Holmenkollen, Oslo, Norway
Oslo began with a $150 cab ride, but Abdi made it worth the money.
He’s been in Norway for fifteen years and speaks five languages. I heard four of them in the first five minutes: he spoke to the airport staff in Norwegian, greeted me in English, answered a call in Somali, then realized I speak French, which is easier for him, so we used that instead (he also speaks Arabic). We talked about everything from the northern lights to the Fast and Furious movies.
Abdi works twelve hour days in the cab to support his wife, four kids and family back home. “When you don’t have a diploma, you have to work a lot. We have many opportunities here, but you have to start at the bottom.” “When I first arrived here, it was -20 and my hands hurt all the time, even in gloves. Then I adapted.” Abdi had much to say about life in Norway, especially about the power of the law to make life more fair. “There are lots of racists here,” he said, “but they are afraid of the law, so they don’t do anything. The law is strong.”