. NO I have no idea what this even looks like for the nurses educated in other countries. Pretty sure they’re not getting qualified either. YES I am practicing my nursing assessment skills by surveying the situation and coming up with alternate plans that will bring the same result. Or maybe that skill was developed in Malawi restaurants. They were always out of whatever your first choice was. Always.

So that’s that. Once, when I was still in school, I was listening to a presentation given by a woman who had worked at the mobile clinic in Malawi. She was introduced as a nurse, but then she corrected that statement. ”I used to be a nurse,” she said. And I thought to my sweet, young, naive self, ”Wow. I’m never going to say that. I’ll never not be doing some part of this job.”

Oh, sweet naive motivated student Kim. Never is getting closer all time.

Ohmygoodness — we also have a five year old, a cat, and the rest of the summer vacation to document. They will be much more uplifting posts. But now I have to wash the floors.

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