I’m flat at in my bed and this is my view. It’s warm, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the seagulls call everyone out to enjoy the warm rays from the sun. I’m in such a state of bliss. My energy level is soaring. I feel head-over-heels in love and I spend my days humming, singing and dancing. I barely slept last night, but I don’t care. Daughter didn’t sleep much either, and has been whining all morning, I’m fine with that too! She’s taking a nap now, sleeping peacefully in her buggy out in the fresh air. I need to plant some flowers soon, I’ve seen a few bumblebees and butterflies briefly visit our yard, I need to give them a reason to stay a little longer. Our magnolia tree is coming to life again, slowly and carefully. The peonies have started stretching up from the dark soil and present clear indications of a flowery and colourful summer. I have my summer playlist on on spotify and soon I’ll jump out of bed again and dance around while doing a few chores. Enjoy spring!
The sun is out. The sky is blue. Days are now, with a few seconds margin, longer than the night. Temperature is increasing and I can finally say that spring is upon us. My papers are coming together, exams are just around the corner, my energy level is higher and the kids are happier. Half of the year I often find myself wondering why in the world we live in the cold, dark, north when there are so many warmer and brighter places around the globe. But then spring appears in all its glory. I become so high on life, and light, and no other place on earth could compare. In a few months’ time the dark night will be a distant, dark memory, then only allowed to appear as a dusky grey for a few hours between 2 and 4 at night. Now it’s time to soak up all the positivity and brightness from a world waking up from a slumber only to be teeming with new life. Enjoy!
What made your Tuesday?
Living in Cannobio was a dream. Every morning I would go for a short walk to the local baker where I bought freshly baked bread for breakfast. There are a few bakers along the main road, but I talked to someone at the hotel to hear where they would buy their bread and I was directed to a small narrow street behind the church. In September the town was no longer crowded by tourists and it was nice to see where the Italians themselves went to buy their food.
Norway still has an official state-run television channel, Norsk RikskringKasting, the NRK and the last years they have received much attention due to their new and creative reality shows. Please do not think of idiots locked in a house, barely-known celebrities dancing, or blood, sweat, and tears combined with alcohol and broken hearts; I said new and creative! Oh no, they give real in reality a new meaning, or proper meaning.
NRK’s first reality show was about trains. They filmed and showed the train journey from Bergen, on the West coast of Norway, to our capital, Oslo, in the East. Every minute of the journey was broadcasted. The documentary (or reality show) can be seen here. The second show was Hurtigruta. Hurtigruta is a ferry/small cruise that travels from Bergen to Kirkenes. Covering much of Norway’s coast. The journey was broadcates live, every single minute of it, from start to finish. The show can be seen here.
Following a little later was a four-hour show on knitting, see that here. Yes, we Norwegians knit. Well, I don’t. I can’t knit to save my life. I’ve learned to crochet, see here, but knitting, well, maybe after I retire.
Anyhow, the new thing now is birds. A proper piip-show. As birds is Norway say pip, or piip (you would write peep for the same sound). Birds here don’t tweet, instragram is more popular. A bird-feeding station is decorated to look like an Oslo coffee-house (not the dutch kind) with barstools, coffeemakers, decorations, and all. A webcam has been set up and now broadcast the birds 24/7. During this time you can also talk to ornithologists and ask them questions. The piip-show will go on for three months. And, you can see it here.
All photos are from Nrk.no
It suddenly struck me, while preparing some work for my studies, that the United Kingdom has no proper name in Norwegian. Norwegians have a tendency to mix up the nations and kingdom, unions and islands that the British Isles consist of and I have often spent time in the classroom teaching students/pupils the differences. I have always taught in English so the differences have been explained and named in English, easily. But now I had to refer to some of it in Norwegian and that’s when I realised: the United Kingdom barely exists!
The United Kingdom, which includes England, Scotland (at least for a while longer), Wales and Northern Ireland, is referred to as ‘Storbritannia’ (Great Britain) in Norwegian, which is obviously wrong! Great Britain is, clearly, the greatest (as in largest) of the British Isles, and hence, Scotland, England and Wales. A look in a Norwegian encyclopaedia explains that the Norwegian name for the United Kingdom is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the simple and easily pronounceable ‘Det forente kongedømmet Storbritannia og Nord-Irland’. Nobody uses it. I didn’t even knew it existed. And it is far too long. UK’ers, I apologise. There should be a short and precise name for your United Kingdom. Meanwhile, I’ll teach my English-students the differences.
The restaurants by the lake were similar and offered much of the same food. We tried a few and can no longer remember their names, but we were satisfied with what they had to offer and they were cooperative in finding food that our baby girl, then 9 months, could eat. But then
, we visited a well hid restaurant for lunch one day. We had been given an address and set out to find it. We were very insecure when we found the street and street number. We could not find anything that looked like a restaurant. But looking closer, the gravel-covered parking Hid a building with a gate that looked less private than the houses around. We entered a courtyard with tall trees that cast shadow over most of the open space. On the walls around us hang memorabilia from past farming and vintage images. At the tables sat Italian men smoking, eating and talking. They were mostly workers on their lunch breaks, all locals.
We didn’t get much attention, except for the glances from the people around us who were not used to tourists invading their space. Even the staff didn’t seem thrilled to see us. And nobody spoke English, anywhere, when we did they answered in Italian. When I tried German, they answered in Italian. When I tried French, they answered in Italian. When I tried in Italian, they were a little more cooperative. They warmed up to us after a while. But the breaking point came when they served us a small basket of bread. And the bread is the reason for this post! We didn’t try anything special at the restaurant (the insalata mista was nothing to brag about, the gorgonzola pasta was good, the pizza was delicious, but it was not what the locals ate). But the gem! The bread! It was baked in a stone oven. It’s been given time to rise, time to develop that amazing flavour. Heat enough to set a crust so crispy, and resilient, and savoury, and… well, you know exactly what I mean. Huge air-bubbles in the crumb showed off a gluten web so intricate and beautiful that nothing but love and patience can create. A drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt made the bread truly a divine experience. We complimented the bread and they gave us some more, along with that came a smile. A ciao for the kids while they ruffled their hair. We felt well taken care of. And the bread, yes, that bread.
I was out walking with a friend of mine. A delightful activity which brings out a smile, makes me feel refreshed and gives me wonderful rosy cheeks. I cast a quick glance over at a grocery store as we passed on the opposite side of the road. It was over in no more than a few seconds:
The sliding doors opened and a man appeared. He looked down toward the ground straight in front of him. His face was careless and anonymous, I have no memory of his features. But then his eyes wrinkled, his mouth opened and his face exploded in happiness. He looked at his dog who emitted the same happiness and using its entire body to show it.
The quick glance gave me such an intense dose of happiness. It burned in my chest and spread out to the top of my head and the tip of my toes.
Enjoy the little things in life, and please do share them with me!