When moving to or visiting another country, customs and cultures often get the better of you and make you curious to know more about them. The blog A Frog in the Fjord was started for exactly this reason.
The author, Lorelou Desjardins, comes from Provence in France but moved her life to Norway. For the last few years, she has been blogging about life in Norway from a foreign perspective and now has a strong following. She knows the country well, which is why we asked her to tell us more about life in this Scandinavian pearl. If you are planning a visit to Oslo or the rest of the country then this blog is a must-read, as it offers a fun-filled insight into Norwegian culture and lifestyle.
Lorelou moved to Norway after securing a job with the intention to stay for only a short time, but plans change and six years later she is still living in Norway. “I was offered an interesting job, society here is more in line with what I like and people are natural. Life here is peaceful.” Through her blog, Lorelou reflects on life in Norway with funny anecdotes appreciated by both natives and non-Norwegians. Her blog has become so successful that she has also secured a monthly column in VG, one of the nation’s largest newspapers, and she writes for Widerøe Airlines’ in-flight magazine.
Cracking the cultural codes
A Frog in the Fjord has become quite an adventure for Lorelou but it all started with a rather simple idea. “I was meeting many cultural differences that were a bit difficult for me to interpret. I felt that every time I was cracking the code another one came up. I thought this information could maybe benefit other people who were in my situation.” She wasn’t expecting the blog to be read by so many people but outside of Norway. The US is her second biggest readership. Americans with Norwegian heritage love to hear about life in Norway and Norwegians love to read about themselves too.
The ideas come from observing or talking to people about a particular cultural trait, which then develops into a blog post. “The trouble I have now is that I have been here so long things appear normal to me. When you’ve melted into society and speak the language it becomes normality. In fact, when I go home to France, I find the things people do there strange.”
Life in Norway
Lorelou writes about the different topics with a great deal of wit and humor but she greatly enjoys life in Norway. “If it wasn’t good I would have left”, she laughs. Lorelou finds life is very peaceful and finds integrating into local culture very interesting, especially when it comes to learning the language or following what is going on in Norwegian politics. “I like Norway, so what I write about is the funny side of culture. Through writing a monthly column for VG, I do recognize that there is a difference between what the Norwegian and international audiences want. This is a balance that I try to find.”
Lorelou reflects on Norwegians being good-natured, very trusting and always happy to help you out. “This definitely has a positive impact on the attitudes of people who visit or live here.” Norway has some of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic nature, another thing that she loves.
“I think having so much space and nature is a luxury in a European capital city. It’s a small population so there is plenty of space for everyone.”
Traveling for inspiration
Lorelou spends much of her free time traveling around the country and has been lucky enough to visit the fjords of the west,Røros World Heritage Site and other cities, but Northern Norway is her favorite. “It is easy to write about these experiences as they are so different from my daily life in Oslo. Language, especially dialects, and food interest me so I need to travel to find out more about it. There is a lot of diversity across the country.”
Tips for visiting Oslo
© Finn Ståle Felberg/Mathallen
Describing Oslo as a diverse place to live, Lorelou suggests it is very practical to get around, the forest is never far away and there is lots to do. In her free time, she likes nothing better than to visit cafés, such as Kulturhuset or sample local dishes. "I’m French so I’m obsessed with food. On my days off, I like to try Norwegian food and love to visit Mathallen, the local food hall."
If you are planning to visit Norway and want to find out about local cultures, customs and top tips for visiting, check out A Frog in the Fjord to learn more. While you’re in Oslo, enjoy your stay at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel, Oslo and experience first hand the cultural traits, friendly locals and sights of the city that Lorelou has grown to love.