I am The Frog in the Fjord: a French lady who lived in Denmark for a bit before moving to Norway for good. My name is Lorelou Desjardins, I come from Marseille in the South of France and have been living in Oslo since 2010. I am trained as a Human Rights Jurist, and speak fluent English, French, Norwegian and Indonesian.
This blog is about all these new realities foreigners like me face when trying to adapt to a new culture, language, country and most of all to new people. In this case, trying to understand the Norwegian culture and blending in (or trying hard).
I am hoping to give non-Norwegians a glimpse of what make Norway and Norwegians so awkward and so lovable; and to give Norwegians something to laugh or to think about.
In March 2017, my book En frosk i fjorden – Kunsten å bli norsk was published by Norway’s biggest publisher Cappelen Damm. It was a bestseller in Norway with more than 5000 copies sold, and on the bestseller list in May 2017.
Since 2014, I have a column in VG, Norway’s biggest online newspaper. I also work as a freelance writer for newspapers, magazines, comic strips and books; and hold lectures on inter-cultural issues and my experience of Norwegian culture in universities, companies and corporate events. You can send me an email at hello(at)lorelou(dot)com or use my contact formContact. On my website lorelou.com you can have access to all my published articles, interviews on radios, television shows like Lindmo, and reviews for my conferences and courses on working with Norwegians.
In Spring 2021 my new book came out, called A Frog in the Fjord – One Year in Norway. It was recently recommended by Forbes and is sold on Amazon, as well as from my own publishing house (to order it from me with a personal dedication, shop here). In October 2022 it will come out in French and hopefully soon to come in Spanish!
© “A Frog in the Fjord” 2022. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lorelou Desjardins and A Frog in the Fjord with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
109 thoughts on “About”
I really love the way you’ve delicately balanced yourself in writing about Norwegians and the land, and it is brilliantly laced with humour and wit 🙂
I just finished your book “A Frog in the Fjord.” I have a twenty year old son living in Norway, he’s been there eight months and will leave in December this year. He is serving a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is from the United States.
I found this book after he arrived in Norway. I wanted to learn more about the Norwegian people and their culture. Your book has given me that experience. I feel like I better understand my son and some of the frustrations he has had while living in Norway because of some of things you’ve written in your book. I came away feeling like I could live in Norway and better understand the people. Thank you for your insights. I’m glad you have made Norway your home.
I really like this blog 😀
It’s funny to read a foreigners view of our weird actions and what you make of them 😀
J’ai découvert votre blog en arrivant en Norvège … since then, I like to discover each new post, especially with “ce petit plus” which illustrates your style and your convictions. Ser frem til neste så 🙂
Gratulerer med fin blogg, et funn for kultur- og språkglade, spesielt de som er hjemme i norsk, fransk og engelsk. Siden du nå har full kontroll selv, håper jeg du vil sørge for skikkelig kontrast overalt, nå er det en del svake grå tekster på hvit bakgrunn – og det er vanskelig å lese.
hilsen Maja A
du bist ja eine exzellente Norwegen-Kennerin. Hast du dort mal gelebt? Ich war vor Jahren mal beruflich in Oslo, das war im Januar, und da wurde es auch am Tag kaum hell. Aber die Norweger haben ja sehr “cosy homes”, in denen sich das ertragen läßt. Und dank des Ölreichtums in der Nordsee einen extrem hohen Lebensstandard. So, lucky Norwegians!
Michael (from Wildner, until Feb 17)
An Australian here.
Dear French Lady in Norway,
I love your blog, although I am not sure why it should get so more page views than my own, The View From Falling Downs. You have had 500,000 views in one day? Holy moly! Why?
I think it must be that in a sly way you promise revelations of and about “love.” That must be the secret. Right or left, right or wrong, commiehomofacistfag or independent small businesswoman, or both, everybody wants to have love… a brilliant marketing strategy!
But very well done! Perhaps I will begin to offer love tips from Falling Downs.
