Spotlight: Anouk-Letizia Firle
Celebrating Norwegian integration one “national costume” Friday at a time.
On an ordinary Friday in the Norwegian spring, Anouk-Letizia Firle walked through the doors of Omega's head office in Ølensvåg dressed in the Norwegian national costume, or bunad. For Anouk, the bunad is a way of symbolizing her integration in Norway.
- Name: Anouk-Felizia Firle
- Age: 30
- From: Bochum, Germany
- Omega focus: Pims
- Background: Bachelor of Geology, higher education within mathematics and informatics
- Work location: HQ, Ølensvåg
- Company: Omega PS
“This bunad is brand new. It arrived too late for Norway’s national day on May 17th, and I think it’s a shame it is used so rarely. That is why I am going to use it a lot more often,” she says. She will try to wear her national costume on the last Friday of the month from now on.
Anouk moved from Bochum in Germany to Norway in July 2019 and started working at Omega in August of the same year. After a year in Norway, she purchased the national costume with its origins in the Hardanger region on the West coast of Norway, which she considered was the obvious choice for her.
“We have great respect for the use of the national costume in Germany. It was therefore important for me to get a costume that was associated with my boyfriend at that time and his family. They helped me a lot when I moved here and made me feel welcome and safe.”
“Bunad is a great tradition, and I feel that it is a part of my integration in Norway,” says Anouk.
She emphasizes that moving to a new country is not always easy, as one misses their family, the language, and the cultural context they are used to. One thing that has helped her in the integration process is having daily routines and preserving traditions. She mentions that the canteen in Ølensvåg has a "tradition" of serving something sweet every Friday, which she greatly appreciates.
“Our canteen personnel are very good at what they do and serve lovely pastries. For me, the last Friday of the month is a little bit ceremonial. Therefore, I think it is a good idea to combine bunad and pastries and make it a tradition.”
Wearing the bunad to work was also well received by her colleagues.
“The feedback I received on the first Friday I arrived at work in my bunad was nice, many people thought it was fun to see a colleague wearing the national costume. It was a good day at the office,” Anouk says.
She undertook a small "survey" to hear what her colleagues associate with the national costume. The answers varied, but she saw a clear distinction between the responses of her male and female colleagues.
“Both the women and the men first and foremost emphasized festivities and thought about Norway’s national day. The women's associations also included good times, family, beautiful colors, ice cream, and great craftsmanship. The men associated the bunad with formal occasions, weddings, national romanticism, well-dressed ladies, and the difficulty of wearing a bunad (which is often made of wool) on a hot day. They also mentioned the word ‘stress’,” says Anouk, who appreciated the insight into her colleagues’ thoughts regarding their national dress.
Anouk currently lives in a share house in Ølensvåg, along with a few other Omega employees. She works as a Systems Engineer with Pims in Omega PS. Her background is in geology, mathematics, and computer science.
“I like Norway a lot. It's important for me to socialize with nice people, and in Omega there are many great and fun people that I work with. In addition, the location of our headquarters is fantastic. The office is right by the fjord and surrounded by beautiful mountains,” she says, adding that she wants to stay in Norway in the future, even though she misses her family in Germany.
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