FIVE years ago, Lydia Moore swapped the coastal beauty of her home town of Clonakilty in Cork, and moved to Norway.
She lives in Olso, and the company she works for moved her over as part of the Jameson Graduate Program, which was supposed to be for one year.
Lydia fell in love with the place, got a permanent marketing position, and has been there since.
“Life is very outdoorsy here, which I’ve grown to love,” she said. “I live in the city with my Norwegian boyfriend, so we try to make the most of the city in midweek and we spend the weekends hiking, cycling and skiing, depending on the seasons.
“Norwegians seem to have an activity for every weather condition, and I’ve learnt ‘it’s not bad weather, it’s just bad clothes’, so there’s been a lot of trying new things - a steep learning curve for some activities, I’ll say!”
How might Lydia spend her weekends?
“I love to cook so weekends involve good food and wine,” she said. “I’ve made some wonderful friends here, so I hang out with them.
“Sometimes, we love to head off to the mountains. It’s traditional for Norwegians to have what’s known as a ‘Hytte’ (a wooden cabin) which is located in the mountains, so we spend a lot of time at the Hytte belonging to my boyfriend Thomas’s family. “The country has so much to offer and is exceptionally beautiful, so there’s plenty to explore.
“A friend and I have challenged ourselves to go to the outdoor sauna located on the Oslo Fjord, so you go into the sauna then jump into the freezing water. I’m still not sure why we do it, but it sums up the Vikings.”
Lydia says that Norway is “a little hidden gem,” adding: “It’s as though the people have just summed it all up. I don’t think I’ll get over the work/life balance if I move away.
“They’re quite traditional, patriotic and they make Bear Grylls look mediocre with their activities.
“It takes a minute for Norwegians to warm to you and, being Irish, this is a shock to the system, but once you have them, they’re solid!”
As the Portfolio Manager for Pernod Ricard, Lydia looks after the whiskey, gin and aperitif sections.
“It consists of the likes of Jameson, Redbreast, Beefeater, Malfy, etc,” she explains, “I couldn’t have a Norwegian looking after Jameson!”
However, Lydia admits she misses her friends and family back in Cork.
‘I miss the Irish humour too - Norwegians have great humour but, you know, it’s just not the same as the real deal.
“If you’re from Clon’, you’re not subtle about how great Clon’ is, so I can safely say I miss Clon’!
“I hands down miss Scally’s Supervalu. I miss the beach walks and places like Scannells Bar, Cork Coffee Roasters, L’Attitude and Arthur Maynes’. Just the atmosphere really. It’s home.”
Lydia adds: “If I was back in Cork, I’d go for coffee with my wonderful mom, Antonette. Usually, Cork Coffee Roasters or Cortado. Have a potter around the city, go to any markets if there’s something on. Eat the food that I miss or go somewhere nice for dinner and drinks.
“In Clonakilty, I would go to Inchydoney for coffee, chats and walks and Scannell’s for food and drinks with the girls!”
Life is very different in Oslo. “I travelled up to Svalbard (a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean), where I got the chance to see a polar bear - from a substantial distance,” says Lydia, “and was lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.’
“I love and miss my mom, dad Kevin, brother, all of the girls - you know who you all are, Ann, Vada and the rest of my family in Cork and outside. I can safely say I miss them terribly.”
As for the coming weeks, Lydia says: “This Christmas is going to be very different. We’re breaking all traditions and my family plus my brother’s girlfriend Vada are coming to Norway for a white Christmas!
“We have three birthdays in our house before Christmas, so there will be lots of celebrations and then spending Christmas in my boyfriend’s family cabin. It’s currently -16 there so good luck to them all.
“Our Christmas is usually just a lot of laughter and plenty of good food and drinks. I love the build up to Christmas and all the cooking and baking.
“This whole Christmas cake thing that takes three days to make and is smothered in whiskey was alien to the Norwegians at first, but now it’s become a tradition.”
Lydia is about to turn the big 30 “so I guess that gets a mention”, she says.
As for the future, “just more adventures and travels! It has really been a whirlwind five years.
“It is wedding season for my group of girls back home so I’m looking forward to the hen parties and weddings to come!
“One tradition I will miss this year is the annual Inchydoney swim. A roll in the snow is the closest I’ll get to it this year. I’ll miss the girls, but bring on the hens!”
Lydia adds: “If you told my younger self that I would move to Norway, have all the adventures that I’ve been so lucky to have, learn to ski (questionably), meet such amazing people, and my incredible Norwegian boyfriend, I would have said ‘Yeah, right!’
‘Life can sometimes throw you a curve ball and Norway is just exactly that and I am so glad life took me in this direction.
“That being said, every time the ‘trying to make up for time’ Ryanair flight hammers into Cork, with the rain hitting the plane sideways, I just smile to myself because there’s absolutely nothing like home.”