14 Jul 2016

The Expats: Helen Simmons in Oslo

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:22 pm on 14 July 2016
Frogner Park, Oslo

Frogner Park, Oslo Photo: Wikipedia

Helen Simmons has lived in the Norwegian capital for 12 years, and loves the changing seasons, but the very short winter days can take their toll.

Helen Simmons says Oslo is getting increasingly crowded and housing is a growing problem. She says there isn't really a tradition of going flatting, everyone wants their own place and not to share it with strangers.

"In general Norwegians are very reserved with strangers, and appreciate their privacy and peace and quiet. Once you get to know people better, they are friendly and warm and like to do things together - eating, going for walks. But you need to get past that initial reserve, and take the initiative to make friends"

She says one thing she particularly enjoys is the focus on the changing seasons. She says there are traditional activities for each season, like picking berries and mushrooms in autumn, cross-country skiing in winter.

"At the moment it's summer, which means walks in the forest, picnics, swimming in the sea and in lakes, and staying up all night because it doesn't really get properly dark at night in July. I love summer in Norway, closely followed by autumn when all the leaves turn orange."

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