We’re in the season of sunny nights. The snow is still lingering around many places, but when the sun is shining 24/7 and the thermometer is showing two digit numbers, I think we are seeing the last of it.
People can now meet up in groups since Norway has lifted many of the corona restrictions. After many weeks of social distancing and self isolation, I guess we just needed an occasion to get social and celebrate the fact that we can.
This is probably the toughest time to live in the north. It feels like the spring will never arrive. We’re in May. My feeds on social media are filled with green grass, bare toes and balcony beers that belong to people living outside the Arctic Circle.
Meanwhile up north:
Last Friday I woke up to a white world. On the previous day, I was wearing sneakers, for the first time in six-seven months, celebrating the winter finally being over. Hah!
Looking at the bright side: The sun is back. Next photo was shot at 11 PM.
This weekend we finally got to see two digit numbers on the thermometer – Saturday was 16 °C. People were actually walking around in t-shirts and I have a strong feeling that we will see the trees covered with green leafs very soon.
This entry ended up being all about weather…
We talk a lot about the weather around here and during one of these regular daily conversations, only that this one happened with a foreigner at the scene and therefore in English, I was told this joke: “You know why they call it May. Because it may, you know. It may snow, it may rain, blizzards may be, may be sunny, it may May”.
As you can see in the head image above, there wasn’t a lot of people out in the streets. Even though Norway is lifting many of the restrictions related to the corona outbreak, we still can not gather more than 50 people in one place. Which is why Norways biggest national event didn’t become crowded celebration it usually is. Most people participated from the safe distance of their balcony.
I consider myself to be very lucky to be working on this occasion. I was following the band for the whole day, all around town, enjoying the music and the uplifting speeches. Most activities, such as children’s parade, school cafe and champagne breakfast, were cancelled this year, but not the bands. I don’t think there could ever be any 17th of May celebration without the bands and patriotic songs they play, like “Yes, we love this country” and “This is Norway in red, white and blue”. This year I discovered a new marching tune, “Telemark bataljon” – curious souls can listen to it here.
One of the things that made a huge impression yesterday, was a visit to the elderly center. I interviewed three ladies in their 90s. They had dressed up in beautiful dresses, put on flag pins and pearls, and were really looking forward for the band to arrive and play outside their windows. Although they were a bit sad because the children’s parade got canceled because of COVID-19, the mood was cheerful and expectant. This is such a joyful day, one of them told me, seemingly happy and excited about being interviewed. The flag pins on our jackets were exactly the same. I asked her to tell about a May 17th which she remembered especially well. Her smile fell immediately. I have some trouble remembering, she said quietly and suggested I ask someone else. Her face, when she felt she couldn’t fulfill my – and her own expectations, and the feeling that awoke in my own chest, will probably stay with me for a long while. Everything is temporary. All we can do is go with the flow and treasure every moment.
Another interesting experience was checking in on the drive-in church service. The preach was about our society buing built on trust and it was quite inspiring. The confidence we have in each other, the fantastical feeling of being trusted and the faith in equality – Norway a beautiful country to live in. We need to cherish this. I caught the priest on camera just as he was changing into his cassock (I had to google that word) in his trunk-wardrobe.
Because my career is taking a turn. I’m leaving a safe, interesting and well-paid job. I love being a journalist.
What are you going to do now?
I’m going to promote an organization that supports all kinds of cooperation between the people who live in the north of Norway and Russia, helping in developing this region. It’s a two-year contract.
Why do you want to do that?
Because I have a soft heart exactly those things: Cooperation, love, peace and the collective happiness of (the world, actually – and of course) northern citizens. Moving up north four years ago is the greatest adventure of my life. I was born in Russia, but I grew up in Norway. Now I live right next to the border between these two but the world seems borderless. Working for an organization that funds cool projects in this region, all focused on international border-crossing friendship, seems like a dream. I feel ready and inspired by this challenge.
Well, congratulations on getting the job.
Because my career is taking a….
I have to interrupt you. We’ve been over this already. Everything will be fine.