1. Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. When I moved here I didn’t know a single person in Norway. Everyone was a stranger and I had to talk to someone, so I did. I struck up a conversation with a woman who was with her 8-month-old son in the baby section at the grocery store and we’ve been friends since.
2. Get your teeth cleaned. I’m not saying I’m bum-buddies with my hygienist but when I asked around for a trustworthy dentist I got a great recommendation from someone I barely knew. She is now a dear friend that I share coffees and concert tickets with.
3. Make a Facebook blind date. I met a woman who is now my closest pal in Oslo through Facebook. There’s a page for international moms and I saw that my ethnic makeup and background was eerily similar with someone in the group, so we decided to meet. My husband was apprehensive about the setup, saying I could end up meeting a serial killer, but seeing as we chose a popular coffee-house to have a playdate with our toddlers, I wasn’t scared. I haven’t been serially killed yet but I do have a wonderful friend and confidant.
4. Network. You could play a game of “name that acronym” when you start looking into the various professional and social networking groups in Oslo. A few favorites:
- – Norwegian International Network (NIN)
– American Women’s Club (AWC)
– International Mother and Baby Group of Oslo (IMOBAGO)
– Democrats/Republicans Abroad in Norway (DAN or RAN, depending on whether you’re an idiot or a fool)
5. Learn Norwegian. Sign-up for a course and everyone in the class will become an instant friend. Learning to pronounce Ø and U, with the nuance specific to Norwegian, is a team-building activity.