Have I ever mentioned (pretty sure I have) that summer ends, in Oslo, promptly, every year, on August 24th? I hadn't realized that it ended on my annual anniversary of showing up here, but it's true, by August 24th, summer is done and dusted. When I arrived in Norway on that fateful August day in 2002, being from Texas, I figured I had plenty of warm time left, August being the hottest month, and that I could enjoy the summer that remained. Ha. Joke on me.
Within a day or so of that day, August 24th, every year, a chill appears in the air. It's inescapable. You can't go without an extra layer. You just can't. And there you have it. From here on out, you may have the occasional not-so-cold-oh-my-god-it's-almost-warm day, but no more summer days.
And that is SO disappointing because this year summer completely gave us a miss. It rained and it rained and it rained. That was summer. The last flowers on the balcony are already giving their all, that last gorgeous blowsy bloom before they go away. Then I have the choice to either rip them out and replace them with the standard Norwegian fall plants that I hate, (an insipid statis looking thing, that sort of dries and just sits there) or leave the boxes fallow.
To catch you up on what happened after my trip to the US, an impromptu and spontaneously booked trip to surprise my dad on his birthday, I guess mostly I should say it's been pretty freaking busy. I had a layover in London on the way back, for most of a the day, and chilled at LHR for a good few hours, then got back to Norway on the 13th. Went to work the next day and for the most of the week, and then on the 17th went to Munich with some friends where we celebrated my birthday. The jet lag was not so bad this time, maybe because of the layover, I am not sure.
It was hot in Munich, not just hot, but scorching, it got up to 94F, and I freaking loved it. It gets hot in Texas, too, of course, but in Texas you don't walk around for hours in the heat, you go from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned shop to air-conditioned house. In Europe, you just sweat. I spent the time lazing in the Englischer Garten, by the Isar river, watching people jump into the swiftly flowing freezing water and getting swept away, only to crawl out and do it again. I loved listening to the screams as their bodies hit the cold water and the laughter and joy of people splashing around. It is such a summer sound, such a carefree one, one you don't realize you miss until you hear it again. Who needs water parks when you have a natural stream like that, ready for you to jump and play and cool off in, as much as you want, for free? I did it too, you jump in, it's not deep, you can stand, and the swift current sweeps you down a hundred meters or so, you are in just long enough to catch your breath after the shock of hitting the cold water, and you work your way to the bank, there, under the trees, crawl out, then go lie in the sun on the grassy banks for a bit to warm up, and do it all over again. There were people everywhere, all in bathing suits, all sorts of body types, all gorgeous, all getting tans and laughing and enjoying the summer. I don't know that Americans actually get the joy of summer once they are grown up. Europeans? They know how to enjoy summer, because they know that it is oh so short and oh so fleeting. I have learned that, too. Whenever I go back to Texas, I will forever appreciate summer and warmth and sun, because i have lived in a place where it was a scarce resource, to be treasured and celebrated.
After Munich, and much beer and many beer gartens, I have been back at work, back into the day to day life, trying to face the fact that the much-anticipated summer that everyone in Norway considers their reward for the long hard winters never really happened, and it's back to sweaters and socks and tights and scarves. This summer I went to London and Amsterdam and the US and to Munich, at Easter I went to Turkey. In October I anticipate another trip to Amsterdam and possibly a trip in September to Ireland with a friend from home, but right now nothing is set and I am in that sad place where I have gone from having three anticipated and booked travel experiences to look forward to, to none. I always prefer to have a trip in my pocket, something planned and set, so that I can work towards it. I need to book something.
I need some travel to look forward to, to get me over this 'back to school' feeling. I need something to work towards. I need...something.