Perfect Saturday

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It’ saturday, still, and will be for an hour longer than normal today, or at least I will pretend it is. It’s been a good day and it’s been a good week. I’m getting used to work, my body is getting used to the new the new daily patterns, and although the days are shorter, I feel more tired in the evening, I have more energy throughout the day. Daughter too has grown used to the long days in kindergarten and manage to sleep when she can. I saw the result of all this today. It has been such a good day!

I had one of those rare perfect days to the city with my two loverlies. We managed the butcher, the pharmacy, the market, the candy shop, and the library hand in hand, smiling and all feeling good. Thinking back there were birds singing, strings instruments playing, and people smiling and dancing in the streets. So, yes, my memories come with a silver lining. But we didn’t argue, there was no whining, and after the first two shops I sat down, brought my kids close and told them how proud I was, and how happy I was with how they acted and behaved. Later today they played together, we had pizza, watched Tarzan and they even went to bed tonight without telling me how I ruin their lives demanding they get the sleep they need every night. Which means we’re even off to a good start tomorrow.

And, you know what? We got windows today. We extanding out house slightly and improving the layout a lot, and has consequently been without windows (but with a whole lot of dust, mess, and chaos) for a few weeks. Tonight the house is not drafty, it’s warm and cosy. I see scary branches  doing intimidating moves in the dark, sending long shadows into what will soon be my living room, and I smile back at them. Welcoming their return. Even the sun came out today and showed me how gorgeously its rays will light up our house for years and years to come. The sun was only out for a wee while today just after the windows were fitted, so it’s clear that’s its main purpose was to brighten my life.

Now I’ve had a few hours to myself, enjoying solitude, silence, and songs. I am online again after being without an internet connection for some days, and I am now up to date on work, blogs, news, and the like. What a wonderful saturday it has been. I hope you too enjoyed it.

Easter in Norway

I’m a little behind on my blogging, or rather, I have things I would like to blog about that I haven’t yet got around to. But who cares if easter was over a few weeks ago? In Norway we say that yule (christmas) lasts until easter, which I think would mean that easter should last until yule again.

Easter is ‘påske’ in Norwegian. The funny letter is pronounced like the vowel in ‘bought’ or at least if you pronounce the word like the Queen of England does. Or it’s at least a very similar sound. Whatever sound you manage to produce you’ll anyway be fine, as we have such dialectal variation in this country that it would fit into one or another. The word derives from Hebrew and has obviously followed the introduction of Christianity. Before the introduction of easter, or ‘påske’, the spring equinox was celebrated, so easter has proper roots in our culture. It’s still standing strong, despite the decreasing popularity of the church.

Cabin sunset. Delightful chatter. Today påske is ideally spent in a cabin, somewhere in the mountains, where you can ski wearing less clothes than you need while skiing in the winter. You should come home with rosy cheeks, white circles around your eyes and a white line across your temple (yes, from the sunglasses). You should eat oranges, marzipan, kvikk lunsj (a chocolate-covered biscuit), lamb, and eggs, but not combined.

I spent the beginning of easter by myself in my in-laws’ house while they borrowed my family and spent some quality time at their cabin, in the woods, with no snow, but with some sunshine. I had exams due, but worked efficiently for some days in order to push school work out of my mind completely for some days and spend some lazy days in the cabin with my loved ones.

I have no idealised pictures of us out skiing with our oranges and kvikk lunsj in tow. I did get a few freckles though, but not enough to brag about here. But just to show you how perfect it all was anyhow, I’ve added the one and only photo I took during those days in the cabin. A quiet sunset by a small lake in the woods about an hour from the coast. Easter was good this year!

