From US to Oslo Soup

«I like a lot of things about Oslo. It has a lovely balance of major city amenities without the super tall buildings and obscene crowds paired with incredible green space and a cozy community feeling».

It’s a pleasure to introduce to you Tara Kelly Dolgner . She was born and raised in the USA, right outside of Washington, DC in the state of Maryland. She moved to Oslo in June 2015 with her husband. As two Americans who loved travel, they were excited to start a new adventure in Europe. When they arrived in Oslo, Tara spent some time learning a bit of Norwegian and applying to jobs. She also got involved in several volunteer opportunities, including oslo soup, a microfunding foodie event in Oslo and shared recipes, as well as, wrote about local restaurants on her blog, Basil, Meet Lime.

«oslo soup is a micro-funding foodie experience where four community projects are pitched to the crowd. You donate some money (recommended at 50 NOK), get some delicious soup, bread and cake, then you vote for the community project you would like to support. At the end of the evening, the project with the most votes gets the collected donations. Through a simple donation-based communal meal, oslo soup strives to capture the spirit of solidarity and enable communities to support worthy enhancement projects – fueling ideas one bowl at the time».

Do you manage to tie work and private life in Oslo?

I think it’s rather easy. There is an incredible acceptance of work and life balance here. I used to work 10-12 hour days, with a 3 hour round trip commute, with very little time for a private life. Now, I am able to balance both my fulltime job, my position as Executive Board Member with oslo soup, occasional food blogging on Basil, Meet Lime (though I much more active on Instagram) and keep a social life – coffee with friends, talking walks in the city and even the occasional yoga class.

Describe your favorite activities that makes you happy in Oslo?

I enjoy taking walks downtown, drinking chai lattes in the cafes and people watching. The green spaces in Oslo are really beautiful and so inspiring, particularly during the summertime when the sun is out all day. You never know how many people really live in this city until it’s summertime at one of the parks. People are grilling and sunbathing everywhere!

Do you have the impression of living in a safe city?

Yes, I feel very safe in Oslo. As with any city, you need to be careful and aware of your surroundings but people are very respectful of each other here.

Was Oslo better before or it’s better now?

The more I get to know about Oslo, the more that I love it. I am a mom to be and can’t wait to explore Oslo when my son arrives this summer. It’ll be a completely different lens to explore the city – and I cannot wait.

Your favorite neighborhood in Oslo and why?

I have only lived in three neighborhoods here in Oslo – but, I really loved living in Grünerløkka. With coffee shops, restaurants and boutiques everywhere, it’s a wonderful area of the city to wander and walk. In April, we are holding the next oslo soup event in Tøyen which is a lovely neighborhood that I hope to explore more. The Munch museum (which is awesome) is located there and I remember having a lovely pizza in my second month in Oslo there.

If today you could change something in the city what would you change?

The only thing that is a bit chaotic is how people walk on the sidewalks in the city. I feel like I am constantly weaving out of other people’s way. It’s been a year and a half and I am still constantly finding myself unprepared in the more hectic parts of the city. I guess it keeps me on my toes – no walking and texting, for sure.

Your favorite entertainment places in the city and why?

There are so many to choose from… Well, when I first moved to Oslo, I was curious about where to find comfort food. In particular, I began to lead a burger hunt in the city to find the best burger in Oslo with a few other likeminded ladies. It was a lot of fun – and a lot of burgers. All that said, my personal opinion is the best burger can be found at Kverneriet in Majorstuen. Delightfully cooked with soft buns – their burgers are truly delicious. My favorite is the cricket – big juicy burger topped with cream cheese, pickled onions and jalapeños. Outside of the food scene (which really is excellent in Oslo), I enjoy taking walks at Vigelandsparken. It’s so peaceful and beautiful – particularly on a sunny, summer day. Just watch out for the Pokemon Go players! Finally, I would recommend ice skating at Spikersuppa in the winter. What beats ice skating in the city center, surrounded by lights, people, restaurants, cafes… I went last winter after putting on ice skates for the first time in 20 years. Sadly, ice skating is not like riding a bike… I had to completely relearn but it was fun and a lovely location!

Which thing you could not live without?

My network of family and friends. I was a bit afraid to move from the USA to Norway as I had such an incredible system back home but have found amazing friends here. It feels like a new home. My husband and I really love it here in Oslo.