And I the only person to have noticed a definite increase in the number of Life in France Bloggers to be found in Grenoble, these days?
And I’m sure that there are many more!
And today I’m going to take a look at Monica’s blog, Mlle Norvégienne.
Monica says of herself…
“Hello, my name is Monica and I am a Norwegian girl who has lived several years in France, both in Grenoble and Montpellier. I have Bachelor’s Degree in International Marketing from ESC – Ecole de Commerce de Grenoble, and Masters Degree, Master of Science in Marketing, from GGSB – Grenoble Graduate School of Business. In between, I also studied French at the Université Paul Valéry in Montpellier. I’ve had internship, worked and been unemployed – all in France, I have been single and now I am living with a wonderful French man that I will marry next summer. I have a pretty good knowledge of the cultural differences between Norway and France in all these different situations. I’ve always been fascinated by this country and it has only become stronger with time. I’m also a big fan of French cuisine and French cheese and wine.”
To which I can only reply that I’m a big fan of people who are big fans of French Cuisine and French Wine!
Especially if they have spent time in Montpellier (because only a rather special breed of person can cope with that!)
So, without further ado…
Let’s dive in and find out what it is like to be…
A Norwegian Girl in France!
Monica introduces her blog with a post called… A year that became many – A Norwegian girl in France, talks about food, culture, life from student to employee to unemployment, and life from single to living with a French man which would certainly have won the Longest Post Title of the Week Award if only I had known about it at the time!
And, in that post, Monica starts to explain how one year in studying in France turned into five.
I have to admit that I’ve been studying the French all my life (from near and afar) and still haven’t got a clue!
After being a Product Manager for a product that she didn’t know existed (until she started the job), Monica finds herself unemployed and writes about it in First day as unemployed and a little info about the French labor system.
But there aren’t any doubts that she has made the right choice in moving to France.
Monica explains, in Why France? that she… “came to France to study seven years ago and I had no intentions on staying more than one year. But I was far from finished with France when the year was over.”
And after showing us some lovely photos of all the best bits of France, Monica concludes by saying…
“France is a country that has not stopped to amaze me after six years, and I don’t think it ever will.”
There’s plenty of food on offer here; starting with a mouthwatering Recipe: Quiche with raclette cheese, zucchini and tomatoes…
And perhaps following up with a Recipe: small savory muffins with Roquefort and walnuts?
I’d say that the latter is the perfect Apero and the former could be a pre-apero nibble?
Or am I just being greedy?
Two beautifully simple recipes for some simply beautiful food!
Monica shows that she is a foodie with her post about Every cooking lovers dream: the French market with all its beautiful photos (you need to click on them to see them in their full beauty) and her admission that… “For me the market is really “French”. Even before I came here, I imagined that the markets were exactly like this, and I think they have always been and will never change. Hopefully.”
Then Monica goes on to compare the difference in Food and drink traditions in Norway vs France.
Reading through the post I get the feeling that we drink rather more wine here in France and slightly less Aquavit?
I did love Monica’s explanation why we have the need for Aperos as well!
I had never thought that as any French guests at a dinner party are bound to be late… “Apéro is therefore something that is always served first, while waiting for all the guests, and this is a tradition that’s easy to get used to (and as you get more Champagne, you will be less picky on the punctuality as well).”
Wanting to cook something special for Mr Français, Monica decides on a Mission: Chinese food and spends ages tracking down the ingredients only to find…
That she had no money on her!
Still, it must have turned out alright because, in Mission completed: Chinese food we get to see the finished dish and…
Doesn’t it look lovely?
I’m glad that Monica realises that she shouldn’t expect France to be normal.
France is a bit more French than that!
And when she says You know you’re not in Norway when…
“…you have to take a day off to create a bank account.”
I know exactly what she means!
Monica then goes on to say the wisest thing I have ever heard said by any expat in France….
“For example, I never go to a public office without a good book and my best walking shoes (to be prepared to go home and get a document or two – or that you need to go to a whole other office first), and possibly also food and drink. Moreover, it is important to go there when you’re not stressed or in a bad mood already, because that can have unfortunate consequences (such as violence … etc). One should simply prepare for the worst and just rely on the fact that it’s going to take an enormous amount of time and that you most likely will not accomplish what you came for because it lacks some documents/you need to be in another office and you don’t have the documents they’ll need..etc.”
So true, isn’t it?
Still, I suppose it must be difficult for the poor froggies when Norwegian Girls keep coming up to the to ask…
Still, our linguistic gymnastics are no reason for the natives to be rude…
And Monica asks…
To which I can only reply…
“Monica, they are often called Bar Stewards – and you try saying that quickly when you’ve had a couple of pints of Ricard!”
Still, you’re probably right when you say that you… “Will need to learn karate to be able to defend myself from crazy bartenders before I go back there.”
And, as soon as you forget about Mean Barstewards you turn around… And suddenly it was Autumn again!
But that doesn’t matter as long as there are home made Pizzas!
And anyway, you can always think back to Grenoble, sun and a camera and look at all those photos bringing back lovely memories.
And sometimes Monica even enjoys being a Tourist in my own town.
Well, why not?
Especially if lunch is at that… nice little Crêperie at Place des Gordes, in the center of Grenoble.
Mlle Norvégienne is a lovely, sunny & sparkly blog and a must visit site for anyone interested in Grenoble or, just Life in France.
Although Mlle Norvégienne has only been going for a few months, it has already created a style all of its own and looks like continuing in the way it has started off.
Please pay a visit to Mlle Norvégienne and leave a comment to say hello to Monica – I’m sure that would make her day!
And me? Well, I’m going to gatecrash Mr Français’s Birthday celebrations.
I’ve just seen what’ on the menu and I’m dying to tuck in!
Care to join me?
All the best