Cherishing Tuesday Chatter

IMG_9681Finding something to cherish this tuesday wasn’t all that easy. I have not had an easy day. It all goes back to this weekend:

I have faced one of my most dreaded challenges this weekend. And I now live to tell the tale. Husband is offshore, as he often is. I’ve had my mother-in-law, we call her Bestemor, has been here to babysit Daughter while I’ve been intern-ing(ish). She left of Friday to go back home. On Saturday morning my parents and youngest brother, all living in nearby, left to visit my older two brothers (who live far away). And then, on Saturday around noon I was struck, like lightning from a blue, clear sky, by one of the meanest viruses known to man: the stomach flu! I was out flat with two children to take care of. Many have been through worse, I know, and I am no hero. But I have dreaded this as one of the worse tasks that comes with having a man who works away from home. The stomach flu virus is very attracted to me and will jump me every. single. time. I hear about anyone who’s ill. And it hits me hard! Luckily, this time, the children didn’t get it at the same time…

The days following these 24 hours of pure agony I have, wisely, been following the new hip 3:4 diet. You’ve heard of the 5:2 diet? well, I live hardcore and have for the past 4 days had an intake of no more than 500 calories (on average). Today that resulted in nausea, dizziness, headache, short temper, but an acceptable weight loss. Son has been magnificent and knows not to piss off his momma, Princess darling, on the other hand, has had a day worse than me, or that is at least the message she has tried to get across today. Can you say whining? But now, I got it all out of my system and I can focus on what I want to remember from today:

  • I managed to go for a long walk today. It was windy with a few drops of rain in the air, but then suddenly the sun came out. My route was a large circle, starting off towards the west (towards Shetland) before heading north and walking east to get home. As I turned to start walking north, due to a windy path, I found myself facing east. Staring straight at the rising sun. It blinded me and showered me with light. This is quite amazing after weeks of not having seen the sun properly.
  • I complained to Son earlier today that this place was such a mess. Cleaning the house was not first priority during this weekend. Two hours after Son was supposed to be sleeping he called me from upstairs: “Mom, you know the sink in the bathroom? You know what? (he’s not very good at getting to the point – that could be hereditary) You don’t have to clean that now cause I just did!” He is an amazing wee man. And although he might have flooded the bathroom – that was one proud little man who went to bed again afterwards. He then, finally, fell asleep straight away.

What will you remember from your Tuesday? Please do share!

Summerdays in Cannobio

I dream of warmer, brighter days. I’m a bit ill, sneezing, a bit of a fever, a gentle flu that hasn’t completely run me over, just a tad bit. Oh, I dream of days in Cannobio where we spent four nights at Residenza Patrizia and enjoyed our days thoroughly. Yes, I dream of Cannobio…

… where a small walk in the morning takes me to that narrow little street next to the church where the local baker is. The baker who answers me back in Italian no matter how incoherently I mumble, and still understands my order and smiles.

… where the breeze from the lake and the large mountains makes sure no days are ever too warm, but also never cold during the summer.

… where Italians live, work and go to school.

… where Pippi Longstocking has her summer house. It’s not wooden like her house in Sweden, but it has the same colours. And she has grown a little tired of the policemen chasing her on the rooftop so she set up a great wall around her garden with a huge green gate keeping out all who are not friendly.

… where tourists never completely take over.

… where old and new exist side by side, on top of one another and in line. The oldest buildings are almost 800 years old and they’re still there!

… where lizards need to have bubble-magic shrinking spells cast on them for them not to grow to the size of dinosaurs and take over the world

… where people have lived and worked for hundreds of years

…where the narrow streets are paved with magical round stones that give you bubble-power that can capture bad guys inside magical bubbles that transfers them out onto the lake and to the nearest prison.

Some of the above mentioned things might need a bit of imagination for you to enjoy them as much as we did. Go to Cannobio some day!

Italy – or thereabout

IMG_2244It was a dull and cloudy day the day we arrived in Lörrach. The train stopped just outside a Milka factory (chocolate producer – among the largest in Europe) so that at least brought a hint of purple to the grey morning. We got on the road and took off south. We had a small break in Emmetten before continuing towards Italy.

