If you've never been to Norway before, or you've been to Norway but haven't had to get anything done of real importance (Visa, personal number, drivers license, etc)--here's a word of advice: Don't expect to get any one of these things done on the first try.
Today, the boys finally went back to school after a very long Christmas break. That left the mom, the little girl and I to go into the city and try to get my TB test, give the receipt to the police (for my Visa) and get a personal number (to open bank accounts, etc). It's been a week since I got my Visa, and these were some of the other things I need to do in order to make my year (or however long..) as simple as possible.
First stop, TB test. Didn't actually turn out to be a test. Just a note saying that I didn't have TB. I don't know why I couldn't have just been asked by the police where I was from and if I'd been to Africa or South America in the last year. But that is Norway.
Next stop, Police station to drop off my TB test receipt at the information window. When I got my Visa, the woman told me to just drop it off here, because otherwise, I would have to wait a really long time in the waiting room to talk to someone. When we got up to the 5th floor--imagine this--the information window was closed! There also were about 20 people waiting to talk to someone, so that didn't get done. Funny that the information window was closed, since that particular department in the police station is only open like two days a week. That is Norway.
Next stop, to check if I can use my US drivers license in Norway. We went downstairs to ask (from the 5th floor), just to be sent back to the 5th floor! Different department this time. We went to the desk specifically labeled "førerkort (drivers license)" but they had no answer. They told us to contact another office by phone to ask about the drivers license. That is Norway!
I decided to talk to the mom about how this has happened to me before--while studying in Oslo, Kari and I were trying to get our money, the school sent us to the bank and the bank sent us back to the school! She laughed and said, "It's funny that you say that no one can give you a straight answer, it's so true!"
Last stop, folkeregistrar to get my personal number. That was a little easier--just filling out two applications for a personal number and tax form. After I was done with that, the woman said "okay, we will send it to you". Asked how long it would take. She couldn't tell us (just like my Visa, no one could give you a specific answer about how long processing your Visa would take)! That is Norway.
So, there were tasks completed today, but I still have to go back to the police station (for the third time) to hand in my TB test. Hopefully, next time, it'll be an in and out thing.
Ah, Love Norway!
Side note, I'm making Wild Rice Soup for the family tonight--never made it--I hope it's good!