Spring has transitioned into Summer. Tulips have given way to pansies and the lush parks have become filled with hordes of bikini'd sunbathers and groups of friends grilling and playing Kubb in the park. I learned that the higher the magpies nest, the sooner Winter will end the more mild Summer will be. We had one week of high temperatures that broke 90 one day. Without a/c this seemed horrible but before we could stage a protest, Summer returned to sanity and temperatures in the 70s. I don't miss Summer in Texas. At all.
It's wonderful to be in a country that takes May Day (Labor Day) seriously. I didn't have to explain the importance of the labor movement to anyone Interestingly, there are at least two Unions here for high tech workers. We had a lovely brunch with friends complete with a custom, slightly tongue in cheek, soundtrack of the Internationale and Cuban anti-American songs. We were the only non-Norwegians there and it was a lot of fun having waffles, brown cheese, and savory treats. H played with a young boy, each of them patiently explaning in their own language what they wanted the other one to do. I also had some fun putting together a fun-things-to-do-in-Texas list for a young radical communist from work who went to the States for his holiday.
Also in May is the National Day, see Fjordward for pics, which we really enjoyed. It was surprisingly easy to get down to the Palace, wave at the royals, and see all the people in their traditional Bunad and suits. In most countries they parade their tanks and military might on their national day but Norway parades their children. It's really lovely. Fortunately the weather held and we had a very good time.
We had a bit of a shock recently. After signing a 3 year lease, our landlords asked for their apartment back. Their business surpringly relocated them back to Oslo from Stockholm. But, again, see Fjordward for pics, we were able to find a great place to move to. It's a short lease and more expensive but the place is perfect "us". And the owners are so nice, with two small kids of their own. The first time we met them, the lady of the house was wearing Che Guevarra socks and taught H to say "heart" in Norwegian. Coincidentally, our Bohemian neighbor, whom we adore, just moved after 8 years in various apartments in our current building.
The other day we noticed that Seamus was chewing his side raw. After a bit of research we found out that there is a drop-in clinic at the veterinary school not even half a kilometer away. It's a beautiful school, very old and ivy-league looking with old buildings and large lawns. It turned out to be nothing serious but he did have to wear the cone of shame for a week. And of you think a gigantic 145 pound dog gets attention, stick a satellite dish around his neck. People constantly would come over to gawk and offer their commiserations. Small dogs just bark and hide behind their owners.
We took H to see Swan Lake at the old Opera House, a 1950s building inside a mall downtown. H was great. She really engaged the plot, which we had told her many times and had seen on TV. So she knew all about the evil magician and the prince and the bad princess. Of course, being 4, she also would blurt out random observations like, "they're wearing tights" and "four swans holding hands". But she would also say things like, "he sat next to the Queen! that's bad!" She really liked it. During the intermission she was able to have a bit of chocolate cake and expend some energy playing, making the second half easy. We left before the final confrontation, which was great because the evil black swan is really the highlight and we saw that. So now we have a princess ballerina who still turns into WonderWoman to battle dragons.
Today is Father's Day. I am full of waffles and coffee. The sun which seems never to set these days (we have over 20 hours of sunlight that begins spilling into the living room and pooling on the floor arounf 3:30 in the morning) is hidden behind the rainy day clouds. I got two Murakami books from H for the day, maybe I'll start them during her nap after we walk the puppies and jump in puddles.