Sincerely and with best wishes,
After having a laugh at your comment about view count, I went and looked at your blog and its easy to see why you have much less views.
There is no sense of who this is for, what you write about or who your target audience is….its a very basic blog with just writings and musings. I think you could learn alot from the Frog. Good luck on your journey 🙂
It is funny to hike one day with someone until kolsåstopen and after few days to read a post in her blog and realise that oh she was the writter of the frog in the fjord!!!! I think now you understand who I am….. lol small wolrd eh?
haha yes it’s me 🙂 I did not know you were one of my readers! What made you guess it was me?
Je suis le papa de Marin, jeune homme de presque 16 ans qui va passer l’année scolaire prochaine en Finlande avec l’association AFS Vivre Sans Frontière. Pendant ce temps là nous accueillerons bénévolement, puisque c’est la formule, une jeune fille de 17 ans, Birgitte Maaike de …..Kristiansand. Sa maman a partagé le lien vers votre blog. J’avoue que votre approche faite d’humour, d’empathie et, aussi d’espièglerie est très agréable. A suivre…
I’m a Brazilian living with my also Brazilian husband in Ålesund for not even three months and God knows for how much longer (we hope much).
I actually started a blog on food and Norwegian experiences here, the Diabetic Viking, it’s been fun! but it took me this while to come across your blog, it’s a win! will become a reader, for sure.
American here – living in Oslo with her über-Norwegian fiancé. I just wanted to say a few things:
1) I love the redesign of the blog! The illustrations are adorably hilarious. I’ve been reading this blog for over a year now, preparing myself for the culture shock that is Norway (although, nothing can prepare you for the Ikea, IMO).
2) Thanks so much for the knowledge and insight you impart. As a foreigner, I find Norway to be hilariously odd, but it may be more significant since I’m American – I miss my dryer (soft towels), fitted sheets, closets, baggers to bag my groceries, and reasonable prices. BUT, Norway is a lovely place, and your blog is keeping everything in perspective.
Mexican-American in Teisen, Oslo
Thanks for the nice message, and for reading this blog. If you have any new themes you would like to read about let me know! Linked to Norway and Norwegians of course
I just read you’re post about making friends in Norway and got to think about you’re experience when you showed up for that concert and was ignored. You should dive further into this and write an article about “all the things norwegian sais that they don’t mean”… we do often invite people to come to an event but we don’t expect them to actually show up. We do this out of politeness, the same way that we would will those award minutes on a bussride by telling you “we should meet up soon. It’s been way to long ago since we did something together”… we don’t mean this either…
Social intelligence is something we expect people to have and sometime that means to understand exactly when we mean what we say and when we just say it to be polite. If you fail to read these signals we will write you off as a weirdone. We are strange… sorry
Hi 🙂 and thank you so much for your comment http://www.vg.no/nyheter/meninger/kjoenn-og-identitet/hva-vil-norske-kvinner-egentlig-ha/a/23632024/…..I loved it! It was about time that someone said exactly this; and I really appreciate the fact that this was said by a woman! Thanks a lot!
Arnstein Jeppestøl, Vennesla (17 km north of Kristiansand)
You can thank VG who accepted to publish it 🙂 And you are welcome!
You got yourself a new reader for sure!
Fun read. I do think the experiences you have is typical for entering a new and unknown country as adult with limited language skills, not typically for Norway. Well, I grew up there, but might move to Denmark in some years, so I’ll find out if it’s harder than my former “places” haha. Now I live in number six country, and the experiences have varied, but it’s more similarities than differences regarding the challenges?
I was THINKING (shame on me for not doing!) of writing the same (as you) when I moved several times. Well, I made art out of it haha.
