Since arriving in Norway the quality of life here has really surprised me (even compared to the US). Public services are great and no complaints so far (well, except for some bureaucracy in the system, but as A. reminded me, it's nothing compared to India or Brazil. I just have a low tolerance for lines and forms). But one thing that is really scary here is the price of almost anything!
To get an idea:
Cup of coffee at 7 Eleven (cheapest you can find): NOK 20 = USD 3.50 = EUR 2,50
Bus ticket: NOK 26 = USD 4.60 = EUR 3,20 (And this if you buy the ticket before you board the bus/ tram! Otherwise it is NOK 40!!!)
Sandwich at a bakery (take out, just sandwich, no drinks etc): NOK 120 = USD 21 = EUR 15
This had already made me decide to cook at home most of the time!
Then I had a work dinner this week at a fancy restaurant... And I really learned how painful this can be (I wasn't paying, but just the thought of it was painful).
Main dish: NOK 395 = USD 70 = EUR 77,50
Dessert: NOK 150 = USD26 = EUR 18,50
Beer (500ml=1pint): NOK 80 = USD 14 = EUR 10
This was definitely not the most expensive place in town and the food wasn't all that great either!
On my first trip to Paris to visit A. I went grocery shopping there and quickly realized that importing anything to Oslo is a good deal. This means that my bag always comes back filled with cheese (10% of the Norwegian price for the exact same cheese!!) and wine (based on the price of the beer above you can have an idea on the cost of any alcohol...). But the moment of realization came when I saw the exact same H&M ad as in Oslo, with the same model wearing the same sweater but less than half price!!!
This is what is called the "Norway cost". Everything is expensive here, which means that people also get paid well. But coming from abroad these prices are very very scary! (As A. likes to point out: Imagine how many thalis you could eat in India for this price!!) The good side is that wherever in the world I go from here, things will be cheap!!