Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SAD in Summer?

I've been wondering lately if it's possible to have Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer, and not just the winter. . .

I expected the Winters in Norway to be cold, dark and long, so when they turned out to be cold, dark and long I wasn't at all surprised. However, I expected the summers to be warm, sunny and, well. . . summery. And they aren't. They are cool--60 degrees, rainy, and spring like. Tonight, 10pm, I am wearing jeans, wool socks, long-sleeve cotton T-shirt, and the same green Patagonia fleece hoodie sweatshirt that I've worn for the past 23 months.

I like living in a place with four seasons. I don't think I could ever give up snow in the winter. (Well. . . maybe I could, but since I don't want to live without my husband, I think I need to have snow in the winter). But, I also really like heat. Sun-generated heat. And I'm not asking that much--70, 75. Just enough to feel like I can throw on a pair of shorts of summery skirt first thing in the morning, and not pull on that same damn pair of Levis for day #21. . .

We intentionally delayed a trip back to the States until the Fall, and not for this summer. For one, my parents are in Norway this summer, traveling about in their RV, so it's dumb to go back to the US when  half the parental units are not there. But secondly, Erik argued, "summer in Norway is beautiful. . . we don't want to leave during the best part of the year!"(I might add that thirdly, we have a house that needs to get finished).

You know what Norwegians do during summer? They leave. Denmark. Spain. Italy. Greece. Turkey.

We're half-way through week one of felles ferie (common vacation), the three weeks in Norway (and most of Europe) when every Norwegian goes on vacation. And it's not a matter of "if" they are going. No, no. . . Norwegians do not ask you, "ARE you going on vacation?" It's "WHERE are you going on vacation?" Because it is expected that you WILL take a vacation, and preferably several weeks long. Even as I began two summer-temp jobs, I was asked, "Which week of vacation do you want?"

An article in the local newspaper reported a study done by the University in Oslo. The study found that the body needs a full three weeks of continuous vacation to bring the stress hormone levels back to normal. Older workers might even take longer.

And what are we doing during felles ferie, you ask? Seeing that the barnehage is also closed for felles ferie, someone needs to be around to watch over the little one. I'm taking this first rainy, cold, miserable week off (cue the tiny violins, please. . . ), and on Thursday evening we have been invited to join some friends in their hytta (cabin) for the weekend. The next two weeks we will have visits from Erik's mother and a friend of hers, who will be bouncing in and out, watching Greta on some days and visiting sights near and far on others, while Erik and I juggle the childcare between jobs, day/evening shifts, a sun setting at 10:30pm, and the never-ending house projects.

"Next summer", we say "next summer we'll take 3 weeks off. . . "

And be damn sure to go somewhere warm.


  1. Om det er noen trøst så har de siste 2-3 sommerene vært "verre" enn de pleier å være. Mer regn og kaldere i følge meterologene. Men...."syden"-sommer blir det aldri her, vi ligger tross alt der vi ligger her på jorda. Sånn er det bare:)

  2. You know I agree with everything you say. But may it be a tiny bit of condolence to know that you have more definite seasons further east than out here on the coast. My husband's been saying it to Americans for years, but I finally understand that it's true,"we often have the same weather and temperatures in January as we do in July- 50 all year long." The only dif. is the amount of daylight. I guess that counts for something...

  3. We have had a terrible summer so far here too (although we have been super humid, not cold)
    As soon as the forced holiday is over and we are all back at work the summer will appear!
    As soon as the sun appears here we pack a picnic, swim in the fjord and get some sun on our skin before it leaves us again!

  4. I think everyone in Norway is complaining about the "summer" weather, especially those living in the east of the country. We've been lucky here on the southeast coast, as even though we've had a fair bit of rain, at least it's been warm. Until today. It's cold, windy, and raining today. Yuck. Hopefully the weather forecast is correct and good weather will return here tomorrow or Wednesday. Fingers crossed that August will be better for everyone!! We deserve a blast of summer before fall!