Most challenging was moving to a country where there were no bridging language! No/ hardly any… officials or commoners spoke ANY I could communicate with at that time… moving to Madrid some ten years ago. Sure, folks in the hospitality industry do speak some english, but it’s not them you need to communicate with when actually moving in to live. Things like seeing a doctor, or getting the right phone contract were challenging, – interesting times. Doc made me very sick…
And I experienced much of the same you mention when I moved to Sydney with a very limited english. Getting tired… not able to express oneself as a person! Some “aussie” slang is impossible to understand even with rudimentary english skills. They really stretch the words, and the use of them… and the intonation makes all the difference on “fuck” haha. Used by schoolgirls and bullies alike, and can mean everything from “fantastic” and approving, or be a question “really?”, to the absolutely opposite; you better run! Takes a “lifetime” to know all that? I once says “shit” in a room full of people, and the room silenced…! Whilst that would be a very mild swore-word elsewhere, at least in Norway 😀
-I don’t think there is ONE english either, I now live in the US and have to learn again..
Well, keep up the good work an ENJOY Norway! I’ll enjoy your blog.
Une grenouille à Tønsberg?
Je suis responsable de l’Alliance Francaise de Tønsberg, une des 6 alliances en Norvège .Comme vous savez peut-être, les Alliances en Norvège ne sont pas des institutions enseignantes, mais des associations d’amateurs de la langue et culture francaises, “frankofil” – comme on le dit en norvegien. Vous connaissez probablement l’Alliance Francaise d’Oslo.
Une collègue m’a fait voir votre page et j’ai bien aime vos commentaires bien humouristiques et très aptes sur la Norvège et les Norvegiens, et à la fois sur les Francais. J’ai donc l’audace de vous demander si cela vous interessait de venir chez nous parler un peu de vos experiences en Norvège et partager vos commentaires avec nous- et à la fois peut être nous faire connaitre un peu la culture de Marseille, qui , on dit , tient un peu le status de Bergen en France et ainsi pourrait nous interesser – et elle n’est pas très connue non plus chez nous. . Vous decidez bien sur comment vous le ferez . On vous paierai votre intervention ainsi que vos frais de voyage et vous invite bien sur à partager le repas typique franco- norvegien de vin et fromage après. Qu-en dites-vous?
(Votre site ne permet ni l’accent aigü ni la cedille, mais j’espère que c’est quand mème lisible)
Avec mes salutations francophiles,
Jon Petter Wettre
president de l’AF de Tønsberg
J’envisage de prendre l’express côtier de Bergen à Kirkenes pour faire un reportage photos. D’après vous quel serait le meilleur moment ?
L’idée serait d’avoir des lumières les plus variées possibles et de sentir la différence entre le sud et le nord de la Norvège durant le trajet.
Merci et bon week-end
PS : Y a t-il, en Norvège, une période équivalente à notre été indien ?
envoyez moi un email sur froginthefjord(arrobaz)gmail(point)com et je vous envoie une réponse sur votre adresse email, dans une conversation qui n’est pas publique!
Bien à vous
OMG! I got a real pleasure reading your blog! Witty, smart, very observant and funny!
I laughed out loud 🙂
Great blog! Jeg bodde i Kristiansand for mange år siden som utvekslingsstudent og gikk på Katedralskolen ett år. Jeg er hjemme i California nå men prøver å holder norsken mitt. Veldig imponert over engelsken din også! Takk skal du ha!
Je suis français qui a habité sur la côte Est des États-Unis, puis j’ai vécu en Norvège pendant à peu près 2 ans.
J’ai travaillait sur Oslo et vécu à Lillestrøm.
Et j’ai adoré ce pays… Je le considère comme mon 2ème pays après la France – même si j’ai vécu aux U.S. pendant 30 ans…
Tu devrais faire un blog Post sur la fascination des Norvégiens avec les news – le matin, le déjeuner s’il rentre chez eux, en rentrant à la maison… 😉 j’ai trouvé ça marrant /surprenant.
Merci pour plein de bonne lecture sympa…
Bonjour! I read about you in Aftenposten in April, 2017. I am a Norwegian-American that has been living in Norway since 1993. I have Norwegian family and grew up in the US. As a foreigner in Norway and as a French teacher, I enjoy reading your take on Norwegian life. I have had many similiar thoughts and discussions with both other foreigners and Norwegians living here. Thanks and I look forward to your future writings.