Husband asked whether we going through one of the longest tunnels in Switzerland that day. I had no idea, but we hadn’t travelled more than a few more minutes before traffic slowed down to narrow the two lanes down to one and allow plenty of space between each vehicle. Suddenly we were inside the 17km long Gotthard tunnel, indeed the longest tunnel in Switzerland.

IMG_3801The Gotthard pass and tunnel really functioned as a border between Southern and Northern Europe. The weather cleared, the temperature rose and signs were all of a sudden in Italian. Houses looked more Italian, the number of Ferraris on the road increased. Driving without a map, trusting Garmin to take us where we wanted to go, we found ourselves a little confused: had we entered Italy, or were we in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. Our plan was to have a proper break in Switzerland, but that was now too late. So we decided to instead have our first break in Italy and enjoy the summer’s very first Italian gelato. We stopped in Bellinzona.

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Bellinzona was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. There was a castle smack down in the middle of the town with town walls stretching out on both sides of the castles dividing the town. The castle had wine ranks growing along the outer wall, like all castles should have. And it was sunny, the grass was green, we were surrounded by huge mountains and the town itself was old, charismatic and charming. I loved it. It screamed: welcome to Italy. Except, it didn’t!

We found our gelato. I had limone, Son had cioccolato. Daughter tasted her very first and loved it! We ordered in Italian, payed with euros, thanked them in Italian, and talked over and over about finally having reached Italy: except, we hadn’t!

 

We went to buy a postcard. I had received a few coins after paying for the gelato with a note and took them out of my pocket to see if I had enough for the postcard and a stamp. That’s when I noticed. The coins weren’t cents, they were centesimi, or Rappen, the denomination of the Swiss franc! And that’s when I noticed the red flags with the white crosses. A few minutes earlier they had been banners waving overhead, along with plenty other banners, now they were Swiss flags. God we felt stupid! I announced to the children (or, well the child who understood anything of it) that we weren’t in Italy yet, we were still in Switzerland. Then we laughed. Walked hand in hand through the gorgeous streets of the Swiss town of Bellinzona. Then we left, and drove towards Italy.

Stretching our legs

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One of the better reasons for driving on holiday? The clock was ticking towards lunchtime. So we simply exited the motorway and found a small village. Driving up a steep road with an astonishing view over the Lake of Lucerne in Switzerland. We found a small gathering of houses, a small shop and a few hotels – the town of Emmetten.

The mountain air was crisp and clear. There were a few drops of rain in the air. Surrounded by green grass, green trees, mountain peaks and wooden houses, we were far from home. People were friendly. Hotels were still closed, but we found a few bites in the small shop. Got to stretch our feet at a place we’ll probably never see again. And to remember: we sent ourselves a postcard.

Roadtripping “summer” 2013

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Roadtripping Denmark in the rain

This year’s summer vacation happened rather late. We left home in the middle of September and went away for about three weeks, not returning before the first days of October. Temperatures at home started to drop the days before we left and the air smelled of autumn. We packed our bathing gear, shorts, t-shirt, summerdresses and short skirts and headed south.

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Roadtripping the flatter parts of Switzerland

Leaving home late at night with only a short drive in front of us to catch a ferry to take us to Denmark over night. Drive through Denmark the next day, get on a train in Hamburg, Germany the next day which, during the night, would take us to the German-Swiss border and the city of Lörrach (still in Germany). We had a three-hour-drive to our first main stop: Cannobio, Italy. We would relax there for four nights before driving four hours to Nice, where we would be accompanied by MiL (Mother in Law) and OBiL (Oldest Brother in Law). France would be our home for a full week. Returning home we planned for two nights on the Italian-Swiss border in the town of Ponte Tresa before taking the same route home as we took going south. A perfect road trip with young children aboard.

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Reaching the Alps in Switzerland

It’s been the perfect summer holiday, and we are very likely to travel similarly in future summers. We do have room for improvement: family holidays have their ups and down and minor hiccups, but all in all we’ve had a wonderful time together. Stories and pictures will follow soon first I have an exam…