Je viens de finir votre livre En frosk i fjorden – og den var helt fantastisk, tusen takk! Je suis tchèque et j’ai étudié le français et le norvégien à l’université – et voilà, de to studieområdene mine møttes i en bok! Helt unikt for meg. Dine observasjoner er veldig treffende, og dine norske opplevelser ligner mye på mine egne – à l’exception de quelques cas où la mentalité norvégienne m’est plus proche que celle des Français. Og det er akkurat det som gjør boka så interessant for meg. Og dessuten er den veldig spennende, morsom og godt skrevet!
Merci beaucoup, og lykke til videre! Je continue à suivre votre blog :).
I would like to live there may you help me I m not good here I apreciate any advice or help you may give sorry if i m disturbing
I’ve enjoyed reading about you and your adventures with Norway and Norwegians. It makes me smile 🙂 I have a very close Norwegian-American friend who’s family is very… shall we say, awkward, lol… I would like to purchase your book, however, I do not speak Norwegian. Will your book be printed in English anytime soon? I sure hope so!
Thanks for brightening up my day with your amusing tales…
Woman, your book seems OK. The way you express your thoughts on a paper is quite interesting to read and I actually learned some new things about life in Norway (I immigrated here from Estonia 4 years ago). BUT! Was it THAT necessary to show Brits in a negative way? I mean, your story with the British guy who screwed up fun with the dogs race or then another British family who turned out to be greedy during the Easter holidays? How typical!!!! A French woman judging Brits. Disappointed. You seriously could have avoided that cheap judging and I would have had much better memories left after reading your work …
Dear LORELOU DESJARDINS,
Refer to the artical in VG:
Great article and the perfect timing to discuss this topic !
Merci beaucoup !
What happened to your LHBT article about Indonesia? Got the link through an e-mail. The article “cannot be found” now.
Hi! I had to keep it on the website it was originally published on: https://maddam.no/2018/09/i-dag-er-det-farlig-a-vaere-lhbt-i-indonesia-snart-blir-det-kanskje-ulovlig/
Welcome to my world of photography (and blog)! So let’s share ‘our fjord’ (which may be the ‘Oslo fjord’?), – not the most impressive by far, but never the less the only one we’ve got here around our parts of our country.
I’m located a bit further out (compared to you) which means I’m allowed to drive my car fra A to B whenever I feel
like it. 🙂
In Oslo, I’m told’ most people will have to walk these days (even if you’re 90 with multiple handi-caps), and even if Oslo is my ‘city of birth’ for some 82 years ago, I haven’t been to this city for years now! I don’t feel very welcome, and I don’t need to!
But I’m happy about you visiting my blog! 🙂 And if you haven’t already discovered it, my blog holds nearly 7500 pictures from Norway and Norwegian nature; – nearly all of them in ‘full screen’ – large enough to fill a screen of
50 inches or even more! Please enjoy!
If you have been here long enough to be familiar with the location of Norwegain counties, I’d suggest you try out my ‘INDEX’ (which will save you a lot of time to find what you may be looking for!) You’ll find a link to my ‘INDEX’ at the bottom of nearly any post you care to open! Go for it! 🙂
Takk for tankene angående det å være gravid i Norge.
Takk – and no more excuses from me.
Lockdown, no commuting, so much time for everything, including languages.
Married to a mostly Norwegian , partly Scottish man for quite a long time, and still trying to work him out.
Inviting people to an event, but not really meaning it sounds like southern English /London ‘ We must do lunch’ Which means they’d rather not see you again.
Will we ever see Norway again ?
I can’t thank you enough for your writing all these years, and helping me adapt to this wonderful, yet different culture. All you ever wrote pretty much reflected my own experience, however having someone literate as you confirm, expand, and analyze things to the smallest detail helped me sort out things when in doubt. Thank you.